London Pride may end this weekend – the main parade takes place 7 July – but there are plenty more places to celebrate the rainbow flag this summer. Combining a weekend away with LGBT festivities abroad means that not only do you get a slightly different twist on the familiar sights, but everyone’s in a party mood. Even some of the smaller European cities now have their own events, and there are always new ones too. Here are six Prides you can still visit this summer, and four to think about for next year.
Best Pride events 2018
7 to 15 July
If you like your Pride – or “Christopher Street Day”, as they call it in Germany – rather more civilised, well-heeled Munich is the place to go. The Saturday parade winds around much of the city, including the smart gay area near Sendlinge Tor. Hang out in the square at the end of Reichenbachstrasse, then repair to a more central square for an Aperol Spritz or gin and tonic in decent glasses (not just cans of warm beer as you’ll find in London). CSD partying lasts two days – if you like lederhosen, big sausages and a Bavarian dirndl-garbed drag queen singing “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” in German, it’s the one for you.
28 July to 5 August
One of the oldest, historically liberal gay destinations around, Amsterdam’s scene may have lost a bit of its edge but Pride here has a USP: the Canal Parade, which takes place on the water on 4 August. Instead of floats, some 80 boats carry the leather queens, drag queens and disco bunnies along a four-mile route. Dam Square hosts a closing party on 5 August.
27 July to 5 August
Stockholm’s main Pride celebrations last several days, each with a different theme, and climax with the Saturday parade. Sweden is the king of Eurovision these days and Thursday night offers vintage acts from contests old and new. Stockholm is, of course, a notoriously welcoming city.
7 to 12 August
More than 200,000 people turn out for Iceland’s main parade – pretty impressive, given that the national population is only 500,000. Locals are supportive (one year the then-mayor led the procession in drag) and tourists are there in droves. Just make sure to book accommodation well ahead, or risk annoying the locals.
24 to 27 August
The main part of Manchester’s Pride is the Big Weekend, a huge, long-running, bank holiday event that takes over the “Gay Village” – now a designated, signposted area around Canal Street that shares the scene with hen parties. Pride here is a big fundraiser for several projects in a city that’s incredibly supportive of its LGBT community.
3 to 9 September
Benidorm’s Pride celebrations are as unapologetically camp as you’d expect. “Fun, Friendly Flirty!” is the slogan, with the celebrations culminating in the Saturday parade along Levante Beach and a free party and stage acts in the Julio Iglesias Arena. Otherwise the Old Town with its numerous gay venues hosts all manner of shenanigans.
Best Pride events for 2019
First weekend in June 2019 (TBC)
As many governments in Eastern Europe shift to the right, being LGBT in places like Poland becomes more challenging, and the unofficial Prides that exist may be more underground affairs. But while it may not be as glitzy as Manchester or Tel Aviv, by attending, you’re supporting the locals’ fight for recognition. In Warsaw, this is a day when people are able to hold hands and not face a reaction. Last year’s Equality Parade on 3 June was the biggest so far and ended with a gathering outside the iconic Palace of Culture and Science lit up in rainbow colours.
14 June 2019
It’s not the first place that springs to mind, but Tel Aviv’s Gay Pride has been happening since 1979 – when it started as a protest called the Love Parade – and, these days, attracts 250,000 people. Tel Aviv is a vibrant, liberal city with a party reputation, thriving nightlife, arts scene and beach culture – and it’s fascinating to see floats of muscle boys in skimpy shorts and rainbow-coloured takes on Hasidic Jewish garb rolling past a mosque.
Handsome bullfighters in tight pants, flamenco drag – gay Spaniards are fiesta fiends and love to party loud and proud. In 2017, Madrid hosted WorldPride, attracting some two million people. The ultra-colourful main parade of the annual, smaller Pride goes down the wide boulevard of Gran Via. Get a hotel room with a balcony overlooking the procession so you can kick back, relax and save your energy for the late-night partying in the gay Chueca neighbourhood – though don’t even think about going out before 2am.
30 June 2019
New York hosts WorldPride in 2019, a month-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community culminating in a huge march at the end of June. Prior to the closing ceremony, there'll also be more than 50 events, from parties to lectures, expected to engage with more than three million people as part of WorldPride.
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