When it comes to gay-friendly cities in Europe, gay and lesbian Berlin has a lot to offer. From pulsating nightclubs and steamy saunas, to wild LGBTQ+ events and gay cruising areas, Berlin is a queer mecca for LGBTQ+ travellers.
We recently visited Berlin for the first time during our winter tour of Europe. It didn’t take long for us to fall in love with the cities quirky, vibrant, and open-minded culture. Not to mention the gay (and lesbian) scene, which rivals most in Europe.
Besides the thriving gay scene, Berlin is one of the most extraordinary cities we’ve ever encountered. A city oozing hipster culture and creative expression, with a fascinating history to boot, we, like many others, can see ourselves returning time and time again.
You come as you are in Berlin, and nobody blinks an eye. We loved that about the city. A place that welcomes diversity and allows us to be ourselves will always be a winner in our eyes.
With all this in mind, we have put together this comprehensive LGBTQ+ travel guide to Berlin. Here you’ll find a list of the hottest gay bars and nightclubs, gay-friendly hotels and hostels, infamous gay and lesbian Berlin events, as well as all the top things to do around the city.
Gay In: Berlin – A LGBTQ+ Guide to Gay & Lesbian Berlin
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LGBTQ+ Rights in Germany
Same-Sex Sexual Activity: Legal since 1969.
Same-Sex Marriage: Legal since 2017.
Rights to Change Legal Gender: Legal since 2011 (no surgery required.)
Same-Sex Adoption: Legal since 2017.
LGBT Discrimination: Illegal since 2006.
If you are keen to learn more, Equaldex elaborates further on LGBT+ rights in Germany.
Is Berlin Safe for LGBTQ+ Travellers?
The short answer is, Hell Yeh! In fact, I’d say there are fewer places safer for LGBT+ travellers than in Berlin. If you are from somewhere that forces you to hide your sexuality, we encourage you to visit Berlin and experience what true freedom really feels like.
Here you can be openly affectionate with your significant other without fear of judgement. You could be dressed in fetish attire on public transport, and nobody would look twice. In the Summer, you can sunbathe nude in the heart of the city (in designated areas), and this is considered entirely normal. You see, in Gay Berlin, anything goes!
Of course, the usual risks attached to sexual relations or travel in general still apply. Be sure to take the necessary precautions to look after both yourself and your belongings.
The Berlin Gay Scene
When you consider Berlin’s LGBT+ history, it is no surprise that Schöneberg remains the epicentre of gay culture. It is here, amidst a trendy neighbourhood, that the wealth of gay bars, clubs and shops reside.
Schöneberg is also where the major gay and lesbian events such as the Lesbian & Gay City Festival and Christopher Street Day take place. The district even hosted Berlins first-ever LGBTQ+ Christmas market in 2019, which we were fortunate enough to attend!
In recent years, Berlin’s gay scene has also progressed in other districts around the city. Other notable gay areas are in the Mitte and Kreuzberg areas.
Although, if you’re not seeking any ‘scene’ as such, just reassurance that you’ll be accepted, you’ll find the entire sprawling city of Berlin to be gay-friendly.
Gay Nightlife in Berlin
Whatever you’re into, you will find no shortage of gays bars and clubs scattered around in Berlin. From dance clubs and fetish clubs to cruising bars and drag shows, there is truly something for everybody. You can even find culture-specific parties, for example, Jewish, Turkish, and Brazilian focused LGBTQ+ nights.
To us, it’s a whole other world, but to many, it’s a realm of freedom and possibility. And with that, here are some of the most popular gay bars, clubs and parties in Berlin. Or for a more comprehensive list, we recommend checking out this article by Queer in the World.
Gay Bars in Berlin
Toms Bar: Located in Schöneberg, Toms Bar is somewhat of a gay institution in Berlin. Not for the faint-hearted, most men come here for more than just a quiet drink, if you get my gist. The bar is at its busiest on Monday nights when they host a 2-4-1 drinks promotion.
