By Dominic Ellis

LGBTQ travelers have been waiting to get back on the road and discover new destinations as well as reacquaint themselves with some old favorites. 2022 is supposed to be when traveling will be back in high gear. Coming out of such a long period of constraints and limitations, 2022 will be the year we wring every bit of richness and meaning out of our experiences. From gorgeous beach destinations to dynamic urban experiences, LGBTQ travelers are always looking for that next “new” place to visit.

One thing to remember, though: The world is still in a state of uncertainty. So, if you’re planning a trip anywhere these days, you should check travel restrictions for the destination you are hoping to visit and consider warnings from the State Department and the CDC.

Because no matter what type of trip you’ve been dreaming of, we want to help you turn 2022 into the year you get back out there and make it a reality.

Here are the top destinations that should be on the radar for queer travelers in 2022.


Thailand, known for its lush tropical beaches, fascinating ancient ruins, and gorgeous Buddhist temples, has also been long regarded as the most LGBTQ-friendly country in all of Southeast Asia. The country is especially progressive toward transgender people, who are arguably more a part of mainstream life here than most other places in the world. The beach resort towns of Pattaya and Phuket are known for their gay beaches and lively LGBTQ+ nightlife. Pattaya’s queer red-light district, BoyzTown, will ensure you have an unforgettable time. Nearby Phuket also offers wild nights (including famous ladyboy shows), white sand beaches, and luxurious boutique hotels like La Flora Resort Patong. Or spice up your trip by staying at the Aquarius Gay Guesthouse & Sauna. 


Malta might be one of Europe’s tiniest nations, but when it comes to LGBTQ rights, no country has taken bigger strides toward equality. According to the Spartacus Gay Travel Index from 2021, the only nation more queer-friendly than Malta is perpetually-kind Canada. Malta is a place where same-sex couples stroll hand-in-hand without worry and where gender identity is a non-issue. The queer scene isn’t as large as a Mediterranean magnet like Mykonos, but it’s still mighty. Pembroke Beach, the unofficial gay seaside hang, is a fifteen-minute drive from Valletta, as is Michelangelo, Malta’s gay nightclub. Maori, a lesbian-owned bar adorned with quirky art, peers over the HMS Maori shipwreck off the Valletta coast. The Birdcage Lounge, a queer-friendly cocktail bar, hosts drag shows and kooky cabarets in the nearby village of Rabat. Lollipop, a house-and-disco dance party, throws queer-centric pop-up events once or twice a month.


The Indigenous people of Mexico were historically accepting of the queer, trans, and nonbinary folks among them until European colonists brought Christianity (and consequently, queer-shaming) to the continent. However, today many locals hold tight to their Indigenous ancestry and it’s a growing movement to return to pre-colonization ways of living and thinking, specifically in terms of queer acceptance. The country has expanded LGBTQ+ protections in recent years, and most areas welcome out travelers with open arms. If you haven’t heard (have you been living under a rock?), one of the most beautiful, fun, queer-friendly places in the country is Puerto Vallarta, these days often referred to as the “San Francisco of Mexico.” The thriving gay scene is centered in Zona Romántica, a concentrated area of hotels, resorts, queer bars and nightclubs, and a gay beach on the main shore. For beachfront luxury stay at Almar Resort, an exclusive LGBTQ+ hotel. For a wild time off the beaten path, Piñata PV Gay Hotel offers rustic charm and clothing optional pool parties.

New Zealand

New Zealand has long been a bucket list destination for nature lovers, and it’s also a sought-after destination for queer travelers as well. The nation is divided into the North and South Islands, with the former being the more populated of the two. South Island has a buffet of travel options for the intrepid LGBTQ+ traveler. Start your visit in Christchurch, staying at The George, a 5-star hotel that overlooks Hagley Park and is a short distance from the famed Christchurch Botanic Gardens. But don’t limit yourself to the bright lights of the city.


The LGBTQ+ love affair with Australia began for many with the iconic movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, but it continued with the great food, queer-friendly nightlife, friendly people, the Great Barrier Reef, and miles of unspoiled beaches. Sydney is the country’s gay capital and home to Mardi Gras, its unique version of Pride. The quirky yet refined 5-star Ovolo 1888 Darling Harbor Boutique Hotel is centrally located. See the famed Oxford Street gay district with a private tour from The Fabulous Wonder Mama (@thefabulouswondermama), a wealth of knowledge and humor who also possesses some of the biggest peaks this side of the Grand Tetons. Bondi Beach is perfect for working on your tan or taking a surfing lesson. From there you can stroll the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk. The pathway’s natural beauty hides a dark past during the 1980s when a number of gay men lost their lives thrown from the cliffs onto the rocks below.


