Spanish Gems

Gay Group Tours Spain

Across Andalusia

October 7-14, 2019

Gay Group Tour of Spain — HIGHLIGHTS

  • Two of Spain’s grandest palaces: the Alhambra in Granada and Seville’s Alcázar
  • Tasting sherry at a wonderful bodega with its excellent art collection in Jerez
  • Extraordinary, vibrant Seville with its magnificent cathedral
  • Flamenco show
  • Moorish Ronda, split in two by a fantastic gorge
  • Beautiful Córdoba and its resplendent Mezquita

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Escorted Gay Group Vacations in Southern SpainINTRODUCTION

Southern Spain has long been a destination so attractive that it’s been invaded time and again by various cultures for nearly 3,000 years. Andalucía — the large region in southernmost Spain — has held an allure and a whiff of the exotic for a long, long time. Nowhere does Europe come closer to Africa — physically and metaphorically. Much of its natural beauty, history, culture, and architecture span two continents, and it’s this unique blending that has long given the region its distinctive flavor. In particular, it’s the legacy of the Moors, whose 700-year presence in Spain remains etched in stone across the land, which has greatly created Andalucía’s exoticism.

This itinerary will encompass two of Spain’s grandest palaces — the stunning Alhambra in Granada and the Alcázar of Seville; the magnificent cathedral of Seville; the country town of old Moorish Ronda with its winding streets perfect for wandering and split in two by a fantastic gorge; the passions of flamenco music and dancing in the old quarter of Seville; the purebred Andalucián horses at the Andalucían School of Equestrian Art in Jerez de la Frontera, a city world-renowned for its sherry production; and the stunning Mezquita in beautiful Córdoba — originally an ancient mosque now overlaid with a Renaissance-era cathedral.

Another major draw is that Andalucía is popularly seen as the quintessential Spain. This is the home of nearly everything that is perceived of as stereotypically Spanish: flamenco, fragrant orange blossom,tapas, sherry, bullfighting . . . Come along with us and experience soulful Southern Spain!


Our tour manager in Andalucía is by far one of our favorites over the 19 years of operating our trips. Originally from England, he made Andalucía his home 15 years ago. Since then, he has explored most nooks and crannies of Andalucía (and quite a lot of Spain, of course). His knowledge of the local culture, language, and history will take you not only on a tour, but on a journey through time to appreciate precisely how Andalucía came to be. His charm, easy-going manor, and sense of humor are also winners!


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Gay Tours: Spain, Andalucia, Granada

Alhambra — Granada

Gay Vacations: Spain, Andalucia, Ronda

Tajo Gorge — Ronda

Gay Group Vacations: Spain, Andalucia

Pueblos Blancos

Gay Tours: Spain, Andalucia, Andalusia

Sherry Bodega

Southern Africa Trifecta

Gay Safari Tours South Africa

Cape Town + Wildlife Safari + Victoria Falls
Gay Group Tour

August 30 – September 10, 2019

Trip Highlights

  • Excellent wildlife viewing in some of Africa’s best safari destinations — South Africa and Botswana
  • Stunning Victoria Falls — the largest show of its kind on earth
  • The beautiful city of Cape Town and the gorgeous scenery around the Cape of Good Hope
  • The delightful Winelands region outside of Cape Town, including a winery visit
  • Superb — and superbly comfortable — accommodations
  • Delicious meals and South African wines along the way



Gay Tours Cape TownHere’s the kind of adventure about which many people dream but few experience. Venture Out is pleased once again to offer this very popular tour for the sixth time. It blends a splendid sampling of African culture, incredible wildlife, other outdoor activities, great food and wine, and gorgeous scenery — beginning in Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. We will cover a vast, majestic land, and this is sure to be the trip of a lifetime! Cape Town is certainly one of the world’s most scenic cities. We will visit the environs of the city: the lovely Winelands area that produces most of South Africa’s excellent vintages and home to some acclaimed restaurants, as well as the fantastically scenic Cape Peninsula down to the Cape of Good Hope at the “bottom of Africa.”

Gay Safari Tours Botswana South AfricaOur first wildlife safari experience will take place in and near the Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa. A vast area of plains, interrupted by rocky outcrops, the 300-square-mile reserve hosts packs of the endangered wild dog. In addition there are healthy predator populations — lion, cheetah, and leopard. Black and white rhino and a wide range of antelope are numerous. Birdlife is outstanding as well, with numerous species of the nearby Kalahari Desert. Our intimate-in-size luxury safari lodge, with welcoming service and exceptional cuisine, is situated on private ground and hidden in lush riverside forest.

Gay Safari Groups Southern AfricaThe country of Botswana, our next stop, is exceedingly rich in wildlife, and its vast expanses of nature are filled with a wide variety of fauna and flora to see and experience. In fact, some safari aficionados consider Botswana to be Africa’s best country for this type of experience owing to its policy of keeping the number of visitors on the low side. We experience one of the world’s great natural phenomena, the tranquil Okavango Delta, a 6,000-square-mile inland flood plain (larger than Connecticut) that fans out in the northwestern corner of the country, creating a paradise of palms, papyrus, crystal-clear channels, and backwaters. Set in a massive sea of Kalahari Desert sand, this fragile wonderland of waterways, islands, and forests is an oasis for wildlife, drawn to its life-giving waters from the surrounding thirsty lands. The evening air is filled with the sounds of birdcall, frogs, and antelope rustling in the reeds. Wildebeest, buffalo, and zebra roam the islands; elephants wade across channels under the watch of hippopotamus and crocodiles; and predators like lion and leopard rule the night. You will never forget our small-scale luxury safari “camp” here with its beautiful accommodation, very warm staff, and delicious cuisine.

