Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is a great place for a Scandinavian gay cation. Here, LGBT+ people are not just tolerated; they’re warmly welcomed and accepted with open arms. That’s why we found so many gay hotels in Reykjavik. What’s more, we had many choices from a wide selection of LGBTQ-friendly places to suit all budgets. Even better, we didn’t need to stress about finding hotels near the gay area. This is because the whole of Reykjavik is practically one big gay neighborhood, especially during the annual Gay Pride Parade!
But even on regular days, you and your partner can freely explore Reykjavik hand in hand. Later at night, you can dance with whomever you want in the queer and gay-friendly clubs. Such is the city’s open and live-and-let-live vibe. Besides the budget and location, we also focused on the amenities, comfort, and staff efficiency and behavior of the hotel. So, when we stayed there, we ended up having a lovely, well-rounded, and comfortable experience in the Icelandic capital.
Besides its gay scene, we loved exploring everything that Reykjavik has to offer. One of the most spectacular things we saw was the Blue Lagoon, which is one of Iceland’s top tourist attractions. And since we love nature, we hopped on the Whale Watching and Marine Life Cruise. It took us around Faxaflói Bay, where we were able to see stunning landscapes and also local wildlife, including porpoises, dolphins, and whales. So, why not head on to “Smoky Bay” this year and explore its best offerings?
Table of contents
- Hotel Borg
- Alda Hotel
- Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
- Loft-HI Hostel
- Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
- Center Hotels Plaza
- 101 Hotel
- Reykjavik Marina – Berjaya Iceland Hotels
- Canopy By Hilton
- City Center Hotel
- Alfred’s Apartments
- Our Verdict!
- Just So You Know:
We love the Art Deco architectural style of Hotel Borg, which makes it an elegant city landmark. Hotel Borg, a Keahotels property, is in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. Beside it is the beautiful Austurvöllur Park, a popular spot for sunbathing in the summertime. Also, many of the city’s LGBT-friendly bars and clubs are within easy reach. Do you love exploring architectural landmarks like us? The Reykjavik Cathedral and the breathtaking Hallgrímskirkja Church are close by.
A sophisticated air flows throughout this 4-star property. The chandelier-lit lobby took our breath away, as did the murals in the Italian restaurant. When we wanted to relax, the soothing hues and treatment rooms of the Borg Spa beckoned us. Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites, likewise, has an Art Deco aesthetic. In addition, they’re equipped with modern amenities such as satellite TV, a mini-bar, and heated bathroom floors. All in all, this hotel ensured a comfortable and elegant stay right in the heart of Reykjavik.
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Are you planning a tranquil, romantic getaway in Iceland? Choose the Alda Hotel, as we did, and they have you covered. This 4-star property is located on Laugavegur Street’s quiet upper end. We found plenty of romantic things to do in the hotel. One of the best and most romantic experiences here was soaking in the outdoor hot tub under the Northern Lights with our partner. Later on, share intimate moments over a meal at the Brass Kitchen & Bar. One of our favorite post-dinner activities was to enjoy a nightcap at the bar with stunning views of the starlit sky over Reykjavik. Our days began with a delicious breakfast of hot and cold items, after which we’d borrow the free bicycles and head out to explore the neighborhood and the city.
Alda’s luxurious amenities make it among the most popular gay hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland. Each room features Egyptian cotton sheets and blackout drapes for an excellent night’s sleep. Some rooms also have a private balcony or terrace, like our Deluxe Double Room with a balcony. In addition to complimentary Wi-Fi, We were also given smartphones loaded with free data. Did you know that we got pampering in-room massages too? Yep.
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Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
Best historic hotel. Spanning three historic buildings, Hotel Reykjavik Centrum is linked to the city’s architectural and archaeological legacy. In fact, the property’s oldest section dates back to 1764, and the street it sits on is one of Reykjavik’s oldest streets, Adalstræti. When the area underwent excavations, traces of a Viking longhouse as well as Iceland’s oldest human remains were discovered.