Spain remains a coveted LGBTQ+ tourist destination despite its deep Catholic heritage. Whether you choose to walk the historic Way of St. James in the north, explore the Gaudi architecture and nightlife of Barcelona, or party nonstop on the Mediterranean isle of Ibiza, you’ll never be at a loss for activities of every kind in the Iberian Peninsula nation. Queer travelers looking to let their hair down after a long global lockdown simply head directly to Sitges for a wild and crazy gaycation.

Newfoundland, Canada

The island of Newfoundland is a nature- and history-lovers paradise. It’s also a safe, queer-inviting destination, as demonstrated by a program from the Association For New Canadians to sponsor LGBTQ+ asylum seekers. Newfoundland’s quaint capital of St. John’s is the oldest city in the country at over 500 years and counting. The British colonial architecture can still be seen alongside later styles of more traditional Canadian fishing villages. The hilly terrain might remind you of San Francisco, as will the array of fresh seafood restaurants. Find LGBTQ-welcoming boutique accommodations at establishments like Gower Manor Historic B&B.

Belgrade, Serbia

The Pride celebration that serves a greater purpose. Quiet streets with outdoor dining, Belgrade, Serbia is an underrated gay travel destination. In September 2022, Belgrade will host EuroPride — an exciting development for a city with a tumultuous queer history. “The first Pride was a protest” may be a slogan honoring Marsha P. Johnson-era America, but it’s a modern memory in Belgrade. When the Serbian city held its first Pride march in 2001, it ended in violent clashes incited by right-wing extremists. The march returned in 2010 and was met with extremists who threw Molotov cocktails and shot rubber bullets. But in the past decade, LGBTQ life has improved significantly, and this year’s Pride gathering is a sign of the city’s growth.


Though the Irish take their “wearing of the green” tradition seriously, they’ve accepted the colors of the LGBT community long ago and gay expats all over the world will gladly confirm it.

Ireland is one of the most well-regarded and well-loved countries in Europe and offers a friendly and welcoming gay scene. Dublin is one of the top cities for social life in the region with an English-speaking populace known for its sense of humor and hospitality. With its good track record on gay rights, Ireland is a welcoming place for LGBT travelers looking to set up a base. Gay travelers will find extensive gay clubs, bars, hotels, and other institutions around gay culture in Ireland.


The party never stops in Portugal. Like neighboring Spain, there is a thriving gay life in this Western European nation, as well as being known for particularly beautiful and fun-loving people. Portugal gay rights record and gay life in major cities like Lisbon and Porto is likewise vibrant.


Argentina has sought to position itself as one of the most gay-friendly countries in Latin America. Despite being heavily Catholic, Argentina was one of the earliest adopters of legalized same-sex marriage. Even foreigners can get married in Argentina. It has also given full rights to adopt children, earning a reputation among “the most advanced in the world” for gay rights. Not only was Argentina the first South American country to legalize gay marriage, but they’ve also long had a law allowing civil unions. For gay travelers visiting Argentina, the capital city of Buenos Aires has a bustling gay scene with plenty of friendly bars and hotels.

The Philippines

The Philippines is an awe-inspiring country to explore, and when it comes to LGBT rights, they’re not strictly determined, but South Asians in these parts tend to mind their own business and leave prejudice behind. The Philippines is one of the more open countries for LGBT visitors, and its capital Manila is one of our topmost livable cities in Southeast Asia. Although it does not have a highly sophisticated legal framework, the country markets itself as a welcoming destination for both Western foreigners and Asian travelers alike. Oftentimes, countries in Southeast Asia have an interesting relationship with the issue of homosexuality: While certain aspects of the culture are quite traditional and familial, there is often more room for differences of sexuality as well as gender, which have always been seen as sort of matter of fact. These countries are less subject to the “machismo” ideals found in the Americas and even parts of Europe. Nearby Thailand also exemplifies this with the inclusion of transgender people and/or “ladyboys” in the society as a normal thing, thus conjuring less animosity towards the idea of gender-nonconforming people and different forms of sexuality.


If the Middle East is calling out to you, but you’re not certain where to go, Tel Aviv, Israel is your best bet. Though surrounding countries are conservative, Israel’s capital is by far the most accepting of LGBT individuals. Israel is known for its vibrant gay scene particularly concentrated in the urban area of Tel Aviv and has been rated by some accounts as the world’s best gay travel destination renowned for its beaches and social life (and, by some accounts, attractive people!). This country is no stranger to conflict in the region both on a religious and political basis and its society general seeks to uphold the rights of LGBT individuals even despite some tensions that might be felt with more orthodox/conservative religious influences.

