Travelers who are members of the LGBTQ community need to pay attention to which countries are safe and which countries have discriminatory policies for people outside the dominant paradigm of heterosexuality. If you want to travel and truly be yourself, safely keeping your finger on the pulse of which countries are welcoming is important. This varies around the globe.
As members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, we try to be mindful of which countries are best to travel to.
What about Portugal and Spain? We’re going there this year with clients and it has been on our list to visit for a while.
Both Portugal and Spain allow and legally recognize same-sex marriages. This image shows that both countries offer constitutional protection and that those protections are among the strongest in the world. This is from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association‘s latest map on sexual orientation laws.
Portugal for LGBT travelers
We’ve had Portugal on our bucket list for riding for a while. Portugal is often overlooked by its more well-known and pricey neighbors, but don’t let that deter you. We have written about Porto, and will start our tour there. It is one of the country’s largest cities. The hillside city is filled with brightly colored buildings, gorgeous, cobbled streets, and fresh seafood meals, and is home to some of the best wines in the world.
Portugal also has some of the most beautiful castles in Europe. We plan to visit a few of them on our tour. While Portugal is a small country, each area feels unique and different. Traveling 30 minutes up the road to the next city feels like you’re in a totally different culture, making Portugal a unique travel experience.
Spain for LGBT travelers
According to the IGLTA, Spain is one of the most culturally liberal and welcoming countries for LGBTQ+ travelers. Spaniards are very open-minded and accepting. In fact, Spain was one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage—in 2005—and hosts one of the world’s largest Pride celebrations, drawing 1.5 million people every year.
The September timeframe will be a good time of year for us to visit as it is not going to be the peak of their hot summer season and the weather will be milder; good for riding motorcycles! We’ll also be traveling through the mountains where the temperatures are typically lower.
Bilbao is an extremely gay-friendly city and we’ll be spending time there. We are hoping to capture the spirit of the city and take part in some of the same Spanish Pride by doing a specific LGBTQ+ tour during our visit.