The 10 best city breaks in Europe from London

The 10 best city breaks in Europe from London

A major drawback of living in one of the world’s best cities is that you forget there are other places in the world to explore. The beauty of London is that it’s so close to so many quick getaways that make you feel like you’ve actually gotten away. In other words, you have no excuse. And if your excuse is you’re not sure where to go in Europe, we’ve got some suggestions. In order from closest to farthest from London, here are the Top 10 gay-friendly city breaks in Europe.

Amsterdam, Netherlands: 1 hour and 15 minutes from London

Amsterdam’s laid-back spirit will instantaneously get you out of work mode and into holiday head. The perfect day in Amsterdam might include biking to the Van Gogh Museum, stopping off at a funky café and exploring one of the many gaybourhoods.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam | Photo: Stale Grut

Amsterdam

Photo: Robin Benzrihem

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With same-sex marriage legal since 2015 and the first openly gay prime minister elected in 2017, Ireland’s become a place where you can let your rainbow flag flutter freely

Dublin, Ireland: 1 hour and 25 minutes from London

Even if you’re not one to gab with strangers, there’s no better place to strike up a free-wheeling conversation than in Ireland. Dublin has repeatedly been named Europe’s friendliest city. Dublin is a cosmopolitan city with a lively, mischievous spirit that makes for a fun-filled three-day weekend. And with same-sex marriage legal since 2015 and the first openly gay prime minister elected in 2017, Ireland’s become a place where you can let your rainbow flag flutter freely.

Dublin

Dublin | Photo: Robert Anasch

Edinburgh, Scotland: 1 hour and 25 minutes from London

Is there anything sexier than a man in a kilt? Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, Scotland’s capital Edinburgh is one of the most overlooked and underestimated destinations for a European jaunt. Besides all that medieval-castle-historical stuff, Edinburgh boasts a ‘Pink Triangle’ that’s home to chill pubs, happening nightclubs and wonderful gastronomy.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh | Photo: Linnea Sandbakk

Edinburgh

Edinburgh | Photo: Pau Sayrol

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Copenhagen has quietly become one of the world’s fashion capitals for its unfussy but masterfully put-together style

Copenhagen, Denmark: 1 hour and 50 minutes from London

Shopping, anyone? If you’re a fashionisto looking for some duds you haven’t seen on other chaps, why not flit off to one of Europe’s best-dressed cities for a little retail therapy? Copenhagen has quietly become one of the world’s fashion capitals for its unfussy but masterfully put-together style. Scroll to the bottom of our Copenhagen city guide to find our favourite shops.

Copenhagen

Copenhagen | Photo: Maksym Potapenko

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Prague’s beauty is on par with that of Paris. With a gay community that’s the biggest and boldest of all the former Eastern bloc countries

Prague, Czechoslovakia: 1 hour and 55 minutes from London

We don’t know too many people who’ve come back from Prague and not been blown away by the culture, castles, colours and colossal charm of the place. Called the “City of a Hundred Spires” for its countless church steeples (there’s way more than 100), Prague’s beauty is on par with that of Paris. With a gay community that’s the biggest and boldest of all the former Eastern bloc countries.

Prague

Prague | Photo: Dmitry Goykolov

Prague

Prague | Photo: Thomas Habr

Prague

Prague | Photo: Jonathan Francisca

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And if you’re wondering how gay-friendly Berlin is, it’s got a gay museum and perhaps equally as important, a Gay Night At the Zoo

Berlin, Germany: 1 hour and 55 minutes from London

We totally get Kennedy’s famous catchphrase: “Ich Bin Ein Berliner.” We want to be Berliners, too. With its turbulent, walled past behind it, Berlin is a titillating place nowadays. Home to a hedonistic nightlife and pulsating art, food and shopping scenes, Berlin makes for an ideal long weekend. And if you’re wondering how gay-friendly Berlin is, it’s got a gay museum and perhaps equally as important, a Gay Night At the Zoo not to mention Berlin Pride is one of the biggest in Europe.

Berlin

Berlin | Photo: Ricardo Gomez Angel

Porto, Portugal: 2 hours and 25 minutes from London

Porto has sultry weather, cobblestone streets and a refreshing rusticness, yet somehow this unique city has managed to be overlooked by the tourism-industrial complex. With a healthy adherence to tradition, Porto’s resisted the homogenization that’s crept across other European cities. Its historical core, which dates back 2,000 years, has been proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But Porto is in no way living in the past; the place oozes with creativity, fashionable boutiques and envelope-pushing cuisine. Oh, and Porto’s named after its most famous export – Port wine. Do you need any more reasons to visit? If so, check our travel guide to Porto.

Porto

Porto | Photo: Roya Ann Miller

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Don’t be put off by the lack of a real gaybourhood; it’s because the place is so progressive and accepting, the gay scene is diffuse

Stockholm, Sweden: 2 hours and 25 minutes from London

Haven’t heard about how hip Stockholm is?  Well, now you have because we just told you. This city’s preserved its storied past while landing on the cutting edge of just about everything. Effortlessly kill a weekend shopping avant-garde boutiques, drifting through minimalist museums, ogling centuries-old landmarks and digesting inventive cuisine. Don’t be put off by the lack of a real gaybourhood; it’s because the place is so progressive and accepting, the gay scene is diffuse.

Stockholm

Stockholm | Photo: Raphael Andres

Malta: 3 hours and 10 minutes from London

A Mediterranean island lying between Sicily and the North African coast, Malta has an edge-of-the-world type feel and sun 300 days out of the year. Because it’s such a tiny country (world’s tenth smallest) and its history so deep (7,000 years and counting), Malta has the highest density of historic sights than anywhere else: prehistoric temples. But, listen, if you just want to kick it on a white sand beach whilst gazing out upon azure waters, that’s your divine right since you’re the boss of you.

Malta

Malta | Photo: Francois Kaiser

Malta

Malta | Photo: Martin Widenka

Maspalomas Gran Canaria, Spain: 4 hours and 30 minutes from London

An upscale resort town on Spain’s Canary Islands, Maspalomas soaring coastal sand dunes are Sahara-like in their silent vastness. Clamber atop of one at sunset and you will never forget it. Also, there is no shortage of LGBTQ+ travellers in Gran Canaria. Full disclosure, Maspalomas is home to a waterpark, but if you don’t bother it, it won’t bother you.

Maspalomas

Maspalomas | Photo: Krisztian Tabori

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