Gay Reykjavik • Essential Guide

First time in Reykjavik? Then our essential guide for gay travellers is for you.

Reykjavik featured image

Reykjavík

The capital and largest city of Iceland, Reykjavik is the world’s northernmost capital and a popular tourist destination.

With a population of around 200,000 in the Capital Region, the city is Iceland’s centre of culture and commerce, surrounded by suburbs and colourful houses.

Reykjavik ranks as one of the safest, cleanest and greenest cities in the world, with good shops, restaurants and bars.

 

Gay Rights in Iceland

Iceland is very progressive when it comes to LGBT rights. Same-sex marriage has been legal since June 2010 after the parliament amended the law to define marriage as between two individuals.

Same-sex couples have equal access to adoption and In vitro fertilisation (IVF).

 

Gay Scene

The gay scene is quite limited in the Icelandic capital, but a warm welcome can be expected from the locals. The general public is very gay-friendly, so one can be quite open about sexual orientation here.

The small gay scene can be found at Laugavegur, the long main shopping street in city centre.  Kiki bar and Bravo are the most popular gay venues. Nearby establishments offer both gay and straight crowds a nice place to hang out and enjoy a meal or drinks.

Gay dance parties take place at various venues throughout the year. These include the Pink Party taking place twice a year in October/November and January/February during Rainbow Reykjavik, the LGBT winter festival.  Check local websites, look for flyers or just ask around.

 

Getting to Reykjavik

Keflavík International Airport (also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport) is the main international hub airport in Iceland. It is located some 50km (31 miles) from Reykjavik. The airport is has direct flights to and from most European capitals and US airports.

(Reykjavík Airport, located just 2 kilometres from the city centre, is the main domestic airport serving Reykjavík)

The Flybus services goes Keflavík International Airport toReykjavík city centre. The journey time is around 45 minutes and costs ISK 1,950. A taxi will set you back around ISK 14,000.

 

Getting around Reykjavik

On foot
It is highly recommended to walk in Reykjavik, as many attractions are within walking distance from the hotel area. The city is very beautiful, and the sidewalk is excellent. Drivers are generally very friendly and will sometimes stop for you even when there is no crossing facility.

By bus
Reykjavik has a public bus system called Strætó that is reliable and clean. The driver cannot give any change, though. If you need to switch buses to get to your final destination, ask the driver for a transfer ticket (skiptimiði), which is valid for the next 75 minutes on any bus.
If you’re staying outside the city centre it may be best to get a Reykjavik Welcome Card, which allows unlimited access to the buses, along with free access to several museums, some discounts and free internet at the hostel. The ‘Welcome’ cards are available at the Tourist Information Center by Ingólfstorg, and also at some hotels.

By car
As a tourist, you should be able to get around without a car if you’re only staying in the city. Driving is recommended though for travel outside of Reykjavik and its suburbs.

By taxi
All taxis are metered and most are very clean and comfortable, but they are also very expensive. The start fee is at 600-700 kr. and 200-400 kr. per kilometre. Taking a taxi is, nonetheless, the best way to get home after a night out.  Credit cards are accepted.

By bicycle
It is possible to get around Reykjavik by bicycle, albeit occasional strong winds and a few hills. With few bicycle paths, most cycling is done on the street or on the sidewalk (both are legal). When cycling on the sidewalk, it iss important to be considerate of pedestrians as they have the right of way.

 

Where to Stay

For our list of recommended hotels, visit the Gay Reykjavik Hotels page.

 
hallgrimskirkja-with-northern-light
Hallgrimskirkja – see below

Things to See & Do

National Gallery of Iceland – the national art gallery with a large collection of works by Icelandic 19th and 20th century artists.

Hallgrimskirkja – large cathedral with great views from the top from which you can see most parts of Reykjavik.

Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture – a unique sculpture on the waterfront that reflects Iceland’s seafaring history.

National Museum of Iceland – located near the University of Iceland, this museum represents the history of a nation from settlement to today; there is a café and a museum shop.

Tjörnin (The Pond) – small lake in the city centre where people often gather to feed the ducks; the lake is surrounded by a park called Hljómskálagarðurinn which is very popular in good weather.

City Hall (Ráðhúsið) – an excellent late 20th century architecture, built into Tjörnin (The Pond); open to the public, with a café and an exhibition hall.

Perlan (The Pearl) – iconic building on top of a wooded hill called Öskjuhlíð, to the southeast of the city centre, offering fantastic views of the city; open to the public; there is a rotating restaurant at the top.

Reykjavík City Museum (Árbæjarsafn) – open-air museum showcasing how the Icelandic people used to live.

 

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2016-12-02

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