Whether you're planning a relaxing break spent sunning yourself on an elegant beach

Our picks for the most popular gay holiday destinations feature hip cities and off-the-beaten-track hotspots that combine art, culture, and happening gay nightlife with sunshine and unspoilt beaches to make for an unforgettable trip from my partners at Expedia.

In bustling, architecturally stunning Barcelona you can take in the city on foot with a stroll through the winding, bar-lined streets of the hip Gothic Quarter and vibrant Raval or don your glad rags and join the locals for a promenade down the iconic Las Ramblas boulevard, which links the city to the beach. Alternatively, float above the city in a cable car before enjoying a heady night of clubbing in one of the city’s many gay-friendly venues. 

In sexy, tropical Rio De Jan Janeiro  one of the world’s top tourist destinations, you can hang out with the beautiful people on the world-famous Copacabana or Ipanema beaches, dance the night away in a steamy samba bar, or party with the local revellers at the annual Carnival. And be sure to make room in your itinerary for the unmissable cable car ride over the city to Sugarloaf Mountain.

Gran Canaria, meanwhile, offers visitors uncomplicated pleasures in the form of sun-drenched beaches, wallet-friendly restaurants, fun-focussed resorts and a host of welcoming gay clubs and bars.

Benidorm is another great destination for sun-worshippers in search of a gay-friendly holiday destination, and offers a range of water sports, beachside promenades, and theme parks, as well as a huge collection of bars, restaurants, and clubs. Although the town is firmly focussed on laid-back holiday fun, you can escape the bustle with a trip to stunning Algar Waterfall, where you can scale rugged slopes and dangle your toes in crystal-clear freshwater pools. If style and elegance are your top priority, though, it’s hard to beat hip Sitges, a refined coastal town located 45 minutes’ drive south of Barcelona which has enthusiastically embraced its identity as a gay-friendly destination. As well as 4 km of sparkling beaches, including 13 which have Blue Flag status, this friendly, walkable town offers a broad range of gay-friendly hotels and guesthouses, as well as a host of welcoming bars and clubs. But before you finalise your booking, be sure to check out our guide to the best gay-friendly beach destinations, as well as our picks of the top gay city breaks.