Heile Welt: Also located in Schöneberg, Heile Welt is a more low key gay bar, where popping in and enjoying a cocktail is the norm. Here you’ll find a mixed crowd from the LGBTQ+ community and can enjoy delicious drinks and catchy tunes until the early hours.
Möbel Olfe: Set in the hipster Kreuzberg district, Mobel Olfe attracts a slightly alternative crowd with its rugged vibe and bohemian decor. Set in an old furniture store, it’s undoubtedly one of the coolest gay bars in the city. Combining a heady mix of loud Indie music and a trendy queer crowd, you’re guaranteed a night to remember.
The Coven: Aspiring to be more than a gay bar, and succeeding, The Coven is a modern, chic cocktail bar located in Central Berlin Mitte. Despite the industrial decor, the bar maintains an air of elegance, and with it attracts an alternative LGBTQ+ crowd. It’s the perfect spot for those looking for a quiet drink without the smutty extras that come with many of the bars in Gay Berlin.
Betty F*** Bar: If it’s trashy drag show entertainment you seek, you need look no further than Betty F*** Bar. Alongside pimped up cocktails, you’re sure to enjoy a fun-filled night at this glammed up bar in Central Berlin Mitte.
Gay Clubs in Berlin
Berghain: Once a Gay Club, now an ‘anybody who loves to party’ club, Berghain is considered to be one of the best nightclubs in the world. Set in a former railway warehouse, patrons queue for hours to get into the exclusive club which opens from Friday night, all the way through to Monday lunchtime. Be warned, however, the bouncers at Berghain are infamous for turning people away. There are no set rules as to why; merely that they are looking for the ‘right balance of people’. Whatever that’s supposed to mean! Inside you’ll find a labyrinth of corridors leading to a variety of sinful rooms & delights – very mysterious indeed!
Schwuz: Your typical Queen gay nightclub! Schwuz attracts a younger LGBTQ+ crowd with its Indie-Pop/R&B mainstream DJ’s alongside over the top drag queens and dancers! While the club is gay every night, look out for the regular themed parties which attract a fun-loving crowd.
Die Busche: An iconic nightclub within the Berlin LGBT* scene, Die Busche was the only gay club in East Germany before reunification. Today the party is still going strong, spreading across three floors and attracting a young crowd. Each room plays a different genre of music ranging from club anthems to disco charts, as well as 80’s & 90’s music.
Gay Parties in Berlin
Revolver Party @ KitKatClub: The chances are you may have heard of the x-rated goings-on at KitKatClub. If not, let’s just say that it’s a place where literally, anything goes. You’ll find a mixed bag of genders and sexualities at most parties held at KitKat; however, the Revolver party, held on the 2nd Friday of every month, is specifically for gay men.
GMF @ House of Weekend: Slightly less intimidating, GMF is your stereotypical gay party. Expect cheesy playlists, drag queens, an exuberant crowd, and a large dashing of fabulousness. You can attend GMF @ the exclusive House of Weekend nightclub every Sunday night.
Lesbian Nightlife in Berlin
Girls, I wish I could tell you that our gay scene was just as juicy and diverse as it is for the boys. However, we all know the drill by now. Lesbian bars and clubs tend to barely make it past first base. What is that about anyway?
Anyhow, that’s not to say there isn’t any fun to be had for lesbians in Berlin. As well as the welcoming gay venues I mentioned above, there are some parties centred towards queer women, that could give even the wildest of gay boys a run for their money.
Lesbian Bars in Berlin
Himmelreich Cafe: And there’s us thinking lesbian bars were dead? Located on the ever-popular Simon-Dach-Straße, Himmelreich Cafe is the sole gay bar in the party district of Friedrichshain. It’s also the only surviving lesbian bar in all of Berlin. That said, the bar has an open-door policy, and anybody is welcome regardless of their sexuality. However, certain nights are LGBTQ+ specific such as Women’s Lounge on Tuesdays, catering to a lesbian crowd.
