Portugal is a place of many wonders, but have you ever wondered what makes it such a perfect fit for the Queer community?

Today we’ll dive deep into why LGBTI+ travellers choose Portugal as their destination.

As this question becomes particularly popular, we thought to point out some factors that may explain the charm behind the country. 

Across Europe, you’ll find renowned LGBTI+ travel destinations. Think of London, Berlin, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Mykonos. Over the years, these places became widely perceived as gay-friendly, ranking first in travellers’ plans. Now, Portugal has joined their ranks.

Portugal: from a hidden gem to Europe’s leading destination

Tourism has always been a well-developed sector in Portugal, collecting awards and recognition. Taking the title of ‘Europe’s Leading Destination‘ in 2022, the country is now an obvious choice, with its beaches, incredible food and one of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods, Cais do Sodré! 

With a “work to live” spirit, more than 1800 km of coastline to explore, and delicious dishes to taste, planning a trip to Portugal sounds pretty appealing; thanks to its location on the southeastern edge of Europe, the weather is one of the main reasons to visit the country. Still, the same goes for the diversity and richness of Portuguese landscapes, which mix a vibrant and buzzy atmosphere in Lisbon and Porto while preserving its soulful old-world charm outside the hustle and bustle of the big cities.

When considering a new destination, many travellers think not only about the lifestyle and overall quality of life but how safe those places actually are. For the LGBTI+ community, this is particularly important, with Portugal frequently appearing as one of the top countries where you can find a secure and uplifting environment. Last year, Portugal was elected the sixth-safest country according to the 2022 Global Peace Index, which looks at state peace worldwide. 

These factors contribute to the ever-increasing curiosity of travellers who choose Portugal as their next adventure, with many already envisioning a new life here! With progressive legislation, a safe, stable and accessible atmosphere and other conditions such as quality of health care and education, Portugal is rightly becoming one of the most popular countries for anyone who seeks a shift in their lives, personally and professionally. 

We’ve come a long way: Portugal’s progressive emancipation

Even more decisive for the LGBTI+ community is how Portugal develops its vibrant, breezy, and amusing Queer scene.

First, Portugal’s tolerance and openness are enshrined in law. In 1982, it abolished all laws criminalizing homosexuality, making it one of the most progressive countries in the world at the time. And this progressive attitude towards LGBTI+ issues continues today.

The Constitution of Portugal explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The government has passed several laws and policies that protect and promote LGBTI+ rights in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.

Second, in the social landscape, the country has made tremendous strides in recent years towards creating a more accepting and inclusive society for the LGBTI+ community. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2010, and in 2016, the country passed a law that allows transgender individuals to legally change their gender without undergoing medical procedures.

Such attitudes help make Portugal a popular destination for LGBTI+ travellers looking for a safe and welcoming place. According to the most recent Spartacus Gay Travel Index, Portugal ranked 4th among over 200 countries, making it one of the greatest and safest in the world for the LGBTI+ community to live and travel.

Couple of two men smiling at each other while taking a trip on a boat in Lisbon. In the background there's the Portuguese flag
Experience seeing the city from different points of view
Join the LGBTI+ community in Portugal and celebrate Pride in all its colours

What makes Portugal such an exciting LGBTI+ destination

LGBTI+ friendly cities 

Portugal has several cities known for their LGBTI+-friendly atmosphere. Lisbon, the capital, has a lively gay scene, with facilities ranging from LGBTI+ friendly saunas to sex clubs, hotels, and restaurants catering to the community. Other cities such as Porto, Faro, and Cascais are also popular destinations for LGBTI+ travellers, who offer a wide range of activities, from practising sports (swimming, hiking, horse riding, skiing, golfing, surfing, fishing, you name it!) to discovering historical landmarks and picturesque little villages

LGBTI+ community

The LGBTI+ community is active and engaged, with many LGBTI+ associations and organisations, such as ILGA Portugal and Variaçōes, promoting LGBTI+ rights and equality in Portuguese culture. At the same time, the community does extraordinary work towards creating events that lead to a more open-minded and tolerant society. Examples of these initiatives are the Pride celebrations, which already happen from the north to the south of the country and cultural events such as Queer Lisboa and Porto Film Festival, all popular among locals and tourists alike.

And there’s a lot more to discover beyond the Queer scene. Yup, the list continues!

Rich History and Culture

Portugal has a long and fascinating history and plenty of ancient landmarks and museums to explore. The country is, for example, peppered with castles; you can see them on the hills and mountains, along plains and rivers, and in towns and cities! There’s also a vibrant music and art scene, from the more traditional, with Fado (who’s entering a new exciting and creative phase, thanks to Fado singers like Ana Moura!), to the more contemporary, with galleries and exhibitions from famous Portuguese artists and other events, such as music festivals, yearly attracting tourists due to their relatively lower prices.

Take your time and enjoy the slow pace of life with amazing views
Picture of Proudly Portugal's campaign on relocating to Portugal and creating new memories as a LGBTQ+ traveler
Portugal can be a great place to relocate as an LGBTI+ traveller

Affordable prices

Compared to other LGBTI+ friendly destinations in Europe, the cost of living in Portugal has long been among the most accessible. Whilst prices are low across the board, they do, of course, fluctuate depending on the financial climate and your lifestyle. Generally speaking, housing costs are probably the most expensive, with food, transportation, health care, and education costs much more affordable. Especially if you’re considering relocating to Portugal, the cost of living will be much lower when compared to other European countries.

Digital Nomads 

With the pandemic democratising the concept, being a digital nomad has become a more common practice among many people who enjoy working abroad in a slow-paced environment. Well, Portugal offers a lot of favourable conditions when working in a foreign country, from a good internet connection (17th fastest wi-fi in the world), infrastructures and co-working spaces to well-established nomad communities and appealing benefits, such as the new temporary-stay visa geared toward digital nomads and remote workers. Under this new scheme, remote workers can live and work in the country for up to 12 months. If you’re sick of the office, you may opt for a more unconventional, stimulating and pleasurable way of getting your work done! 

Create the business of your dreams

Following the same logic, especially after the pandemic, a growing concern with work-life balance among millennials and Gen Z professionals had everyone searching for their little corner in the sun. For that reason, many entrepreneurs have been interested in basing their businesses in places that benefit from a unique lifestyle and ideal climate so they can enjoy their life while still focusing on their projects. And do you know which country checks all the boxes? Yup, Portugal, which is now considered one of the most attractive European countries to investors worldwide. The desire to work in a quality environment, the country’s unique characteristics, and available benefits programs to kickstart your business make it one of the best locations to consider.

Overall, Portugal is a charming and welcoming destination with much to offer to anyone who visits.

From its LGBTI+ friendly scene and desirable characteristics to beautiful scenery, rich history and culture, there’s no shortage of reasons to see (or maybe move to?) this fascinating country!

Now that we’ve shown you some that make this country a must for many LGBTI+ travellers, come to find out why Portugal might be the right fit for you!