Ten Cities That Should Be On Your List

Palm Springs

We start this list with Palm Springs, a queer paradise located roughly 100 miles from L.A. It has been an ideal getaway for many years, thanks to its combination of sunny weather, great restaurants, gorgeous mountain views, outdoor activities, culture, and fabulous mid-century modern architecture. The area features roughly a dozen clothing-optional men’s resorts, with price points all the way from economy to luxury.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s capital city is a bustling metropolis that offers wonderful cuisine, beaches, history, museums, and a thriving gay scene. From clubs like SX to the drag shows at Kweens Klub or lesbian bars like El Cojo, there is something for everyone. Further afield, visitors can sample waterfalls and natural waterslides in El Yunque National Forest, the island’s famed rainforest—or kayak into one of the area’s bioluminescent bays at nighttime to see this bucket-list-worthy natural wonder.


Japan’s largest city is home to one of the largest queer communities in all of Asia. And the city of 14 million residents has plenty of excitement to offer, with culture, food, history, and sightseeing topping the list for most visitors. The Shinjuku Ni-chrome neighborhood is considered one of the top LGBTQ areas, with numerous clubs and lounges to sample, but also great shopping, bookstores, coffee shops and more to see during the daylight hours.

Oahu, Hawaii

Hawaii’s most populated island is most LGBTQ-centric, thanks to the population center of Honolulu. Queer travelers will love the island’s beaches as well as its nightlife, and Oahu offers something for everyone, from the somber memorials of Pearl Harbor to the quiet, 1950s vibe of the North Shore. Honolulu has a fantastic food scene, and you can later burn off those calories climbing Diamond Head or by taking some surfing lessons on Waikiki Beach.

Lisbon, Portugal

Balmy Lisbon is an ever-more-popular queer destination, with loads of culture, museums, fantastic architecture, some wonderful nearby beaches and eminently wanderable hilly streets. Gay marriage became legal in Portugal in 2010, and although it is a predominantly Catholic country, the people here are welcoming and accepting. Gayborhoods to explore in town include Principe Real, Chiado and Bairro Alto.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Just 30 miles north of Miami’s international bustle, Fort Lauderdale boasts one of the highest concentrations of same-sex couples in the country. Travelers will find it easy to get to, with many inexpensive flights, and once there, they’ll come across endless beaches, myriad gay clubs, and fine restaurants. Haulover Nude Beach is a popular LGBTQ hangout. And even if you run out of things to do, fabulous South Beach is a short drive away!

San Diego California

Southern California’s nearly perfect climate, combined with San Diego’s endless stretches of idyllic beaches make this a go-to for LGBTQ visitors—and the area’s large queer population is an added draw. A trip here can mean plenty of relaxation time on the sand, or you can wander the progressive Hillcrest neighborhood, shop, and dine in the quaint Gaslamp Quarter or check out the bars in North Park. There are also plenty of recreational opportunities on the water, from kayaking to sportfishing.

London, England

The queer community in London is one of the most established in all of Europe, with an extravagant nighttime scene and the main gayborhood centered in Soho in the West End. The Soho area boasts numerous gay and lesbian clubs, bars, shops, and cafes and would make for a fine trip all in itself. But don’t fear exploring other parts of London—the city has greatly expanded its queer-friendly neighborhoods, and today, you’ll find rainbow flags clustered in areas like Camden, Vauxhall, Clapham, Islington, and Hampstead.

Austin, Texas

Keep Austin Weird has been a mantra for this funky city for many years, and despite the huge influx of population over the last two decades, the locals have mostly been able to keep that spirit alive. And the Texas capital has also been one of the most gay-friendly cities in the country, regularly scoring a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Whether you’re jogging or boating on Lady Bird Lake, catching incredible live music on 6th Street or sampling cuisine from vegan to Tex-Mex, Austin will keep you coming back for more.

Las Vegas, Nevada This glamourous town has long been on the queer radar, with fabulous resorts and even more fabulous bodies situated at seemingly every hotel pool happy hour. Shows are an attraction here, and queer audiences will enjoy many of the sexy offerings, such as the Atomic Saloon Show at The Venetian, RuPaul’s Drag Race: Live! at the Flamingo Las Vegas or Thunder Down Under at Sahara Las Vegas. Plus, the city’s endless shopping, world-class restaurants, and—oh, yeah—the gambling is sure to keep even the most jaded traveler smiling.