Silver Future: Not a lesbian bar per se, or a gay bar for that matter; however, the clientele tends to be mainly gay women. A sign above the door warns customers to ‘leave their hetronormativity’ at the door, so as you can imagine, the vibe is pretty eccentric. If you have the time, it’s a spot worth checking out – even if it’s only for the cheap drinks!
Lesbian Parties in Berlin
Girlstown Party: A party organised by girls who love girls – for girls who love girls. You just know this is going to be good. Catch the Girlstown Party at the iconic Gretchen Club, but sadly, only on a bi-monthly basis. For this year’s party dates check out the Facebook page. This is a strictly female night welcoming lesbian, trans, inter, and bisexual females. Gays and allies are also welcome.
L-Tunes: L-Tunes loves lesbians is their motto, and lesbians love them! This legendary Berlin party takes place once a month in alternating locations across the city. To coordinate your trip, the party usually takes place on the last Saturday of every month; although, we suggest checking the Facebook page for further updates.
Mint: Founded by the same organisers as Girls Town, Mint is for the electro loving raver lesbians. While the crowd is mostly gay women, there are the occasional gay men and straights. Parties are sporadic, so you should keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
LGBTQ+ Events in Berlin
Alongside the vibrant, all year round gay nightlife in Berlin, there are several LGBTQ+ focused events that are worth noting in your calendar. Here are the Gay Berlin events that we believe should be a priority on your bucket list:
Easter Berlin (April): One of the most popular fetish meetings in Europe, this kinky event is, ironically, held every year on Easter Sunday! One mainly for the boys, it is sure to satisfy all of your fetish desires.
LGBT Park Festival (July): Attracting over 400,000 visitors each year, Park Festival is the biggest LGBTQ+ street festival in all of Europe. Featuring a jam-packed schedule of entertainment, including live music and performances, information booths, market stalls and so much more, this is an annual gay event not to be missed.
Berlin Pride/Christopher Street Day (July): Berlin is said to host one of the most fantastic pride events in all of Europe. Whether that’s true or not, what can there possibly be not to love about hundreds of thousands of people coming together and marching for LGBTQ+ rights? Accompanied by a fun-filled weekend of club nights, parades, and LGBT focused events… where do we sign up?
Gayweisn Berlin (September): Gayweisn is a dedicated LGBTQ+ event held each Monday during the legendary Oktoberfest. While you can still expect steins of Bavarian beer, girls in Dirndl dresses, and boys in Lederhose, the Gayweisn tent is a slightly more extravagant affair.
Christmas Avenue (December): As of December 2019, Schöneberg hosted Berlins first-ever LGBTQ+ focused Christmas market. We took a winter city break to Berlin so managed to catch this one, and I have to say it was wonderful – If not slightly, over the top. But when Gay meets Christmas, what else do you expect?
LGBTQ+ Friendly Accommodation in Berlin
You’ll find that almost every hotel and hostel in Berlin is welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. That said there are some establishments that cater solely to the gay (male) crowd, while others are ‘Pink Pillow’ acclaimed as being gay-friendly.
The Pink Pillow Berlin collection is a range of hotels recognised by the VisitBerlin Tourism Board as being LGBTQ+ friendly. According to their website:
“The hotels in the Pink Pillow Berlin Collection welcome gay and lesbian guests with professional and relaxed service. All participating hotels have signed to treat all guests with the same courtesy, dignity and respect and to offer their guests information about the LGBTI scene.”
With this in mind, we have put together this list of LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations to suit every budget.
Gay Hotels and Hostels in Berlin
Budget $ – Guesthouse 21
If you prefer a little more privacy, Guesthouse 21 is a fantastic budget option in colourful Schöneberg. Within walking distance of Nollendorftplatz Train Station and the vibrant gay scene, the guesthouse is in the perfect location for both sightseeing and nightlife. Guest rooms are spacious, charming, and comfortable, while communal areas are welcoming and a great place to meet people.