In a similar vein, the interior is also something of a throwback to olden times. We loved everything from the wooden floors and vintage wallpapers to the old photographs. At the same time, the hotel, and the rooms, boast modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and free Wi-Fi. The best bit is that you have the choice of both hotel rooms and self-service studios, especially perfect for those who’re on a longer vacation here. Whenever we wanted to grab a bite, we dug into excellent traditional and casual Icelandic fare at the hotel’s award-winning restaurant, Fjalaköttur. Of course, we loved sipping cocktails and drinks at the Uppsalir bar-cafe.
Since it sits on Adalstræti, one of the city’s oldest streets, the hotel is steps away from Austurvöllur Square, a popular gathering spot. Lake Tjornin and the harbor are within easy walking distance. Meanwhile, a 2-minute stroll led us to Pablo Discobar, a lively gay-friendly club.
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Best budget hotel. If you’re looking for budget accommodation in Reykjavik, then check out Loft-HI Hostel. We wanted to mix and mingle, which is why we chose this 2-star hostel property, which offers 18 guestrooms. Choose from a mix of dorm-style quarters with shared bathrooms and double rooms with their own private bathrooms. And no matter where you choose to stay (we stayed in the dorm, of course!), you’ll love everything about this hostel.
For instance, we whipped up easy and light meals while socializing with other interesting guests in the communal kitchen. We even joined the yoga session and a table football competition, which are just some of the very nice ways to make new friends here. But what makes Loft-HI Hostel one of the most popular gay hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland, is that it’s home to an amazing bar that regularly hosts great events, including even drag shows. The rooftop terrace, offering nice views of the city, is a great place to hang out.
The hostel is centrally located in Reykjavik, a short walk from the Hallgrímskirkja Church. Do you want to try international food with an Icelandic twist? You can do so at the Hlemmur and Grandi food halls. Nearby, the gay-friendly Sundhöllin pool complex lures you with its hot tubs and saunas.
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Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
Best boutique hotel. Sitting right in the heart of the gay scene in Reykjavik is the gorgeous boutique Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel. We loved the hotel for its amazing downtown location, stylish decor, amazing Mount Esja views, and how efficiently it was run by a wonderful Icelandic couple. What’s more, we particularly loved the services at this hotel which are quite rare for Reykjavik, like the 24-hour gym. Plus, the efficient staff helped us with everything, from booking tours to renting cars and bikers. But that’s not to say that they didn’t have traditional amenities, like the swanky bar and restaurant. It served delicious Icelandic fare that we were more than happy to dig into. The breakfast was especially delicious, with a choice of hot and cold dishes like fruit, yogurt, muesli, bread, and made-to-order eggs.
Choose from 65 rooms of different kinds, all of which feature comfortable mod-cons like TVs, eco-friendly bath products, and handsome four-poster beds. We especially loved the larger rooms, like our Superior Double Room which had seating areas and views of the mountains and the sea.
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Center Hotels Plaza
As its name suggests, Center Hotel Plaza is located in the heart of Reykjavik. Next to it is Ingólfur Square, the city’s oldest square. When we visited during winter, we were not only able to see the top sights easily but also shopped at the square’s Christmas Market and twirled on the ice skating rink. We booked rooms here during the annual Winter Pride Festival, as we wanted to see what the rowdy Valentine’s Party at the Kiki Queer Bar was all about. Later on, we even attended the popular “Pink Party” Masquerade Ball at Iðnó, which is close by.
The Center Hotel Plaza is a mid-range property offering great value for money. Each of its 255 guestrooms boasts a mini-bar, satellite TV, and free Internet access. So, even though it’s a value hotel, it doesn’t skimp on amenities or comfort. We treated ourselves to hot and cold dishes at the complimentary breakfast buffet every morning before beginning our exploration of Reykjavik every day. And when the day ends, we relaxed with a pre-dinner cocktail at the amazing Plaza Bar.
