Photo: Joel Bengs

The top 10 gay beaches outside the USA

For flirtatious tanning sessions, sundown volleyball romps and skinny dipping in good company, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place than a gay beach. Like international waters, the best gay beaches are all about inclusion and socialising in idyllic surrounds. Whether you come to show off your post-gym bod or simply wish to slaver over those that have them, the gay beach is the ultimate place to lose your inhibitions, with the only order of the day being all-out fun in the sun. We’ve compiled 10 of the best gay beach destinations from around the world, each offering the most epic queer daytime parties. Dive in!

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1. Hilton Gay Beach – Tel Aviv, Israel

If you aren’t convinced that a quarter of Tel Aviv’s population identifies as gay, then visiting Israel’s best urban beaches will be sure to persuade you. Hilton Gay Beach lies slap-bang in the centre of liberal Tel Aviv, serving as the meeting point for the city’s eclectic gay scene. Home of the only government-sponsored pride parade in the entire Middle East, Tel Aviv acts as both a safe place for the global gay community and the region’s gay party central. Visit in June, joining upwards of 100,000 other wayfarers to march through the streets, revelling in live music, dance and hedonism, before winding up on the beach for the after-party.

At all other times, Hilton Gay Beach keeps its rainbow-flag flying, attracting gay locals and travellers alike for gay parties and socialising throughout the year, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays toward the north end. Hone your SUP skills in clear-Mediterranean seas or simply patrol the water’s edge for Tel Aviv’s hottest eye-candy squeezed into the tightest of trunks! When you’re in need of a drink, choose between a good selection of shore-side bars and cafés, with fine dining options at the eponymous Hilton Hotel or laid-back cocktails at Hilton Bay. While the whole beach errs on the naughty side, for ultimate inhibition, move to Gaash nudist beach about 35 minutes north of the city centre. Learn more about why Tel Aviv is so popular among artists, foodies and history nerds, with our Tel Aviv travel guide.

Photo: Pavel Jurča

Hilton Beach, Tel Aviv | Photo: Chen Mizrach

2. Bondi Gay Beach – Sydney, Australia

With a name that precedes it, Bondi Beach is one of Sydney’s most loved sundown spots, iconised for its lengthy stretch of white sand and crashing surf. While attracting hordes of city dwellers, Bondi Beach grows quieter and more exclusive the more north you venture. Coincidentally, this is also where you’ll find one of the best gay beaches in Sydney, for both locals and internationals looking for attractive company to tan with. North Bondi also boasts its own LGBTQ lifeguard force which is likely to catch your attention.

In the name of conservation, alcohol is not allowed on the beach, but there are more than enough bars, cafés and restaurants along the boardwalk to keep you satiated. Time your visit right for a party to remember, arriving in March to experience Sydney Gay Mardi Gras. These celebrations transform the beach into a live music and dance event to rival any Sydney gay club, continuing on until the early hours of the morning or until the sunlight hurts your eyes. While Sydney life may be centred on the beaches, there’s plenty more to discover within the city itself – discover cultural attractions, nightlife and more with our Sydney travel guide.

Bondi Beach | Photo: Clarinta Subrata

Bondi Beach | Photo: Sacha Styles

3. Elia Gay Beach – Mykonos, Greece

We hold a soft spot in our gay hearts for Mykonos, arguably the most gay friendly of all the Greek islands! Inclusivity and LGBT pride are island-wide themes, but it’s the gay beaches that take the biscuit. While the majority of beaches are welcoming to all, the best queer gatherings take place at either Super Paradise or Elia Gay Beach. While both are certified gay meeting spots, rocky Elia wins out for its chill atmosphere and convenient amenities. Rent a shaded sunbed on the main beach or opt to cruise on over to the smaller Agrari Beach cove for nude adventures.

Whatever the mood, Elia Gay Beach is primed for socialising and bathing in super clear waters. If peace and quiet is what you’re after, arrive in the morning outside of July and August or instead hunt down the more remote and rather more couple-oriented Panormos Beach to the north of the island. All others should note that the party on Elia cranks up towards the evening, with all-out gay parties cropping up on the beach and its waterfront bars throughout XLSIOR gay festival at the end of August and early September. Not yet tired of Mykonos? Discover more of the best things to do in the region in our Mykonos travel guide, or extend your trip with our pre-planned 10-day Greece Itinerary.

