How to escape the summer heat in Iceland according to The Nomadic Boys

Nomadic Boys gay couple at Svartifoss waterfall

From the Penis Museum in Reykjavik to the gushing waterfalls along the Golden Circle route to the rejuvenating waters at the Blue Lagoon, it doesn’t get any more versatile than Iceland.

When we set off on our road trip across the beautiful country, we had only one thing on our list: See the Northern Lights. We know, we know, how basic, right? But the more we explored, the more we discovered how much more Iceland has to offer and just how gay-friendly the country is!

The people are friendly, the food was delicious, and whilst the nightlife scene was small, Reykjavik’s tight-knit gay community made it feel welcoming and thoroughly joyful, quite like a family gathering.

We were torn between joining a tour group and hiring a rental car and seeing Iceland on our terms. We chose the latter and couldn’t have been happier with our choice. Even if it meant getting lost quite a few times (not naming any names!). Here are our top five highlights of Iceland during our road trip:


Nomadic Boys rainbow kiss in Reykjavik
A stolen kiss on Reykjavik’s rainbow crossing.

In every city in the world with a gay scene, people make the same joke that “all the gays know each other.” Well, in Reykjavik’s case, where the general population is just 120,000, this is quite literally the truth.

Many tend to overlook Reykjavik as a gay destination, feeling it’s not “glam” or “raunchy” enough. We strongly disagree. After all, how can a place with a Penis Museum be considered anything other than queer?

Reykjavik was undoubtedly a highlight of our Iceland trip and we are insistent that people visit. Although to be frank, you won’t have much of a choice. Unless you plan to swim to the shores of Husavik, the easiest way to get into the country is through Reykjavik.

Around the city, we found dozens of great bars, charming cafes, and fabulous restaurants to keep ourselves (and our stomachs) occupied. The gay scene of Reykjavik is small, but there are a handful of places to check out. The Gaukurinn Bar is one of the best spots for dancing, meeting other LGBTQ people, and seeing live artists. For drag shows, look no further than the Kiki Bar, which has a different performance every evening. And although it was packed full of people, everyone we met was respectful and kind.

Golden Circle

Strokkur geysir eruption at Golden Circle, Iceland.

You simply can’t step foot in Iceland without exploring the Golden Circle. It’d be like heading to Barcelona and avoiding the sun…

And whilst we may come across as your typical cookie-cutter, city fanatic type of gays, we’re actually pretty down with nature. Especially when said nature is this dramatic.

The Golden Circle’s explosive geysers, pounding waterfalls, biting wind that cuts at your cheek, and sparkling snow so bright that you need your sunnies aren’t unlike your typical night out at a London or New York-type gay club! But we’d swap this experience over the bickering twinks, blaring Cher music, and strobe lighting any day…

Located 25 miles east of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle is a travel route that takes you by glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. Our top 3 highlights from the route were the Þingvellir (pronounced ‘Thingvellir’) National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfall. Our personal favorite was the geysers, despite their explosive sound giving us quite the spook. The water discharges from the ground every 5-10 minutes having been forced up by insane pressure.

The best way to visit the Golden Circle is as part of a tour from Reykjavik or on your own terms by renting a car and hitting the road.

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon at night with a view of the Northern Lights.

As much as we love packing as much activity possible into a holiday, there is nothing like pressing the pause button and treating yourself to a spa day. And the Blue Lagoon is the holy grail when it comes to tranquility and rejuvenation. We have done the honor by crowning them “the most fabulous thermal bath in Iceland.”

The relaxing waters have been pushed up from below the surface through geothermal extraction wells, having traveled over 6,562 ft (2,000 meters) from Earth’s core. That’s some feat considering we can barely travel 657 ft (200 meters) without wanting to call an Uber.

Spending time in the water has been proven to stimulate blood flow, cure skin conditions, as well as adding a boost to your mental health. So, it ain’t just about feeling good, your body will benefit from the experience.

We booked a day visit, choosing the Retreat Luxury Spa package, and spent 5 glorious hours floating between the Blue Lagoon and its magical waters, the Retreat Lagoon. We cannot recommend this highly enough – it’s a more secluded section of the resort where you can paddle through lava canyons and hidden corridors. We got to exfoliate our skin with silica and enjoy a world-class full-body massage treatment.

Whale Watching in Husavik

Looking out over the city of Husavik in our new Icelandic woolly sweaters.

Known as the ‘Whale Capital of Iceland’, Husavik is a small town on the north coast of Iceland, which is home to less than 2,500 people.

Over the years, 23 species of whale have been spotted at the Skjálfandi Bay, with the most common type being the humpback. And the reason they are spotted so easily is that they love attention. They’re as vain as a drag queen in London SoHo! They perform acrobatics, slap their fins against the water, and poke their heads out of the water to peer at the adoring crowds (you won’t see that in a lip sync for your life).

On our trip, we managed to see dolphins, tortoises, and a blue whale! Having grown up obsessively watching The Little Mermaid, anything related to sea life fascinates us. So, we were gagged to learn that the blue whale’s heart is the same weight as a car!

Husavik itself is a charming Icelandic village, so we made time to wander around, poke into a few shops, and sit in the local pub for a delicious beer. The only drawback was the sheer number of seagulls whizzing through the air, cackling menacingly.

The Northern Lights

Beautiful night view of the reflection of the northern lights in the water of the ocean and snow-capped mountains in Iceland.

What travel fanatic doesn’t have the Northern Lights as their computer screensaver? Seeing them in real life is on every nomad’s bucket list. And after experiencing them in real life, we can confirm they are worth the hype.

In fact, they are on a whole new level of spellbinding. After all, they are dancing curtains of light in the sky. The sight of them was so powerful that Seby swears we fell under a trance.

The lights occur due to activity on the Sun’s surface, emitting huge clouds of electrified particles, which have traveled a million miles towards the Earth. As these particles tend to get stuck in magnetic fields, whilst the rest get deflected away, it means the Lights are typically only viewable from northern or southern regions of the world.

And whilst seeing them is totally worth staying up until the wee hours of the morning for, it is still very much left up to chance. Your best bet at seeing them is to visit during winter on a clear night.

You’re also very unlikely to snap a decent photo of them. They are as evasive from being seen through a phone camera as Seby on a bad hair day. Unless you have a professional camera, we’d recommend simply soaking up the moment in person, and keeping the experience as a magical memory.

For more be sure to check out our bumper Iceland gay travel guide.

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