Gay Tours Victoria FallsStraddling the border between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is justifiably called one of the Wonders of the Natural World, and spans a little more than a mile, making it the widest show of its kind on earth. The sight of more than 2 million gallons of water per second from the Zambezi River crashing 350 feet down (twice the height of Niagara) is one not easily forgotten. On a clear day, the veil of the roaring spray can be seen from up to 20 miles away, and the rain forest that clings to the cliffs opposite the falls in the Victoria Falls National Park is nourished by this constant spray. It is this phenomenon that gave the falls its local name: Mosi-Oa-Tunya — literally, “the smoke that thunders. Our new luxury lodge on the Zambezi River is located just a short distance upstream from the falls.



Following is a description of the excellent lodgings we intend to use as we plan this tour. Please note however that we reserve the right to make changes to these accommodations.

Cape Town, South Africa — 3 nights

An exceptional space . . . An atmosphere of sophistication . . . A unique design . . . The upscale accommodation that we’ve selected in Cape Town has just a dozen rooms, minimalist yet soothing in their decor – some facing to the sea, others to the mountains. It’s positioned in the Green Point district of the city, within walking distance of many of the great attractions of Cape Town, such as the fashionable V&A Waterfront, the colorful Cape Malay neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, the chic Cape Quarter commercial area, and the Central Business District. Nestled among lush trees the hotel enjoys a semi-secluded feel while being in the middle of the city. And with no mainstream design here local creativity is clearly on display. Some of the room features include king-size beds, free wifi, and coffee/tea makers. There’s also a small pool, and you can take advantage of a massage in their treatment room to help shake off jet lag!

Click on images below to enlarge.

Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa — 3 nights

Luxurious accommodation, exceptional cuisine, welcoming service, and thrilling game viewing combine to create an unforgettable luxury safari experience. Situated on private ground within the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa’s North West Province, the lodge caters for a small number of guests, ensuring personal attention and exclusivity in its luxurious and air-conditioned suites. The reserve is home to the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo) plus cheetah, giraffe, hyena, and a host of other game and bird species. Expert guides are at the ready to reveal all of this to you. Additionally, our lodge is located on 4,000 acres of privately owned ground which is reserved exclusively for the guests.

Designed to have minimal environmental impact — constructed from local stone, wood, and thatch and blending effortlessly with the bush — the lodge allows guests to continuously experience the natural beauty of the surroundings. Hidden in riverside forest, the suites, each with glass-walled bedrooms, overlook the Limpopo River, offering uninterrupted views of the surrounding bush. The suites also have private sundecks and spacious bathrooms (with roll-top bathtubs as well as indoor and outdoor showers) that can be opened to the forest. On the property are an infinity-edge swimming pool, gym, health and beauty treatment center, and lookout point with magnificent views. Further, our lodge prides itself on the exceptional quality of its food and wines, adding another memorable dimension to your stay.

Click on images below to enlarge.

Okavango Delta, Botswana — 3 nights

Our camp in the renowned Okavango Delta is a classic African tented camp with just a handful of luxury canvas tents, all remodeled in 2018 as we publish this itinerary and crafted with five-star fixtures as well as sustainability in mind.  The traditional camp is built on a 260,000-acre private concession and has a large lounge area and dining area with lovely views over the floodplains. The main area features a new outdoor bar with the best possible views of the floodplains, a small library area, and curio shop. From the swimming pool — a real treat after a hot day of game viewing — guests can watch giraffe and other plains game march across the savannah and sometimes catch a glimpse of rare wild dogs. Each tent has a deck with views over the floodplains, allowing prime game viewing from your tent with a freshly made cup of tea or coffee to hand.

The camp is also home to a unique elephant interaction project where you can walk with rescued orphaned elephants — an uplifting experience that will remain with you long after you’ve left.

The Okavango Delta is flooded for part of the year and when it is, guests can experience serene silence at the gentle pace of a poled mokoro excursion along the narrow channels. These are 2-person canoes with a poler on the back who steers you through the channels. This activity is water-level dependent.

Sightings of four of the “Big Five” (no rhino in this area) are common here on the Okavango Delta where the wildlife and game viewing is staggeringly special. Shared only with its (even smaller) sister camp this vast patch of the delta in northern Botswana is so private that only the camps’ vehicles tour these precious, pristine grassy plains. This ensures a more exclusive safari experience and allows a deeper connection with the wild.

Click on images below to enlarge.


Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe — 2 nights

Our last accommodation is a private luxury lodge within the Zambezi National Park right on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River that is scheduled to open in the first half of 2018. From the lodge the massive spray of Victoria Falls is visible in the distance about four miles downstream. Each spacious canvas suite has been tastefully decorated with stylish furnishings and fittings and comes with a king size bed, comfortable lounge, complimentary minibar, air conditioning, ceiling fan, mosquito nets, indoor/outdoor showers, twin basins, outdoor bath tub with a view, robes and slippers, private plunge pool, wifi, and a private viewing deck where you can sit and take in the river scenery and whatever might be happening at the moment. The only thing that really resembles a tent is the canvas on the outside. The main lodge has an open-plan lounge and dining area and is positioned just back from the river in view of wildlife that often passes in front (possibly elephant and hippo, for example). There’s also a watering hole on the other side of the lodge where animals congregate when they’re thirsty. The cuisine here is top-notch with a choice wine list. Taking advantage of its position on the Zambezi River the lodge includes a cruise on their own small boats as part of the available activities.

Click on images below to enlarge.


Scottish Highlands & Islands

June 21-29, 2019

Gay Group Tour of Scotland

Gay Tours of Scotland

Isle of Skye


  • Edinburgh – The charming, culturally rich, historically rich capital — one of Europe’s handsomest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site — with iconic sights such as its striking medieval castle, the Royal Mile, Old Town, and Georgian architecture.
  • Isle of Skye – An island of sheer beauty with the misty Cuillin Mountains, rocky shores, hidden beaches, and shady glens, plus a historical link to Bonnie Prince Charlie as well as a modern arts and crafts scene.
  • Stirling Castle — Historically strategic, holding fort over the passage between the Lowlands and the Highlands, home of the Stuart kings with spectacular views over a gentle countryside.
  • Scotch Whisky Distillery – An informative, fun tour in a lovely setting to refine an appreciation of Scotland’s national drink, and enjoying a wee dram, of course.
  • Glasgow — One of Britain’s most intriguing cities, sophisticated yet earthy, with handsome Victorian buildings, great shopping, warm people, and a lively pub and music scene.
  • Road to the Isles — Encompassing some of the most iconic images of Scotland and considered one of the loveliest drives in Scotland with mountain views, shimmering lochs, historical places, and steeped in Jacobite history.
  • Rosslyn Chapel – An exquisite and ornate 15th-century cathedral-like masterpiece that is a testament to the skills of its medieval sculptors.
  • Gorgeous Landscapes – Crystal-clear lochs and rivers, wooded hills, craggy mountains, wide-open moors.
  • Eilean Donan Castle – Postcard-perfect, standing on an islet set among three lochs and arguably the most photogenic of Scotland’s myriad castles.
  • Delicious meals and lovely accommodations, of course!

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We begin in edgy and contemporary Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, which has an infectious warmth and energy to it. Here we take in the imposing Gothic Glasgow Cathedral as well as a different sort of cathedral — the grand Victorian cathedral of culture otherwise known as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in its magnificent stone building.

We then go north to Stirling Castle, admiring views across some ancient independence battlefields from this magnificent stronghold. “Hold Stirling and you control Scotland.” Its architecture, historical significance, and commanding views combine to make it a grand sight.

Then we head for the hills, first by way of the “bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.” It is this gorgeous lake that features in a very moving song you no doubt will recognize . . . “ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road.” The West Highlands then beckon with its grand scenery of high, rocky mountains rising out of wild glens. Here we stop for an overnight and dinner at a charming country house in the wilds of Glen Coe.

We embark on one of the prettiest routes in Scotland – the Road to the Isles — a famously scenic 46 miles, passing birch and bracken-covered mountains, glassy lochs, the Caledonian Canal, and the 21-arch viaduct at Glenfinnan (where passengers get to live out Harry Potter fantasies).

The rugged beauty of the Isle of Skye has been proclaimed since the early 1800s when Sir Walter Scott visited. Mountains, sea, cliffs, lochs, glens, farming villages, castles, fine dining, arts and crafts – they’re all here on this remarkable island, which is also an important center of Gaelic culture and language. Our base is Portree, one of the most attractive ports in northwest Scotland with a cliff-edged harbor, fishing boats, and multicolored houses.

Skye has some extraordinary geological scenery to be seen on the Trotternish Peninsula. In a commanding position Dunvegan Castle has been the seat of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod for over 700 years. Of note here is the scrappy remnant of the Fairy Flag, said to have been a gift from a fairy to the clan and thought to have miraculous powers when unfurled in battle, and the castle’s gardens are attractive.

One of the most iconic images of Scotland, Eilean Donan Castle perches on an islet set against a backdrop of mountains and guards the confluence of three lochs. The unique beauty of the place has led it to appear in movies and television and is perhaps the most photographed sight in Scotland after Edinburgh’s castle.

Moving back through the Highlands we come to picturesque Perthshire – the epitome of well-groomed rural Scotland and the long-established domain of Scotland’s well-to-do country set with an overnight in charming Pitlochry.  Also in this area is a single-malt whisky distillery –  Scotland’s highest distillery and dating back to the late 1800s – where we learn about the making of Scotland’s signature drink and enjoy a “nosing” (tasting).


We conclude in beautiful Edinburgh — Scotland’s captivating capital — and see what makes this city so enticing: from its impressive, history-steeped medieval castle looking out over the city to Old Town and the Royal Mile; from lovely New Town (new meaning 1700s) to the ultramodern Scottish Parliament building; attractive Georgian- and Victorian-period architecture; the Princes Street Gardens; and the view from the volcanic crag that is Calton Hill.

