All-”including": Booking.com Reveals LGBTQ+ Travelers Picks for an Inclusive Getaway in 2023
For LGBTQ+ travelers, selecting a welcoming and inclusive destination is vital to planning a vacation away. The stark reality is that discriminatory barriers affect how LGBTQ+ travelers are welcomed across the world, with four fifths (80%)* reporting that they must consider their safety and well-being when picking a destination. Nearly two thirds (63%) also shared that being a LGBTQ+ traveler has influenced their destination bucket list when planning trips away, while over a third (41%) have even canceled a trip in the last year after seeing a destination not support those who identify as LGBTQ+. With its mission to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, regardless of who they love or how they identify, Booking.com is sharing nine LGBTQ+ friendly destinations based on recommendations from LGBTQ+ travelers around the world.** From vibrant capital cities to tropical beachside retreats, these havens all encourage LGBTQ+ travelers to express themselves freely. In addition to these destinations all actively celebrating diversity, the properties featured all have been Travel Proud certified by Booking.com, in recognition of having completed the company’s inclusive hospitality training and their ongoing commitment to providing truly welcoming stays to everyone.
Previously the capital city of Japan until 1868, the historical city of Kyoto has stood the test of time with its atmospheric temples, sublime gardens and traditional teahouses. Nestled in a valley surrounded by five sacred mountains on the island of Honshu, Japan’s ancient heart embraces its LGBTQ+ travelers with a warm, yet understated welcome. Once known for its more conservative attitudes, Kyoto has become increasingly progressive in support of LGBTQ+ people, with Japan recently recognizing same-sex couples in the form of a partnership system. Whether travelers want to sip matcha in a tea ceremony together, relax in a ryokan (traditional Japanese guesthouse) with a soothing soak in an onsen (hot spring) or simply enjoy the splendor of hanami (cherry-blossom viewing) they will be made to feel comfortable. While the city doesn't have a long-established open LGBTQ+ scene, for those who love bar hopping there are flourishing pockets of nightlife open to everyone, with avant-garde drag shows and top local DJs. For a unique experience and insider tips, embark on a Personalized Private City Tour with a local guide, where travelers can explore Kyoto’s highlights on their own terms from the Kiyomizu-dera Temple to the geisha district of Gion.
Where to stay: Bed down in the heart of the city at the boutique Miru Kyoto Nishiki. Set amongst the traditional wooden Machiya townhouses, the hotel’s design replicates authentic Japanese décor with wooden aesthetics, tatami mats for the bed and rich textures all with a modern twist. Guests will sink into super soft pillows and be welcomed by super friendly staff for a restorative stay. Located near Nishiki Market, a popular place to explore the local fare, and a short taxi ride from Club Metro, perfect for those planning to dance into the early hours.
Located on the French Riviera along the southeastern coast of France, Nice is a flourishing LGBTQ+ inclusive destination with year-round sunshine that’s infused in its warm and welcoming atmosphere. France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and hosts LGBTQ+ events open to everyone throughout the year. The annual Lou Queernaval, which is hosted each February in Nice, was the first LGBTQ+ carnival in France and now draws over 15,000 international visitors every year. Expect a mash-up of all the glitz and glamor of Nice with parades, floats, live bands and elaborate outfits. Those planning to venture to this vibrant city during summer, when the temperatures typically soar, can experience Nice Pride. Held every last weekend of July, this city comes to life with celebrations along the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais and in the picturesque old town. Outside of the celebrations, explore this UNESCO-listed city with its colorful architecture, rich art history and gorgeous beaches. For visitors seeking some downtime with a loved one, book a French Riviera Romantic Tour and stroll around Parc de la Colline du Château, home to lush gardens, fountains and sculptures and with the best views over Nice’s red-tiled rooftops.
Where to stay: Close to the pebble shores amongst the action of the old town is the bright Le Château apartment. Boasting views overlooking the azure sea, this peaceful oasis has a secluded roof terrace where guests can soak up the sunrise to kickstart the day. The accommodating hosts are on hand to recommend local LGBTQ+ friendly shops and restaurants, while the apartment itself is stylish and includes a fully equipped kitchen and a spacious walk-in shower.
Chiang Mai is the largest northern city in Thailand famed for its charming mountain landscape, abundant farmlands and laid-back vibe. The city has well-established, diverse and integrated LGBTQ+ communities and, over the past few years, has made significant headway in supporting their rights. In 2019, the first Chiang Mai Pride was held with a series of educational seminars, parades and performances to mark the occasion. More recently, Thailand passed the Civil Partnership Bill which offers same-sex couples legal recognition. Travelers to Chiang Mai can start their exploration of the city at the lively and popular Kalare Night Bazaar with its delicious street food, string of shops and live music. A short walk away is straight-friendly gay nightclub Ram Bar that draws a crowd of both locals and travelers, and every night from 10pm comes alive with top cabaret performances. For the 45% of LGBTQ+ travelers who want to experience tasty cuisine on vacation,* they can book a Half-day Cooking Class and bring back home the secrets of authentic Thai cookery. On an organic farm surrounded by rice fields, travelers will learn how to make dishes from mango sticky rice to pad thai, a moreish sweet-savory noodle stir fry.
Where to stay: Pastell Oldtown Chiang Mai is located on a tranquil road in the heart of the old town, just a short walk from the Kalare Night Bazaar. Wooden interiors emulate traditional Thai décor, and rooms are light and airy with modern touches. Renowned for its friendly staff and exceptional service, guests can relax and recharge their batteries at this nurturing hotel that houses a pretty pool, verdant gardens and delicious Thai cuisine on tap. Should guests want to leave, Buddhist temples and street food markets are all on the doorstep to explore.
Situated on the stunning coast of western Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a popular vacation destination famed for its stunning beaches. A beloved destination of old Hollywood stars, this sun-soaked Pacific paradise in Jalisco is home to Mexico’s open and most relaxed LGBTQ+ scene, including its iconic Lazaro Cardenas Street. Jalisco is currently the only state in Mexico to recognize trangender children and youth rights to their legal identity, as well as one of the few states that has legislation over hate crimes. Puerto Vallarta’s cobblestone old town is home to the ‘Zona Romantica,’ a legendary LGBTQ+ friendly district full of vibrant hangouts where world-class seafood (including octopus tacos and fresh ceviche) and cocktails await. For an unforgettable experience on the ocean, visitors can book a Luxury Cruise with Breakfast and Lunch, sailing the Bay of Bandera while enjoying thrilling watersports from paddleboarding to water tubing. For those in need of some downtime, chill out at one of the resort town’s many beach clubs with their palm-fringed emerald coves, or meander along the mile-long El Malecón, a beachside promenade with contemporary sculptures to appreciate the creative work of local artists – no wonder this is Mexico’s most popular beach destination.
Where to stay: For the ultimate luxurious stay, the Grand Miramar All Luxury Suites & Residences is located on the hills of the exclusive Conchas Chinas area, and just a short walk to Zonas Romantica and the beach. Draped in pink bougainvillea flowers and with marble interiors, this stunning Booking.com Travel Proud certified stay has all the class without the pretense and welcomes all guests with open arms. Lounge around in the infinity pool, hot tub or on the adults-only terrace – perfect for a romantic evening for two.
Located in northwest Belgium, this quaint university city is celebrated for its medieval architecture and charming Flemish hospitality. Ghent has a close-knit and visible LGBTQ+ scene, which has been at the heart of liberation movements since the 70s. To support LGTBQ+ communities, the city set up a Rainbow Network of non-profit organizations, Ghent University, social services and the police – and, more recently, introduced gender-inclusive public restrooms and updated regulations at public swimming pools to empower trans individuals to wear swimwear of their choice. To experience the LGBTQ+ history of the city, local charity Casa Rosa hosts a Pink Walk and the Museum of Fine Arts runs Belgium’s first LGBTQ+ guided art tour. Many museums around the world are now adopting more inclusive perspectives on their collections and this experience explores gender identity and sexual orientation through a series of art pieces. For the more than one-third (35%) of LGBTQ+ travelers who want to spend uninhibited time with their partner on their next trip,* they can embark on a Romantic Guided Tour in Ghent to stroll around the pretty Graslei quay in the historic center and learn about the unique love stories hidden in the city's buildings, streets and parks.
