Meet a man in every port of our gay globetrotter’s guide to six dreamy destinations.
By Mike Fleming
Having a boyfriend at every stop on a world tour might sound far-fetched, but what else would take a gay trek around the world from fun to fab? Gallant gay guides, of course. That’s why this tour comes via the guys you could meet on each sensational stop.
Dream big with these guys ready to show you a good time wherever you hang your hat.
Your Boyfriend in Cape Town
The guy you meet in Cape Town, South Africa, is most likely as worldly as the city he calls home. Some of most immaculate beaches on the planet, including exclusively gay beaches at Clifton, as well as shopping and dining on Camps Bay, are five-to-ten minutes from this internationally savvy city. Make sure your guy takes you to the Atlantic side of the cape, affectionately nicknamed the South African Riviera, and set aside an afternoon to drive down the coast for breathtaking views.
Back in town, the quaint inner-city village of De Waterkant is Cape Town’s gay central. Gay bars include Bar Code, Beaulah, Crew and Amsterdam Action Bar. You might decide to sleep in the waterfront burgh of Green Point at hotels like DysArt. And the right Cape Town guy won’t let you leave without checking into the Winelands for shopping, wining and dining.
Your Boyfriend in Cologne
Other guys in bigger German cities get a lot of love from gay tourists, but your boyfriend in Cologne, like his home town, is considered the most laid back and approachable in West Germany. He loves wiling away the hours in outdoor cafes in Rudolfplatz and pubs in Old Town.
Cologne is the Atlanta of Germany. No wonder you get along so well. As Atlanta is mecca of the gay South, Cologne stands apart as the real gay capital of West Germany for its friendly people and easy-going atmosphere. It’s about the same size as metro Atlanta in population, and was also nearly destroyed by war, so its mix of old and new is rich with history like the Cologne Cathedral. Make plans with this guy for Bear Days, May 5-8, or during Cologne Gay Pride July 1-3. Visit patroc.com/cologne
Your Boyfriend in Rio de Janeiro
After the world turns away from the Summer Games, book your next visit with your Brazilian beau. When the temperatures moderate and the tourism season wanes, this party boy will still have plenty of warm beaches, hot social hours and scorching nightlife to share.
Like the syncopated rhythms of the Samba-style dance he’s named after, your “Carioca” – what natives of Rio call themselves – has the inside scoop on gay life in one of South America’s most gay-friendly cities. From the laid-back vibe on gay beaches like Ipanema Farme de Amoedo, Copacabana and Arpoador, to cosmopolitan dining at gay-owned Confiteria Colombo and shopping in gayborhoods like Lebion and Leme, there’s something for every mood that strikes here. When the sun goes down, enjoy two-dozen gay clubs including The Week, Le Boy and Zero Zero. Visit rio.gaycities.com.
Your Boyfriend in Montreal
Say “oui” to your favorite French Canadian in the City of Saints and the Village of Gays. Yes, really. The gayborhood here is called Le Village Gai. Nestled in the Ville-Marie, it’s home to thousands of LGBT residents including your personal out-and-proud host. The Village is the perfect jumping off point to the rest of the city from the centrally located Beaudry Metro Station.
Your issue-oriented guy is proud of his rich history in one of world’s most gay-friendly cities, and with good reason. The oldest recorded gay establishment in North America, Montrealer Moise Tellier’s cake shop, opened here in 1869, a century before Stonewall. Gay bars run the gamut from drag bar Cabaret Mado, to quirky dive bar Notre-Dame des Quilles, to the expansive Appollon nightclub.
Ask your guy if you can stay the week of August 8 for Montreal Pride. Visit tourisme-montreal.org.
Your Boyfriend in Venice
There’s no question which of your international boyfriends is most cultured and charming, so you may lose yourself in his watery blues that match the city’s famous waterways cultivated when the city sank into the Adriatic centuries ago.
Ask your gay guide for a romantic ride on one of the signature gondolas. You’ll float lazily between the city’s distinct island burroughs including Murano, the only place in the world where authentic Murano glass is made, and the least expensive place to buy it.
Unlike its big-city Italian brethren, the gayest thing about perfectly sleepy Venice – besides you and the man you’re here to see – is the Metro Venezia, a bathhouse. Gay-friendly hotels include Antico Panada in San Marco, Haven Hosel San Toma in San Polo, and the Venice Ai Carmini in Dorsoduro. Luxuriate in the outdoor cafes in tucked-away corners or wide-open squares like Plazza San Marco. Be sure to visit the Guggenheim Museum, named for the American socialite who founded its New York sister venue and lived among her collected modern works here. Visit travelgayeurope.com.
Your Boyfriend in Singapore
Asia is known for its accommodating gentlemen and business-minded men. Your gay guide is a little of both, just like the way his exotic city-state island combines Southeast Asia’s old worlds and new. Let him guide you through sprawling urban areas and tiny villages within just a few miles of each other.
As this cosmopolitan guy lets you into his world via native culture and urban excursions, make sure he shows you around Chinatown – yes, even this former Chinese province has a Chinatown – where Tantric Bar and May Wong’s Café cater to gay customers. It’s also where you’ll find the Cruise Club sauna, which you can expect to live up to its name, and the Shuang Spa, where the region’s famous happy-ending massages come to life with a gay twist.
Additional sources: Spartacus Gay Guide, spartacusworld.com