I asked a lesbian friend who is a world traveler to recommend some
lesbian-friendly places; I've compiled a list of ten cities outside
the USA, with a brief excerpt from an online source describing each
city. Further information may be found by reading the complete
articles from which the excerpts were taken.
1) Stockholm, Sweden
"Stockholm - Gay Capital of Scandinavia
In recent years, Stockholm has become a favorite destination for
people looking for new trends, culture, fashion, design, music,
entertainment, good food and a relaxing environment. Stockholm has
become a favorite with gays and lesbians who demand more than just an
area with friendly bars.
In Stockholm, the motto is integration. Apart from the familiar
establishments where you can have a beer, a bite to eat or spend an
entire evening out, Stockholm has become world-famous for its wide
range of cultural offerings. Stockholm EuroPride '98 gave both
traditional and modern gay culture in Stockholm the final boost in
self-confidence it needed for the city to compete seriously with
established gay travel destinations and become the Gay Capital of
2) Copenhagen, Denmark
"Copenhagen is becoming the fashionable Amsterdam for many lesbians
and gays; it is not as crowded and has a compelling stylishness
somehow now missing from the Dutch city. No one is in the least bit
interested in your private life - booking a hotel room for two men or
two women won't raise the slightest murmur... But perhaps it's not
surprising either in one of the first countries in the world to
introduce gay weddings. "
The Guardian Weekly
3) Zurich, Switzerland
"Voters in Switzerland's largest state have voted overwhelmingly to
give gay and lesbian couples legal status. The referendum was passed
Sunday by a 63-37 percent margin, a result that even stunned the
area's gay rights groups. The vote, in Zurich canton directs the
government to create a registry for civil unions, and grants gay
families the same tax, inheritance and social security benefits as
other married couples.
Partners must live in Zurich canton, have cohabitated for at least six
months and show they are providing each other with mutual support and
'For the lesbians and gays of the canton of Zurich, this ... signifies
that the state no longer considers them second-class citizens,'' said
a joint statement by the Swiss Lesbian Organization; Pink Cross, the
Swiss Organization of Gays; and FELS, the Friends and Parents of
Lesbians and Gays."
4) Amsterdam, Netherlands
"While the legalisation of same-sex marriage is a relatively recent
development in Amsterdam, the city has long been known as a place
where lesbians and other women could assert their independence. In the
late 1600s a lesbian couple got married at City Hall (now the Royal
Palace). One, a wealthy brothel owner, was disguised as a man and the
couple and their guests enjoyed a lavish banquet. When the deception
was discovered a few months later, trouble ensued, but only the woman
who had posed as the groom was imprisoned. And she, fortunately, was
able to bail herself out because of her vast reserves of wealth.
And even as far back as the 14th century, the city had a women-only
space. The Begijnhof, a lovely, flower-filled village square in the
middle of the city and one of Amsterdam's best-kept secrets,
originated back then as a community of devout women who did not want
to enter a convent."
5) Paris, France
"Parisian women have a knack for making even the most mundane things
seem alluring. A motorcycle helmet carried unaffectedly on the wrist
becomes a chic bangle. Some of this stylishness and self-assurance is
owed to the city's rich lesbian past, one that awaits curious
travellers around every corner.
In addition to enjoying some of the best in cuisine, arts, and style
that the new millennium has to offer, you can walk, eat, and sleep in
the footsteps of some of the last century's lesbian icons who
contributed to the multi-layered cultural experience that is Paris."
6) Berlin & Cologne, Germany
Every major city in Germany has a developed and varied gay and lesbian
scene. In some cities, such as Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf and
Frankfurt, gay addresses are pretty much concentrated in two or three
neighborhoods. While in Berlin and Cologne - usually classed as the
two most prominent gay and lesbian cities, there are gay neighborhoods
throughout the city. In each, one or more weekly or monthly journals
are distributed free of charge at gay bars, restaurants and clubs -
giving useful addresses as well as a calendar of events, parties and
7) Montreal, Canada
"Residents of Montreal, with its mix of cultures, are known for
embracing those on the margins, well aware of the strength in its
diversity. As of June 16, 1999 same-sex partners quietly won the same
rights, privileges, and obligations that common-law spouses have in
Quebec, making it the first North American society to do away with all
distinctions in its laws concerning sexual orientation.
