Holidays. They’re all about relaxation, having fun and just being…you. But for the LGBTQ+ community, this isn’t always easy. Finding a safe and accepting holiday destination is something that needs researching, before even looking at ‘which resort has the best restaurants?’ or ‘which hotel is nearest to the beach?’
So, we’re here with some expert advice! Three of our On the Beach employees (who are also members of our dedicated Pride group!) are here to talk about what’s important to them when booking a holiday and which destinations they’ve visited that tick all of the boxes for an LGBTQ+ friendly getaway.
As a gay man, it’s important that I can feel safe and comfortable being who I am when I’m on holiday. It’s unfortunate that, in this day and age, this thought enters my mind and I sometimes need to check whether countries have laws against the community or are notably anti-LGBTQIA+ when booking a holiday. Over the years, I’ve had many places recommended to me, however have had to discount some of them due to their stance on LGBTQIA+ rights. Everyone should feel safe and comfortable when travelling, so knowing that a location is LGBTQ-friendly before booking is imperative to me, (although I find it sad that the label of ‘LGBTQIA+ friendly’ is even a thing…)
I went to Gran Canaria a few years ago with two friends, who are both also gay, and it was one of the loveliest, friendliest, most open places that I’ve been to. Gran Can is very well known for being welcoming to the LGBTQIA+ community and when you’re there, you can immediately relax and feel comfortable being who you are. I would recommend Gran Can to anyone – irrespective of whether they identify as part of the community or not – simply because it’s so welcoming to all types of people (plus it’s warm near enough all year round!).
OK, so what interests me when looking for a holiday is the kind of place it is! I love adventure, activities, sightseeing, as well as the usual drinks around the pool or going out with mates at night, exploring the nightlife! I also want to know that it is an ideal place for me and my friends as well!
Santa Ponsa is a lovely place in Majorca, nestled towards the west of the island. It is a popular place for all sorts of groups to go, including LGBTQ+. I love the fact we can go out, explore, and eat. Drink, dance and be who we want to be, without feeling the need to hide away from holding hands! Over there you can be who you want to be, have fun… and even go skinny dipping if you like (I know we all did that!!!)
For chilled days and wild party nights, I’d recommend Santa Ponsa any day!
Before I book a holiday, the first thing I do is check the local laws of that country and/or region I’m visiting if it’s not already obvious that I will be safe (I shouldn’t feel the need to do this but this is why we still need a Pride I guess, even in the 2020s). I wouldn’t want to travel somewhere I don’t feel safe, although I do think LGBTQIA+ visibility everywhere is important (I’m a rebel at heart!). Although I believe there is more to being part of this diverse community than a drinking establishment, I understand bars and nightclubs seem to be synonymous with anything LGBTQIA+.
If there’s any destination that can exceed anyone’s expectations in this regard, it’s Playa del Ingles in Gran Canaria (or GC as it’s otherwise known. Not to be confused with Gemma Collins LOL). I could even be forgiven for thinking it’s the Gay Capital of Europe! When I visited GC I instantly felt right at home. I knew I’d be safe in a sea of rainbow flags and guys handing out free shots in the hope you will join in the fun watching a drag show or cabaret act! GC has gay-only and gay-friendly hotels, as well as hundreds of other hotels that will accept everyone. The Yumbo Centrum is the centre of LGBTQIA+ nightlife, but it’s also a shopping centre and houses a good few restaurants!
For me, it’s about visibility. If I see plenty of people who are just like me, then I feel like I can be myself – and GC has that feeling. Local residents have embraced LGBTQIA+ tourists because they know the ‘pink pound’ is worth A LOT and let’s be honest we make things a little bit more fun! However, if you prefer a quieter holiday I would still recommend Gran Canaria. It’s a safe place for everyone with a variety of interests to enjoy! You could stay in the neighbouring Maspalomas, famous for its sand dunes. This way you are close enough to the action but far enough to not be in the heart of it. You get the best of both worlds and I think there’s even a ‘gay beach’ near Hut 7. Not that I’ve been but I’ve heard through the grapevine! Speaking of grapes, you can’t beat a glass (or jug) of sangria while you watch the sunset on the beach…bliss!
Ready to jet off to somewhere hot? Find your perfect 2022 holiday.