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Gay and Lesbian Travel Guide Germany

The Best Cities, Hotels, and Bars in Germany

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Gay and Lesbian travel guide to Germany, covering the best and most open-minded cities, hotels, bars, and restaurants in Germany for same sex travelers.

1. Berlin for Gays and Lesbians

Gay Pride Parade Berlin
Miguel Villagran/Getty Images
Berlin is not only the capital of the country, but also Germany’s center for gay and lesbian life – the city, which has an openly gay mayor, ranks as the third largest gay metropolis in all of Europe, only topped by London and Amsterdam. Same sex couples will find a thriving and diverse scene in Berlin, including 150 gay bars and cafes (as well as a gay bar owners' union); the gay scene gravitates mainly around the districts of Schoeneberg, which has been Berlin's heart of gay life since the 1920s, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, and Kreuzberg; the latter is also home to the .Schwules Museum, the world's first Gay Museum, which opened in 1985.
Berlin hosts countless events and parties that celebrate gay and lesbian life; there is the Teddy Queer Festival, which is part of the Berlin International Film Festival in February. Every June, Berliners raise their rainbow flags to celebrate Gay Pride, known in Germany as Christopher Street Day with a colorful Gay Pride Parade, followed by the largest gay lesbian street festival in Europe. For more events and parties throughout the year, make sure to pick up the free gay city magazine Siegessaule.

2. Cologne

Cologne Cathedral and Skyline
Robert Harding/Getty Images
Cologne is home to one of the oldest and most vital gay communities in Germany. The city is famous for its open-minded, friendly and fun joie de vivre, and its many gay bars, clubs, and cafes are a vital part of Cologne’s nightlife scene.
The highlight on Cologne’s party calendar is its annual celebration of the Gay Pride aka Christopher Street Day, which attracts around 1 million revelers and is one of the largest gay and lesbian events in all of Europe. Highlight of the festivities is the colorful parade with more than 120 floats parading through the center of Cologne. Parties, open-air concerts, panel discussions, and a street festival make the weekend complete. Another not-to-miss event are the annual carnival celebrations in early spring, with many gay parties, the festive Rose Monday parade, and Rosa Funken, the first gay carnival club in Germany. For a great overview of Cologne’s countless gay bars, cafes and events, check out patroc.com

3. Munich

Munich's Marienplatz
GNTB/Jochen Keute
In 1895, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first-known gay activist, supported homosexual rights in his speech on Lawyer's Day in Munich, so it’s no wonder that the Bavarian capital is a fantastic destination for gay and lesbian travelers. Head to the Glockenbach quarter around Gärtnerplatz for gay-friendly and hip restaurants, bars, and shops. Besides Gay Pride in summer, there is of course Oktoberfest with its own "Gay Sunday" in the Bräurosl beer tent (on the first weekend of Oktoberfest). And in wintertime, the gay Christmas market Pink Christmas with its white pagoda tents, pink plastic Christmas trees and colorful lights is a fun place for the whole family.
Same sex travelers shouldn’t miss the Munich restaurant and hotel Deutsche Eiche (German Oak), located close to Viktualienmarkt in the heart of the city. Offering Bavarian cuisine, this restaurant is the traditional center of Munich’s gay community and used to be the favorite restaurant of German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder and singer Freddie Mercury. Deutsche Eiche is also the first gay-owned 3-star Superior Hotel and home to Germany’s largest gay sauna, spread over 4 floors.

4. Hamburg

Photo of Hamburg Germany
Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Images
Hamburg, Germany’s open-minded and gay-friendly metropolis in the north, was the site where the first same-sex marriage was officiated in Germany. The scene is mostly centered around the St. Georg district, especially along Lange Strasse, Steindamm, Pulverteich, Danziger Strasse and Rostocker Strasse. And of course there is the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's legendary nightlife mile, which is also home to one of Europe's biggest red light districts. You'll find many great bars, restaurants, theaters, and clubs here, along with sex shops, sex museums, erotic theaters, and strip clubs. This area draws an eclectic mix of visitors – night owls, students, and tourists. The adjacent Schmuckstrasse, is a center for transsexuals and transvestites, while Talstrasse just off the Reeperbahn, is home to may gay-friendly bars and clubs.
After Hamburg’s Gay Pride in summer, the city hosts its annual Hamburg Leather convention, and during the holiday season, Hamburg is home to an erotic Christmas market that caters exclusively to adults.
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