The riotously ornate Rosslyn Chapel, not far out of Edinburgh, is revered for its sublime 15th-century stone carvings – some of the finest in the world – and its past is steeped in intrigue and great mystery, probably accounting for its connection to myths and legends and its appearance in The Da Vinci Code. Covering almost every square inch of stonework are human figures, animals, and plants.

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Gay Tours of Scotland

Eilean Donan Castle

Gay Vacations Scotland

Serving Single Malts

Gay Travel Scotland


Japan — Then and Now

Gay group tours of Japan

October 13-22, 2019

Gay Group Tour of Japan — HIGHLIGHTS

  • Gleaming, glittering Tokyo along with some of its more tranquil attractions
  • Old streets, traditional houses and merchants’ shops, and atmospheric walks in the town of Takayama and Hida Folk Village
  • Shrines and temples of Kamakura – a lovely town by the sea
  • Kyoto – the cultural, historical, and religious soul of Japan with its myriad temples and shrines, including a side trip to Nara
  • Two-night stay at a traditional Japanese ryokan with hot spring baths
  • A bustling food market in Kyoto
  • Tour of the impressive Matsumoto Castle used by Shoguns since the early 1600s
  • Delicious meals and lovely accommodations — of course!

Download Detailed Itinerary



Escorted Gay Group Vacations in JapanFrom the bright lights and pulsating streets of high-tech, ultra-modern Tokyo, to the beautiful landscapes and charms of the Japan Alps, and finally to an in-depth tour of historic imperial Kyoto with its must-see temples, shrines and gardens, this 10-day very special journey through Japan will provide you with a wonderful feel for the country’s various highlights and reveal the intriguing nature of today’s Japan — so modern and yet heavily steeped in its traditions.

We’ll marvel at several UNESCO World Heritage sites in this program: the historic monuments of ancient Kyoto (which are many!) as well as those in ancient Nara.

• 10-day trip begins in Tokyo and ends in Kyoto

• Deluxe hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto; 2 nights in an upscale Japanese ryokan (inn) with hot spring baths

• All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners

• Venture Out escort throughout plus local guides along the way

Gay Tours JapanTokyo is Japan’s absolutely buzzing capital city and the most densely populated area on the planet. It certainly is a phenomenon unto itself, and we’ll experience a diversity of sights in the city — from the historical Asakusa district to important religious sights such as the most important Shinto shrine with Japan’s two largest torii (the traditional entry gate of a shrine). More contemporary attractions will also be explored.

Kamakura makes for a lovely day trip outside of Tokyo. It’s a seaside city surrounded on three sides by mountains, and its most iconic sight is the 37-foot-high bronze statue of the compassionate Amida Buddha. Completed in the mid 13th century it’s said to have been commissioned by Japan’s first shogun. Also in Kamakura is the largest carved-wood statue in Japan: the 11-faced, 30-foot-high Kannon in a temple that faces the sea. In downtown Kamakura we’ll have an opportunity to check out shops selling local crafts, especially carved and lacquered woodwork.


Gay Group Tours of JapanA gorgeous ride brings us up into the “Japan Alps” to Takayama. This small city’s rustic charms are the result of hundreds of years of peaceful isolation in the Hida Mountains. Shops and restaurants mingle with museums, inns, sake breweries, and markets along rows of traditional wood-lattice buildings and tiny canals of running water, all immersed amidst the fresh mountain air and gorgeous scenery of 10,000-foot mountain peaks.

img_0265There is simply nowhere more special in Japan than Kyoto. It is the epicenter of Japanese culture and history, and it’s home to everything that you might associate with traditional Japan: vermillion temples, mysterious geisha, the sacred tea ceremony, Zen rock gardens, imperial palaces, sumptuous cuisine, glittering kimonos, bamboo groves, street-corner shrines, ancient festivals and much more.

Kyoto culture — a unique tapestry of influences from imperial nobility, samurai warriors, silk traders and Zen Buddhists — is still fiercely defended by Kyotoites. The city is now home to more than 2,000 temples and shrines and in their entirety comprise a massive UNESCO World Heritage site. Then there are the places that are less museum-like and more real, working Kyoto such as markets where old ladies in kimonos barter for mysterious ingredients and the tiny lantern-lit temples set right among the shops in the arcades.

We’ve included a mix of high-end, well-located hotels with two nights in a deluxe Japanese ryokan (an inn with hot springs and the traditional sleeping arrangement of futons on tatami mats). Most meals are included in the program.

