Today, we sat down with Tom Neuwirth a.k.a. Conchita Wurst, an Austrian singer and drag queen, to learn about his favourite spots across Europe. After winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 as Austria's entrant with the song Rise Like a Phoenix, Neuwirth came to international attention. Since the Eurovision Song Contest, this icon has continued to campaign for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Tom Neuwirth a.k.a. Conchita Wurst, an Austrian singer and drag queen
As an artist, where in Europe do you most love to perform live?
Vienna is my favourite destination in Europe, obviously, and that’s also a reason I have chosen to live here. I am very happy in my city. I also love Amsterdam because it is so much fun; it’s a beautiful city and the people are lovely and very open there too.
Conchita Wurst currently resides in Vienna, Austria
Can you name your five favourite travel destinations?
- Barcelona for the food, museums and for the beach in the city.
- Paris is the centre of fashion and has an Opera House that always amazes.
- Amsterdam is the destination for Pride Season – you haven’t celebrated Pride if you haven’t attended Canal Pride Amsterdam.
- Zurich is such a beautiful city with many hidden gems in the old town, everything is walkable by foot and it’s on this beautiful lake that you can entirely enjoy.
- Berlin is one of my favourite destinations in Europe because of my friends. The music, the vibe and the party scene there is second-to-none in Europe.
Can you tell me about your favourite attractions or experiences you’ve enjoyed when travelling?
Visiting Amsterdam and seeing all the different canals throughout the city is one of my travel highlights. It gives the city such a unique flair, adds calm to traffic, and is a great way to create distance and privacy. If nothing else works, sitting by a canal and staring out to the water while others cycle behind you can be the most relaxing experiences in a city trip that you won’t get anywhere else.
Summer is the perfect time to sit by the canals in Amsterdam, Netherlands
When it comes to European nightlife, which cities are your top recommendations?
- Berlin for the people and their style.
- Barcelona for the men.
- Gran Canaria for Pride season, as I believe I’ve never seen a more open general public than on the island. The overlap of straight and queer communities is bigger there than anywhere else I’ve been to.
- Mykonos in Greece is just gay heaven with all the sand and sea and sun.
- And of course I love Vienna nightlife. As it is my hometown, I know the clubs and bars to go to, and I have so many friends here that it just has to be on this list.
From your experience, which European destinations would you say are the most welcoming and inclusive destinations for LGBTQIA+ travellers?
I would count Vienna, Barcelona, Berlin and Amsterdam amongst the most inclusive destinations in Europe. All for their different reasons, but the bottom-line is that I would feel safe in all of them and there’s a multitude of activities for queer travellers in each of these destinations.
How would you describe the drag scene?
The European Drag scene seems very creative to me, there are so many facets to drag in Europe that I don’t see that much on other continents. And I appreciate the authenticity of European drags – they’re very real in every aspect of their artistry and personality.
Seeing a drag show is a must when visiting Europe
Lastly, where do your travels take you next?
I need to travel to New Zealand – I’ve made it to Australia a couple of times but never had the chance to escape Oz to visit New Zealand, not even for a short time. But if I need to name a bucket list destination in Europe, it would be the Lavender fields in the South of France and Grasse.