LGBTQ and Pride events around the world in 2018
Are you ready for another summer of love? 2018 is a great year if you're a LGBTQ traveller. There are all sorts of fantastic parties set to take place around the world during the summer months. And beyond.
As there are so many to choose from, we've put together a handy guide to this year's Pride festivals. Here's our pick of the hottest, sexiest and most fabulous Pride events and gay-friendly festivals taking place this year.
Heading to any of them? See all our Pride city break deals.
28th June - 8th July 2018
Madrid's annual pride celebrations are among the world's biggest. More than a million people regularly attend the celebrations, held in the city's gay neighbourhood, Chueca. And just last year, the city hosted the fifth WorldPride - the global LGBTIQ Pride festival.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary Madrid's first Pride Parade, and there are some big events planned, for the Madrid Orgullo festival, culminating in the Pride Parade, which takes over one of Madrid's main streets, the Paseo del Prado.
And the party isn't just limited to the summer - there's plenty going on in Chueca's queer scene throughout the year.One of the area's biggest celebrations outside of the summer season is the bear community's annual winter party. Taking place over the December bank holiday weekend, Madbear offers five days of parties, and the finals of the Mr Bear Spain competition.
23rd - 24th June 2018
Even bigger than Madrid's regular Pride celebrations, San Francisco's Pride might be the world's most popular LGBTQ celebration. Now in its 48th year, its also one of the most inclusive, with more than 200 groups taking part.
Originally just a one-day parade, taking place on the last Sunday in June, San Francisco Pride is now a weekend long festival.Separate Trans and Dyke Marches take place on the Friday and Saturday.
The city's famous gay neighbourhood, the Castro District, holds the Pink Saturday party the day before the parade.
Several other LGBTQ events take place in the city throughout the year. One of the most famous, and notorious (it's definitely an adults-only affair) being the Folsom Street Fair. The September event is a gathering for the BDSM and leather subcultures, with around 400,000 enthusiasts regularly attending.
23rd - 24th June 2018
New York is arguably the birthplace of the Pride movement. The city's Christopher Street Liberation Movement sprung up in response to the 1969 Stonewall Riots, gradually turning into Pride as we know it today.
New York's Pride celebrations haven't lost their political focus, with its events aiming to inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate the diversity of the LGBT community.The importance of the city's Pride is reflected in its prestigious speakers at its Parade.
The accompanying Pride Island and Pride Festival also offer starry line-ups, with 2018's performers set to include Tove Lo, Lizzo, RuPaul's Drag Race royalty Sasha Velour and a certain Ms Kylie Minogue.
9th June - 8th July 2018
One of the biggest, and most diverse Pride events around, London's Pride festival sees more than 100 events take place across the city, aiming to represent the full spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community. Pride in London offers everything from speed dating to adoption advice sessions and LGBTQ ping-pong matches, and takes in venues as iconic as the Tower of London.
The Pride Parade itself takes place in the West End on Saturday July 7th, passing through Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square on the way to Whitehall. A Pride Festival will then take place in Trafalgar Square, headlined by Sophie Ellis-Bextor, the line-up also includes Drag Race favourites Courtney Act and Alyssa Edwards, with after-parties happening in clubs around Soho.
The celebrations continue the following day in Vauxhall. The area's famous Pleasure Gardens host an afternoon of free festivities, including UK Black Pride and the Pride in the Park music festival.
3rd - 5th August 2018
Often claimed to be the UK's biggest Pride Festival, Brighton Pride takes place in during the first weekend of August. Following a Carnival of Diversity Parade, which brings a riot of colour to the seafront promenade, the festival kicks off in the city's Preston Park.
With several stages, dance and cabaret tents, Brighton and Hove's Pride Festival regularly attracts big name performers. This year it's perhaps got its biggest, and certainly most talked-about booking yet, none other than pop royalty Britney Spears.
24th - 27th August 2018
Manchester's Canal Street is one of the UK's most popular gay neighbourhoods. And the city's annual Pride celebrations are similarly vibrant.
Held over the August Bank Holiday weekend, Manchester Pride includes a Big Weekend Festival. 2017's performers are set to include Rita Ora, Jake Shears and Alexandra Burke. The city's Pride Parade sees more than 3000 participants bring a bit more colour to the city's streets. And the weekend culminates in a moving candlelit vigil in the city's Sackville Gardens, commemorating those lost to HIV and AIDS.