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Operating under the Design Hotels International Umbrella, 101 Hotel is an art lover’s haven. Inside, we found that is practically a gallery of local art. Likewise, the chic rooms and suites can be likened to an ode to minimalist artwork. At the same time, we loved the inclusion of modern amenities such as underfloor heating, high-speed Wi-Fi, and satellite TV to ensure a comfortable experience. But that’s not all. Every room also has satellite TV, a minibar, and even a Bang & Olufsen Beoplay speaker. It’s practically a party right in your room! We went for the room that also came with a gorgeous view of the harbor. Eating and drinking are likewise pleasant experiences in the hotel’s trendy restaurant and bar, making it one of the best hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The 101 Hotel is located downtown. It’s also one of the many gay-friendly hotels in Reykjavik. Nearby, Laugavegur Street offers a wealth of dining and shopping options. And if you visit during Pride Week, drop by the Miami Bar for a rainbow-themed cocktail. But, if beer is more your style, try this Food and Beer Walking Tour. Indeed, it’s a great way to taste local craft beer and traditional Icelandic food.
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Reykjavik Marina – Berjaya Iceland Hotels
Reykjavik Marina – Berjaya Iceland Hotels is a popular choice for LGBT travelers. It’s endorsed by the organizers of Reykjavik Pride, which is why we wanted to check it out. Also, if you’re seeking luxury accommodation, you’ll find plenty to appreciate at this 4-star hotel. The rooms and suites offer scenic views of the mountains, sea, or city. We chose the Double Room with the balcony overlooking the marina, as it made for a very unique experience of staying in Iceland.
When it came to the amenities, we weren’t disappointed either but were rather impressed. We got a taste of Reykjavik’s cocktail culture at the Slippbarin restaurant, which is also a breakfast bar and lounge. So, whether it was digging into a delicious breakfast or enjoying a nightcap, we didn’t have to go too far. Work off those Icelandic calories at the gym, or you could do what we did – relax with a book in the hotel library.
This LGBTQ-friendly hotel in Reykjavik is in the traditional yet trendy, Vesturbær district. It’s close to Reykjavik Harbor, the starting point for whale-watching tours. A 6-minute walk brought us to the Saga Museum, where we tried out Viking costumes! In addition, the Vesturbæjarlaug swimming pools are just a 4-minute drive from the hotel.
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Canopy By Hilton
The world-renowned Hilton hotel brand is a Platinum Global Partner of The International LGBTQ+ Travel Association. That’s why the Canopy By Hilton in Reykjavik is such a popular choice among queer travelers. This 4-star hotel occupies buildings that used to be home to an arts hub, a music venue, and a furniture factory. That’s what made it so interesting for us!
We had a host of stylish and minimalist rooms to choose from, which are painted in shades that evoke images of the ocean or volcanic rock. What’s more, they come with all kinds of mod-cons, including a coffee machine, free Wi-Fi, seating areas, and tiled bathrooms with bespoke and complimentary toiletries. After a restful night of sleep, we began every day with an artisanal breakfast buffet. Later, we enjoyed complimentary drinks and bites at the hotel’s bistro and bar.
The Canopy By Hilton sits right in the city center. Public buildings such as the Offices of the Cabinet of Iceland and Reykjavik City Hall. Do you like classical music? Then you can enjoy an evening of opera as we did at the Harpa Concert Hall, a 5-minute walk away. Meanwhile, fans of literature and history need only to cross the street to reach the Culture House. Inside this beautiful building, which is an architectural treasure, are some of Iceland’s most enduring literary legacies.
