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Gay Travel Guide to Reykjavik

Stefan Arestis
Gay Travel Guide to Reykjavik

Everything you need to plan a fabulous gay trip to Reykjavik: gay bars & clubs, queer events, places to stay, travel highlights and more…

Have you ever noticed how phallic the world’s most famous landmarks are? The Eiffel Tower? Empire State Building? The Shard? Well, Reykjavik has taken the most literal approach of them all and opened up a museum dedicated to male organs. And if that doesn’t scream the perfect gay destination, we don’t know what will…

And like any good gay guy, Iceland is versatile.

Who’d have thought that a country with the spellbinding Northern Lights would have also birthed one of the most unorthodox singers of our time – Björk. Or that a land full of mountainous glaciers and astonishing waterfalls would feature the aforementioned phallogical museum.

Or that a culture dedicated to thermal baths and deep meditative rituals, would lend itself as a setting for the bonkers Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga movie on Netflix (you’d be lying if you said Ya Ya Ding Dong isn’t a bop).

The city itself is a wondrous blend of old meets new, with its ancient buildings set against the dramatic natural landscape, with trendy bars, a vibrant (albeit small) queer scene, and relaxing spas for you to unwind.

Heads up: We just wanted to let you know that this post contains affiliate links. That means if you book something through one of those links, we'll get a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It helps us keep our blog going – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥

Gay tour of Reykjavik with pink Iceland

Paint the town Pink!

Volcano weddings. Queer walking tours. Disco dance parties. There is nothing Pink Iceland can’t do. Founded by a lesbian couple in 2011, it is the go-to service for all things LGBTQ tourist-related in Iceland. Pop on over to their website to see how they can make your experience even gayer!

Find out more about Pink Iceland

How safe is Reykjavik for gay travelers?

Icelanders are one of the most tolerant and accepting people we’ve ever encountered on our travels. We felt completely safe holding hands in public and spotted tons of other gay couples engaging in PDA – everywhere!

Reykjavik has several rainbow crossings. The main one can be found on a street that is literally named “Rainbow Street”. This was installed to show Reykjavik’s commitment to tolerance and diversity. You can’t miss them as you walk along the streets – and there’s no better place to snap a photo with your loved one.

Icelanders have always been willing to go along with the times – with 84% of the population supporting gay marriage in 2004. Yes, 2004 (for context, homosexuality had only just been decriminalized in Texas in 2003).

Certain regions of Iceland have even introduced LGBTQ-themed lessons into their education curriculum for teens, that explore the history of the queer community and the problems they face. We love this. It helps all youth become even more aware and open-minded than they already are as well as also showing just how gay friendly this awesome country truly is!

Nomadic Boys together in iceland
This gay couple felt right at home in Reykjavik

Reykjavik’s gay neighborhood

Iceland is tiny, with only 350,000 people living on the island. And Reykjavik is even tinier: 120,000 people to be exact.

In other words, don’t arrive expecting a huge party scene that you’d find in New York, gay Fort Lauderdale, London, or gay Barcelona.

There is a small “gayborhood” based around the Kiki gay club in the downtown region, which gets particularly busy on weekends, especially during its drag shows. There's also a handful of places that host the occasional LGBTQ event. Gaukurinn Bar is an example of a “straight bar” that frequently attracts an LGBTQ crowd. And as it’s so small, the LGBTQ community is tight-knit and affectionate, where everyone knows everyone.

But to be brutally honest with you, we saw gays everywhere! Almost every bar/club we went to had gays mixed in 'cause that's how gay friendly this city really is.

Landing in Reykjavic soon?

Iceland is not cheap, and a taxi from Keflavik airport to downtown Reykjavik with return can cost upwards of $300. For a more cost effective way to get from the airport to downtown Reykjavik, we highly advise pre booking a bus transfer which will take you directly to your accommodation.

The gay spots in Reykjavik are all located in the same neighborhood
The vibrant Reykjavik gay scene centered around this colorful block

Gay travel agent in Iceland

Pink Iceland partners up with LGBTQ-themed businesses across the country, serving as the middleman between you and your travel dreams. Our experience with them was nothing short of magical. For our anniversary, they went above and beyond, connecting us to experiences that took us around the Golden Circle and the Reykjanes Peninsula.