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The Basque Lands

A Unique Culture in Spain and France

June 29 – July 5, 2020
September 1 – 7, 2020

Gay Group Tour of the Basque Country — HIGHLIGHTS

  • San Sebastián — the gourmet capital of Spain, situated beautifully on a pretty bay, with a preserved Belle Epoque elegance
  • A day-trip to the French Basque Country towns of St-Jean-de-Luz and Biarritz
  • Witness exemplary urban regeneration in Bilbao as well as its buzzing Casco Viejo — the city’s old town.
  • Sample the extensive variety of delicious Pintxos – the Basque version of tapas – available at bars throughout the region.
  • A day-trip to Spain’s top wine region – the world-famous La Rioja and a stroll through pretty Laguardia, an attractive walled town
  • The quaint fishing center of Getaria that is also home to a museum celebrating Balenciaga, an icon of haute couture
  • Gernika — a place steeped in tragedy from the Spanish Civil War — propelling one of Picasso’s most famous paintings — and at the vey core of “Basqueness”


gay tours Basque Country SpainSeaside San Sebastián  (known as Donostia in the Basque language) is perennially popular for its superb natural setting on La Concha Bay surrounded by hills — a beautiful city with top restaurants, a buzzing Parte Vieja (old town), an international film festival, and one of the finest urban beaches in the world. Ever since Queen Isabella II spent time here in 1845 seeking treatment for a skin ailment the city has remained popular with a well-heeled set. Some grand architecture and one of the world’s great dining scenes are part of the allure of this attractive city. San Sebastián makes a good base for the first three nights of the tour.

A day-trip over to the French Basque Country is in order with visits to St-Jean-de-Luz with its colorful harbor, old streets, a curious church, and elegant beach as well as to Biarritz, formerly the stomping grounds of European royalty – “the resort of kings and the king of resorts.”

The fishing center of Getaria is a picturesque town with cobbled streets winding their way to the harbor and makes for a pleasant stop between San Sebastián and Bilbao.

Gernika, the symbol of Basque pride and nationalism, was the scene of an immense tragedy having been destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. One famous result of the Nazi bombing was Picasso’s painting named after the town. Today it’s an emotive and welcoming market town, worthy of a stop.

Bilbao — our second base for the tour, also for three nights — has successfully reinvented itself from a declining industrial dinosaur to a vibrant and optimistic European city. The arrival of the Guggenheim Museum, designed by architect Frank Gehry in 1997, certainly had a great deal to do with that, but we’ll snoop around the narrow streets of the Casco Viejo, too — Bilbao’s old town. By far the Basque region’s biggest city, Bilbao buzzes with activity.

This is home to Spain’s top wine region – the world-famous La Rioja — so we’ll have to call in at one of the area’s lovely wineries.

Laguardia is one of the most attractive walled towns in northern Spain, commanding the plains like a sentinel (which it once was), but is also an important center of the Rioja wine region.


Along the way you can sample the extensive variety of delicious Pintxos – the Basque version of tapas – available at bars throughout the region. Various ingredients are piled on top of small slices of bread. These bites are usually enjoyed with a beer or the Basque favorite txacoli — a slightly sparkling, very dry white wine.




Sri Lanka Discovery

Gay Group Tours of Sri LankaA Gem in the Indian Ocean

January 28 – February 8, 2020

Gay Group Tour of Sri Lanka — HIGHLIGHTS

  • KANDY – The cultural capital of Sri Lanka with its vibrant traditional arts scene, a superb array of Buddhist temples and palaces, and a beautiful location amidst the island’s precipitous central hills.
  • GALLE FORT – A perfectly preserved colonial time capsule oozing old-world atmosphere with characterful Dutch-era mansions encircled by ramparts and bastions with the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean just beyond.
  • YALA NATIONAL PARK – Sri Lanka’s foremost wildlife destination and home to the world’s highest concentration of leopards alongside elephants, fabulous birdlife, monkeys, crocodiles and more, all amidst unspoiled jungle and salty lagoons.
  • COLONIAL CEYLON – The provenance of Ceylon tea, grown around old British tea towns such as Nuwara Eliya.
  • POLONNARUWA – Home of Sri Lanka’s finest collection of ancient Buddhist art and architecture, from magnificent rock-carved statues to exquisitely decorated temples.
  • SIGIRIYA – An unforgettable rock-fortress towering high over the surrounding plains, one of Sri Lanka’s most dramatic natural sights, and full of historic interest, too.
  • GREAT SCENERY – Mountains, forest, tea estates, plains, jungle, lagoons, and beaches!
  • DISTINCTIVE CUISINE – Tropical fruits, spices aplenty, unusual vegetables, fat prawns, superb rice and curries somewhere between Indian and Thai-style cooking.
  • UNIQUE ACCOMMODATIONS – Including: one with ocean views by Sri Lanka’s renowned 20th-century architect Geoffrey Bawa; lovely bungalows on stilts immersed amongst rice paddies and lagoons; and a very comfortable jungle lodge with individual chalets.
Gay Travel Sri Lanka

Stilt Fishermen

The island of Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon under British rule) has seduced travelers for centuries. It is one of the grandest little countries in the world, and its appeal and pleasures are myriad. Few places have as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites (eight) packed into such a small area.

Poised just above the equator in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean it has a legendary reputation for natural beauty. A teardrop falling from the tip of India is how some geographers have described its shape or that of a pearl. A bit smaller than Ireland, a bit larger than West Virginia, this modestly sized island-country gem is nonetheless packed with impressive ancient architecture, culture, history, cuisine, nature, and wildlife!

