inclusive itineraries

The top 10 LGBTQ+ friendly destinations in Europe for 2024 might surprise you

The 2024 Rainbow Map by ILGA-Europe with a color scale and percentages from green (good) to red (bad), visually representing the most and least LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Europe

Traveling as an LGBTQ+ individual can be a rewarding experience, especially when visiting destinations that prioritize inclusivity and human rights. The 2024 Rainbow Map by ILGA-Europe highlights the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Europe based on their legal and policy frameworks.

Here is a look at the top 10 most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations in Europe you should consider for your next trip:

a group of mostly female-presenting people celebrating Malta Pride Week in 2022 holding a rainbow banner that says "celebrating diversity"
Marchers in Malta Pride Week 2022’s parade

1. Malta

Malta has been rocking it at #1 on the Rainbow Map for nine straight years! Known for its strong protection and rights for LGBTQ+ folks, Malta shines as a place of inclusivity. Its solid anti-discrimination laws and forward-thinking policies keep Malta scoring at the top.

In addition to its top ranking, Malta is known for its vibrant annual LGBTQ+ pride celebrations and events.

2. Iceland

Iceland has really stepped up for LGBTQ+ rights, moving to second place this year. They recently banned conversion therapy and launched efforts to make sure trans-specific healthcare is all about support, not stigma.

Beyond its legal reforms, Iceland has a thriving LGBTQ+ arts and culture scene. The country hosts an annual Reykjavík Pride festival, with multiple events all over the city.

3. Belgium

Belgium is ranked third on the Rainbow Map, all thanks to its recent ban on conversion practices and strong anti-discrimination laws. The country provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+ individuals, making it a top spot for travel.

Belgium’s capital, Brussels, is a multicultural center within the European Union. It boasts one of the liveliest and most welcoming LGBTQ+ scenes on the continent.

4. Spain

Spain is another top spot with a lively scene for LGBTQ+ travelers, boasting full sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics coverage in anti-discrimination laws.

The Spanish cities of Madrid and Barcelona are renowned for their vibrant LGBTQ+ communities and nightlife scenes. Spain’s Sitges region, near Barcelona, is a popular LGBTQ+ beach destination.

5. Denmark

Denmark embraces LGBTQ+ rights with comprehensive anti-discrimination laws covering sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics. It’s a top spot for those seeking an open and inclusive atmosphere.

Copenhagen’s annual Pride Week is one of the biggest LGBTQ+ celebrations in Scandinavia, attracting visitors from around the world. The city also boasts Denmark’s oldest surviving LGBTQ+ bar, Centralhjørnet.

6. Finland

Finland has made significant strides in LGBTQ+ rights in recent years. Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2017, and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by law. The country also allows same-sex couples to adopt children and provides legal gender recognition for transgender adults.

Helsinki hosts one of the largest LGBTQ+ pride events in the Nordic countries annually, attracting over 100,000 participants last year.

7. Greece

After passing a marriage equality bill earlier this year, Greece expanded protection against discrimination to areas like social benefits, education, and access to goods and services—providing comprehensive legal coverage against LGBTQ+ discrimination.

The Greek island of Lesbos hosts an annual sapphic-centered International Eressos Women’s Festival and is considered a popular LGBTQ+ destination.

8. Luxembourg

Luxembourg legalized same-sex marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples in 2014 and has comprehensive LGBTQ+ anti-discrimination laws.

Its annual Pride Week and street festival occur in July, so you can fit it into your plans after the June celebrations in other parts of Europe.

9. Norway

Norway has made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights, like outlawing conversion practices (despite mixed reactions).

Oslo hosts an annual Pride celebration and is home to the Nobel Peace Center, which has exhibited LGBTQ+ rights campaigns.

10. Portugal

Portugal embraces LGBTQ+ individuals with its inclusive policies and legal protections. Recently, the country took a significant step by banning conversion therapy, further solidifying its commitment to LGBTQ+ rights.

Lisbon hosts one of the biggest LGBTQ+ Pride festivals in Iberia each June. The city’s Bairro Alto neighborhood is a hub for LGBTQ+ bars, clubs, and community events.

The full chart of LGBTQ+-friendly (and not) countries in Europe.

Europe is a diverse continent with a wide range of legal protections and social acceptance for LGBTQ+ individuals. While some countries have made significant progress in terms of equal rights and representation, others still have a long way to go:

The 2024 Rainbow Map chart from ILGA-Europe highlighting the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries in Europe to the least friendly. The list begins with Malta, Iceland, and Belgium as the most LGBTQ+-friendly with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia at the least friendly.

Worst Countries for LGBTQ+ Rights in Europe

While some countries are making significant progress, others lag behind in protecting LGBTQ+ rights. According to the 2024 Rainbow Map, the worst countries for LGBTQ+ rights in Europe are:

  • Russia: Scored the lowest of all European countries, at 2.0%, with recent legislation banning legal gender recognition and trans-specific healthcare and designating LGBTQ+ groups as terrorist organizations.
  • Azerbaijan: Scored 2.3%
  • Turkey: Scored 4.8%
  • Armenia: Scored 9.2%
  • Belarus: Scored 11.2%
  • Monaco: Scored 13.9%
  • San Marino: Scored 14.5%
  • Poland: Scored 17.5% (the lowest among EU countries)
  • Ukraine: Scored 18.8%
  • Romania: Scored 18.9%

Is Europe on your travel bucket list?

Rainbow flags and balloons hanging from the balcony of the town hall in Elche, Alicante, Spain.

Europe offers a diverse range of destinations that prioritize LGBTQ+ rights and inclusivity. Whether you’re looking for vibrant city life, stunning natural landscapes, or rich cultural experiences, these top 10 LGBTQ+ friendly destinations provide travelers a safe and welcoming environment.

And that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit the less LGBTQ+-friendly countries—spreading love and visibility everywhere you go is important. Just be sure to do your research and take the necessary precautions.

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