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Europe's new gay hot spots

Gay SitgesPlanning a trip to Europe this year?  Carlos Kytka, Executive Director of the Gay European Tourism Association, gives you his tips for somewhere different.


Europe is the world’s number one tourist destination and every year millions of gay people flood to our cities, beaches and countryside.  London has some of the world’s best gay nightlife.  Paris is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.  Berlin is renowned for its harder gay clubbing.  Gran Canaria, Ibiza and Mykonos are sunshine islands of gayness.


But what about some of the less well known destinations for gay travellers that add something different to your tour of Europe?  Here are my top tips for 2014.


SITGES – this great little Mediterranean seaside village, just 20 miles from Barcelona in Spain, is like a gay paradise in the summer.  The main streets are packed with gay bars and clubs.  You can party all night and in the day you can chill and watch the boys on the gay beach right in the centre of the sea front. And no need for taxis – you can walk everywhere.  Sitges pride in June is great fun and for a bit of culture Barcelona is just a 20 minute train ride away.


ViennaVIENNA – the historic capital of one of Europe’s great lost empires Vienna is sublimely elegant with beautiful buildings and oozing with culture.  Mozart wrote and performed many of his masterpieces here.  It is constantly ranked as one of the world’s best cities to live in and it’s great for gay people too.  There are plenty of bars, clubs and saunas and The Life Ball in May is Europe’s largest AIDs charity event.


STOCKHOLM – Sweden’s elegant capital is built on a myriad of islands and has just opened the ABBA Museum.  What more could a gay man or woman want?


Gay ReykjavikREYKJAVIK – stop in Iceland’s capital on the way over to Europe and you will be amazed at how much there is to do on this volcanic island.  Bathe in the naturally heated Blue Lagoon, snow-bike over glaciers, quad-bike over volcanoes, whale-watch in the Atlantic and enjoy one of the warmest welcome in Reykjavik’s gay bars.


ANTWERP – diamonds, fashion, Belgium chocolate and a great gay dance club, Red and Blue, makes this Belgium port well worth a visit.


MILAN – this northern Italian city has, at its hub, one of the most stunning cathedrals you will ever see and in the streets surrounding it the stores of some of the world’s top fashion designers.  A visit to the gay clubs is like watching beautiful models on a catwalk. And close to the stunning Alpine lakes.


Gay CruisesGAY CRUISES - over the past few years Europe has fallen in love with gay cruises, from the big dance cruises of Atlantis and Demance to smaller more intimate voyages.  GETA’s traveller’s website www.gaywelcome.com lists over 20 gay cruises in Europe for 2014They are a great way to visit many beautiful European destinations without having to pack and move hotel every day.  

 

Gay Tel AvivWild card – TEL AVIV – although not strictly in Europe, the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv is worth visiting, particularly for pride in June.  As if beautiful boys and girls, a surprisingly gay friendly atmosphere, and partying on the beach wasn’t enough then day trips to float on the Dead Sea and visit the historic sites of the Holy Land makes this one of the most memorable destinations ever.

 

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