Mykonos | Photo: Aleksandar Pasaric

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Come in winter to find “Dead Man’s Beach” at its most alive, with Christmas and New Year marking the biggest events in Puerto Vallarta’s party calendar

4. Los Muertos Gay Beach – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

A frequent mention on our lists of top destinations in gay Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a little piece of gay paradise with more gay beaches than we know what to do with. Out of them all, there stands a clear winner; Los Muertos Gay Beach, which happens to be one of the largest gay beaches in Latin America. Search ‘gay beaches near me’ anywhere in Mexico and Playa de Los Muertos Gay Beach is sure to make an appearance, as well as frequently topping ‘best-of’ lists across the web. A one-time cemetery since redeveloped (and the graves relocated!), Los Muertos is an intriguing spot sometimes nicknamed as ‘Blue Chairs’ after the popular beachside resort nearby.

Come in winter to find “Dead Man’s Beach” at its most alive, with Christmas and New Year marking the biggest events in Puerto Vallarta’s party calendar. Based downtown of the town’s main drag, Los Muertos is easily reached for late afternoon Piña Coladas overlooking the ever-evolving queer carnival at the water’s edge. At any time, expect Speedo-clad hunks, fresh fruit vendors, and skilled local craftspeople plying their assorted wares across the sand, with Mantamar Beach Club offering infinity pool lounges and cocktails. While there is an entrance fee to enter Mantamar, the DJ is sure to be overheard from the sand out front, with alternative vibes of offer at joints such as Almar and Ritmos. Discover the best gay-friendly hotels in Puerto Vallarta, extending your trip with forays into the top 10 destinations in gay Mexico.

Photo: Bernardo Ferreria

5. Farme Ipanema Gay Beach – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At number five, we’re afraid to say it’s more of the same in regards to sickeningly toned and tanned hunks; on Rio’s Farme Ipanema Gay Beach you can’t move for them! Of course, Brazil is full of attractive guys but its beaches happily amass a high proportion. South of Rio’s centre, in particular, is where you’ll find the capital’s largest gay congregation, on the gay section of Ipanema to the east of Rua Farme de Amoedo. Throughout the year, Farme Ipanema Gay Beach is the start and end of the Rio gay scene, kicking off the big carnival celebrations as well as hosting the best after-parties.

Teasingly known as ‘Barbie Land’ in reference to all the chiselled Ken dolls you’ll find there, Farme Ipanema Gay Beach is a playground for both international and local queens, particularly between ‘Posto’ 8 and 9. Try your hand at beach sports in good company, or take to the sea for swimming and surfing practice. While the action continues far beyond sunset, the party tends to move towards the handful of gay bars and clubs located nearby around 9 pm. Aside from its good-looking beaches, Brazil’s second-largest city has a whole host of historical and cultural attractions to satisfy any traveller. To find out more, see our comprehensive Rio de Janeiro travel guide.

Photo: Cerqueira

Photo: Eunhyuk Ahn

6. Bassa Rodona Gay Beach – Sitges, Spain

Flying the rainbow flag for Europe’s best beaches meanwhile is Bassa Rodona Gay Beach in Sitges, Spain. Just 45 minutes’ drive south of Barcelona, Bassa Rodona is a gay day trip you won’t want to return from. Find as many as 17 white sand beaches edging Sitges town, all of which cater to a large number of LGBT vacationers. Officially speaking, however, Playa de la Bassa Rodona is the number one gay beach and where you’ll find the largest concentration of six-pack flaunting gays. Thanks to its suburban location in Spain’s hottest gay resort town, Bassa Rodona leads festivities for a number of seasonal gay events, most notably the Sitges Gay Carnival held in February. Arrive anytime in peak season, however, from early July to October, and you’ll also likely be greeted with some form a party.

While Sitges’ coast runs for miles, the Bassa Rodona gay area is compacted within the third zone next to Hotel Calipolis. Arrive early for the best spot, packing your own lunch beforehand or filling up on beers, cocktails and snacks at the ‘Picnic’ bar adjacent. Alternately, those at ease with naked Frisbee should venture to Platja de la Balmins, Sitges’ first and best clothing-optional gay beach. What’s remarkable about Balmins is its self-contained location complete with its own beach bar and rentable sunbeds, hidden from the main road down several flights of stairs from the cliff face. Once tired of tanning, stay busy trying any of the alternative things to do in Sitges.

Sitges | Photo: Chan Lee

7. Sandy Bay Gay Beach – Cape Town, South Africa

Skipping continents, this time we hit up one of the three capital cities of South Africa – Cape Town. A modern metropolis by all accounts, Cape Town is South Africa’s most liberal hub, with not one but two gay beaches to choose from. The first belongs in the hilly suburb of Clifton 3, Cape Town’s most exclusive residential district. The homes here boast some pretty spectacular cliff views below which lie four idyllic white-sand beaches. Number 3 – the gay one – is found on the Atlantic Ocean side meaning that although the water is nippy, visitors can socialise with like minds in relative seclusion. Outside of Clifton, we have the rather more outrageous Sandy Bay Gay Beach towards the south of Llandudno Beach.

