Another Pride month has come and gone… and many cities across the world are celebrating and acknowledging the journeys made by their LGBTQ+ communities. This no doubt makes them brilliant places to visit at this time, but for us, Pride has always been more of an all-year-round thing. Plus there are many destinations out there that celebrate in other months… so together with our friends at Scott Dunn – a tour operator that values diversity, inclusion and belonging – we explore a world of Pride outside June and highlight the destinations in their portfolio that are welcoming of travellers; no matter who they are, where they come from, how they identify and who they love. Together, we’ve come up with some inspiration on how to travel with pride.
“Travel with Pride” has – since we began as a magazine – been our war cry; not just for our rainbow community of LGBTQIA+ travellers, but also for other OutThere adventurers. As part of their 35-plus years of commitment to helping luxury travellers create elevated and exceptional out-of-the-ordinary travel, Scott Dunn has – with our support and guidance – launched an LGBTQ+ travel section of their website, as well as diversifying their thinking and offering to be much more inclusive of travellers from all backgrounds.
So for this Pride Month, we’ve delved into the holidays, vacations and journeys that Scott Dunn offer, to highlight some gorgeous gems for LGBTQIA+ travellers to visit not just in June, but all year round.
Travel with pride
We simply adore Malta, a vibrant Mediterranean island nation with people that have a real lust for life and are proud to show off their culture, history and openness. It’s a truly OutThere gem when it comes to luxury and inclusivity; and as for experiential travel, there’s just so much on offer. Plus, for queer OutThere travellers, Malta has for the last seven years topped the ILGA-Europe rainbow index as the most LGBTQI+ friendly nation in Europe. And in 2023, its capital Valletta will host Europride for the first time ever.
In recent years, Malta has totally changed its image to become a burgeoning destination for luxury travel. High-end gastronomy, luxury hotels and exclusive private experiences have come together to give a new lease of life to this charming island. Stroll the lively streets of Valletta flanked by chic cafés and bars. Explore the ‘silent city’ of Mdina, with its elaborate architecture and sleepy atmosphere. Soak up the island’s glorious sandy beaches and cobalt blue seas, or head out into the countryside for a rural adventure. A small island with so much to offer, Malta is a rising star on the luxury travel scene. Go now to beat the crowds.
The Kingdom of Thailand has long been a haven in Asia for the LGBTQ+ community and prides itself on being the most LGBTQIA+ welcoming country in South East Asia… even more so now that recent legislative progress has meant the introduction of some landmark anti-discrimination laws and civil partnerships for same-gender couples. Thailand has something for everyone. Yes, there are LGBT+ events, parties and nightlife, but beyond that, the destination offers amazing cultural experiences, scrumptious cuisine from street food to fine dining, unparalleled local experiences, the very best in wellness and stupendous luxury hotels and resorts.
Bangkok has many LGBTQ+ celebrations including G-Circuit Songkran during Thai New Year in April, Chiang Mai Pride in May, Bangkok Pride in June, regular LGBTQ+ celebrations in Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui as well as the legendary White Party event at the end of the year.
Thailand with Scott Dunn
Scott Dunn is the expert at bringing Thailand to life. Think exploring aromatic local markets, spending a day at an elephant sanctuary, walking through tribal villages, the list of experiences is endless. They use the best private guides to showcase the very best of the country, so whether you want a relaxing beach holiday, or something more adventurous, they can handpick the very best journey, matched with some stunning hotels and resorts.
OutThere travellers know Cape Town, South Africa like the back of their hands. But yet, it’s a city that keeps on moving with so much that’s new to explore on each visit. But what we find really exciting is the fusion of cultures that defines this rapidly diversifying, modern city. Pair it with Johannesburg, or a safari and it’s a trip you’ll never forget. South Africa may lead the way for LGBTQ+ rights on the African continent, but it was also the first country in the world to proactively ban any form of LGBTQ+ discrimination as part of its constitution. That was back in 1996… and three years before that in 1993, they recognised same-sex marriage.
Like its Southern Hemispheric counterpart above, Cape Town Pride also takes place at the end of February/early March.
Cape Town and South Africa with Scott Dunn
Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa is one of the world’s most diverse countries. Whether you want to tick off the big hitters or do something really unique, our specialists are true experts in everything the country has to offer. Every month brings something different – be it migrating whales off the coast, seasonal flowers in the Northern Cape or outdoor concerts in its capital Cape Town, we can make sure you’re in the right place at the right time to witness some truly unmissable moments. Let us get you a table at the hottest restaurants, introduce you to the finest vintage in the Winelands and secure the best guide to take you beyond the city limits, out on safari.
Stockholm, Sweden is one of OutThere’s favourite European countries; and there is nowhere quite like its capital, a place where narrow streets meet open minds. Stockholm decriminalised homosexuality as early as 1944 and implemented equal marriage in 2009. The city’s travel community is dedicated to upholding Stockholm’s image as one of the world’s most open cities. So much so, that it has its own ‘rainbow family’ of LGBTQ+ welcoming hotels, attractions and restaurants.
Stockholm Prideusually runs during the last weekend of July/the first weekend of August. 2023 will see the city celebrate 25 years of Stockholm Pride.
Stockholm with Scott Dunn
Wander the cobbled streets of Stockholm, browse modern designer boutiques and sip coffee in one of the many cafés, while tucking into a delicious Swedish pastry and watching the world go by – we love nothing more than people-watching in one of Europe’s trendiest cities. When you’ve soaked up all the city has to offer, head out into the Stockholm archipelago – made up of some 24,000 islands and islets. It’s a wonderfully tranquil place to get out on the water and feel the exhilarating rush of exploring the great outdoors. The perfect antidote to city life.
Sydney, Australia is an iconic city, one that perfectly balances a bustling cosmopolis with a laid-back beach vibe. Sydney is great at any time of year – particularly in the summer months – but it’s the very end of the season that is most OutThere, with the city’s infamous LGBTQIA+ Pride event taking place: Sydney Mardi Gras. Hot on the heels of WorldPride in early 2023, the city demonstrates true progress and is firm the world, as it plays host to WorldPride. Its theme is ‘GATHER, DREAM, AMPLIFY’, developed in partnership with pan-Australian First Nations and LGBTQI+ communities. The festival acknowledges the traditional custodians of Australia and represents the country’s commitment to equality and inclusion.
Bustling metropolises don’t come much more picturesque and instantly captivating than Sydney. Shiny high-rises and iconic structures line the harbour, beach-bum surf culture exists happily alongside uber-trendy, cutting-edge dining… and life is lived on the ocean, its sapphire waters drawing locals and visitors at every opportunity. From the Harbour Bridge to the Opera House, Sydney has more than its fair share of world-famous sights, but to truly get under the skin of the city, try living like a Sydneysider. Enjoy a leisurely brunch before hitting the beach, catching some waves with the bronzed locals or simply sitting back to people-watch from the golden sands. Visit world-class galleries and upmarket boutiques; and stop for refreshments in buzzing wine bars.
OutThere speaks to Corey Weiss, one of Scott Dunn’s expert Luxury Travel Consultants. Listen in to Corey’s personal experience of travelling as a card-carrying member of the LGBTQ+ community, his top destinations to visit where love knows no boundaries and the inside scoop of how Scott Dunn is dedicated to ensuring that every traveller feels safe, celebrated, and empowered.