by Dirk Baumgartl
If you visit Iceland, you shouldn’t miss the capital Reykjavik. Although the local LGBTIQ* scene is small, the rainbow colours of the queer community are present everywhere in the city center. Our highlights …
LGBT City Tour
If you want to get a first impression of Reykjavik, you can do so with a guided LGBT city tour. The history of the city is taken into account as well as the situation of the local community and of course the sights of the city, such as the Harpa conference center will be shown. The tour operator Pink Iceland has its office in the city centre and offers complete travel programs through Iceland in addition to the city tour. International group tours are available in February (Rainbow Reykjavik – Winter Pride) and for Pride in August.
Icelandic Phallus Museum
It is certainly one of the most curious museums in the world. Founded in 1997, the museum only moved into new premises in downtown Reykjavik in June 2020, where it presents the world’s largest collection of penises. Whether from a mouse, seal, giraffe or whale – 280 large and small specimens of the male sexual organ give an impression of nature’s ingenuity here. Since 2011, the museum also has a human penis in its collection, but is looking for more donors. How about it?
Standing in the center of Reykjavik, Hallgrímskirkja is probably the city’s most visible landmark. The Evangelical Lutheran parish church is the largest church building in Iceland and the second tallest building in the country. In good weather, the tower offers a good view over the city. The church is especially photogenic from the street Skólavörðustígur, which is painted in rainbow colors all year round. During Prides in August, a church service for the queer community is also celebrated here.
Spread over a total of three buildings in the city, the Reykjavik Art Museum displays Icelandic art from various eras. Special emphasis is put on exhibitions of contemporary works from the dynamic and progressive Icelandic art scene, as well as internationally renowned artists. For example, a large show of the works by the gay artist duo Gilbert & George can be seen in the impressive Hafnarhús until January 3, 2021.
It is the country’s largest public event, with up to a third of the entire nation celebrating in Reykjavik along with the LGBTIQ* community. Held since 1999, Pride now attracts up to 100,000 visitors to watch the parade voving through city center adorned with rainbow flags each August. Reykjavik Pride is particularly non-commercial – large companies are not allowed to participate in the parade. While the heterosexual visitors leave after the parade, the community continues to celebrate in the evening at parties, for example in Reykjavik’s only queer bar Kiki. Following the cancellation of Pride 2020 at short notice, numerous planned cultural events and discussions will take place later in the year, with the next parade taking place in the summer of 2021.
A visit to Reykjavik would not be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon. Located about 40 minutes from the city center, the thermal bath is one of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions. The 37- to 42-degree hot salt water, which is pumped into a 5,000-square-meter lagoon from a nearby geothermal power plant, gets its blue-white color from diatoms in the water. Bathing is particularly luxurious in The Retreat Hotel’s spa, which has its own private lagoon as well as sauna, relaxation rooms and an exclusive spa restaurant. In addition, the use of silicate and algae products is already included in the admission. Due to its proximity to Keflavik International Airport, The Retreat at Blue Lagoon is also an ideal overnight option the day of arrival or departure. For a visit to the lagoon, be sure to book well in advance.
HOW TO GET THERE
Icelandair flies several times a week from Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin to Reykjavik. The airline currently has special offers on a regular basis – e.g. in the comfortable Saga class.
WHERE TO STAY
Cool and centrally located, the Canopy by Hilton Reykjavik City Center is a perfect base for exploring the city. The hotel comprises a total of six buildings and offers plenty of space in publicly accessible areas. In addition to a large rooftop terrace, the hotel offers a well-equipped fitness room and an extensive breakfast menu. Part of the hotel’s philosophy is to take design inspiration from each city where it is located. In the case of Reykjavik, this includes a photo of local LGBTIQ* activists painting Rainbow Street in front of Hallgrímskirkja, which can be found in all rooms.
Visitors can take advantage of several benefits at once with the Reykjavik City Card. The card, which is available for a period of 24, 48 or 72 hours, includes free admission to numerous museums such as the Art Museum, the Reykjavik City Museum or the Icelandic National Museum. In addition, rides on the city buses are free, as is the admission to the city’s thermal baths. Discounts are available at the Phallus Museum, the Aurora Northern Lights Center and some restaurants such as the Fish Company.
- IMG_0512: By Dirk Baumgartl
- IMG_0544: By Dirk Baumgartl
- IMG_8191: By Dirk Baumgartl
- ArtMuseum: By Dirk Baumgartl
- IMG_9845: By Dirk Baumgartl
- bluelagoon_pink_iceland_gay_travel_iceland6: By Pink Iceland
- Icelandair: By icelandair.com
- Canopy_Reykjavik: By hiltonhotels.com
- iceland-1883899_1920: By pixabay.com/Thomas Schneider
- dirk: By Dirk Baumgartl
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