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Gay Paree...and Gay London, and Gay Rome...

Gay and lesbian travel resources, guides, and tours in Europe

• Gay traveler resources
• Gay-friendly lodgings
• Gay travel guidebooks
• Gay travel magazines
• Gay tours
Much of Europe has grown to accept same-sex couples over the past few decades, and in most countries homosexual sex acts are legal. To be on the safe side, do a bit of research on the city or area you're planning to visit. As you might expect, smaller towns tend to be less accepting than cities.

The centers of European gay culture include London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, and, of course, Greece (though the modern Greek culture is rather more conservative than those famously fey ancient Homeric heroes, the Greek Islands in particular are still gay havens, particularly Mykonos; same goes for the party islands of Spain, especially Ibiza).

Resources for gay travel

International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association ( - The best all-around resource. Members ($100 to join, plus $150 a year) get a newsletter, advice on specialist travel agencies (you can search for local ones on the Website), and a membership directory. ( - All sorts of sub-sites that are jam-packed with all sorts of info on everything from gay-friendly hotels and restaurants to action groups and support hotlines to nightclubs and tours. There's no guarantee these sites will have an English-translated version, but the info is usually easy enough to navigate (believe me; I mine these things shamelessly to get the goods on the local gay scene for my guidebooks).

Gay travel blogs - There are probably tons, but among them are,,, (a crowdsourced site—meaning the content comes from the users; think TripAdvisor, only gay—but nothing on Italy yet), (for all women, but strong lesbian presence as well). ( - Interactive city maps showing hotels, restaurants, gay clubs and bars, shops, services, and attractions. (Actually, they work exactly like the Google maps on this site, only gay-themed.)

Gay-friendly lodgings

Purple Roofs ( - Loads of gay-friendly lodgings around the world—and, amazingly enough, the listings actually link you directly to the hotel's own Website (most travel sites out there, especially accommodations ones, try their darndest never to give you the opportunity to click off their site).

PinkChoice blog ( - Blog about gay-friendly hotels. ( - I only count three dozen properties in all of Europe on this site, but hey, at least that's a start.

TAG Approved ( - A self-styled gay housekeeping seal-of-approval outfit that bestows gay-friendly classification on hotels.

Lesbian & Gay Hospitality Exchange International ( - A hospitality exchange network with 500 listings in 30 countries. Annual membership costs €25 ($35)—but then all your stays with local hosts are free!

Gay travel magazines

Out Traveler ( - The publishers of Out and The Advocate put out this excellent quarterly gay travel mag.

Passport ( - Published 9 times a year.

Gay travel guidebooks & bookstores

Spartacus International Gay Guide (2010) - You gotta take the whole world at once with this thick tome (couldn't they do separate Europe, USA, Asia, etc. editions?), but it is the industry standard of gay guidebooks.

Spartacus International Hotel & Restaurant Guide

Damron Men's Travel Guide

Damron Women's Traveller (2009)

Damron Accommodations (12th edition)

Frommer's Gay & Lesbian Europe
(2003) - Yep, the mainstream guidebook publisher has actually put out a small series of gay guides.

Ferrari International Guides - As a straight man, I can't actually speak to how accurate the various series of gay guides are, but from flipping through them all, this series seems by far to be the best thought-out, laid-out, and all-around useful of the lot. Unfortunately, they seem to have gone out of business after releasing the 2001 editions. You can still find copies for sale, though.

Giovanni's Room ( - Famous gay bookstore in my hometown (Philly) has a wide selection and does mail order. Support independent booksellers!

A Different Light ( - Famous gay bookstore in my old hometown (New York), also has fabulous selection and will ship. Support independent booksellers!

Gay tours and travel agents

David Tours ( - Large selection of trips all across the globe. Based in Corona del Mar, CA.

Toto Tours ( - Tours and cruises all over the world. Based in Chicago (not Kansas?)

R Family Vacations ( - Tour company co-founded by Kelli O'Donnell (a.k.a. Kelli Carpenter, most famous as the ex-Mrs. Rosie O'Donnell). Tours, trips, and cruises for the entire GLBT community—gays, lesbians, and their families.

Above and Beyond Tours ( - Mainly Australia, but plenty of Europe as well. Based in Palm Springs.

Now, Voyager ( - Based in San Francisco and one of the oldest gay and lesbian travel agencies, founded in 1984.

Olivia Cruises ( - The famous lesbian travel company does more than just cruises—though that's what they're most famous for (they're not an actual cruise line; they charter ships from various companies to resell as their own lesbian cruises).

Travelocity (www.travelocity.comPartner) - Yes, this is the only one of the big search engines that markets services directly to the gay and lesbian travel sector—and they deserve being singled out if only for that.

OneTravel ( - Major online travel agency with frequent coupons and advertised airfares up to 60% off. It also has a specialty in gay and lesbian travel.

Intrepid Travel (www.intrepidtravel.comPartner) - This fantastic Australian company offers tours in conjunction with OUT tour company that mix an independent travel style (staying in cheap guesthouses, traveling by public transport) with the expertise of truly knowledgeable guides. Intrepid is all about the cultural experiences, has a larger than usual commitment to sustainable tourism, and—most importantly—limits its group size, often in the 8-12 range.


Intrepid Travel

This article was last updated in January 2007. All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2010 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.