Mid-Range $$ – Hotel Sachsenhof
Hotel Sachsenhof is somewhat historic in Berlin’s LGBTQ+ culture as has famously accommodated several queer artists and creatives. While the hotel doesn’t brand itself as a gay hotel, its central Schöneberg location attracts a mainly LGBTQ+ crowd. You can’t miss this hotel with its red-brick exterior, which is also home to the ever-popular Heile Welt gay bar.
Mid-Range $$ – Toms Gay Hotel
If you’re coming to Berlin to party, Toms Gay Hotel is the place for you. Situated at the heart of all the vibrant Schöneberg action, this hotel tends to attract a predominantly gay male crowd. Along with the funky artistic rooms and welcoming atmosphere, guests can enjoy a complimentary discount card that is valid in several bars, clubs, and saunas nearby.
Luxury $$$ – Axel Hotel Berlin
If you’re all about luxury, but still want to be in the company of other gay guests, Axel Hotel Berlin is a winning choice. The designer rooms are modern, slick, and spacious – perfect for winding down after a night out at the nearby gay bars. Other hotel amenities include a comprehensive spa and wellness centre, an on-site restaurant, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views.
Pink Pillow Hotel Collection
Hostel $ – Three Little Pigs Hostel Berlin
While Three Little Pigs Hostel is not Pink Pillow acclaimed, we stayed here during our time in Berlin and can vouch that this hostel is very welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. The dorms here are incredibly comfortable and spacious, providing personal lockers for your belongings. We also loved the vast communal area with ample seating, pool tables, a bar, and a restaurant.
Mid-Range $$ – DORMERO Hotel Berlin Ku´damm
For a touch of luxury that doesn’t break the bank, Dormero Hotel Berlin is an excellent choice in the beautiful Charlottenburg district. This area is famed for its elegant colonial buildings and high-end boutiques. While at the same time, being well connected by public transport to other areas of Berlin. The overall design of the hotel is a timeless classic, and there are several facilities to keep you entertained.
Luxury $$$ – Hotel Palace Berlin
On the slightly more modern end of the spectrum, swanky Hotel Palace Berlin is a top choice if you have the cash. The designer guestrooms, dressed to impress, sport a chic and contemporary design. Not to mention sound-proofed so you can have endless fun without disturbing your neighbours. Facilities of the hotel include a swimming pool, spa, fitness centre, and an on-site restaurant.
Things to do in Gay & Lesbian Berlin
You’re probably starting to wonder what else there is to do in gay and lesbian Berlin, other than wild parties and debaucherous fun. Thankfully, while this is an iconic side to Berlin’s gay scene, there is so much more to the city than sex, drugs, and rock & roll. Here are some of the, should I say, PG-13 things to do for gay & lesbian travellers in Berlin.
1. Visit Schwules – The Gay Museum
Located in the gay capital of Schöneberg, Schwules is a fascinating museum reflecting the diverse history of LGBTQ+ communities in Berlin.
Founded in 1985, the museum has since become one of the worlds largest institutions for preserving and communicating the history of LGBTQ+ culture.
The museum is home to various exhibitions, including the memoirs of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf – A gay and trans icon in former East Germany.
Allow: 2-3 hours / Entrance: €9 or €6 with a Berlin Card / Open: Every day apart from Tuesday.
2. Check out Berlin’s Gay Cafe Culture
For those seeking a gay scene without the, ahem ‘scene’, the gay cafe culture is where you can find it. Foodies will also be in their element, with several of these establishments serving an array of culinary delights. Not to mention the delicious coffee and colourful patrons that ensure a thoroughly enjoyable experience indeed.
