Gay Reykjavik is the hot spot for international travelers in recent years. Iceland’s largest city and capital, visitors come here to explore its natural beauty. Though we’d be lying if we didn’t mention that many visitors are also hoping to get a glimpse of the most famous Icelandic celebrity, Björk.
Located in southwestern Iceland, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital. Founded in 1786, Reykjavik is one of the cleanest, greenest and safest cities in the world.
Fun facts about Reykjavik
Reykjavík means “smoky bay” in English. It may be a small city, but Reykjavik is 100% cosmopolitan and multi-cultural. Immigrants of 131 different nationalities make up about 8.5% of the total population. The highest concentration is in the suburb of Breiðholt, where 20% of the population is either a first- or second-generation immigrant.
Though a modern city, Reykjavik has some fascinating cultural practices from the past. For instance, Reykjavik banned people from having dogs in town until 2006. With no dogs in Reykjavik for decades, cats ruled. Though while you can find dogs in Reykjavik now, one thing you won’t find is a Starbucks. Reykjavik is the only western European capital without Starbucks or a McDonald’s.
Reykjavik has gorgeous murals all over the city waiting for you. And make sure to bring a swimsuit — Nauthólsvík beach is a human-made, geothermal beach. Warm geothermal water mixes nicely with the chilly sea water making for comfortable swimming.
Must-visit Reykjavik places
Described as a “dreamboat” and “an ode to the sun,” the Sun Voyager is a magnificent sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, located next to the Sæbraut road.
Another popular tourist attraction is the Golden Circle in southern Iceland. It covers about 186 miles looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. It’s visually stunning, making it perfect for hiking and exploring.
For an off-the-beaten-path dining experience, check out Perlan and try the local cuisine. Perlan is the futuristic, revolving, glass-domed fine dining restaurant in a park setting.
Also, go and visit the Imagine Peace Tower on Viðey Island in Kollafjörður Bay. This poignant building is a beautiful a memorial to John Lennon from his widow, Yoko Ono. With the spectacular light show at night, it will take your breath away.
If you are curious about the penis (and aren’t we all), Icelandic Phallological Museum has the world’s most massive display of penises and penile parts. You get to learn everything about the penis from its 280-specimen collection, including penises from whales, seals and more. The museum also claims to have examples of the penises of Huldufólk (Icelandic elves) and trolls.
Reykjavik City Museum has The Settlement Exhibition Reykjavík 871 +/- 2 that is worth checking out. See first-hand the remains of a hall from the Settlement Age, excavated in 2001.
The Maritime Museum used to be a former fish factory, but now this site houses historic ships and exhibits on the local fishing industry. The National Museum of Iceland is another a great place to learn about Reykjavik’s past. One of the permanent exhibitions is the Valþjófsstaður door, a celebrated carving telling the story of the Lion-Knight legend where a knight slays a dragon, freeing a lion that becomes his companion.
Finally, go to Árbæjarsafn, a historical open-air museum, to get a better insight into the living conditions, work and recreational activities of the early people of Reykjavík.
Gay Reykjavik nightlife
Gay Reykjavik has a thriving nightlife scene. As a progressive city, Reykjavik exudes friendliness to all visitors. From cozy pubs with live music to dance clubs, there is a little something for everyone. If you prefer an authentic gay Reykjavik experience, there are a couple gay bars to visit.
You can’t miss Kiki Queer Bar when you visit Reykjavik’s gayest street, Laugavegur. Kiki Queer Bar is the place to have a kiki with your favorite bartender or queen while you dance the night away.
Right next door, Bravo is a cozy place with a chill ambiance and friendly staff. At this inclusive bar, mingle with locals and taste a great selection of local beers on draft.
Gay Reykjavik events
Several important LGBTQ events take place at Reykjavik every year. The Reykjavik Gay Pride, the signature pride celebration event, happens early August every year for six days of LGBTQ parties and festivals.
Right after Reykjavik Gay Pride, adorable, huggable men from all over the world come together and celebrate Bears on Ice in late August. This social event for bears and friends is a fun environment for guys to meet and explore the beauty of Iceland.
Finally, the Rainbow Reykjavik Festival is a pride celebration showcasing stunning nature and thriving Reykjavik nightlife every winter around early March. This small Pride festival is the perfect winter getaway and another excellent introduction to Iceland.