They also operate as a gay wedding planner, helping couples with every detail for their big day. From rifling through all the pesky paperwork, picking out floral arrangements, and offering suggestions for the perfect honeymoon location, they’ve planned over 500 weddings. So you know you’ll be in safe hands!

Sasi Birna and Eva maria from Pink Iceland travel team
The cool team at Pink Iceland will make your dreams come true!

Gay hotels in Reykjavik

Just like buying property, the trick to finding the perfect gay friendly hotel is all about location, location, location. You’ll want somewhere close to everything, but that also serves as a peaceful refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city. We’ve got you covered.

Top gay friendly hotels in Reykjavik


The Retreat Blue Lagoon

We had our own private lagoon in this gorgeous and super gay friendly hotel

In a nutshell

  • Gay friendly spa Resort
  • In the heart of a Unesco Geopark
  • Surrounded by geothermal pools
  • Gourmet Icelandic cuisine

“Our own private lagoon!” we uttered, our eyes widening as we stepped into this gorgeous and super gay friendly luxury retreat. What could be better? We knew from the jump that this is where we would spend the bulk of our stay.

Settling down into the water of the Blue Lagoon felt superb. We learned how it was heated naturally through geothermal wonders, consistently sitting at a cozy 98-104°F (37-40°C).

The suite’s floor-to-ceiling window wall drowned the room in natural sunlight, making it feel crisp, clean, and modern. For food and drink, we had a choice between 3 restaurants and a charming café. Our favorite was the Lava restaurant, with its exquisite volcanic views and a menu made of fresh and locally sourced ingredients.

The spa treatments were like no other. Bringing together the seawater and deep massage therapy, it makes the most of its unique location in delivering a thoroughly refreshing experience. So, if it wasn’t obvious, the Blue Lagoon doesn’t hold back in delivering top-tier sophistication. It's the ultimate habitat for gay couples and travelers in need of deep relaxation.

Prices at The Retreat start from $1305 per night:

Nomadic Boys watching the northern lights in iceland

Chase the Northern Lights…

Seeing the Northern Lights was a dream come true for us – a truly magical Bucket List memory we will always cherish! If staying in Reykjavik, we highly recommend joining this tour set in a luxurious glass-roof bus, complete with lounge area and WiFi.

Find out more


Room with a view

Our room in Reykjavik in LGBT friendly hotel right in the center

In a nutshell

  • All equipped studio apartments
  • In the heart of the gay scene
  • Great views over Reykjavik

Despite sharing its name with the popular book/film about a woman living in the repressed Edwardian period, this gay friendly hotel experience is anything but. It’s relaxing, rejuvenating, and above all, freeing.

They have a range of rooms to suit travel groups of all sizes, whether you're traveling solo, in a couple, or with your gay mates.

We stayed in the sublime studio apartment on the top floor, which was popping with color and decorated with sleek, modern furnishings. They offer all guests access to a handy coffee and tea station area by the reception. For us, the highlight of our stay at Room with a View was the large balcony with views over Reykjavík, Esja, and Snæfellsjökull. If it wasn’t for the fabulous location, you’d never want to leave the room itself!

Speaking of, the hotel is situated right in the heart of the downtown area, surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants. The Kiki gay club is just a few minutes walk away!

Prices at Room with a view start from $108 per night:


Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, voiding any nasty surprises when you check-in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off our first booking.


Icelandair Marina Hotel

Icelandair hotel is a gay friendly retreat to stay in Reykjavik by the marina

In a nutshell

  • Unique Icelandic design with a Maritime theme
  • Great views over Reykjavik's harbor
  • Fabulous buffet breakfast
  • Colorful and cosy cinema

Perched next to the historical dry-dock Slippur, the gay friendly Icelandair Marina hotel embraces a maritime theme, making your stay here feel like an adventure at sea.

We recommend staying in the Deluxe Room, with its excellent water views. Blending modern furniture, with its wood-paneled walls, a stay here feels like a hybrid of a luxury hotel room and sleeping in an authentic sailboat. Ahoy matey!