Südblock: Südblock is an LGBT-friendly cafe in the heart of alternative Kreuzberg. Boasting a big outdoor beer garden, it’s especially popular during the summer months. Along with traditional German beer, the menu is typical hearty pub grub. During the evenings, you can often find live music and a pleasant atmosphere.
Romeo & Romeo: As the name suggests, this trendy cafe in Schöneberg is a popular hangout among gay men. However, if you’re in the area, I would pop your head in just to sample their famous rainbow cake and coffee.
Cafe Berio: One of the oldest cafes in the Schöneberg area, Cafe Berio is an all-time favourite of the gay and lesbian community. During the Summer, the outdoor terrace is considered a prime place, and you will often struggle to find a spot at all during peak hours. Although, once you do, you can expect delectable food and coffee.
Begine: Established in 1986, Begine is a cultural centre exclusively for women. What began in a squatted building, the organisation aims to provide a safe space for lesbian, bisexual, and trans women. At Begine, you can connect with like-minded individuals, read a variety of queer literature, or find out about LGBTQ+ events in Berlin. They also host regular parties, concerts and workshops.
3. Pay your Respects at the Gay Holocaust Memorial
Set in the heart of Berlins Tiergarten, this memorial is a reminder of all the LGBTQ+ community who suffered under the Nazi regime. Along with the jews, other minority groups such as the LGBTQ+ community were targeted and endured unspeakable treatment during those dark times. Today, a looped video plays through a gap in the concrete cube memorial, depicting a variety of gay love scenes.
Allow: 15 minutes / Entrance: Free / Open: 24/7
4. Take a Queer Walking Tour
If you’re keen to learn more about the fascinating history behind LGBTQ+ culture in Berlin, we highly recommend the Queer Walking Tour with Berlinwalks.
The tour will lead you through the infamous Schöneberg – the first gay district in the world! You’ll learn about the evolvement of LGBTQ+ rights through the years, and how Berlin became the flourishing rainbow capital that it is today.
Allow: 3-4 hours / Tours run at least once a week.
5. Marvel the ‘Gay’ Street Art at the Eastside Gallery
We’ve all seen that iconic mural on the Berlin wall of two older gentlemen sharing an intimate kiss. Many believe the piece titled “My God, help me survive this deadly love” is a symbol of Berlin’s inclusivity and gay-friendly attitude. And from a creative perspective, it probably is.
However, the history behind the kiss is actually very different. In fact, the graffiti is a depiction of two famous politicians kissing on the 30th anniversary of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic. All the same, it’s an impressive mural well worth checking out – along with the other compelling artwork that adorns the Eastside gallery.
Allow: 2 hours / Entrance: Free / Open: 24/7
6. MonGay’s at Kino International Cinema
You guessed it. Every Monday at 10 pm, Kino International Cinema host a queer cinema night. Every week is a different film – often it’s an LGBTQ+ focused film, but sometimes it could be the latest blockbuster. Either way, it’s a chance to connect with like-minded individuals in a relaxed environment.
7. Nude Sunbathing at Berlins Tiergarten
Berlins Tiergarten is one of the cities most popular outdoor attractions. A striking 210-hectares of green space filled with gardens, lakes, plants and tucked-away locations. Perfect for escaping the hustle & bustle.
It’s also a favoured spot for sunbathing naked it would seem! The nudist sunbathing area is called the ‘gay meadow’ and is mostly frequented by gay men. The area surrounding the meadow is also a renowned cruising area, so you’ll want to be wary of what’s lurking in the bushes!
8. Gay Saunas in Berlin
There is only one specific gay sauna in Berlin, and that’s the multi-floored Der Boiler Sauna. Featured across the three floors are a Finnish sauna, steam room, darkroom, whirlpool, and treatment rooms.
While the establishment offers a realm of pampering opportunities, it is also famed for being one of Berlin’s cruising hotspots. So unless you’re looking for something more than just a massage, perhaps you’ll want to consider a more conventional spa instead.
