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The best honeymoon destinations for LGBT+ couples

Mattie Lacey-Davidson

Contributor

In 2001 the Netherlands was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. The UK followed in 2014 and in 2015 the US Supreme Court removed any remaining state bans. It should come as no surprise then, that LGBT+ honeymoons are increasing year on year. You would expect newlyweds to feel as if the world was their oyster, but for same-sex couples who have to consider each country’s law and level of inclusivity, it can begin to feel like a minefield. These are the hottest LGBT+ honeymoon destinations around the world right now.

Mai Pen Rai (“no worries”) in Thailand

Thailand offers an experiential melting pot. From the vivacious, non-stop capital city of Bangkok, with countless markets, street food and a thriving nightlife, to islands offering an assortment of luxury relaxation, unparalleled natural beauty and world-famous beach parties. There is something for every couple here.

Gay marriage is not legal in the country, although a push for some form of a legally recognised union has been repeatedly pushed for in recent years and many believe change is just around the corner. Despite this, it is an undoubtedly warm and welcoming place regardless of sexuality. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has created ‘Go Thai. Be Free’, a platform dedicated solely to LGBT+ travel across the country. It refers to Bangkok as “Asia’s most LGBT+ welcoming metropolis” but if the manic life of the capital city, home to 12 million people, is a little too much for you then head north to Chiang Mai. A smaller and more palatable city famed for elephant sanctuaries - an unbelievable experience to make your honeymoon even more memorable. If you want to spend time on an island (which you definitely should do) then check out our guide to the best Thai islands for every experience.

Bangkok, Thailand

Natural beauty in Iceland, a forward-thinking country

This country is famous for its progressive stance on LGBT+ rights. Not only does the country define marriage as between two people, but between 2009 and 2013 the Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who joined in a civil union with partner Jónína Leósdóttir, in 2002, became one of the first same-sex couples to wed when it was legalised through the removal of gender specification in 2010.

The only honeymoon option on this list that doesn’t come with the option of sunbathing, Iceland rivals this with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs, lava fields and massive glaciers in the Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. You can see the glaciers by boat or zoom around on top of them on snowmobiles, snow-cats and jeeps. Visit between September and April and your honeymoon may well be made inexplicably magical by the sight of the Aurora Borealis, more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights.

Waterfall of the gods, Iceland

Credit: Trevor Cole

The height of luxury in French Polynesia

Not only has same-sex marriage been legal since 2013, but no laws against same-sex sexual activity has ever existed across the collection of islands. Depending on where you are in the world it can be pretty tricky to reach (from London to the capital of Papeete will take 35 hours, from New York the time is halved), but once you’re there you will experience unknown luxuries that may never be beaten.

You will usually be met at the airport by hotel staff who will escort you to your accommodation, most likely a lavish and secluded water bungalow from which you can jump straight into the water when you wake up in the morning.

If the Maldives is on your list then the otherworldly islands of French Polynesia, such as Bora Bora or Tahiti, will definitely scratch your itch without the need to visit a country where homosexuality remains punishable by death (despite reports of an accepting attitude on resorts).

Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Adventure and seclusion in Costa Rica

One for the adventurous couples that want luxury accommodation and rich wildlife to explore. In August 2018, Costa Rica’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional and instructed parliament to amend the laws. If this is not done, the ban will be automatically lifted and so same-sex marriage will be legal by May 26, 2020, at the latest.

A quarter of the country is made up of protected jungle rife with wildlife including spider monkeys and colourful quetzal birds, with volcanoes, cloud forests and incredible waterfalls that makes hiking almost mandatory. In the urban areas, you will find a melting pot of culture created over time from the arrival of Africans, Chinese, Lebanese and Italians, mixing with the indigenous peoples of the Bribrí, Cabécar, Maleku, Teribe, Boruca, Ngäbe, Huetar and Chorotega groups. There is, of course, the chance to relax as well as explore in Costa Rica, as the country is caressed by both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with white and black sand beaches. 

Costa Rica

Indulgence in Italy

While same-sex marriage has not been made legal in this Catholic country, civil unions have been in place since 2016 and Pope Francis is working to increase inclusivity within the church. Lake Como and Lake Garda are both beautiful regions with opulent properties throughout the countryside from which to sip on spectacular wine, drink in the views and eat all the pasta you can get your hands on.

Of course, with Italy, it is hard to choose where to go. Thankfully, high-speed trains can take you across the country making it easier to see more. Start in the north with visits to Venice, Milan or Monaco (or all three), then head down to Florence in Tuscany before visiting the colosseum in Rome. Next on the itinerary should be to head south and eat pizza in its birthplace, Naples. Finish with some sun, sea and sand on the nearby Amalfi Coast, or go all the way down to the Italian island of Sicily. Known as the “toe of Italy’s boot” due to the shape of the country, Sicily is home to Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes.

Portofino, Italy

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