We begin in the Cultural Triangle where more than a thousand years of history is apparent. The remarkable achievements of the early Sinhalese civilization can still be seen in the ruined city of Polonnaruwa, boasting the island’s finest collection of ancient Sinhalese art and architecture; the cave temples of Dambulla, a treasure trove of Sri Lankan Buddhist art; and the towering rock outcrop of Sigiriya (rising 1,200 feet straight up), home to the fascinating remains of one of the island’s former capitals, complete with ancient graffiti and elaborate water gardens.

LGBT tours of Sri Lanka

Tea country

In the verdant highlands of the Hill Country we explore beautifully situated Kandy — the symbolic heart of the region, the cultural capital of the Sinhalese people, and home to the famous Temple of the Tooth. It also boasts a pleasing old quarter, a pretty central lake, and the beautiful Peradeniya Botantical Gardens, which we also visit. Also in the hills we stay a night in the British-established venerable town of Nuwara Eliya, the center of the country’s tea industry and in a very pretty setting.

LGBT travel in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park

Dropping down to the southern coast we come to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most rewarding national park and home to the world’s densest concentration of leopards alongside elephants, fabulous birdlife, monkeys, crocodiles and more.

Rounding the coast brings us to the marvelous old Dutch fort city of Galle, colonial Sri Lanka at its most perfectly preserved. Built by the Dutch, colored and styled by the Sri Lankans, and overlaid with tropical vegetation by nature, the result is enchanting. We finish off with a brief exploration of Colombo, the nation’s energetic capital.


• 12-day trip encompassing the best of Sri Lanka

• Deluxe, beautiful hotels throughout

• Most meals included

• Venture Out escort accompanying the group as well as a licensed National Guide

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Sigiriya rock-fortress

Temple of the Tooth Relic

Kandy Drummer

Minneriya National Park

Islands of the Mediterranean

Gay Tours Sicily

Sicily & Malta

April 28 – May 10, 2019  |  May 14-26, 2019

Gay Group Tour of Sicily & Malta — HIGHLIGHTS

  • Palermo — The feisty Sicilian capital, with its quasi-grittiness on the surface overlaying remarkable historical beauty, its treasures including opulent Arab-Norman mosaics, Baroque palaces, and vibrant street markets
  • Monreale Cathedral — The finest example of Norman architecture in Sicily along with its dazzling interior of  Byzantine-influenced mosaics
  • Segesta — Standing in proud isolation amid rugged hills, an unforgettable 5th-century-BC Greek temple
  • Valley of the Temples — A collection of incomparable ancient Greek ruins, with its Temple of Concordia the model for UNESCO’s logo and one the best-preserved Greek temples anywhere
  • Villa del Casale — A 3rd-century-AD Roman aristocrat’s villa with sumptuous mosaics decorating each room that had been buried under mud for centuries
  • Taormina — A chi-chi resort town spectacularly perched on the side of a mountain with stunning views of smoking Mt. Etna
  • Siracusa — On the sparkling blue sea, perhaps the greatest city of Magna Graecia but also a Baroque delight and a casually chic city center today
  • Malta — Just a two-hour ferry ride from Sicily and another culture entirely with its legendary history, glittering sea, and 21st-century sophistication

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“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.” — J.W. von Goethe, 1817


Gay Tours SicilyLess than two miles away across a wisp of sea from mainland Italy, Sicily remains somewhat of a world apart. This sun-drenched island of dramatic volcanoes and fabulous coastlines boasts an awesome historical legacy (including some of the world’s finest sites of antiquity) and a vibrant traditional culture. Home to some of Italy’s friendliest small villages, Sicily in many ways offers intrepid explorers an unmatched experience of “old Italy.” Add to this the alluring island of Malta — the European Capital of Culture in 2018. Long a crossroads between Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, Malta is diminutive in size yet at the core of many of history’s major events and home to a beguiling mix of cultures that have stewed together over centuries.

Gay Vacations SicilyWe start out in Sicily’s buzzing capital of Palermo in the northwest where we take in some of the highlights of the city center and the impressive cathedral in Monreale nearby with its outstanding mosaics as well as a day-trip out to the sublime site of the ancient isolated Greek temple of Segesta.

Moving to the south coast we come to Agrigento, home of the Valley of the Temples — an extraordinary group of structures that some would argue are the best ancient Greek ruins anywhere, including Greece. We’ll stay a couple of nights at an upscale country inn not far from Agrigento.

Moving inland we stop to see the UNESCO-listed Villa Romana del Casale in the center of the island. Discovered in the late 1800s this was the 3rd-century estate thought to have been a country retreat for Marcus Aurelius and contains the finest Roman floor mosaics in existence.

Gay Travel SicilyNext it’s on to the northeast corner of Sicily where we enjoy two nights in the utterly beautiful and chic hilltown of Taormina, its premier site being the Greek Theater, suspended between sea and sky and offering a fantastic view of Mt. Etna in the distance. There are great restaurants and shopping here, and it’s fun just to get off the main drag and explore the little alley-stairways.

Our last stop in Sicily is the captivating city of Siracusa (Syracuse), specifically its island city-center known as Ortigia. This was the greatest city of Magna Graecia and in its heyday was the largest city in the ancient world. Layers of history unravel themselves here. It’s a delight to wander around Ortigia, and its main piazza is a masterpiece, one of the most impressive in Italy, in our opinion.