The gym’s glass walls allow you to soak in the hotel atmosphere whilst working out – nothing worse than a gym that makes you feel boxed in as you work up a sweat. And in the evenings, venture into the hotel restaurant bar, the Slippbarinn, aka the birthplace of the Reykjavik cocktail culture. Here you'll find delicious food and cocktails made from fresh ingredients and lovingly presented.

We recommend swinging by their daily Happy Hour between 3-6pm where they have a special menu on offer. Their diverse selection of cocktails is all thanks to the varied backgrounds of the bar staff, all of whom bring a unique skillset in creating delicious drinks.

Prices at Icelandicair Marina Hotel start from $170 per night:


Hotel Borg by Keahotels

the gay friendly Hotel Borg by Keahotelhas become a landmark in its own right

In a nutshell

  • Art Deco design hotel
  • Fantastic central location
  • Close to the gay scene

A domineering presence on the Austurvöllur square, the gay friendly Hotel Borg has become a landmark in its own right. With its impressive Art Deco design, blindingly white exterior, and excellent location, it’s perfectly suited to gay travelers looking to spoil themselves.

Their deluxe room is decorated with rich greys and sleek furniture. It offers tons of space. It features a mini-bar, satellite TV, walk-in shower, and (my favorite), coffee machine! However, for a real splurge, we recommend the tower suite. Spread across two floors, it offers a panoramic view of the city so you can absorb the night skyline whilst enjoying a drink from the minibar. And with the Bluetooth speaker, you can invite friends around and have a private dance party (wink wink nudge nudge!).

Their restaurant, with its plush seating, sky-painted ceiling, and exquisite customer service is famously coined the “Golden Hall”. Serving up delicious Italian cuisine, it is luxury to its core!

We loved the Borg Spa, taking advantage of the string of fabulous amenities. It's the perfect spot to unwind and sweat out a heavy drinking night or three!

Prices at Hotel borg start from $174 per night:


Hotel Alda

The LGBT friendly Hotel Alda offers its guests the ultimate chic vibes

In a nutshell

  • 5 min walk from Hallgrimskirkja church
  • Contemporary Nordic design
  • Delicious chocolate store
  • in-house barber

Found on the quieter side of the big shopping street, Laugavegur, the gay friendly Hotel Alda offers its guests the ultimate chill vibes.

Away from the nightlife scene, we were able to indulge in a great night’s sleep, whilst still being close to dozens of cafes and restaurants.

Rooms have a fresh and modern design, which look like they fell straight out of the pages of an IKEA pamphlet. They are elaborate, without being OTT. Take the Queen Suite for example: with its king-sized bed, rainforest walk-in shower, and massive HD TV, it still managed to feel understated and minimal.

The gold-infused Brass Kitchen & Bar serves up delicious food and is a lovely place to unwind with a drink. Other spots to relax include the dry sauna and outdoor hot tub.

One thing we liked was their in-house barber. Seby forgot to touch up his usual short-back-and-sides before we headed off on our trip and would have refused to be in any photos if he hadn’t got snipped…Alda Hotel saved the day (and our Instagram content!)

Prices at Hotel Alda start from $157 per night:

Gay bars in Reykjavik

There are no outright gay bars in Reykjavik. Unsurprising, given how tiny the city is. The upside is how the gay friendly spirit of Reykjavik has spread across all the bars, meaning queer people are welcome anywhere. The ones that are particularly popular with the LGBTQ fam are set out below:

Gaukurinn Bar

Queer friendly space with live music and eclectic artists

Proudly wearing its badge as a queer-friendly space, Gaukurinn Bar is a fun night out to experience live music, enjoy a drink, and meet new people. Fun fact: Beer was banned in Iceland until 1989 and it was this bar that served the first draft beer post-prohibition. Tons of now-famous Icelandic artists once performed on the stage, across both pop and rock. Including (yours truly), the Nomadic Boys – though we were kindly asked to get off moments later by security…

Gaukurinn proudly welcomes people of all genders and all communities, providing unisex bathrooms so everyone can feel comfortable.

Opening hours: daily from 4pm until 1am (3am on weekends).

Located at: Tryggvagata 22.