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City Center Hotel
The location cannot get more self-explanatory than the 3-star City Center Hotel, which provides nice accommodation at reasonable prices. It boasts 30 rooms spread over 6 floors, which makes for intimate living right in the very heart of the city. You’ll find free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, and a private bathroom. Some of the rooms on the upper floors have balconies overlooking Parliament Square. We chose the Superior King Room, which offered gorgeous views of the verdant Parliament Square. Downstairs, the tour desk was very helpful in booking tours and giving us general information about the neighborhood. Despite being a budget hotel, there’s a gym and free WiFi throughout the property. And, of course, there’s the free coffee at the reception, which we thoroughly appreciated.
City Center Hotel sits along Austurstraet, one of the city’s oldest streets. Nearby, Kiki Queer Bar and the gay-friendly Bravó bar promised a fun-filled night – and it was! Several Reykjavik attractions are also within walking distance. At the Volcano House, for instance, you can learn about the country’s volcanic systems. After that, head to the Aurora Reykjavik science museum to learn more about the Northern Lights. Reykjavik experiences some of the best sightings of the Northern Lights in Europe.
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Best LGBTQ-owned and operated hotel. LGBTQ-owned and operated, it’s easy to see why Alfred’s Apartments is among the top gay hotels in Reykjavik, Iceland. Its cheerful facade doesn’t hurt, either, nor does the fact that it boasts spacious apartments. So, if you’re a large group of friends or family, like us, then you’ll love this space. Each apartment has a full kitchen and a private bathroom. In addition, some units, like the one/two-bed apartments, have open kitchens, bar chairs, and living rooms. That’s why we chose the one-bedroom apartment, which made our long stay very comfortable. Wi-Fi is free, and there’s even a communal laundry room. We didn’t have to go far to buy groceries either, as the local Bonus grocery store is a stone’s throw from the hotel.
Laugavegur shopping street is just a few steps away from Alfred’s Apartments. If you visit during the Pride Festival, you’ll see the street adorned in rainbow colors. Quirky and weird things appeal to us, so we checked out the Icelandic Phallological Museum. It’s home to a large collection of penises from land and sea mammals.
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While we like all of the LGBTQ-friendly we’ve listed above, we understand that some hotels are preferred over others for some of the features. That’s why we’ve made this specialized list for you.
- Best gay-owned and operated hotel: Alfred’s Apartments
- Best historic hotel: Hotel Reykjavik Centrum
- Best budget hotel: Loft-HI Hostel
- Best boutique hotel: Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel
Just So You Know:
- Iceland became the first country with an openly gay head of state. This happened when Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir was elected Prime Minister in 2009.
- In 2015, the Church of Iceland announced that same-sex partners could marry in their churches.
- Since 2005, bears from all over the world have been gathering in Reykjavik for the annual Bears on Ice festival. In 2020, the event was rebranded to Reykjavik Bear.
Get Some Culture in Reykjavik:
- Golden Circle Full-Day Tour with Kerid Crater – Take a full-day tour of Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle. Experience the stunning natural scenery and see the spectacular Geysir area, Gullfoss waterfall, and Þingvellir National Park. It’s also one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.
- Reykjavik Pride (Hinsegin Dagar) – More than 100,000 people flock to Reykjavik every August for “the world’s biggest small Pride.” It’s six days of music, theater, and parties.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Reykjavik:
- Kiki Queer Bar – Situated on the Laugavegur, this gay bar offers terrific drag shows, Eurovision parties, and live music. It’s safe to say that it’s the queerest club in all of Reykjavik.
- Curious – This straight-friendly bar/dance club is a space created by and for queer locals. A cafe and restaurant sit on the ground floor. Upstairs, you’ll find a second bar and space for dancing. it’s not far from some of the gay-friendly hotels in Reykjavik.
- Gaukurinn – This lively downtown bar is close to LGBTQ-friendly hotels in Reykjavik. Come for karaoke parties, drag shows, and concerts.
Best Gay Saunas in Reykjavik:
While there aren’t exclusively gay saunas in Reykjavik, the swimming pools and saunas are gay-friendly. Feel free to cruise in the following spots to make a new friend. However, keep in mind that these are co-ed, public spaces. So, it’s best to be discreet.