Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Estonia: LGBTQ+ Things to Do for Spring and Summer 2024

Last June, Vacationer Magazine told you that the ex-Soviet Estonia parliament voted 55 to 34 to legalize same-sex marriage. As of January 1, 2024, same-sex couples can legally marry in Estonia, which joins many European countries and other inclusive nations worldwide that recognize marriage equality. 

A historic moment for the Baltic states and Eastern Europe in general, Estonia is the first former Soviet Union country and second to only Slovenia – from the previous eastern side of the Iron Curtain – to legalize marriage equality.

“Everyone should have the right to marry the person they love and want to commit to. With this decision we finally stepped among other Nordic countries as well as all the rest of the democratic countries in the world where marriage equality has been granted.“ said Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia. “Marriage equality does not take anything away from anyone but gives something important to many. It also shows that our society is caring and respectful towards each other. I am proud of Estonia.”

Tartu Pride (Photo Credit: Visit Estonia)
Tartu Pride (Photo Credit: Visit Estonia)

Minister of Social Protection of Estonia, Signe Riisalo emphasized that all people must be equal before the law. “Furthermore, this affects our attitudes. I hope any remaining fears will subside, and it will be understood that this decision did not hurt anyone. Instead, it gave something very important to many people in Estonia,” said Riisalo.

This move further reinforces Estonia’s position as a progressive, welcoming, inclusive, and forward-thinking nation. Even though the Estonian LGBTQ+ scene is still relatively small, Tallinn has several bars and nightclubs with regular events that attract a trendy crowd. Be sure to check out our Queer Tallinn Travel Guide! Also, as a university town, Tartu has an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere, too. So if you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler looking for a new queer-friendly destination to explore, you may want to consider Estonia in 2024! 

LGBTQ+ Things to Do in Spring and Summer 2024

Tallinn


Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, is home to a handful of popular LGBTQ+-friendly nightclubs and bars, but everywhere is welcoming. In Tallinn, visit spa hotels, museums, art galleries, and world-class restaurants, many of which are listed in the MICHELIN Guide and the Falstaff Nordic Restaurant Guide.

  • X-Bar – Estonia’s oldest gay bar with multiple dance floors and themed nights.
  • Club Hall – Large techno club with local and international DJs.
  • Sauna Club 69 – A sauna club with a bar where you can order drinks and snacks.
  • Hello! Bar – Small, lively gay bar in Tallinn’s Old Town.
  • Bar Hungr – Bar with regular events just outside the center of Tallinn.
  • Heldeke! Theater Bar – Full entertainment program with burlesque shows, theatre, stand-up comedy, and theme parties.
  • Botaanik – A high-end cocktail bar in Tallinn Old Town.
  • Fono – A speakeasy-style bar in Telliskivi serving artisan cocktails.
  • Tallinn Bearty Festival – Takes place April 18-21, 2023, with events covering visual arts, music, and cinema.

A visit to Vabamu, the Museum of Freedom and Occupation, is also recommended. From summer 2023, Estonia’s LGBTQ+ history has been integrated into the permanent exhibition. Experience Estonian history on an interactive journey through time using images and sound.


Tartu


The University of Tartu in Estonia’s second-largest city is one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe. Many prominent researchers and academics of international renown have studied here. A seventh of Tartu’s population is made up of students, researchers, and teachers, which of course contributes to the city’s creative, innovative, and open atmosphere.

  • Bar Lokaal Pirogov – An LGBTQ+-friendly bar in the center of Tartu.
  • Möku – A LGBTQ+-friendly cult bar along with the connected Genklubi (Genialistide Klubi).
  • Naiiv culture bar – Housed on a boat on the Emajõgi River

You will find a friendly welcome in other restaurants, clubs, and hotels in Tartu. In early October, Tartu and Rakvere both play host to Festheart, the first LGBTQ+ film festival to be held regularly in the Baltics. Acceptance is normal for most younger Tartu residents, so don’t let the relatively small number of LGBTQ+-friendly venues give you the wrong impression – everywhere is welcoming.

With Tartu’s status as the European Capital of Culture 2024, some highlight events on the LGBTQ+ calendar include:

  • May 18, 2024 – Tartu Mass Kissing Event and Concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Estonia’s first participation in Eurovision. Click here for more information.  
  • August 12-18, 2024 – Tartu Pride with the Pride march taking place on August 17. Click here for more information.


How to Get to Estonia

Regent Holidays offers a six-day Tallinn and Tartu twin-center city break from £865 per person. Price is based on two adults sharing and includes return flights from the UK to Tallinn, transfers, three nights in Tallinn at the Nordic Hotel Forum and two nights in Tartu at the Hotel Lydia, and return train or bus tickets from Tallinn to Tartu. Click here for more info about this package and Regent Holidays! 

In addition to our Queer Tallinn Travel Guide, you can also check out Visit Estonia’s LGBTQ+ travel guide here. Both are helpful resources to help you plan a safe queer-friendly trip! 

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine's writing staff works hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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