Are you thinking of attending a Pride event somewhere in Europe, but wondering where you should go and what you should do? There are vast numbers of options, as many countries now host Pride celebrations in multiple forms – but let’s check out some of the top ones so you know exactly what to consider.
Some of the best Pride festivals include things like Paris Pride, Dublin Pride, Amsterdam Pride, Madrid Pride, Berlin Pride, London Pride, Stockholm Pride, Brussels Pride, Prague Pride, Vienna Pride, Sitges Pride, Brighton Pride, Oslo Pride, and Helsinki Pride.
That’s quite a list, so let’s check them out in more detail and find out why these are the top Pride festivals to attend if you want a unique, friendly atmosphere.
Could there be any city more romantic than Paris? Pride isn’t just about the romance, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to hold this festival in one of the most magical cities in Europe, and Paris has the largest Pride event in France. There are plenty of other events in places like Marseille, Bordeaux, and Rouen, but Paris’s Pride holds a particular place in our hearts.
There are some fabulous film festivals, including the LGBTQ+ film festival and the lesbian and feminist film festival, giving you an opportunity to see some amazing shows while you’re there. There is also the parade to join, although be warned, the city streets become extremely crowded with people celebrating this amazing event!
The LGBT Pride event takes place in Dublin near the start of June every year, and happens over a whole week. There will be lots of events during this week, including speeches, performances, and the incredible 5K Pride Run – so there’s absolutely loads to get involved with.
The big parade starts on one of the last days of the events, winding through the streets. It’s followed by some incredible parties and lots of music, and often runs well into the next morning, so make sure you’re well rested and ready to celebrate with thousands of like-minded people.
Dublin takes Pride seriously, and it’s one of the biggest annual events in the city. That means it draws in huge crowds, and you’ll feel very much like part of a community here – which is one of the key elements of a successful Pride festival.
If you want to attend a truly unique Pride event, Amsterdam’s Canal Pride might be the one for you. It’s an incredible one, and very romantic: a rainbow of colorful ships are set to sail around on the city’s stunning canals, and there’s something truly magical about watching them drift about in the tranquil waters.
This city is also a wonderful one for finding parties during Pride; everybody is out celebrating, and the whole place comes to life with vibrant colors. It’s energetic, exciting, and full of positivity. Added to that, Amsterdam has a character all its own, and it’s a must-visit city even when Pride isn’t going on.
During this incredible event, though, there’s more to do than just look at the boats (though that might be enough on its own, to be honest). You can join up with the Rainbow Walk or head to Pride Park, and you’ll find yourself in the company of thousands and thousands of supporters.
And if you want to show your passion for films, there’s an open-air cinema that showcases LGBTQ+ movies, so why not check this out one evening? The event takes place toward the end of July and often into the early days of August.
If it’s a party you’re looking for, Madrid can certainly deliver. You’ll enjoy all the incredible weather associated with this city, at the same time as getting a chance to celebrate with like-minded people. The event usually takes place at the beginning of July, and it fills all of Madrid with unique parties and a celebratory atmosphere.
This event is sometimes known as Orgullo Gay, and it has been running since 1979. It gets support from many big companies like Microsoft and Google, and if you’re wondering what the biggest gay demonstration in Europe is – it’s usually this. You’ll be joining more than 2 million people to fill the streets with color and acceptance, and that’s a wonderful feeling.
Often called CSD Berlin, this festival is held near the end of June in celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. The acronym stands for Christopher Street Day, and this is an event that has been getting bigger every year.
It’s also thought to be one of the biggest gay and lesbian organized events in Germany, and among the largest in Europe too. Around 500,000 people turn out in all their vibrant colors to show their support for the queer community, and it’s truly a stunning event that everybody should attend when they get the opportunity!
London is famously romantic too, and it has been noted for its week-long “Pride Festival,” usually held in June or July, in anticipation of the gay pride parade. This is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest public events in London, and it is more than worth a visit, especially if you’d like to take in the city at the same time.
The parade tours through some of London’s most famous sites, including Piccadilly Circus and Big Ben, finishing up at Trafalgar Square. It’s a pretty political event, but also amazing fun; when the parade terminates, London becomes one giant street party, where everybody is focused on enjoying themselves and celebrating all the beauty that love brings to our world.
Held in the capital of Sweden, Stockholm Pride has been growing consistently since it started in 1998. Hundreds of thousands of people generally turn out for this incredible celebration, filling the streets with enthusiasm.
There’s so much here, it’s hard to fit it all in! You can head to Pride House, which is the cultural center of the city, and which hosts a wide range of lectures, exhibitions, and seminars throughout the first Monday of the celebration.