Gay Tours MaltaTo close out the tour a ferry whisks us down to Malta, which holds the European Capital of Culture title for 2018. Our 3-night base is Valletta, the charming capital city. During our time on the island we’ll explore the highlights of the capital along with excursions further afield, such as Mdina — a golden-stone Arabic walled hilltown with excellent views over the hills and out to sea.

And of course all along the way we get to enjoy lovely accommodation and excellent meals!

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Italy: The Places In Between

Gay Tours Italy

The Less Trodden Route!

September 3-9, 2018

Gay Group Tour of Italy — HIGHLIGHTS

  • The understated handsomeness of Bologna and its 25 miles of elegant porticos
  • Ravenna’s astounding Byzantine-period mosaics
  • Urbane, sophisticated Parma and its wealth of sights
  • Tasting traditional Balsamic vinegar of Modena at its source
  • The Roman-era Arena in Verona and the city’s numerous other attractions
  • Winery tour and tasting at a historic villa in the Valpolicella zone
  • Several UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Delicious meals and lovely accommodations, of course!
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Inspired by the travel guide book of the same title, our tour Italy: The Places In Between focuses on cities in the Emilia-Romagna and Veneto regions — cities that are almost always passed over as tourists head from Florence to Venice. There’s a plethora of worthy sights around here, and we’re very glad to bring you this unique program — our eighth unique itinerary and 22nd tour overall in this enticing country!

Gay Travel ItalyOne of the best-kept secrets in northern Italy, our first of two bases is Bologna — a very handsome city (and a pity that its name conjures up the less-than-appealing American food product). Indeed, some would argue that, after Venice, Bologna is among the most attractive cities in Italy. Home to the world’s oldest university, Bologna lives on its red-brick towers and stately colonnades and is almost universally considered to be Italy’s gourmet capital. The sidewalks in the city center are covered in intricately decorated porticos — some 25 miles of them all together. The feeling of a university city permeates the air, and Bologna feels full of Italians in a way that many other places, thronged with tourists, do not.

Gay Travel ItalyModena vies as Italy’s wealthiest city and can boast the UNESCO World Heritage sites of its 12th-century cathedral, tower, and adjacent main piazza evoking a glorious past. It’s famous for local products: Maserati, Ferrari, opera star Luciano Pavarotti — and not least of all it’s also home to the true traditional Balsamic vinegar, which is little understood and often badly misused! We’ll learn what makes this product so special — some of it aged up to 40 years — and taste various types at one of the area’s artisinal producers.

One of the greatest cities of the Mediterranean from the fifth to the eighth centuries, Ravenna has brick palaces, cobbled streets, magnificent monuments, and spectacular Byzantine-period mosaics. Churches and tombs with the most unassuming exteriors contain within them walls covered with these sumptuous mosaics. These beautifully preserved works of art place great emphasis on nature, which you can see in the delicate rendering of sky, earth, and animals. The mosaics have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, and they quite handily rival what you’ll find in Istanbul.

LGBT travel ItalyThe stately historic center of Parma shows its prosperity, along with its well-dressed residents and immaculate piazzas. The residents of Parma are generally considered to be the most elegant people of Italy. Bursting with gustatory delights, Parma draws visitors for its sublime cured ham, prosciutto crudo di Parma. The pale-yellow Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese produced here is the original — and best — of a class known around the world as “Parmesan.” The city has also been a mecca for opera lovers. Giuseppe Verdi was from here, and his operas echoed through the Teatro Regio, the opera house that we’ll visit and which is today jam-packed during the season. We’ll also see some of the greatest Romanesque buildings in northern Italy: the 11th-century cathedral and 12th-century Baptistery with its superb sculpture work.

LGBT tours ItalyFounded by the Romans in the 1st century A.D., the enchanting city of Verona is dotted with very attractive palazzi, elegant squares, and medieval gems. Architectural remnants of the Roman era are also a real draw, most notably the famous Arena, which is home to a world-renowned summertime opera festival. It is perhaps the best-preserved Roman amphitheater in the world — and the most famous after the Colosseum in Rome. Dubbed the “City of Love,” romance is most definitely in the air in fair Verona. The city’s most famous residents, Romeo and Juliet, seemed to think so anyway. The Basilica San Zeno Maggiore is another wonderful highlight — a very impressive Romanesque-era building with extraordinary artistic creations. Verona sits on the Adige River which comes tumbling down from the Italian Alps, and indeed just outside the city is hilly terrain and the location of some excellent vineyards, one of which we’ll have the pleasure of visiting to taste their wines.


The following are the hotels that we plan to use for the tour at the time of publishing this itinerary. We reserve the right to make changes to the accommodations.

LGBT Vacations ItalyBologna – 4 nights

The 4-star hotel we’ve selected enjoys a very central location in the heart of the city on a pedestrian-only street, easily walkable to Bologna’s impressive historical attractions, great restaurants, and good shopping. Set in a magnificently restored 15th century palazzo, elegantly designed construction conserves architectural elements of various periods. The beautiful lobby has a real wow factor thanks to a large skylight that floods the pretty space with light. A number of different architectural styles are on display in the hotel yet it all combines to create a whole that’s elegant in an old-fashioned, genteel way. Fresco work and paintings date back to the building’s aristocratic origins.