27th July - 5th August 2018
Ireland's biggest LGBTQ celebration, Belfast Pride regularly attracts a crowd of 50,000 people. Running from late July to early August, the festival centres around a parade through the city.There's also plenty of other things going on during the 10 day festival, including cabaret shows, art exhibitions and the Belfast Pride awards - celebrating the contributions of the local community.
29th - 30th June & 9th - 19th August 2018
As one of Europe's most popular LGBT resorts - the town of Sitges - is just a short drive away, Barcelona's annual LGBTQ celebrations are particularly vibrant. More than 250,000 people are expected to attend Barcelona Pride, with the city's historic L'Eixample district temporarily being renamed Gaixample.
Alongside the traditional parade and parties, Barcelona Pride also offers art and cultural events focusing around a different theme each year. In 2018, the theme is LGBTI refugees.
If you're looking to party, the Barcelona Circuit Festival is the place to go. Taking place over three weekends in August (9th-19th August), the festival features some of the best DJs and parties from the international gay clubbing scene. It celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2017 with a special XXL edition. Meaning there'll be even more seriously hot beach and pool parties than ever before.
At the start of September, Sitges gets a bit more fabulously furry, with the arrival of the International Sitges Bear Week.
22nd - 29th August 2018
Another of the gay scene's hottest festivals can be found on the island of Mykonos. Already a popular destination for LGBTQ travellers throughout the summer, the Greek island now really hots up during the last week of August.
The XLSIOR Festival brings together crowds of 30,000 for 8 days of parties and clubbing.Hosting some of the biggest names in the Gay Circuit scene, the festival has won several gay travel awards.
28th July 2018
Paying direct tribute to New York's place in gay history, Berlin Pride is also known as Christopher Street Day. It culminates in a parade to the city's famous Brandenburg Gate, and is attended by hundreds of thousands of people.
While the parade is at the centre of the celebrations, the Pride festivities in the city have now grown to take place over the course of a month, with cultural events happening all around the city.
You can also experience a bit of the San Francisco scene in the city at the Folsom Europe fair. Like the San Francisco original, Folsom Europe is aimed at the leather and fetish subcultures. It takes place in September each year, around Berlin's main gay neighbourhood, Schöneberg.
30th August - 6th September 2018
Now in its sixth year, the ELLA International Lesbian Festival offers a week's worth of events for gay women. Taking place in the island's capital, Palma, during the first week of September, the programme includes beach parties, club nights and circus performances. Other highlights include sailing trips and a winery tour.
If you're looking for something further afield, the festival's also introduced a brand new edition this Autumn, with the Ella Adventure Nepal taking place over thirteen days during 11th - 23rd October.
28th July - 5th August 2018
For just over a week in late July and early August, Amsterdam hosts some of the most exciting LGBTQ events in the world.
The Milkshake Festival takes place over the last weekend in July, in the city's Westerpark. Co-organised by two of Amsterdam's biggest clubs, AIR and Paradiso, its one of the most inclusive music festivals around. Encouraging its attendees to be themselves, it's a wild mix of drag, performance art and world-class electronic music.
Throughout the following week, Pride Amsterdam brings a colourful cultural programme to the city's streets and squares. And even its canals, as Amsterdam's Pride Parade replaces the traditional parade floats for colourful barges, floating along the city's waterways.
7th - 12th August 2018
Reykjavík is one of the world's most gay-friendly cities. In fact Iceland regularly tops surveys of the best places in the world for LGBTQ rights. And this is reflected in the city's Hinsegin Dagar (Queer Day) celebrations, which attracts crowds of 200,000.
Past Hinsegin Dagar celebrations have featured appearances by some of the most influential people in Icelandic society.In 2016, the then-newly elected President of the country even took part in the parade. The annual outdoor Pride concert features some of the best acts from the local music scene.
Towards the end of the month, another gay celebration takes place in and around Reykjavik. Bears on Ice is a weekend-long gathering which includes bear-centred trips out of the city to some of Iceland's famous sights. It also includes a party at the famous Blue Lagoon spa.
5th - 11th November 2018
Prefer your Pride to have a touch of winter sun? Maspalomas Winter Pride is the event for you! Celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2018, the festival offers free live shows, performances by dance divas like Robin S. and Ultra Naté, as well as boat trips, pool parties and pride walk... as well as plenty of chances to top up your tan on the beach.
Where are your favourite LGBTQ scenes and celebrations? Let us know in the comments.
Cover image - Amsterdam Canal Pride. Courtesy I-Amsterdam/Harold IJskes.