9. Gay Cruising in Berlin
I won’t pretend to be an expert in this area; however, I can tell you that Berlin is notorious for its uninhibited gay cruising scene. Again, for more information, Queer in the World covers this topic in far more detail than I ever could.
Other Things to do in Berlin
While you could spend an entire weekend exploring the Gay side of Berlin, we suggest trying to work in some of the touristy stuff too.
Unless you have more than a week in the city, it’s impossible to get around everything. But pick the locations that sound most interesting to you, and plan your itinerary from there.
Whether you’re into history, art, culture, nature, or food, there is something on this list for everybody.
1. Go on a Free Walking Tour
We find free walking tours to be one of the best ways to get to know a new city. Especially if you only have a few days to explore, it’s a convenient way to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. At the same time, you get to absorb a wealth of information regarding the history and culture from a local.
In Berlin, there are a ton of free walking tours. Whether it’s the iconic landmarks, the cities best street art, or the best bars and clubs, there’s a free tour for you. Just remember to tip your guide generously if you enjoy the tour!
Allow: 4-5 hours /
Tours run at least once a week – check the websites for more info.
2. Brandenburg Gate at Sunrise
Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s most recognisable landmark. What was once a symbol of Berlin and German division during the Cold War is now a national symbol of peace and unity.
Set alongside one of Berlins busiest shopping districts and sprawling Tiergarten, the gate tends to get extremely busy throughout the day.
Therefore, if you don’t mind the early start, we recommend visiting at sunrise where the view is quite beautiful. It’s also worth a visit at night.
Allow: 30 Minutes / Entrance: Free / Open: 24/7
3. Jewish Holocaust Memorial & Topography of Terrors
It is no secret that Berlin has a troubled and turbulent past. After all, it is the location of the Nazi’s rise to power, and where Hitler lived out his days as leader.
While it can be distressing, we recommend that anybody planning a trip to the city takes the time to visit these two significant World War II sites.
The first, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, is a unique outdoor memorial. A sweeping series of concrete slabs, each of a different size, symbolic to humanity and the Nazis warped vision of a ‘superior’ race.
The second, Topography Terror, is both an indoor and outdoor museum. It aims to provide a detailed account of how the events of World War II unfolded.
Allow: 2-3 hours / Entrance: Free / Open: Monday-Sunday 10am-8pm
4. Climb the Victory Column
The iconic Victory Column, with its striking golden statue, is one of the must-see sights in Berlin. With a history that dates back as early as the Franco-German War in 1873, it’s a monument that’s certainly moved with the times.
Today, visitors can climb the 270 steps to the top. The reward is a sensational panoramic view over Berlins beautiful Tiergarten.
Allow: 1 hour / Entrance: €3 / Open: 24/7
5. Take an Underground Tour
An Underground Tour was by far one of the most interesting things we did in Berlin. Not only did the tour provide an alternative insight into the city’s complex history; but it was an unusual experience that you don’t find on many Berlin guides.
The company is the Berlin Underworlds Association (Berliner Unterwelten). They provide various tours of Berlin’s underground tunnel network. From old WWII bunkers to beneath-the-Berlin-wall escape tunnels, you’ll be amazed to discover a whole other world that exists below the bustling streets of the city.
Allow: 2-3 hours / Tour Prices Vary / Check Website for more information.
6. Explore Museum Island & Berlin Cathedral
Regardless if you’re a museum buff or not, it’s worth taking a trip to Museum Island simply to marvel the various UNESCO buildings. There are five world-renowned museums on the Island, including the Pergamon, Bode and Neues museums.
Entry to the museums can be expensive; therefore, we recommend purchasing a Berlin WelcomeCard that allows you to enter many of them for free. Located next to Museum Island, it’s worth visiting the stunning Berlin Cathedral at the same time.
