male couple walking happy holding hands

Couple happily walking down the street (raulmellado (123RF))

Europe features some of the safest places for the LGTBQIA+ community to travel in the entire world. This list was compiled utilizing information from gay blogs, news and business sources that include Condi Nast Traveler, Mister BandB, Euro News, and Forbes as well as the Asher and Lyric “LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index.”

The safety index takes into account things such as marriage rights, LGBTQ+ rights and protections, as well as murder rates for trans communities in the country, and gives them a grade from A to F and a “point score.” Canada is rated as the safest by scoring the most points with 383 points.

The countries below have received an A or an A- on the Asher and Lyric list and are not listed in any particular order. Note that Pride is celebrated in Europe on various dates from April through September, not just in June like in the U.S.


Denmark was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex partnerships back in 1989. This year, you can celebrate at Copenhagen Pride from August 10-18. You can also celebrate Pride with Copenhagen Winter Pride every February.

Things to do in Denmark

  • Enjoy the thrill rides at Tivoli Gardens.

  • Visit the Little Mermaid and Rosenburg Castle.

  • Sail on a Viking longship.

  • Visit the LEGO® House and the largest LEGO® store in the world.

  • Check out Warehouse9: The queer art, culture and theater space in Copenhagen.

The Netherlands

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage in the world back in 2001. You can celebrate Pride in Amsterdam from July 27 to August 4.

Things to do in The Netherlands


Iceland was the first country in the world to have an openly queer head of state, Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who served from 2009 to 2013. Iceland is also one of the most accessible places in Europe for wheelchair users. You can celebrate Pride in Reykjavik from August 6-11. 

Things to do in Iceland

  • Swim between two continents in the Silfra fissure.

  • See the Northern Lights while staying in a glass igloo.

  • Relax in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa.

  • Take a LGTBQIA+ walking tour in Reykjavik; it includes the city’s oldest house, which used to be a gay bar.

  • Go “Beyond the Wall” from Game of Thrones in Vatnajökull.


Sweden is currently number two in the world for LGTBQIA+ safety on the Asher and Lyric list (Canada takes the number one spot). Celebrate Pride in Stockholm from July 29- August 3. Learn about other Pride celebrations in Sweden here.

Things to do in Sweden

  • Visit the ABBA Museum.

  • Grab a drink at Greta’s, the oldest gay bar and nightclub in Gothenburg.

  • Sleep in the Ice Hotel.

  • Celebrate Midsommer with flower crowns, pickled herring and drinking songs.

  • Marvel at the Royal Palace.


In 2016, Malta was the first country in Europe to ban conversion therapy and legalized “same-sex activity in 1973, with an age of consent of 16,” which is equal for heterosexual couples. Celebrate Pride in Malta from September 6-15. 

Things to do in Malta

  • Visit Popeye’s Village.

  • Shop for ganutell, Malta’s famed artificial flower art pieces.

  • Catch some rays at one of Malta’s beaches.

  • Party all night at Michelangelo, the LGBTQ+ nightclub.

  • Explore the Hagar Qim Temple, one of the most ancient religious sites in the world.


Lisbon is known as “the most queer-friendly place in the world,” according to Euro News because of how safe and welcoming the city is for the LGTBQIA+ community. Celebrate Pride in Lisbon on June 22. And celebrate with EUROPRIDE, a pan-international Pride celebration, hosted by a new city every year, in Lisbon in 2026. 

Things to do in Portugal

  • Check out Libson Bear Pride every year near Pride Month.

  • Find your next treasure at the flea markets in Porto.

  • Bare it all at the nude beaches at Ilha Deserta.

  • Take a cooking class in Belém.

  • Visit the Castle of Guimarãe.


Brussels has a thriving gay district and Belgium falls in the Top 10 on the Asher and Lyric list. Celebrate Pride in Brussels next spring.

Things to do in Belgium

United Kingdom

The U.K. has a vibrant queer culture scene and several famous “gayborhoods.” Celebrate Pride at the U.K.’s largest Pride festival, Brighton and Hove, August 3-4. Find other Pride celebrations in the U.K. here.

Things to do in the United Kingdom


Spain is home to many gay beaches as well as Europe’s largest Pride celebration. Celebrate Pride in Madrid from June 28 to July 7. Celebrate Pride in Barcelona from June 28 to July 21.

Things to do in Spain

  • Visit the complex of palaces and gardens and buildings that is Alhambra.

  • Taste the Turrón, a tasty Spanish nougat.

  • Check out the annual Barcelona Circuit Festival, the “biggest international gay event,” this year from August 10-18.

  • Take part in the world’s largest food fight at La Tomintina.

  • Learn about the Spanish Civil War at the Carmel Bunkers.


Paris, France is home to over 30 queer clubs and bars. Celebrate Pride in Paris on June 29 and find other Pride celebrations in France here.

Things to do in France

  • Catch a film or two at the annual Paris International Lesbian and Feminist Film Festival.

  • Commemorate World War II with visits along the Maginot Line and in Normandy.

  • Go on a magical adventure at Disney Paris.

  • Buy books where Hemmingway did at Shakespeare and Company.

  • Shop antiques and more in Forbach.

There are plenty of safe countries in Europe outside of the 10 listed. You can use the Asher and Lyric list as well as the updated “Rainbow Map” which rates countries on a traffic light scale of red to green to help you find places to go. 

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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