It’s totally fabulous to explore different gay scenes when travelling. You can dance the night away to some truly camp-tastic tunes, or cruise the darkrooms for Mr Right Now. Perhaps you want to enjoy feathers and frills at a drag queen cabaret show? We’ve looked at some of the best gay hotspots in Europe to suit everyone’s needs.
The Benidorm gay village can be found in the Old Town area of this popular Spanish holiday resort. The gay part of Benidorm’s Levante beach sits in front of the Don Cesar café, and is a great place to tan before a night out with your best pals. 7th Heaven has been a popular gay bar for years and has an excellent reputation for making tourists and locals feel welcome. This is a fab bar for an early drink, and the relaxed atmosphere is ideal for meeting new people. Cabaret lovers will enjoy a night at Mardi Gras, with top performances from Miss Stella Artois, plus an excellent Cher tribute act. Younger LGBT crowds can be found at the Mercury nightclub, which is famous for its pumping dance music and buzzing atmosphere. This club is for real party animals only, as the doors don’t even open until after midnight.
Playa del Inglés, Gran Canaria
Make your way to the Yumbo Centre for all the gay action you’ll need; this place is like a shopping centre bursting with gay bars and nightclubs. Those of you who love drag queen acts will feel at home in Sparkles Show Bar. Enjoy hilarious cabaret shows and maybe some audience participation too if you’re lucky! Meanwhile, Coco Loco is great for the younger gays who want to dance and enjoy a cheeky flirt (in the hope of starting a holiday romance). There’s also a terrace to cool down on, if it all gets a little hot and sweaty inside. Babylon XL club is for those who really want to party ’til the sun rises. Enjoy laser shows, sexy male dancers and of course the obligatory darkrooms.
The Algarve, Portugal
LGBT-friendly bars and nightclubs are scattered everywhere in this southern region. Boémio Disco is the oldest gay club in the Algarve and can be found next to the Ponte Velha Bridge in Portimão. Boémio Disco also offers free Wi-Fi, which is ideal if you want to log into Grindr as you dance and sip a cool drink. When you’re not dancing the night away, relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in southern Portugal, the Praua da Rocha, and check out all the guys in their tight speedos. Another club in Portimão is Loft by Pride; which is considered by many to be the best gay club in the Algarve. Then there’s Fame Bar which can be found on the busiest street in Albufeira, a popular holiday resort within the Algarve region. Finally, if you fancy one last boogie before the flight home, check out Heaven Club near Faro airport.
The most famous gay area is Reguliersdwarsstraat Street. So how about starting your evening in style here at the Amstel Fifty Four Club, one of the oldest gay bars in Amsterdam? You can join in with raucous groups singing along to the jukebox and belt out your favourite tunes. Afterwards, move onto Club NyX, which is one of the biggest gay discos in the city and promises you a wild evening. Named after the Greek goddess of the night, the club is spread over three floors, each playing a different style of music. If you’re camper than Alan Carr and David Walliams put together then mince your way to the Exit Café next door. This small nightspot is decked out like a mountain ski bar and is full of young, cute Dutchman. So what are you waiting for? Squeeze into that tight t-shirt, spray on the glitter and say hi to the locals!
No list would be complete without a mention of the world’s most romantic city, Paris – a quick hop away from the UK, Paris is reachable by air, train and sea. A bustling gay scene and more romantic walks than you can shake a stick at. Plenty of gay bars await you in the Marais district in the 4th arrondissement of Paris. You’ll find lots of gay friendly bars and restaurants – and no one will bat a eye if you hold your lover’s hand in public – ah gay Paris!
by Matthew Payne / Jake Hook