7. Have a Picnic on an Abandoned Runway
The abandoned Tempelhof Airport is undoubtedly one of the coolest spots in all of Berlin. Particularly in Summer, this is the ideal place for a picnic, sports, or simply to hang out with friends.
Constructed by the leaders of the Third Reich in the 1920s, the momentous structure has been a centre point of Berlin’s turbulent history ever since. Now non-operational, the grounds serve as a public park area.
8. Streetfood Thursdays at Markthalle Neun
If you’re in Berlin on a Thursday evening, get yourself down to Markthalle Neun for Streetfood Thursday. Here you’ll find a sweeping indoor market of international food stalls and pop up bars.
It’s an incredible atmosphere, and the food choices are out of this world. From Italian to Syrian, Vegan to Vegetarian, there is something here for everybody. We were so spoilt for choice; it took us over an hour to decide.
9. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Not for the faint-hearted, this educational full-day tour explores the Sachsenhausen Memorial on the outskirts of Berlin. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to take part in the tour this time around; however, it’s something we’d like to do next time. Click the link for a full description and over two thousand reviews for this specific tour.
- Take a train ride through the lovely forests of north Berlin
- Explore the dark history of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
- See the location of the gas chambers and gallows
- Learn about life in the camp during World War II and after
History of LGBTQ+ Culture in Berlin
Berlin has always been ahead of the times when it comes to LGBTQ+ acceptance. However, how did it come to be the progressive rainbow capital it is today? Well, now that’s an interesting story. It’s also a long one, so, for now, I’ll attempt to give you the short version.
The timeline really begins in 1871, when the government first criminalised homosexuality. Though, things only start juicing up in 1896 when the worlds first ever gay magazine, Der Eigene was published. Despite the public uproar, the scandalous publication ran until the early 1930s when the Nazis shut it down.
In the meantime, the 1920s was the golden decade of LGBT freedom in Berlin, where supposedly hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ+ people resided in the city. That’s because, following the first-ever gay-rights demonstration in Nollendorfplatz, Berlin became a gay mecca for the remainder of the decade. Fuelled by a thriving gay-media scene, out & proud Hollywood stars frolicked in the numerous LGBT bars, and the entire scene was glorified to the max.
In the late 1920s, a strong movement appealed to legalise same-sex relations; however, when the Nazis rose to power, it was abolished. Instead, the Nazis stepped up the persecution of LGBTQ+ communities and offenders were sent to concentration camps and forced to wear pink triangles. Sadly, many met the same fate as the Jews and other minority groups.
Unfortunately, the injustice doesn’t end there. Out of those who did survive the Nazi era and were liberated from camps in 1945, many had to carry out their sentences in state prisons. It wasn’t until 2002 that the German Government decided to overturn these convictions.
In a positive turn of events, the government decriminalised acts of homosexuality at the end of the 1960s. With that, the LGBTQ+ scene in Berlin thrived once again, progressing Berlin to the liberal society it is today.
Travel Tips & Advice for LGBTQ+ Travellers in Berlin
While Berlin is considered extremely safe for LGBTQ+ travellers, naturally there are some things to be aware of when enjoying your time in the city.
Getting Around in Berlin
Berlin is a large and sprawling city, which means if you plan on covering several districts, you’ll need to know how to get around. Thankfully, getting around in Berlin is super easy and convenient. It’s also really affordable, so long as you know the insider secrets.
First and foremost, we strongly recommend you get yourself a Berlin WelcomeCard. The card not only includes unlimited access to Berlins public transport network, but you’ll also get discounts at over 200 of the cities attractions. We travelled extensively around the city, and the Berlin WelcomeCard saved us a ton of money.
Now, the four major transport networks are the U-Bahn (underground trains), S-Bahn (overground trains), buses, and trams. The extensive network covers every corner of the city, so no matter where you want to go, you can always rely on public transport.
To find the quickest route, we always relied on good ol’ Google. So long as you have data or wifi, you can type in your destination, and Google will find the quickest route from your exact location. It will direct you to the station closest to you and state the trains or buses you need to take to reach your destination.
