Is Malta Gay Friendly? – Malta LGBTQ+ Travel Guide (2023)

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Renowned for its crystal-clear waters, magnificent historic sites, and charming villages, Malta is a paradise for travellers.

As a very physically obvious LGBTQ+ person, I’m always nervous when travelling to new places. However, during my most recent six-night stay in Malta, I never experienced any discrimination, not even a sidewards glance.

However, it’s not just myself who feel have felt this way when travelling to Malta and it is fact why the Mediterranean island continues to retain its spot as the number one country on the Rainbow Europe list year after year.

Laws & Legislation

Malta is considered one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in Europe. In 2016, Malta became the first European country to ban conversion therapy, and in 2017, it legalised same-sex marriage.

The island nation has a comprehensive legal framework to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, including in areas like employment, housing, and access to goods and services.

In 2015, Malta enacted the Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics Act (GIGESC), which allows individuals to legally change their gender without the requirement of surgery or hormone treatment.

This progressive legislation also prohibits non-consensual medical interventions on intersex minors.

Social Acceptance

Maltese society is generally accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, with most locals being open-minded and welcoming. I dress as a very masc lesbian these days and felt no form of discrimination or hate, even in Paceville (the nightlife area of the country).

We haven’t travelled back to Malta as a same-sex couple or as a same-sex family just yet. However, I have zero reservations about doing so.

Of course, like in any other country, it is likely that there are still some isolated incidents of discrimination or harassment. As such it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and make decisions based on your personal situation.

Public Displays of Affection

Personally, I’m not someone to do much PDA even at home in the UK. However, I appreciate that’s not for everyone, so I did some research and found this report which states that 47% of Maltese people who are in a same-sex relationship often or always avoid holding hands with their partner. While I appreciate this percentage seems high, the average of the EU is 61%.

This combined with the general attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community by the Maltese people makes me believe that if you did want to PDA while on holiday in Malta, then it’s highly unlikely you’ll face any kind of discrimination.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Places in Malta

Valletta, Malta’s capital city, offers a vibrant LGBTQ+ scene with several gay bars, clubs, and events. Some popular LGBTQ+ spots include:

  • Michelangelo Club Lounge: A popular gay nightclub in Paceville, known for its lively atmosphere and themed nights.
  • Tom Bar: A friendly gay bar in Floriana, just outside Valletta, offering a relaxed environment and regular events.

Besides Valletta, Malta’s sister island, Gozo, is also a welcoming destination for LGBTQ+ travellers. Although it doesn’t have a dedicated LGBTQ+ scene, its picturesque landscapes, historic sites, and warm locals make it a fantastic place to visit.

There are at this time no exclusive LGBTQ hotels in Malta. However, given the general acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community by the open-minded people of Malta I do not envision any issues at any mainstream hotel on the island.

Malta Pride

Malta Pride 2023 is a week-long event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community in Malta.

It will take place from the 7th of September 2023 through to the 17th of September 2023 and will feature a variety of activities including street parties, LGBTQ+ floats, parades, concerts, events, and other fun-filled activities.

In 2023, Malta Pride is also going to be a part of EuroPride, which is an international event that celebrates the LGBTQ+ community and takes place in a different European city each year.

Malta won the bid to host EuroPride in 2023, and this will be the first time that EuroPride is held in a Mediterranean country which means that Malta Pride 2023 is likely going to be bigger and better than ever before!


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