Kaldi Bar

Kaldi is a gay friendly brewery very popular in Reykjavik

Since the Iceland beer ban was lifted in 1989, Iceland has gone full throttle with its love for the beverage. So a visit to the biggest brewery on the island is a must – especially for enjoying a drink in their bar. Experiment with a range of fabulous flavors, such as raspberry sour and mango pale ale, against the cozy and sophisticated backdrop. Attracting people in their 30s+, Kaldi is ideal for people who love chatting with strangers and late-night dancing. Another thing we loved about Kaldi is they have a heated outdoor terrace – trust us – Iceland gets COOOOOLD on most days throughout the year!

Opening hours: daily 12pm to 1am (3am on weekends).

Located at: Laugavegur 20b.


Bravo is where the LGBTQ community in Reykjavik meets for pre drinks

Tucked away beside the fabulous gay club, Kiki, Bravo is where many members of the LGBTQ community meet for pre-gaming or to have a laidback drink. It has a rough-around-the-edges feel to it, with dim lighting and a mix of rickety chairs and loungers. Nevertheless, the staff and locals are very friendly to newcomers. We felt immediately right at home. There is also a small dancefloor, where you can get warmed up before heading off on a bigger night out.

Opening hours: daily until around midnight.

Located at: Laugavegur 23.


This is where gay hipsters hang out in Reykjavik

Ask anyone where the hipster hangouts are in Reykjavik and you'll get the unanimous answer: Kaffibarinn. Despite being one of the oldest bars in the city, we were enthralled by its youthful and modern spirit. It has a mixed crowd, both old and young. Not specifically an LGBTQ bar, it’s nevertheless welcoming of all kinds of people. It’s also not the type of place to go for a party. Rather, it prides itself on being a quiet place to meet and make friends, enjoy a delicious coffee or draught beer, and take in the relaxed vibe.

Opening hours: daily from 3pm-1am (4:30am on weekends).

Located at: Bergstaðastræti Street.

Gay cafes in Reykjavik

Iceland is underrated when it comes to its coffee. We weren’t expecting to fall in love with its range of cafes, but we did. So, we created a whole section to gush over the best gay cafes in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik Roasters

The best coffee in Iceland is here in the gay neighborhood

Almost every gay local we spoke to raved about how this is “the best coffee in Iceland”! After all, they source their beans from South America – the undisputed holy grail for bean farming. They also train their staff to thoroughly understand the production side of things, so that they can answer customer queries and develop a deep passion for the ultimate pick-me-up drink. Have an interest in coffee-making yourself? The cafe hosts regular workshops customers can pop along to, where they can learn about the most common brewing methods. And if you’d rather sit in and enjoy a drink, that’s fine too. The café is super cosy and a great place to relax.

Opening hours: daily 9am-5pm.

Located at: Brautarholt 2.


quirky and colorful cafe place in the old town of Reykjavik

From the cartoon kid in their logo to their quirky, colorful décor, stepping into Babalú is like becoming a child again. Located 5 minutes from the Hallgrímskirkja church, you won’t miss it due to its bright blue and vibrant orange exterior. Their menu is stuffed full of crepes, grilled sandwiches, and French fries, as well as several vegan options. Their drinks are ideal for warming up on a frosty day, with scrumptious coffees, hot chocolates, and a range of teas. Whilst waiting for our food, we loved peering at all the eclectic items on the wall, featuring postcards, dolls, birdcages, books, and quirky ornaments.

Opening hours: daily from 8am to 10pm.

Located at: Skólavörðustígur 22.

Ida Zimsen

Authentic french croissant at this LGBT friendly cafe in Reykjavik

Part café, part bookshop, a visit here is a must for that Instagram-chic, reader aesthetic. We loved browsing through the shelves, spotting old favorites, and discovering new reads to add to our reading Bucket List. We tucked into a slice of carrot cake lavished with cream (warmly received after walking around exploring Reykjavik all day). Biting into it was like sampling a taste of gay Heaven. The staff was super friendly (and a few super cute!) They also served up authentic Italian Espressos and French croissants which made my Seby feel right at home.

Opening hours: daily from 10am to 6pm.