Where to stay: The Hide is a collection of seven seriously stylish studio apartments set in the trendy Arts Quarter and a short walk to the Museum of Fine Arts. The design is unique and modern with floating beds and sunken baths, each equipped with a kitchenette. Guests are guaranteed a smooth check in, whilst the host injects a sense of fun leaving bespoke welcome notes on the property and area. As conscientious about its guests as it is the environment, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable getaway invests in local sustainability projects, has an electric car charging station and provides info about local ecosystems, history and culture.
This larger-than-life metropolis in the Mojave desert has long been vocal about LGBTQ+ rights and invites everyone to come as they are and celebrate their own individual spirit. Las Vegas remains a top LGBTQ+ inclusive destination in the US, as Nevada passed a groundbreaking legislation in 2011 that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations. Downtown Las Vegas hosts the annual Pride festival in the fall with its unique night parade and legendary pool party, while LGBTQ+ neighborhood affectionately called the Fruit Loop is open to all around the clock for drinks and dancing. From A-list entertainers and big-budget shows to celebrity chef fine dining experiences, superb shopping, dancing fountains and famous sites like Caesar’s Palace along the iconic Strip, Vegas has it all. Visitors can escape the bright lights in favor of the breathtaking natural beauty of the Red Rock canyon a short drive away, or take a Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour from Las Vegas to view this geological marvel. As love is all-inclusive in Las Vegas, and with same-sex marriage legally recognized in Nevada since 2014, get hitched on a Las Vegas Wedding Experience complete with an Elvis impersonator, private limousine and photoshoot.
Where to stay: Located right on the Strip and lauded for its delightful staff, the Hilton Grand Vacations Club Flamingo Las Vegas offers suites and studios overlooking rushing waterfalls and tropical gardens. The pool party starts at this resort which grants guests access to the retro chic Flamingo Hotel and Casino and its revolving door of guest DJs and celeb singers. Rent a cabana and mainline cocktails for the afternoon in this pleasure zone. Better yet, this resort gives local artists a platform to display their talent as a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay.
Located in eastern Ontario, Ottawa is a cheerful capital welcoming all travelers no matter how they identify or who they love. In 2019, Ottawa’s mayor came out publicly in a local newspaper just before the city’s Pride celebrations – news that was celebrated and supported by Ottawans far and wide. Canada is one of the most progressive LGBTQ+-friendly countries in the western hemisphere and was the first country in the Americas to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide in 2005. Its culturally vibrant capital, bisected by the scenic Rideau Canal, is full of friendly locals, accessible museums and leafy spaces. Get a feel for the city on a Night Tour with River Cruise & Light Show which takes visitors to Parliament Hill – where the first ever Canadian gay protest took place in 1971 – to watch a Northern Lights Sound and Light Show. Just south of Parliament Hill is Bank Street, the longest road in Ottawa and a cosmopolitan hub home to eclectic shops, bars and support services for LGBTQ+ people. Head to the LGBTQ+ owned bar Swizzles where the party is as inclusive as ever. For a great caffeine fix, the lesbian-owned coffeehouse chain Bridgehead serves an incredible flat white and caters to a mixed bunch.
Where to stay: For visitors, much of the social scene and top sightseeing draws are anchored around downtown Ottawa. Bed down at the Metcalfe Hotel located in the heart of downtown and just a short walk away from Parliament Hill, where guests can soak up the LGBTQ+ history of the city. A beautiful and modern stay housed in a stately redbrick building, its interiors are as warm as the welcome guests are guaranteed at this friendly Travel Proud property.