While taking around 40 minutes to reach on foot along Llandudno’s shore (or more easily accessed by taxi or car and a 20-minute walk), pilgrims to Sandy Bay Gay Beach will be rewarded with a clothing-optional affair amid rolling sand dunes, caves and even hiking trails around the peninsula (pants advised if engaging in the latter). Perhaps even more secluded than Clifton 3, Sandy Bay has the added bonus of being void of children, vendors and prying eyes. For something a bit more social, try the mixed Camps Bay Beach which, although busier, offers a good number of bars, restaurants and shops nearby. Houts Bay and Muizenberg are two additional mixed options for visitors seeking warmer waters and surfing opportunities. Inland of its dreamy coastline, Cape Town is packed with all kinds of wonders – read up on what to do here with our Cape town travel guide.

Cape Town | Photo: Ian Badenhorst

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In spite of the two hour journey from Lisbon, Praia 19 Gay Beach is visited by flocks of hotties from across Europe, all who come expecting vast sandy stretches, Atlantic views and more than a little dune discretion

8. Praia #19 Gay Beach – Lisbon, Portugal

Another suburban gem just a short jaunt from the city of Lisbon is Praia #19 Gay Beach. Thirty kilometres south of the capital across the River Tagus, Praia 19 is easily reachable by car or tour agency, though slightly less convenient by public bus. In spite of the two-hour journey from Lisbon, Praia 19 Gay Beach is visited by flocks of hotties from across Europe, all who come expecting vast sandy stretches, Atlantic views and more than a little dune discretion. At Praia 19 clothing is optional and space is never limited, making it easy to find a peaceful bathing spot or join in the fun mingling with internationals and locals in the shallows. Once your gang gets peckish, move south towards Fonte de Telha Beach to find a great choice of vibrant bars, restaurants and cafés lining the area. While you’re here, ask around to discover all the local LGBT gossip, including details of the next big gay party.

The City of Seven Hills is full of even more surprises as you’ll see in our full Lisbon travel guide.

9. Atlantic Gay Beach – San Juan, Puerto Rico

The city of San Juan in Puerto Rico offers up an array of gay beach options in proximity to its centre but there’s none that quite measure up to its number one: Atlantic Gay Beach. The main gathering point for the city’s gay scene, Atlantic Beach is the pride of Condado, proffering cocktail mixer events with affordable prices in tropical surrounds. The beach itself stretches out in front of Oceano, a gay-owned beach hangout, and, although Puerto Rico’s capital becomes more and more liberal, we’d say Atlantic Beach errs on the more demure side with a distinct lack of risqué liaisons. Play it safe by lying back on your lounger and taking advantage of the waiter service on offer – there’s indeed still plenty to see!

Though largely laidback, Happy Hour (between 5-9 pm) at the Atlantic Hotel is notoriously lively, no doubt in thanks to $4 drinks and fun music. Parties are common throughout the summer but the biggest event is of course Pride. San Juan Gay Pride takes place over the first weekend in June, with Condado the epicentre of the city’s celebrations, closely followed by the emerging Santurce neighbourhood. Pre-mingle on the beach before taking part in the parade and ending at any number of gay bars, dance clubs and drag venues for an after-party to remember. For everything else, you need to know about the city of San Juan, see our full San Juan gay travel guide.

San Juan | Photo: Jennifer Chen

Photo: Amine Bashir

10. Cavallet Gay Beach – Ibiza, Spain

Last but by no means least is Ibiza’s best contender known as Cavallet Gay Beach. Europe’s most legendary party island, Ibiza has long been an ally of LGBTQ+ communities, in hosting major queer events at its biggest and best clubs year after year. Today, Ibiza still manages to draw hedonists from across the globe and a large proportion of them are queer! Don’t believe me? Head on down the Cavallet Gay Beach, just 15 minutes from Ibiza town, to find a gay, clothing-optional crowd of both locals and internationals all sunbathing, swimming and socialising in harmony. If you can pry your gaze away from all the skimpy Speedos, you’ll be blown away by the phenomenal views of dunes and ocean spray, backgrounded by the thronging bar Chiringay, one of the few places along the beach to enjoy a proper sangria.

Expect crowds at Cavallet Gay Beach to peak in July and remain sizable all summer, with a corresponding number of muscly party promoters handing out fliers to upcoming gay events taking place in town. Don’t be too shy to take one as these guys often have discounts to the biggest parties (and some don’t mind it if you touch their pecs!) For insight into the very best of Ibiza and its surrounding island, see our dedicated Ibiza and Formentera travel guide.

Ibiza | Photo: David Svihovec

Ibiza | Photo: Jose Llamas

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