Located at: ​​Vesturgata 2a.

Gay clubs in Reykjavik

Whilst there is only one gay club in Reykjavik, it more than makes up for it with its loud and proud presence, great dance music, and must-see drag shows. Let’s have a kiki!


Kiki club is the official gay club in Reykjavik

As the only official gay hangout spot in Reykjavik (in fact in all of Iceland), the pressure was on for Kiki Queen Bar to deliver. And girl, it didn’t disappoint! Each time we went there was a different drag show on. Whether it was a glamorous queen doing a showstopping lip-sync routine, or an old broad doing stand-up, it was always entertaining. Expect this club to be packed to the brim, with a mix of people of ages, genders, and body types. The staff is super friendly and helped these two foreigners pick a good viewing spot for the drag shows.

Opening hours: only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from 8pm to 1am (4:30am on Fri/Sat).

Located at: Laugavegur 22.


tons of LGBTQ artists perform at Gaukurinn late at night especially on weekends

Ok, ok, we know we mentioned this one before. But we wanted to add it here again to rave about the bar as a live music venue. After all, it’s an entirely different experience from visiting the bar for a quiet drink. Visiting the Gaukurinn Bar is never a dull night out, especially when they have an exciting new artist performing. From rock to pop, metal to blues, they embrace all music types – and who knows, you may be witnessing the birth of the next national (or global) superstar. We danced our hearts out here and left with several new favorite artists to add to our travel Spotify playlist.

Opening hours: open daily from 4pm until 1am (3am on weekends).

Located at: Tryggvagata 22

Gay saunas in Reykjavik

For a country so famous for its spas, we were just as surprised as you were to discover there were no gay saunas. Booooooo!

Sadly, the gay hook-up culture has dulled the outdoor gay cruising / gay sauna scene in Reykjavik. Oh well, it was too cold to go out cruising anyway…

Never fear! There are plenty of excellent thermal baths around the city, which we highly recommend trying out – all of which are gay-friendly. Just don’t go in offering the gentlemen next to you a quickie…

Reykjavik has tons of hot baths but no gay saunas
What Reykjavik lacks in gay saunas it more than makes up for in geothermal baths!

Reykjavik’s Gay Pride and Events

It’s no fun being queer if you can’t celebrate. Hence why we love going to Pride events. Especially in other places around the globe to experience how they do Pride. Reykjavik has several LGBTQ-themed events, which we’ve listed below.

Reykjavik Pride (August)

With 100,000 visitors each year, Reykjavik Pride receives a 30% turnout out of its entire population – pretty impressive if you ask us! And like any other Pride event, it’s full of music, dancing, drag queens, and families, all celebrating their LGBTQ pride. We recommend checking out Pink Iceland's “Pink Pride Package“. It's a great way to discover the colorfully queer history and culture of Reykjavik. It takes place across three days and includes an LGBTQ walking tour of Reykjavik, a trip to the Sky Lagoon, the impressive waterfall, Gullfoss, and of course, celebrating the Reykjavik Pride parade.

This is the biggest gay pride event in Iceland attracting more than 100,000 visitors

Reykjavik Bear (September)

We love a bear. Although since we’re up near the Arctic, could we technically call them polar bears? A more low-key version of the main Pride event in August, Reykjavik Bear consists of 3 events. There’s the luscious trip to the renowned Blue Lagoon, where guys can kick back their feet and unwind, a day trip to the jaw-dropping, Golden Circle, and a tearful, farewell brunch.

Attracting bears from all over Iceland, and the rest of the world, Bear Pride is a popular event

Pink New Year’s Eve (December)

Pink Iceland doesn’t hold back when ringing in the New Year. Their New Year’s Eve package is full of stellar activities that will inspire you to make ground-breaking resolutions and shed the year past. Across four days, you’ll take an LGBTQ-themed walking tour of the city, take a road trip around the magnificent Golden Circle, potentially glimpsing the awe-inspiring Northern Lights, before enjoying a bonfire as you countdown the final seconds of the old year. And to cap it all off, you’ll unwind in the Blue Lagoon on January 1st. After all, they say to start the year as you mean to go on.

