Gay Vacations in Stockholm, Sweden
|Stockholm, Sweden (Gavin Hellier/Photographer's Choice/Getty)|
The capital of the land that's blessed us with such simple necessities of modern gay life as ABBA, H&M, and IKEA, Stockholm is a breathtakingly beautiful northern European city of 1.5 million, stretching across 14 islands between Lake Malären and the Baltic Sea. As Scandinavia's biggest city, Stockholm serves as a sort of de facto nerve center for the Nordic countries. Often wrongly thought to be a blond-haired/blue-eyed only zone, today's Stockholm is increasingly multicultural, adding further variety and buzz to its already world-recognized music, design, and fashion scenes.
One of few countries (if not the only) in the world that can claim both a lesbian (Queen Christina) and a gay man (King Gustav III) as its former rulers, Sweden has an LGBT history that stretches back centuries and is today one of the globe's most progressive nations when it comes to gay rights. Gays and lesbians have been accepted in Stockholm for so long that there's never been the need for any sort of marginalized "gay ghetto." This is obviously a good thing for the gay traveler in that you'll be welcomed everywhere, but it also means you won't find queer-only establishments clustered together within close proximity of each other. Instead, they're dotted all over town, from the gorgeous Gamla Stan (Old Town) to the commercial Norrmalm (the modern city center) to the fancified Östermalm to the very trendy Södermalm to the up and coming Kungsholmen.
By far the biggest event on the city's gay calendar is the annual Stockholm Pride, the largest of its kind in Scandinavia. Usually a late July/early August affair centered around Pride Park (known the rest of the year as Tantolunden), Stockholm Pride includes musical performances, a gay film festival, and, of course, the obligatory parade through the city. In 2008 the festivities were transformed for the second time into a highly successful continent-wide EuroPride, attended by half a million people.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication