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Destinations

Loving summer in Copenhagen

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​Most places in the world seem to be at their best during the summer months.

While it can be fun to pull on hats, scarves, and gloves, and trudge around in the snow for a while, it’s a completely different dynamic when the sun is out, and everyone can relax, take their time, and just enjoy what life has to offer.

Of all the places in Europe where you can spend summer, one of my favourite places has to be Copenhagen — the capital of Denmark.

Copenhagen is a beautiful city at any time of year, but during summer it really comes alive.

Swimming in the harbour

You’ll be amazed at how clean and fresh the water in the harbour is. There’s a swimming pontoon set up at a spot called Islands Brygge. Adjacent to this is a stretch of grass. On sunny days the grass is rammed with everyone, relaxing in the sun and working on their tans, while the energetic jump in and out of the water at the swimming pontoon. Included in the pontoon is a diving platform. It doesn’t look particularly high from the bottom, but when you’re at the top and looking down at the water below it’s a completely different proposition.

Eating the food

Copenhagen has a justifiably impressive reputation as a destination for food-lovers. From Noma (by all accounts one of the best restaurants in the world), to the simple open sandwiches that they do so well. I was eating some herring in a local restaurant when they poured me a glass of schnapps. I protested, I was just having a quick lunch, it really was a bit early to be laying into the schnapps, but they insisted that the schnapps had to be drunk with the herring “to help the fish swim.” It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic. Copenhagen is also the home of the Joe & The Juice franchise (who do great juices); The Coffee Collective (who do great coffee); and Grod — which translates as porridge (they do great porridge).

Dancing in the streets

Lots of places have music festivals in the summer months, and it’s always a great atmosphere to head out into the fields and go camping somewhere remote. Copenhagen’s summer music festival is called Distortion. What makes it interesting is that it effectively takes over the city. They describe it as a party tsunami, because each day it moves from one neighbourhood to the next, building momentum, involving everyone, bringing music and dancing to the entire city. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal, everyone out in the streets, enjoying the sunshine, drinking cans of beer, and having a good time. This is what a music festival should be.

If I was just a little bit taller, and a little bit blonder, I would move to Copenhagen in a heart-beat. There’s so much to recommend this city — they cycle everywhere, they know good food, and they know how to have a good time. If you’re looking for a city-break destination for summer then it is hard to look past Copenhagen.

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Destinations

Which are the gay travel hot spots?

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Need some inspiration for your travel plans?

We ran a survey of Mainly Male readers to ask gay men about their expeditions and adventures.

108 guys responded to our survey.

Here’s what they told us.

When you go on vacation, who do you generally travel with?

  • By myself: 23%
  • With a partner: 49%
  • With friends: 14%
  • With family: 11%
  • I don’t travel: 3%

Which is your favourite type of vacation?

  • Beach: 23%
  • Somewhere warm: 15%
  • Winter sports: 3%
  • City-break: 12%
  • Something active or outdoorsy: 9%
  • Something cultural: 16%
  • Something relaxing: 22%

“Some holidays that have been the best of times start with staying at a B&B and being able to go sky diving, canoeing, and a range of outdoor activities, then relaxing at night in a warm house and great dinner and bed.” — anonymous survey respondent

“Combination of someplace warm where we can explore and then have a few down days to relax on the beach.” — anonymous survey respondent

“Tend to do a mix — city to party, relax, somewhere warm, cultural, and active. Our trip this year is San Francisco to party, relax on boat travelling up the west coast, Napa, hike in the red wood forest, and Palm Springs.” — anonymous survey respondent

“Cruise!” — anonymous survey respondent

When you’re on vacation, are you interested in checking out gay bars, venues, or events?

  • Yes: 62%
  • No: 14%
  • It depends who I’m with: 24%

When you’re on vacation, are you interested in staying in a gay-friendly hotel or accommodation?

  • Yes: 58%
  • No: 19%
  • It depends who I’m with: 23%

Which destinations are at the top of your travel wish-list?

  • Responses to this question weren’t particularly cut and dried, as people listed both countries and specific cities in their answers — in some cases respondents listed entire continents. We’ve manually reviewed the answers to draw together the common themes.
  • Spain featured prominently on the wish-list of a lot of our respondents. When we include beach-side destinations such as Sitges, Ibiza, and Gran Canaria, 8% of respondents had Spain on their wish-list
  • Italy polled strongly, with 4% of respondents reporting that Italy was on their wish-list. As did Australia, and Germany — both of these destinations also appeared on the travel wish-list of 4% of respondents.
  • An additional 4% of respondents simply nominated Europe as being on their wish-list, which would translate to further interest in destinations such as Spain, Italy, and Germany.
  • Iceland polled strongly — featuring on the travel wish-list of 3% of survey respondents.
  • Other destinations that respondents had high on their wish-list included New York City, Greece, Mexico, London, South America, France, Chicago, Japan, New Zealand, and San Francisco.
  • Key take-out: Australia, Iceland, and European destinations are at the top of mind for gay travellers. When it comes to the US, gay travellers tend to focus on the specific cities that they want to visit, such as New York City and San Francisco.

Which destination will you be going to for your next vacation?

  • Looking at the specific destinations that respondents reported, the big winner was Paris — however it’s clear that this was influenced by the timing of the survey. Respondents were completing the survey just ahead of the Gay Games hosted by Paris.
  • When we look at the results at a country level, somewhere in the United States was where a large proportion (21%) of respondents were spending their next vacation — most of this seemed to be fuelled by domestic travel. Australia (9%)is a popular destination for gay travellers, as is Spain (12%) and Italy (8%).
  • Key take-out: Like all travel, there are seasonal factors that influence the choices of gay travellers — for example, the beach resorts of Spain are popular in Summer. What we’d perhaps underestimated is how event-driven travel is a big factor in the choices being made by gay men.

Where do you get your travel inspirations?

  • Friends and family: 29%
  • Personal research: 49%
  • Travel articles or features: 19%
  • Advertising: 3%

“A lot of it depends on price as well, I use Skyscanner and see what cheap flights are available so if there’s a cheap flight to be taken advantage of, then why not?” — anonymous survey respondent
“I also love to read about history, so that too give me ideas about travelling.” — anonymous survey respondent

Key take-outs

  • Gay travellers are influenced by seasonal and event-driven considerations when planning their vacation destinations. Although winter sports options seem to be fairly low on the priority list.
  • European destinations are popular with gay travellers, as well as destinations such as Australia, Iceland, and North American cities such as San Francisco and New York City.
  • We were surprised by the number of gay men who reported that they generally travel by themselves — 23% of respondents.
  • Gay travellers are interested in staying in accommodation that demonstrates that it is gay-friendly.
  • On vacation, gay travellers are interested in experiencing the local gay nightlife of bars, clubs, and venues.
  • The most effective way to draw a gay traveller’s attention to a specific destination is to help them feel that it’s their idea. In sci-fi terms, it’s inception — supporting the initial ‘discovery’ with positive reinforcement from friends and family, travel articles, and advertising.

Travel Tuesday

Every Tuesday we take a look at a destination or experience that you might want to consider adding to your travel wish-list. Here’s some of our recent Travel Tuesday features:

An airstream adventure across California

Travel Tips: Cancún, Mexico

Travel Tuesday: Faro and Algarve

Travel Tuesday: South West France

Survey Methodology

  • The survey was conducted across a four-week period in July 2018.
  • Respondents were recruited via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. No incentives were offered for respondents to complete the survey.
  • We used Survey Monkey to collect the survey responses, and then analysed the results manually
  • Comments from respondents were captured during the survey process.

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