2 years, 11 months ago
Pride owns this summer. From one day marathons to long weekends and entire weeks, you could plot Europe end to end just by parades and parties. So what are you thinking? Go with familiar territory? Try something completely different? Or go all out and refuse to sleep till September? We have to advise caution on the last option. But that’s the last cautious thing we have to say. Now go party.
Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city, biggest port and home to the infamous Reeperbahn. But, if that’s all you know, you’re missing the point. No doubt Hamburg deserves its hedonistic reputation – Berliners visit just for the pop-up club nights. It also has more millionaires than anywhere else in Germany, more canals than Venice and reputation for music and art that totally outstrips any seedy, sailor-based, red-light district past history. Hamburg Pride is 35 years old in 2015 and, at a week long, it’s one of Europe’s biggest events. Last year the parade alone attracted 165,000 visitors and is going for broke again this August. Expect parties – on and off-programme – extreme flamboyance and crowds. But, as always, Hamburg Pride has a serious side too. This year’s core message is ‘Acceptance is ready for school’ and celebrations are cut with energetic debate, exhibitions and performance on that theme and beyond.
The Dutch capital doesn’t do sedate and Amsterdam Gay Pride (AGP) is one of its biggest events – it hosts 300 festivals a year, enough said. No surprise water is a bit of a theme here and the legendary Canal Parade is spectacular – even if you don’t have a boat. The districts are more blurred than ever now, so expect inclusive and riotous all over the place. Also, safe and well organised, without killing the wild, which is a bit of an Amsterdam celebration signature.
Gorgeous, gracious Stockholm is as liberal as it is lovely and Stockholm Pride might not be the biggest in the world but it still pulls crowds of visitors – 40,000 people descended to party last year. Known for its great bars and brilliant attitude, we can never get over how friendly, smart and good fun the Stockholm natives are too. Plus, they’re right up there with the prettiest people on earth. So if ever there was a place to bring your A-game, this is it.
Beautiful Brighton is England’s 2nd Gay City and pretty much celebrates all year round. So Brighton & Hove Pride might be just one day, but it packs almost as much into 24 hours as most places can just about manage in a week. Carnival of Diversity says it all and covers everything from official parties (plenty of unofficial ones too) right through to the Pride Dog Show – a real thing with much cuteness.
Antwerp is unofficially known as Europe’s gayest city, and Antwerp Pride is doing nothing to dispel the myth this August. Parties include ‘sneakers and sportswear’, ‘Latin Party’ and ‘Naked and Underwear’, so the general theme is all or nothing – erring heavily on the side of ‘all’. The Antwerp Pride march is famously extravagant and noisy. Don’t miss the Wave Festival for food, shopping, music and dancing. And if you’re hanging around a bit after Antwerp Pride, you could make the most of Belgium’s petite size and visit Bruges, Brussels or Gent for the day by train – fast and not expensive.
Reykjavik is a bit of Pride baby at only 16, but it’s expanded from a one day event to six days of all out celebration in less than two decades. This year over 100,000 people are expected – the entire population of Iceland is only 500,000 – and Reykjavik Pride is everywhere from stunning Harpa Concert Hall to Nautholsvik geothermal beach. And, speaking of geothermal, remember Iceland is the kingdom of hot springs and some of the most famous are within easy distance of Reykjavik if you need to recharge.
Some of its near neighbours haven’t exactly covered themselves with Pride in recent years, so good to see Prague standing up and being counted with Prague Pride. It’s long, bright, colourful and inclusive and the city’s fairy tale prettiness is packed with events. Unsurprisingly, concerts are high on the agenda in this musical place, parties are plenty and Prague’s making the most of its lovely squares, gardens, bridges and river to pull together a sensational six day celebration of diversity.
And if you missed Munich Pride in July, it was exceptional. But don’t feel too bad. The city’s celebrating all over again in August with “Schwules Strassenfest” on the 15th. This immense street party starts at lunchtime and goes on until almost midnight when everyone just moves the show to the city’s many, many bars and clubs. If one day of party isn’t enough to travel for, remember Munich is Bavaria and the surrounding lakes, mountains, forests and rivers are stunning in summer.
Furthermore, if you would like to get some more information about the history of Pride as well as where the next ones are around the world, then we suggest you have a look at our Pride infographic. Enjoy!