The Gay Scene in Iceland

Reykjavik cityscape in Iceland
L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images

The gay scene in Iceland is small but active and open. Gay and lesbian bars and clubs exist mostly in Iceland's capital Reykjavík, but the northern branch in Akureyri is growing each year.

Iceland as a gay-friendly destination has received great reviews from visitors. It has landed on various top-ten lists and received the “5 Pink Stars” rating by Diva Magazine, a popular magazine for lesbians in Europe.

PlanetRomeo's Gay Happiness Index, a survey of gay men from more than 120 countries, rated Iceland No. 1 in the world. 

In 2009, Iceland's Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the modern world's first openly gay government leader.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Iceland since 2010. The Church of Iceland even allows same-sex couples to get married in its churches and has since 2015. Gallup polls show the vast majority of Icelanders support same-sex marriage.

Safety Concerns for LGBTQ Travelers in Iceland

There are no specific safety concerns for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) travelers in Iceland. With its modern, gay-friendly atmosphere, Iceland has come a long way since 1978, when the Icelandic Lesbian and Gay Organization, Samtökin’78, was founded in Reykjavik.

Today, lesbian and gay people in Iceland stand equal to heterosexual people in the eyes of the law and prejudice is on the retreat.

LGBTQ Activities and Events in Iceland

The Reykjavík Gay Pride event has become one of the biggest celebrations in the nation, with more 85,000 people attending the parade and the downtown festivities in Reykjavik.

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