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Staycations are so over. Cologne, Germany is the new LGBT destination to delve into this winter. They have a great selection of bars, clubs and cruising venues for the gay adventurer, but also a number of events, which take over the city in glorious abandon. The Cologne Carnival starts at 11.11am exactly on 11th November, climaxing with a season of exquisitely camp masked balls and fancy dress parties next February and March. Before then, this month, it’s Bartmänner Köln, or Bear Pride to you and me, where burly blokes from all over the world jet into the city for a hairy four days between the 23rd and 27th November. Then, fans of mulled wine and bratwurst will find comfort at the Gay and Lesbian Christmas Market, which runs from 23rd November to 23rd. December.
As well as a bursting calendar of LGBT events, the city itself is steeped in history and boasts a flood of attractions that ensure you’ll never get bored on a weekend sojourn. The more traditional sights are the 700-year-old cathedral and the wide-ranging collections in their museums and galleries, including one of the largest impressionist exhibitions in Europe. For those looking for something a little less highbrow, why not visit the Chocolate Museum (not a euphemism), or Fragrance Museum (that neither), where the first ever Cologne scent was made? It also has a thriving nightlife scene in the Rudolfplatz area, known locally as ‘The Bermuda Triangle’, where you can lose yourself in an enticing selection of cafes, bars, restaurants and clubs.
Cologne is rapidly expanding its reputation as a vibrant and diverse destination for gay travellers. Click here to enter the competition to win a free trip to this bustling German gem.