Celebrating New years Eve the Icelandic way with LGBTQ friends

Gay friendly restaurants in Reykjavik

When we experience a new city, we want to get right to the heart of it (as do our bellies!). As self-admitted foodies, we take great pleasure in finding out all the best restaurants for sinking our teeth into.  

Sushi Social

Nomadic Boys celebrating 13 years together at Sushi social restaurant

Love or hate it, the reign of sushi is here. Everywhere you go, you'll see a sushi restaurant. And we feel it’s well worth the hype. Inspired by Japanese and South American cuisine, Sushi Social uses authentic Icelandic ingredients for its dishes. You can’t beat the fish from the North Atlantic. We tucked into the beef tenderloin, served up with onion jam, celeriac mayo, truffle garden potatoes, and a cardamom glaze. Yum! And if you arrive between 5 and 6pm, Sunday to Thursday, you can enjoy a drink at half price as part of their Happy Hour.

Lava Restaurant

high end restaurant set in the beautiful Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Once you’ve experienced all the benefits the Blue Lagoon has to offer, why not cap it all the work by tucking into a clean, healthy meal at the Lava Restaurant? Start the meal with a delicious soup or cured beef. And for your mains, we recommend choosing either the fresh seafood, served alongside veggies and nuts, or the grilled beef, topped with caramelized onions and mushrooms, there isn’t a dish on the menu not worth trying. And as you’ve been so good to yourself, you can justify a dessert for yourself. The crème brulée is irresistible, bursting with scrumptious vanilla and orange flavor.

Kol Restaurant

Seafood lovers will fall in love with this LGBT friendly restaurant in Reykjavik

Using high-quality ingredients, the chefs at Kol Restaurant take great pride in making each dish taste and look incredible. Grilled fillets, charred salmon, and tender beef are just some of the luscious items to look forward to. And if you can’t tell this place is luxurious from the menu, you’ll certainly realize when you walk in the front door. Its mix of brown and gold décor, cozy seating, and hanging lanterns, give the place a hint of the ole’ Gatsby aesthetic. Best of all, they have a Bubble Brunch every weekend, with an extra special delicious menu and bottomless bubbly drinks.


Fusion restaurant mixing traditional Icelandic food with a modern twist

Connecting old traditions with modern delicacies, Jomfruin is all about quality ingredients, special experiences, and expert service. Strongly influenced by the Danish, if you're stopping in for lunch, we recommend having one of the sandwiches. Though if that ain’t your thing or you want something more filling, stay for dinner. Their menu is packed full of quirky meals like reindeer meatballs (I guess they were retired from Santa’s services). Staff are friendly and offer prompt and efficient service, making the experience sublime from top to bottom.

Islenski Barinn

huge portions and delicious waffles in this cozy Icelandic restaurant in Reykjavik

Sipping on Viking beers, munching on waffle fries, and chatting to the wait staff about our expedition to the Phallogical Museum, there was no better evening than our trip to Islenski Barinn. The interior was richly decorated, with an old-timey vibe, that make its guests feel right at home. Portions were huge, more than enough to fill us up – and we’ve got pretty huge appetites! I tucked into a giant reindeer burger, whilst Seby enjoyed a steaming fish pie. If we didn’t have a sense of Icelandic food and culture before, we sure do now.


Community atmosphere in this restaurant serving food for the table rather than for individuals

Icelandic by name, Icelandic by nature, this restaurant takes the term “sharing is caring” to a whole new level. Grillmarket is all about taking dining beyond the individual experience and making it a communal affair. They don’t serve separate meals per person, but rather, per table. That way, everyone in your party can have a little bit of everything. Raw materials and beef are locally sourced, often bought directly from the farmers, so you can trust that each dish is authentically produced.

Best things to do in Reykjavik

Time to climb out of your warm hotel bed and see the city. There is so much more to Iceland than the Northern Lights and spa trips, but hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze it onto your to-do list!

