Get Ready for Pride in Iceland: The Leading Destination for LGBTQIA+ Visitors

The 25th celebration of Pride, protest, and visibility, aka Reykjavík Pride, or “Hinsegin Dagar” in Iceland, will take place from 6 August to 11 August 2024.

That’s right, by celebrating what the locals call “the world’s biggest small Pride” in August, you don’t have to miss any June Pride celebrations happening in other parts of the world!

Iceland, a top destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers, is world-famous for its inclusivity and liberal values. Pride is so well attended and celebrated that it seems nearly half of the country is there!

This blog will explore the vibrant history, fun facts, and essential events you’ll need to know to celebrate Pride in Iceland. Plus, we’ll highlight some of the best day trip and road trip locations to explore in one of Geysir Car Rental’s vehicles.

A Brief History of LGBTQIA+ Rights in Iceland

Iceland’s journey towards LGBTQIA+ rights is an inspiration for inclusivity. The country made history in 2009 when Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir became the world’s first openly gay head of government. This was followed by the legalization of same-sex marriage and adoption rights in 2010, making Iceland one of the first countries to do so.

In 2012, Iceland further solidified its commitment to equality by formalizing the process for name and identity changes for transgender and genderqueer individuals. Additionally, The Church of Iceland has also been a pioneer in LGBTQIA+ rights, allowing same-sex marriages since 2015! In 2020, the country introduced laws allowing a third gender marker on official documents, marking another significant step towards inclusivity and recognition.

These incredible strides in legal protections and societal acceptance have paved the way for a vibrant LGBTQIA+ culture in Iceland. The country consistently ranks high on international indices measuring LGBTQIA+ rights and social acceptance. This openness and inclusivity make Iceland a warm and welcoming destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers looking to explore its natural wonders and cultural heritage while living authentically.

Key LGBTQIA+ Events in Iceland

Reykjavík Pride

Rainbow flags, the symbol of the LGBTQ+ community in Reykjavík Pride parade Iceland

Held annually since 1999, Reykjavík Pride is one of Iceland’s most significant and well-attended events, drawing around 100,000 global guests. The parade kicks off from Hallgrímskirkja Church and winds through Skólavörðustígur, where the street is painted with a vibrant rainbow. This week-long celebration in early August features concerts, parties, and a family-friendly atmosphere. Pride in Iceland is not just a parade but a full-fledged festival with diverse events, including film screenings, panel discussions, and art exhibitions, all celebrating LGBTQIA+ culture and rights.

Reykjavík Bear Festival

This four-day festival, which takes place after Pride from 29 August — 1 September 2024, celebrates the bear community with various events, including parties and day tours around Reykjavík. Organized by Bangsafélagið, “Bears of Iceland,” the celebration attracts bears and bear admirers worldwide. The festival’s highlights include the Mr. Bear Iceland competition, scenic tours, and intimate social gatherings.

Other Pride Celebrations in Iceland

Church in Seyðisfjörður Rainbow Road Iceland

Beyond Reykjavík, pride celebrations occur across Iceland. For example, the 2nd annual local pride event in Akureyri will be held on 21 June 2024. In East Iceland, Seyðisfjörður’s annual pride parade on 17 August 2024 features a colorful march down a rainbow-painted street. These regional events ensure that the spirit of Pride and inclusivity reaches all corners of the country, providing a welcoming environment for both locals and LGBTQIA+ visitors.

Fun Facts About LGBTQIA+ Iceland

  • Open and Accepting: Iceland is one of the world’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly countries, firmly committed to equality and inclusivity. The Icelandic society is known for its open-mindedness and acceptance, making it a safe and welcoming place for LGBTQIA+ individuals and couples.
  • Historical Figures: The former mayor of Reykjavík, Jón Gnarr, caught the attention of the world news as he famously opened Reykjavík Pride in full drag in 2010, showcasing Iceland’s playful and accepting spirit. His act was a statement of solidarity and support for the LGBTQIA+ community and reflected the broader societal acceptance in Iceland.
  • Legal Protections: Iceland has comprehensive anti-discrimination laws covering gender identity, hate speech, and employment protections. These laws ensure that LGBTQIA+ individuals enjoy the same rights and protections as everyone else, contributing to a high quality of life and social acceptance.

Top 7 Day Trip and Road Trip Ideas with Geysir Car Rental

Exploring Iceland’s stunning landscapes is best done by car. Here are some fantastic locations to visit on a day trip or road trip in one of Geysir Car Rental’s vehicles:

The Golden Circle

The Gullfoss waterfall which is located in the heart of the famous Golden Circle

This classic route includes Þingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. It’s a must-see for any visitor to Iceland. Þingvellir is a geological wonder and a historic site where the Icelandic parliament was established. With its active geysers, the Geysir area and Gullfoss, one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls, offer incredible photo opportunities and memorable experiences.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Known as “Iceland in Miniature,” this peninsula offers diverse landscapes, including volcanic craters, black sand beaches, and charming fishing villages. The Snæfellsjökull glacier, which is the centerpiece of the peninsula, is a must-visit for its dramatic views and the sense of adventure it evokes.

South Coast

Explore the iconic Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, the black sand beach of Reynisfjara, and the stunning Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Each location offers unique natural beauty, from the thunderous falls of Skógafoss to the serene, iceberg-filled waters of Jökulsárlón.

Reykjanes Peninsula

Blue lagoon hot spring geothermal spa in Iceland

Home to the newly reopened famous Blue Lagoon, this region is ideal for a relaxing soak, followed by exploring geothermal fields and rugged coastlines. The area is also known for its volcanic landscapes and dramatic coastal cliffs, providing a striking backdrop for your road trip.


For those seeking solitude and dramatic landscapes, the Westfjords offer steep cliffs, fjords, and a rich birdlife, including puffins at Látrabjarg. The remote beauty of the Westfjords, with its winding roads and panoramic views, is perfect for travelers looking to get off the beaten path.

East Fjords

Drive through spectacular fjords and quaint villages while enjoying the serene beauty of East Iceland’s remote landscapes. The area is known for its tranquil fjords, charming fishing communities, and the artistic haven of Seyðisfjörður, which boasts a colorful, creative atmosphere.

Akureyri and North Iceland

Visit Iceland’s “Capital of the North” to explore the nearby Lake Mývatn area with its volcanic landscapes and relax in the Mývatn Nature Baths. Akureyri offers cultural attractions and a lively downtown area, while the surrounding region is rich with natural wonders like the Goðafoss waterfall and the geothermal fields of Hverir.

Freedom in Iceland, Freedom with Geysir

Iceland stands out as a leading destination for LGBTQIA+ travelers, offering a rich history of inclusivity, vibrant events, and welcoming communities. With Geysir Car Rental, you can explore our beautiful country with the freedom and flexibility of your own vehicle, ensuring a memorable and budget-friendly adventure.

Whether you’re embracing the spirit of Pride by dancing at Kiki Queer Bar in Reykjavík, exploring the majestic Golden Circle, or soaking in the Blue Lagoon, Iceland provides a unique and welcoming experience for all. With its progressive laws, open-minded society, and stunning natural beauty, Iceland is truly a paradise for LGBTQIA+ travelers.

From the colorful celebrations of Reykjavík Pride to the serene landscapes of the Westfjords, Iceland offers something for every traveler. So grab your rainbow flag, pack your bags, and hit the road with a rental car from Geysir, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in one of the world’s most beautiful and inclusive countries.