Sounds easy enough, right? And it is! The only thing I would say is that it isn’t always clear which direction you need to travel in. Several times we got on our bus or train, only to realise a few minutes later we were going in the wrong direction. No big deal, but it’s worth checking with somebody at the station or stop that you’re heading the right way.
If you prefer to avoid public transport, taxis are easy to come by at taxi stands, train stations, and the airport. Uber is also in operation and is usually cheaper than the local taxis.
The Best Time to Visit Berlin
There isn’t really any right or wrong time to visit Berlin, as there is a great atmosphere all your round. Although, if you are relying on good, warm weather, between May and October will be your safest bet. July and August are the hottest months and is also when the city is at its busiest.
Personally, we can also vouch for visiting in December. Although the temperatures can be freezing, the Christmas markets and festivities are truly magical.
Staying Safe in Berlin
Compared to most other cities in the world, Berlin is extremely safe; however, there are still some precautions you should take to protect yourself and your belongings. First of all, see our list of safety tips for LGBTQ+ travellers.
Petty thefts such as pickpocketing and bag snatching are not uncommon. We suggest keeping your belongings close to you at all times and using a small padlock or compartmental bag to keep your valuables safe. When travelling at night, avoid being alone in parks or dark areas.
Common scams pose another risk to tourists, and we advise being vigilant at all times. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut and walk away from the situation. Check out this article for examples of common scams in Berlin.
With that, don’t even think about going to Berlin without travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you’ll want the best cover money can buy.
For this reason, we always recommend World Nomads for travel insurance. They are affordable, offer a variety of packages and add ons, and allow you to make amendments to your policy while travelling.
If you need further convincing, read our article on why you need travel insurance. Or get an on-the-spot quote from World Nomads using the link below.
Meeting Other LGBTQ+ people in Berlin
With a thriving gay scene like Berlin, it’s incredibly easy to meet other members of the LGBTQ+ community. Having said that, we understand that it isn’t always easy to stroll into a bar or event and attempt to make friends.
That is why the internet is such a great tool for connecting with like-minded individuals. We suggest using social media to locate other LGBTQ+ travellers or locals in Berlin.
You can use Facebook, for example, to yield dedicated LGBTQ+ groups in the area. Similarly, navigating certain hashtags on Instagram such as #gayberlin or #lesbianberlin, can help you locate all things queer happening near you.
Also, dating apps can be a great way of connecting with like-minded people – and not necessarily for a hook-up. If you’re lucky, you could find yourself connecting with a local who can give you a full insider low down of the area. In Berlin, Grindr & Planet Romeo are popular amongst the boys, Her for the girls, and Tinder for all.
We always suggest using a secure VPN when surfing the web internationally. We can recommend Surfshark, the worlds best VPN service for travellers. Click the button below for an exclusive discount
Staying Connected in Berlin
While wifi is readily available throughout the city, travelling is so much easier when you have the internet on your phone. In order to avoid crazy roaming charges, consider getting a local sim card or invest in a pocket wifi device.
I also suggest using a secure VPN when surfing the web internationally. Using a VPN is very important these days to make sure that all your data is safe and secure.
Also, it helps while travelling not only for safety reasons but also unlocks geo-restricted content such as Netflix and helps to avoid demographic price discrimination while looking for a flight or a hotel.
In my experience, Surfshark is the best VPN for travel.
Thank you For Reading
That concludes our Gay & Lesbian Travel Guide to Berlin. I hope that you found it helpful and that you have an awesome time exploring this gay-friendly city.
Planning a trip to Berlin? Check out our other articles to help plan your trip.
If you have any questions or feel we have missed anything, please reach out to us in the comment section below or through our contact us page.
Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we share more travel advice and inspiration.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.
Charlotte & Natalie x
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Last Updated on November 25, 2021 by Our Taste For Life