Sky Lagoon

High end geothermal experience not to miss in Iceland

When we think of Iceland, we think of two things: dramatic, natural landscapes, and spas. So, there was no holding us back from visiting the wondrous Sky Lagoon. Move through their seven-step Ritual to achieve maximum relaxation. Start by sinking into the lagoon itself, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean. Drink in the fiery sunset, glistening waters, and if you're lucky, the captivating Northern Lights. Then move through a series of icy-cold glacier pools, sweltering saunas, energizing mists, intense massages, and rejuvenating shower rooms. Proven to stimulate the heart and drain toxins, your immune system will thank you for it!

Chase the Northern Lights in Reykjavik

Nomadic Boys watching the Northern lights in Iceland

Seeing the aurora polaris (aka the Northern Lights) was always high up on my Bucket List. We actually planned our trip around this – September to March being the optimal time of year for it as that is when the night sky is at its darkest. We got lucky during our trip and saw the Northern Lights several times – an array of gushing greens dancing in the heavens above us from around 11pm until around 3am. It was spectacular! Our big takeaway tip for you: bring a good camera/smartphone with a long shutter speed for the best photos. 

Reykjavik free walking tour

Discover Reykjavik in this free walking and entertaining tour

You’ve talked the talk about wanting to see Iceland. But are you ready to walk the walk? Every street corner of Reykjavik has a story to tell, and it’s through walking tours that we’ve learned some of our favorite facts about the places we visit. Free walking tours are a fantastic way to gain a deeper insight into all the lesser-known sights whilst helping local students at the same time. Whilst the tours are “free” they ask that you tip them at the end. The tour guides rely on these tips to survive, so we recommend being as fair as you can afford to be.

Snorkel between two continents

Nomadic Boys snorkeling in Silfra between two continents

‘Well hey there America – why don’t you send over a few of those tasty burgers you make…ok Europe, but throw us back some of your delectable French cheese and Swiss chocs…’  

…it’s possible – ‘cause Iceland’s Thingvellir National Park sits right in the middle of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. More specifically, there is a water-filled fissure, called Silfra, which separates the two tectonic plates. This is the only place in the world where you can snorkel between two continental plates in the clearest waters you’ll ever see – visibility up to 328 ft (100m)! 

Hallgrimskirkja Church

Unique architectural gem not to be missed whilst in Reykjavik

Standing proud at 244ft tall (74m), with a dramatic curved spine and stony wings, the Hallgrimskirkja Church is an iconic architectural achievement. Made to resemble the glaciers and icy mountains that make Iceland so famous, it can be spotted almost anywhere in the city and has come to be seen as a symbol of national pride and identity. And yet, its story only began a relatively short while ago (at least by European standards) – in 1937! It's still used as a place of worship, with Mass taking place every Sunday morning. Entry to the church is free, but if you want to take the elevator to the top it's 1,000 ISK (around $8) per person.

Blue Lagoon

iconic photo of Stefan at the Blue Lagoon in iceland

Continuing our love affair for spa days, we paid a trip to the Blue Lagoon – aka the most fabulous of all thermal baths in Iceland! A day spent relaxing in the warm, bubbling waters is hugely beneficial to your body. The baths are kept at a consistent temperature of 98-104ºF (37-40º) and have even been found to help with skin conditions like psoriasis. So, whether you're looking to relax or take a few thirst traps for social media (who could blame you) a visit to the Blue Lagoon is a must!

The Icelandic Phallological Museum

For a funny afternoon and educational one, the phallogical museum is worth a visit

Officially called “The Icelandic Phallological Museum” – it’s without a doubt, the quirkiest museum we’ve ever been to. Based on the name, we walked in expecting to find wall-to-wall images of adult rated photography. But inside, it’s a fascinating collection of phallic sculptures belonging to nearly 300 specimens – all of which can be found across Iceland. We thought we knew everything there was to know about the male organ (having spent many years having and loving them – wink!). But turns out, there is far more than meets the eye (or third eye, for that matter). Did you know Sperm Whales are the same height as me? That's 5ft7 (170cm)…!

National Museum of Iceland

Learn about the history of Iceland at the National Museum

Packed full of items and photos that represent Iceland’s history and culture, a trip to the National Museum of Iceland is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. There are always several exhibitions at any one time. The museum’s permanent exhibition, Making of a Nation – Heritage and History in Iceland, goes through the history of the Icelandic nation from the Settlement to the present day, showcasing over 2,000 objects. You can find it smack bang in the center of Reykjavik. To enter, you’ll need to purchase an annual pass for 2,500 ISK (around $19).