The 40 rooms come with nice little touches such as fresh fruit, robes, and slippers along with kettles and minibars, beautifully hand-embroidered bedside rugs, and marble bathrooms.

In the lounge the evening starts out with an aperitivo service which provides a small buffet of several pre-dinner appetizers with the purchase of one drink. A top-notch buffet breakfast includes an array of homemade cakes, plus prosecco, freshly squeezed juices, and egg dishes made to order.

veronahotelVerona – 2 nights

This is another very central hotel, in a perfect location for our Verona sightseeing as well as for any shopping you might like to do! A jumble of three ancient palaces have been stitched together and thoroughly modernized inside to create a 4-star hotel while respecting and highlighting the Roman ruins that were discovered beneath in the process. Original frescos and paintings join historically inspired design to create an almost magical atmosphere in the hotel’s interiors. A chic lobby bar lets guests soak up the atmosphere from white leather seats. While the lobby, lounges, and restaurant have a very contemporary, enchanting, and rather hip feel to them, the 75 guest rooms are more classically decorated with stylish furniture, high-class fabrics, patterned wood floors, and red Veronese marble bathrooms. On top of all that there is an equally elegant restaurant with the casual style of a brasserie. Here guests can enjoy refined, novel variations of classic Italian dishes by a Michelin-starred chef.


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Alternative Oz

Lesser-Known Australia

October 22 – November 2, 2018

Gay Group Tour of Australia


  • Australia’s cultural and culinary capital – Melbourne – with its heavily cosmopolitan vibe, iconic trams, edgy street art, great restaurants, and a European-accented feel . . . along with its status as the world’s most livable city seven years in a row.
  • The glowing red mountains of Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park – with some of the Australian Outback’s most exotic plant life as well as spectacular and timeless scenery, including Wilpena Pound, a colossal crater rim rising from the plains.
  • The best-known and perhaps most charming wine region of Australia – the Barossa Valley – with several dozen growers producing internationally-acclaimed wines, including some from families descended from German immigrants arriving in the 1840s.
  • Pristine Kangaroo Island, with its fantastic wild coastal scenery plus a huge variety of wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas, platypuses, little penguins, fur seals, sea lions, dolphins, southern right whales, and over two hundred bird species.
  • Gracious, relaxed Adelaide — which can boast a position among the world’s top five most livable cities – ringed with a green belt of parks and blessed with a thriving arts scene, multicultural cuisine, and four famous wine regions on its doorstep, including the Adelaide Hills with gorgeous scenery, historic towns settled by 19th-century European immigrants, stone cottages, vast orchards, and cool-climate vineyards.
  • A variety of excellent accommodations, from urban luxe to country chic, with delicious meals along the way, of course!

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Gay Tours Australia MelbourneWe kick off our tour in Melbourne — the capital of Victoria state and Australia’s second-largest city after Sydney but with a noticeably different feel to it. Truly a multicultural melting pot, nearly a half of the state’s residents were born overseas or have a parent who was. This, of course, gets reflected in the city’s very diverse and excellent dining scene. Evidence of stately 19th-century European-style architecture remain; the city’s trams are an iconic sight; a café culture rages; elegant tree-lined boulevards crisscross the city; and atmospheric laneways are adorned with street art. It’s hard to find a Melbournian who doesn’t like living here.

LGBT travel Australia OutbackThe rest of our tour unfolds in the state of South Australia, usually missing from tourist itineraries yet has so much to recommend. We make our way up into a piece of the Australian Outback, specifically the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, with its awesome scenery with abrupt escarpments, gorges, and the famous elevated basin of Wilpena Pound — and with luck some good late-spring wildflower action. Basing ourselves at a historic family-run sheep station with upscale accommodations we explore by 4WD vehicle and walks, and you can also take a scenic flight over the area.

gay travel Australia Barossa ValleyJourneying overland we reach one of the most notable wine regions in Australia if not the world — the lovely Barossa Valley. Cultural roots imbue the Barossa with a different charm from other wine-making zones as the area was settled by Silesian immigrants in the 19th century, their influence seen in some of the architecture and cuisine. Certainly we take advantage of the valley’s food and wine riches, including an overnight stay at the nicest accommodation in the Barossa and its very highly-regarded restaurant.

gay tours Australia AdelaideWilderness and wildlife abound on Kangaroo Island. It’s a rurally paced kind of place and still relatively undeveloped with friendly folks who savor their nature haven, excellent local produce, an abundance of flora and fauna, and 270 miles of wild coastline. Barely 10 miles off the mainland the island feels a world away and of another age, and we have two full days to explore its best sights.


South Australia’s capital of Adelaide is a lovely manageable city with heritage buildings, multiethnic population, a thriving arts scene, great dining, and parks surrounding it on all sides. We cap off our tour of Australia in this sophisticated city and include an excursion out to the nearby Adelaide Hills where historic towns, wineries, nature, and gardens co-mingle in an appealing, almost Bavarian-looking countryside.


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Congratulations on putting together twenty years of exquisite tours! They have provided unparalleled memories for our lifetimes.
— Bill P. and Jake F., Palm Springs, CA