The European continent is one of the most popular destinations for the LGBTQ+ community. As the world’s leading tourist destination, Europe has plenty of arguments to convince you to plan your trip. Whether you want to bask on the beaches of Spain or ski in the mountains of Switzerland, dance the night away in Berlin or take a romantic getaway in Paris, Europe is undoubtedly a popular destination for travellers who want to live a unique experience. Although there are still disparities in LGBTQ+ rights from one country to another, Europe remains a privileged destination for gay customers. Therefore, as an LGBTQ+ travel partner, it is our responsability to offer you “gay-friendly” destinations only.
Also known as “The Old Continent”, Europe is only as old as its history. What makes its main attraction today is undoubtedly its diversity: many countries, several languages, different cultures and therefore a multitude of facets to be discovered. Its territory offers a wide range of magnificent landscapes, from the mountains to the sea through large expanses of forest. As a recognised cultural centre, Europe is a veritable mosaic of tourist places and museums to visit that you will find in every country you visit.
Currently, there are still wide disparities between European countries in terms of rights for LGBTQ+ people. Generally speaking, the European Union can be seen as a precursor in terms of equal rights legislation. In 2001, the Netherlands became the very first country in the world to have legalized same-sex marriage. Belgium and Spain followed in 2003 and 2005. Currently, in addition to the above, the countries in Europe that have legalized same-sex marriage are: Norway and Sweden in 2009, Portugal and Iceland in 2010, Denmark in 2012, France in 2013, Luxembourg and Ireland in 2015, Malta, Finland and Germany in 2017, Austria in 2019 and Switzerland in 2020. But a lot of work still need to be done, particularly in Eastern Europe. If you want more information about LGBTQ+ rights, please visit Equaldex.
When we talk about Europe, we have to make a distinction between the European continent( which extends from Portugal,in the West, to Russia,in the East, and which is defined by a geographical area), and the European Union or, more broadly, the European Economic Area, which is a grouping of independent states forming an area of free trade and movement. It is this last area that is the most interesting as a traveller, as you can very well arrive in France, continue on to Spain and then end up in Italy without presenting a passport or identity document. Indeed, you will always be in the same traffic area (called “The Schengen Area”) allowing you not to lose time in procedures and visas between each stage of your trip. For more specific information, we invite you to consult the description sheets for each destination.
The currency is the Euro. All major credit cards are accepted. For citizens of the European Union, Switzerland or a member country of the European Economic Area, a national identity card or passport is sufficient.
For travellers coming from Canada (our French speaking readers from Quebec) but also from the USA, Australia, etc. there is an agreement with the EU and you are exempt from visa requirements for stays not exceeding 90 days. However, please note that during 2022, you will have to obtain your ETIAS before your departure. This is an electronic travel authorisation that must be done online before the trip, which will cost €7 and will give access to the Shengen Area. Here is the link for more information: ETIAS.