Spend a day touring the Golden Circle

Discover the golden circle and its highlights on a tour

You’ll want to get the most out of your trip to Iceland, especially if your time there is limited. The Golden Circle tours offer the most bang for your buck as you get to see Iceland’s top 3 attractions in half a day: the Geysir Geothermal Area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Thingvellir National Park. The geysers were our favorite. We’ve never seen anything like it – a powerful discharge of water penetrating the air above you every 5-10 minutes! And the Gullfoss? Simply stunning – a powerful body of water plummeting 105ft (32m) down into two tiers into a river gorge.

Plan Your Trip To Reykjavik

We share with you all our handy hints and tricks to help you plan your own trip to Reykjavik:

Travel insurance: It's super important, especially when it comes to car rentals. Make sure you have comprehensive insurance because you just never know when something might go awry. We've been using Heymondo Travel Insurance for years and always recommend them to others as well. Their cover is very comprehensive and it's easy to make a claim online if you have to.

How to get there: Reykjavik is the main transport hub. The international airport is called Keflavík International Airport (KEF) which has daily direct flights to most cities in the USA and Europe.

Keflavik Airport is 30 miles (50km) from Reykjavik city center, which is around 45 minutes by taxi.

Visa requirements: If you're from the United States, an EU Member State, or certain Commonwealth countries (including Australia, Canada, and New Zealand), you do not need a visa for Iceland. Make sure you check your personal visa requirements well ahead of time though and organize a visa if you will need one.

Getting around: Reykjavik is small and compact, easy (and super fun!) to explore on foot. If heading further afield, you're most likely to do so via a tour or private taxi hire. There is an excellent and efficient bus network in Reykjavik, you'll need to pre-purchase your tickets on the Strætó app which is very easy to use.

Vaccinations: The CDC recommends that all travelers to Iceland should be up to date with routine vaccinations for things like measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, etc, and, of course, Covid-19. You may also need vaccinations for Hepatitis A, B, and rabies (if you're going further into the wilderness than just Reykjavik), so make sure you speak to your travel nurse or doctor before heading to Iceland.

Currency: The currency used in Iceland is the Icelandic Krone (pronounced “krona”), ISK. $1 converts to around 130 ISK, £1 to around 170 ISK, and €1 to around 142 ISK.

Tipping culture: There isn't a strong tipping culture in Iceland compared to the United States. Service is always included in your bill. However, if you want to reward good service it will certainly be appreciated!

Internet access: Iceland has excellent internet services, so you should be able to access fast and reliable wifi in most places. Our advice, buy a SIM card at Keflavik Airport as soon as you arrive from the 24-hour convenience store.

Accommodation: For more accommodation options in Reykjavik, we always like to use to see what's available. They have lots of excellent choices, many of which come with free cancellation if needed, and their online customer support is also outstanding.

Sightseeing and adventure: There are so many fun things to do in and around Reykjavik, beyond the ones we've mentioned here. We love using Viator to find the best tours and activities. Their online booking system is easy to use and they also offer 24/7 online support if you need it.

When to visit: Anytime throughout the year! Yes, it's super cold in the winter months, but the country is covered in a picturesque blanket of snow! Also, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights are highest in the winter months. But, a lot of the sites will be closed or hard to reach due to the treacherous weather. In the summer months, Iceland is a different country with more outdoor activity, and most of the tourist sites are open and easy to reach. Also, note that Reykjavik Pride takes place in early August.

Gay map of Reykjavik

We've put together this handy map for you to plan your own fabulous gay trip to Reykavik. We hope it helps you have an awesome time!

This is where all the gay hot spots in Reykjavic are on this map

For more inspiration:

Stefan Arestis

Hey everyone, I'm Stefan, the curly-haired Greek flavor behind the gay travel blog Nomadic Boys. Together with my other half, I have explored more than 90 countries across 5 continents. What I love most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, learning new cultures. I've written about LGBTQ travel in numerous online publications such as Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times and Pink News as well as for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Check my full bio here.