Pride Walk and CSD - the Best Places in Europe

Summer travel recommendations by Stephan Luecke.

We know how much gays love to travel. But it doesn’t always have to be Gran Canaria and Sitges, you know. Check out these five European destinations and try out something new this summer.

Amsterdam: Venue of the Europride 2016
Hardly any other city in Europe as open-hearted, liberal and permissive as the Dutch capital. But it’s not just the diverse gay scene, coffee shops and picturesque canals that make Amsterdam this year’s hotspot for gays and lesbians: The city is the heart of Europride 2016 from 23 July until 7 August. This particular form of the CSD has been taking place in different European cities for 25 years. The parades, parties and events give it their all in order to gain international attention.

Ireland: Referendums are sexy
Well what an unforgettable explosion of joy it was when the Republic of Ireland voted to legalise same-sex marriage in mid-2015. Much has changed for the good in the Emerald Isle since then. Staunchly catholic, this once conservative country has opened up, people are becoming more tolerant, and the gay scene is gaining ground. “Turks Head, Bottom Factory, 4 Dame Lane, Soder+Ko – new parties and clubs for gays and lesbians are springing up virtually everywhere in Dublin now”, reports a 23-year-old student from the capital. “Being queer is so hot right now – just check out the vast crowds that flock to the Dublin CSD.

Åland Islands: Welcome to the “Land of the Thousand Isles”
For most gay travellers, the Åland Islands is just a white speck on the map, but the autonomous Finnish province should still be on your radar. The Swedish-speaking archipelago extends over several thousand islands and skerries, scattered halfway between Sweden and Finland. Probably the smallest and craziest CSD in the world: takes place on Åland. Every year in June, some 20,000 islanders celebrate their Pride Week with numerous parties, demonstrations and cultural events.

Berlin: The largest gay scene in the world
No other city in the world can offer a greater or more diverse gay scene than Berlin”, says historian Robert Beachy emphatically. The American’s main focus of research is the history of homosexuality in Germany. In his book “Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity” he comes to the startling realisation that being gay is a “German invention” and that Berlin was a gay paradise even during the Imperial Era. This trend – thankfully - still stands.

Oslo: A fantastically beautiful spot
Oslo is streets ahead of other northern capitals when it comes to design, architecture and the gay scene. Its amazing location by the sea, surrounded by a huge national park, also explains the extremely relaxed atmosphere of the Norwegian metropolis. Any visit to Oslo must include a visit to see Edvard Munch’s masterpiece “The Scream”. You can find it in the National Gallery. Tip: free admission on Sundays. If you want to study the work of this brilliant cult expressionist take a visit to the Munch Museum in the district of Tøyen. Tram line 12 quickly takes you from the city centre to the world-famous Vigeland Park. The sight of more than 200 sculptures, including the massive obelisk of writhing naked bodies, is absolutely awe-inspiring.

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