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Is Montenegro a Gay-Friendly Destination?

When planning your next vacation, finding a “gay-friendly” destination can make all the difference in ensuring a welcoming and inclusive experience. Montenegro, with its stunning Adriatic sea, charming historic towns, and picturesque mountain landscapes, has been attracting attention in this regard. However, the pressing question remains: Is Montenegro truly a gay-friendly destination?

In recent years, Montenegro has made significant changes toward becoming more inclusive and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. From legalizing same-sex partnerships to yearly gay pride and gay venues, the cities in Montenegro have become more open despite the core patriarchal society.

Montenegro pride – Srdan Kosović

Among the Montenegrin cities, particularly popular among the LGBTQ+ population are the vibrant capital city of Podgorica and the coastal Kotor and Budva. These cities offer a mix of culture, adventure, and relaxation.

To help you explore the opportunities that these cities offer while being safe, in this blog post, we delve deep into Montenegro’s LGBTQ+ scene. This can be useful when visiting the beautiful landscape of this Balkan gem. We’ll also provide essential tips and insights to ensure your trip is both safe and memorable.

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Montenegro’s LGBTQ+ Landscape

Legal status of same-sex partnership

Montenegro is one of the most gay-friendly countries in the Balkans, especially considering LGBTQ+ rights. However, members of this community still face challenges although these are becoming much less frequent.

One of the major milestones in this regard is legalization of same-sex partnerships. This refers to the ability to form a legal partnership between members of the same sex with the age of consent equalized at 14 years for all, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation. However, there is still no progress in legalizing marriage or child adoption.

 Gay couple in Montenegro- Boris Pejović
 Gay couple in Montenegro – Boris Pejović

Additionally, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited by law in various sectors, including employment, education, and the provision of goods and services.

As evidenced, legal protections are in place, but the journey toward full equality is ongoing.

Yearly Pride

When it comes to visible progress, Montenegro has taken other significant steps toward creating a more inclusive society for its LGBTQ+ community. One of the most notable milestones is the annual Montenegro Pride, which first took place in 2013.

Pride in 2021 on the streets of Podgorica - gay-friendly destination
Pride in 2021 on the streets of Podgorica

Despite initial resistance and security concerns, the event has grown in participation and visibility. Now it is symbolizing the country’s commitment to LGBTQ+ rights. Pride events in recent years have seen increasing support from the general public and high-profile figures.

Each year the event is followed by series of educational workshops together with creative campaigns to promote gay rights and featuring numerous musical and cultural events. Moreover, organizations like LGBT Forum Progress, and Queer Montenegro based in Podgorica, play a crucial role in advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and organising pride. They also organize other events, provide resources, and create safe spaces for the community, contributing to the capital’s inclusive environment.

Gay-Friendly Cities and Hotspots

The majority of the cities where people from the LGBTQ+ community can feel safe and free are in the central and southern areas of Montenegro. A more patriarchal and traditional mindset can be found in the north. However, exceptions can be encountered also in other regions of the country.

Among the three most visited cities worth exploring are Podgorica, Kotor, and Budva. These cities will ensure that you feel welcome and appreciated. Meanwhile, you will have fun exploring the stunning landscapes in this region.

Podgorica

As the capital of Montenegro, Podgorica is considered the most welcoming city for the evolving LGBTQ+ scene. While it may not have the extensive gay-friendly nightlife found in larger European cities, it offers a good atmosphere and several inclusive spots.

Among the recommended places to visit primarily dominates Berlin Club. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere and diverse crowd, making it a popular spot for LGBTQ+ locals and visitors. If you are up for more of a club atmosphere with urban electronic music, then you shouldn’t miss the Biro. Hidden in the main street of Podgorica, this is a great place to dance the night away.

Kotor

Kotor, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its stunning bay, incredible architecture, and rich history. While Kotor is not as vibrant as Podgorica in terms of LGBTQ+ nightlife, it offers a more laid-back, culturally immersive experience with a few inclusive spots.

Many cafes and restaurants in Kotor’s Old Town, such as Letrika and Havana, are welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. They are offering cozy atmospheres where you can enjoy a drink or a meal.

Kotor hosts various cultural festivals throughout the year, such as the Kotor Carnival and the International Festival of Children’s Theatre. These events are generally inclusive and provide a great opportunity to experience local culture in a welcoming gay-friendly setting.

Where to Stay

Looking for a hotel to stay?

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Prefer staying in Villas?

Montenegro has a great range of apartments and villas available at VRBO

Charter a Yacht

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SEARADAR makes yacht chartering a breeze! Enjoy personalized service and a selection of the finest yachts, all at unbeatable prices. Whether you want to sail through the serene waters of Kotor Bay or experience the vibrant nightlife of Budva, SEARADAR takes care of everything from booking to sailing. 

Budva

Budva is Montenegro’s tourist hub, famous for its stunning beaches, lively nightlife, and historic old town. It’s particularly appealing to LGBTQ+ travellers looking for sun, sea, and vibrant nightlife. Mogren Beach known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic views, is a popular spot for all visitors and generally welcoming to LGBTQ+ travellers. Jaz Beach is another great option, hosting several music festivals during the summer, drawing diverse crowds and fostering an inclusive atmosphere.

When it comes to nightlife, Top Hill stands out as one of the largest and most famous nightclubs in the Balkans. It frequently hosts internationally renowned DJs and is known for its incredible vibe, offering a fantastic gay-friendly nightlife experience. Speaking of music experiences, the Sea Dance Festival on Jaz Beach is also an event that shouldn’t be missed. This music festival is welcoming for LGBTQ+ travellers who enjoy music and beach parties.

Tips for a Gay-Friendly Experience

From the crowds of Podgorica to the historic charm of Kotor and the vibrant beach life of Budva, Montenegro offers a range of experiences for LGBTQ+ travellers. Each city has its unique appeal, ensuring that every visitor can find welcoming spaces and inclusive events making Montenegro a gay-friendly destination.

Although generally, the safety of travellers is high we strongly encourage you to take precautions. You can reach out to a few of the organizations that the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) has mentioned. In the case of Montenegro, you can also feel free to drop a message to LGBTQ Forum Progress and Queer Montenegro.

However, if you have unfortunate experience if possible report to the police. We hope that you will have a safe and incredible vacation during your stay in Montenegro.

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