Not sure if the world´s northernmost gay scene is to be found here but Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital. Known by many as the home of Bjork and Sigur Ros. It is a small city with only 120.000 people but about 2/3 of Icelanders live in greater Reykjavik area. It is easy to navigate the city whether by foot, bicycle, public transport or car. With a little bit of planning you should be able to explore the city of Reykjavik and see a little bit of Iceland as well in less than a week.
There are variety of daytours to choose from allowing you to see geothermal hot springs, geysers, lava, volcanic craters and glaciers, all those things that makes Iceland what it is. And dont forget to visit the geothermal spa Blue lagoon which is simply a must thing to do. A visit to a local outdoor swimming pool is definitely also worth the experience as well.
Gay scene small, friendly and open
Reykjavik´s gay scene is small and you will notice a few things when here. First, Icelanders go out very late so don’t expect the bars and clubs to get overly busy before midnight. Secondly, the gay bars are also very mixed. Gay bars come and go and to quote some of the guide books out there, "gay bars in Reykjavik seem to close down before they open". The best way to stay on top of things is to check out Bars and Clubs section where we list places that are still in business. However the Queer Center (Samtökin ´78) have been to cornerstone in the local gay scene for over 30 years but they run a a community center, The Queer Center, located on Laugavegur 3. There you´ll find a small cafe & library which is open on weekdays from 1 pm - 5 pm and Thursday evenings from 8 pm - 23.00 pm. Opening hours might be shorter during summer (July). If you fancy to sit down for an afternoon latte and delicious, fresh-baked cakes go to the gay owned and operated Café Babalu on Skolavorðustígur 22a (www.babalu.is). Its friendly staff and homey ambience makes it hard to leave!
Variety of big and small events are organized throughout the year such as gay dances, queer bingo and concerts. Gay Pride is usually the second weekend of August and the local bear pride event BEARS ON ICE is the second weekend of September. Rainbow Reykjavik is the latest addition to the annual events in town (all events are listed on www.gayice.is).
Gay Pride (August)
Gay Pride is by far the single largest LGBT event which has grown to be among the biggest in Iceland since first held 1999 (www.gaypride.is). The festival has usually a quick start on Wednesday night with Reykjavik’s most entertaining competition, the Icelandic Drag Queen and King. Although not formal part of Gay Pride it’s a great way of starting a long weekend. Gay Pride opens formally Thursday night with various artist to perform. Friday night there is a separate dance for girls and boys. The Saturday merry and colorful parade goes down the main shopping street in the old center and ends with a grand outdoor concert. The parade is attended by thousands of people, lesbians and gay men, bisexuals and transgender people, friends, relatives, fellow citizens and numerous foreign visitors.
BEARS ON ICE (SEPTEMBER)
Bears and friends usually take over the local gay scene first or second weekend of September. It is a fun and friendly event where bears and friends are able to enjoy the company of like minded guys and get to see a little bit of Iceland as well. Event program includes Thursday welcome party, has a Friday sight-seeing trip as well as Friday night party. On Saturday there is a trip to the geothermal Blue lagoon spa and during the evening the fun continues with some BEAR dance and entertainment. Visit BEARS ON ICE website for more information about the event.
Rainbow Reykjavik (Jan/Feb)
Rainbow Reykjavik LGBT winter festival which is a new addition to the Reykjavik gay scene takes place at the end of January. This four day event offers a nice blend of sightseeing tours and outdoor experience as well as late night parties so everyone should find something of interest. Among event highlights is a trip to the geothermal Blue lagoon, Northern Lights hunt (if weather allowes), Golden Circle sight seeing tour and Pink Party. Visit Rainbow Reykjavik for more information about the event, program and tickets.