You’ll learn a huge amount about the LGBTQ+ community, and there are also opportunities to attend workshops, go to the theater, watch films, and see live performances. This continues over a couple of days, and then on Wednesday, the Pride Park is opened.
This is an arena with space for thousands upon thousands of people, and it is filled with everything you could need or want. It has stages to host artists and shows, and it is brimming with restaurants, stalls, and many different attractions. It remains open until Sunday, allowing participants to keep celebrating day after day!
If you want to attend a Pride festival where you know you will feel very safe and supported, Brussels Pride could be the right one for you; Belgium is considered one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world. It legalized same-sex activity back in 1795, outdoing many other countries!
This festival happens earlier than many other European Pride events; it’s usually in the second half of May. It essentially consists of an incredible street party throughout Brussels; you can join in with the march, or just enjoy the party! There’s so much to do, and the atmosphere is so vibrant and supportive, this really is a must-not-miss to add to your list.
Although Prague Pride didn’t enter the scene until 2011, it’s now had over a decade to make itself stand out – and it certainly has done that. Tens of thousands of people attend, and the city lights up with color in response. This is said to be one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly events to take place in Central and Eastern Europe.
It is a week-long event, filled with parties, concerts, debates, and exhibitions – and culminating in the big parade, which winds through the city’s center and then spreads out into Letna Park to finish celebrating.
Vienna’s Rainbow Parade is a key part of its Pride celebrations, and it welcomes everybody from all aspects of the queer community. With banners, t-shirts, flags, signs, and more, this parade offers marchers the opportunity to express themselves and stand up against discrimination, and it’s the biggest annual demonstration in all of Austria.
The route can vary, but it’s well-organized and very well-attended, and if you are interested, you can also enter a float or vehicle, simply by registering for the Rainbow Parade. If you’d rather just show up and march to show your support, that’s totally fine too – do whatever you feel comfortable with!
Sitges Pride is not as big as Barcelona’s Pride gathering, but it’s still very worth checking out, especially if you would like to attend a more authentic, small Pride gathering. Not everybody loves the huge celebrations, and that’s just fine; that’s what events such as Sitges Pride are for.
Although it’s not enormous, this event is very popular, and thousands travel to Spain just for the purpose of attending it. You can celebrate the diversity of humans while standing on an incredibly sunny beach, letting the wind toss through your hair, and gazing out at the sea – or at the beautiful people all around you.
Sitges Pride has so much to offer, and many participants prefer it because it’s a little smaller and less overwhelming than the huge gatherings. You don’t need to be on the biggest marches to show your sentiments or have a great time – so it’s well worth checking this Pride festival out, especially if you will be in Spain in June!
If you like the idea of a smaller Pride festival but Sitges isn’t doing it for you, why not consider Brighton Pride? This is not as big as London, and it’s also got a rather lighter, less serious atmosphere, with more focus on the party elements. While London’s political approach is important, sometimes you just want to have fun!
Brighton’s offering is certainly fun; you’ll enjoy the vibrant, beautiful city, which is often referred to as an LGBTQ+ neighborhood of London. There are parties galore, and this Pride festival often sees massive headliner acts, including people like Christina Aguilera. There’s something for everybody here!
If you’d like to attend a particularly long-lasting “festival of love,” Oslo’s Pride event may be the one for you. It takes place in June every year, and lasts for a full 10 days, with the big march happening on the final day.
And talk about picturesque – the location by the water is just stunning, and perfect for celebrating natural beauty (both in humans and in the world around us). Furthermore, there’s Pride House, which offers incredible art exhibitions.
It’s easy to find things to do, whether you love debates, concerts, film screenings, parties, or something else. Because it’s such a long festival, it’s also really easy to fit in a variety of things; you can spend some time learning about the LGBTQ+ world, and some time simply letting loose and partying your heart out.
Last but not least, there’s Finland’s biggest Pride event, held in Helsinki. Each year has its own unique theme, and offers a warm, vibrant, friendly atmosphere to all-comers. It’s important to recognize that Scandinavian countries are famous for being generally LGBTQ+ inclusive, so if you are particularly keen to find a friendly Pride festival, this could be the one for you.
Attending Pride can be a daunting event, but you’ll feel very welcome here, and there are many activities to enjoy. Discussions, parties, and more – Finland knows how to do Pride right, and year after year, Helsinki attracts thousands upon thousands of LGBTQ+ individuals to celebrate in style.
Wow, what a collection of amazing LGBTQ+ friendly Pride festivals – and we wish we could go to all of them. It’s heartening to see so many festivals dedicated to the mantra that love is love, and that we all matter. The world is brighter and (literally) more colorful as a result, so check out these events and decide which you’ll be attending!