The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001 and the Dutch capital, renowned for its bikes and canals lined with tilted buildings, is a prime destination for LGBTQ+ travelers. Amsterdam Pride transforms the city’s central canal into a parade route where boats are magically decorated into joyful floats every first weekend of August. The event is proudly sponsored by Booking.com and, for those seeking a top global Pride celebration, the city will host World Pride in 2026 – one for LGBTQ+ travelers and allies to mark in their calendars. For the 65% who are more likely to seek out activities that are tailored to people identifying as LGBTQ+, book a LGBT Highlights Tour to experience the best of Amsterdam’s nightlife. A local guide will take visitors to Reguliersdwarsstraat, the most colorful and inclusive LGBTQ+ street of the city with a mixed hipster culture, abounding with effervescent bars and coffee shops. Elsewhere, Amsterdam is home to the Homomonument, the world’s first gay memorial which commemorates all people who have been persecuted due to their sexual orientation. Beside this symbolic triangle is Pink Point, a LGBTQ+ information kiosk staffed by friendly volunteers dishing out information on inclusive organizations and venues across town.
Where to stay: For an authentic experience, book the Rembrandt Square Boat located on the Amstel river, and an easy amble to the bustling LGBTQ+ bars in the surrounding neighborhood. Featuring local artwork and tall patio doors that open onto a waterside terrace, this cozy houseboat has a charming host who celebrates all his guests. What’s more, it earns bonus points as a Booking.com Travel Sustainable stay, using 100% renewable energy and offering recycling bins, demonstrating its efforts to protect the environment and its people.
Surrounded by the beautiful natural scenery of thousand-year-old forests and crystal-clear lakes, this charming alpine-style town is situated in the foothills of the Andes. A South American must-visit in the Patagonia region, San Carlos de Bariloche is a magnet for skiers and snowboarders in winter and hikers in summer – and renowned for its wonderfully supportive LGBTQ+ scene and businesses that embrace the communities. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Argentina since 2010 and it’s one of the most trans-friendly countries in the world, allowing people to change their legal gender without facing barriers. For the 41% of LGBTQ+ travelers who want to spend time in nature on their next vacation,* they can take advantage of the scenic ski slopes, hit the hills and hike Mount Bella Vista or kayak to secluded coves on the glacier-fed Lake Nahuel Huapi. Bariloche itself is a welcoming city with friendly locals and a flourishing LGBTQ+ nightlife scene. From big clubs such as Pacha and Rocket to hidden gems like the vibrant basement garden of the openhearted Sede bar.
Where to stay: Perched on a hill, the eco-inspired Design Suites Bariloche offers panoramic views of the pristine Lake Nahuel Huapi from its floor-to-ceiling windows. The space is as cool as it is cozy with shag rugs, leather chairs and earthy hues, and guests can watch the sunrise over the treetops from the comfort of their room or private jacuzzi. Staff are sociable and provide great attention to detail to ensure guests have a red-carpet and relaxing stay. What’s more, this Booking.com Travel Sustainable hotel provides activities organized by local guides and ample green space for those wanting to bask in nature, while just a short walk into town.
*Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of 11,555 LGBTQ+ travelers from 27 countries and territories including: Argentina (209), Australia (608), Belgium (206), Brazil (508), Canada (803), Colombia (309), Croatia (206), Denmark (201), France (1000), Germany (1011), Hong Kong (204), India (403), Israel (206), Italy (602), Japan (407), Mexico (307), Netherlands (511), New Zealand (209), Singapore (210), Spain (408), Sweden (203), Switzerland (202), Taiwan (205), Thailand (210), United Kingdom (1004), United States (1003), Vietnam (200). LGBTQ+ respondents self identified across demographics of sex, gender and sexual orientation. In order to participate in this survey, respondents also had to be planning a trip in the next 12 months. The survey was taken online and took place in March and April 2023.
**As part of the survey, all 11,555 LGBTQ+ participants were asked the following question: Based on your own experience, please share up to 5 destinations in your home country (or region) that you think are the most welcoming/inclusive for LGBTQ+ people. Local destination lists were produced based on answers to the above, by establishing the destinations that were named most frequently by respondents in each country or territory. Additional qualitative-based research was then conducted to enrich the quantitative findings from the survey, in order to create a diverse list that also includes lesser-known destinations that may have received fewer survey-based responses, but still demonstrate other strong signs of being inclusive for LGBTQ+ people.