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Top picks for an LGBT-friendly European holiday

Submitted on Thu, 25-February-2016

Rich with diversity and beaming with culture, Europe is home to everything from pride parades to museums that celebrate the LGBT community. You can find an entire district of high-end shopping in one city – then go skiing down whitewashed mountains in the next. So inspire your upcoming European stay with some of the area’s most enticing settings.

Explore Berlin by bike, one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly cities, and home to the Schwules Museum.

When in Germany, spend time soaking up the arts and culture of Berlin – revered as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the world. For history buffs, Schwules Museum is sure to impress. It’s the world’s first LGBT-oriented museum and home to the largest archive of LGBT history.

Then a visit to Schoeneberg is in store. A neighborhood that’s been a center for gay life since the 1920s, it is still the most popular destination in Berlin for LGBT travelers. Especially in mid-June, when the city hosts Europe’s largest gay and lesbian street festival, Stadtfest.

LGBT cruises can take you to some of the best coastal destinations in Europe like Mykonos and Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, or Ibiza off the coast of Spain.

And what better way to spend a summer sojourn than by witnessing the boldest, showiest gay pride event in the Netherlands? Spanning several days each August, this Amsterdam celebration has a particularly popular highlight – the Canal Parade. But pride is felt year-round in this diverse town of superb bars and clubs embracing the entire LGBT community.

If you prefer off-shore entertainment, LGBT cruises are an exhilarating way to explore Europe. Just imagine the thrill of waking up in a new country every morning. From the best in gay and lesbian performances to legendary deck parties, there’s always something new to do aboard these one-of-a-kind ships.

And that’s before you even leave the boat – which, by the way, will often take you throughout the Mediterranean. After all, some of the most popular LGBT beaches are found in the islands of Mykonos and Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, or the island of Ibiza off of Spain.

The Arosa Lenzerheide in Switzerland is an LBGT-friendly ski resort, and plays host to Gay Ski Week every January.

But maybe snow is more your style. If that’s the case, the LGBT-friendly ski resort Arosa Lenzerheide boasts one of the biggest winter sports events in Europe – Gay Ski Week. Serenely situated in the Swiss Alps, this energetic celebration includes a cocktail party and show, daily après-ski events with DJs, and 120 miles of slopes to hit. While this festival takes place in January, Arosa is always an LGBT-friendly destination – with a rainbow flag flying proudly in the town center.

London’s Oxford Street has over 300 stores of the world’s best brands. Visit during fashion week if you’re feeling bold.

And no Euro-trip is complete without splurging on a little shopping. So if you find yourself in Barcelona, take a scenic stroll to the fashion district – famed for breathtaking architecture and luxury brands alike. Or if you make your way to London, head to Oxford Street – the heart of the city’s shopping scene – where you can browse through more than 300 shops. And, if you’re looking play in the big leagues, there’s always London Fashion Week.

With countless activities by day, alluring options by night and plenty of scenes rich with LGBT culture, Europe embraces travelers from all walks of life.