Although Montreal is home to a Gay Village, a substantial neighborhood
centered around rue Sainte-Catherine Est -- with its cluster of bars,
clubs, and restaurants -- don't limit yourself to this area. You'll
find women enjoying freedom and pleasure all over the city in the
abundant cafes, bookstores and boutiques and within the area's many
venues for outdoor activity."
8) Victoria/Vancouver Island, Canada
"Victoria has a small, but thriving lesbian community with numerous
opportunities for involvement (of whatever kind!) There is dyke
softball, an outdoor club, a lesbian seniors care society, MUSAIC
(Victoria's lesbian/gay/allies choir), the list goes on. Once in
Victoria your best source for this information is Outviews (formerly
the Lavender Rhinoceros)."
9) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
"Lesbians are discovering that Puerto Vallarta is not only gay male
friendly but woman friendly as well. Diana DeCoste, who has lived and
worked in Vallarta over 5 years, organizes and runs various activities
for lesbians in Vallarta."
10) Wellington, New Zealand
"Put together by gay guys based in Wellington for gay guys, coming out
guys, guys who are wondering what's happening, lesbians, counsellors,
teachers and anyone else who is interested in information about being
gay or lesbian in Wellington - and beyond. This is a safe place to
find out more.
Hi, we're getting together a whole lot of information about being gay
in Wellington, the most gay friendly city in New Zealand. We aim to
help you find your way around our wonderful city in an Absolutely
Positively Wellington gay way."
Gay Line Wellington
Here is an article that may be of interest. It was obviously written
by someone whose native language is not English, but the content is
"Many countries now it is very tolerant concern to sexual minority.
Last years multilingual speech even more often sounds in 'blue' and
'pink' places of Amsterdam, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo or Toronto.
Certainly, many remain on unisex cohabitation (it is officially
authorized in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Finland, Iceland,
and Germany). There is also an opportunity to receive residence permit
by cohabitation to the citizen of the country in many countries of
Europe, however many drive a classical way, requesting a refuge.
In the Convention of the United Nations on affairs of refugees,
discrimination on a social status is marked. Some countries were
especially allocated in the immigration laws with the prosecutions
connected to sexual orientation, namely Netherlands, Sweden, Norway,
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Ireland. There are the countries giving
the Permanent Residence on the humanitarian bases - Belgium, Germany,
the Great Britain, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada
though in national legislations it is not allocated. Certainly, it is
necessary to understand; that the above-stated countries give the
status of refugee not that the person is the representative of
sexual minority but only because of the prosecutions connected to this
Prosecutions are necessary for proving in well thought over 'legend'
which should be logically constructed, with the facts of prosecutions
and the reason about impossibility of return. In addition, it is
necessary to specify and prove that you addressed to authorities with
the request for the help and have not received any support.
This category of refugees has, basically, one of the best chances in
all listed countries.
Good chances of reception of the status of 'refugee' have also
transvestites and transsexuals."
Regarding the best places for lesbians to live in the United States,
here is a recent list:
"The Girlfriends magazine November 2002 edition lists these cities as
the top 10 Best Lesbian Places to Live for 2002.
1. Madison, Wis.
2. Bloomington, Ind.
3. Northampton, Mass.
4. Ithaca, N.Y.
5. La Crosse, Wis.
6. Denver, Colo.
7. Missoula, Mont.
8. Cambridge, Mass.
9. Baltimore, Md.
10. Santa Fe, N.M."
Search terms used:
"best cities for lesbians"
"gay and lesbian travel"
Although it is not specifically oriented toward lesbians, you might
find some useful comments in this previously answered question about
"good gay places to live":
I hope this information is helpful. If anything is unclear or
incomplete, if you have a question, or if a link does not function,
please request clarification before rating my answer, and I'll gladly
offer further assistance.