One of Iceland’s biggest celebrations, Reykjavik Pride has grown increasingly popular since its inauguration fifteen years ago. Originally welcoming 1,500 visitors, the annual event has blossomed and evolved into a colourful six-day celebration that attracts up to 100,000 Icelanders and tourists from across the world, becoming one of the most vibrant and popular events in Reykjavik’s cultural calendar. The festival not only promotes LGBT visibility but also celebrates fun and freedom, and by participating in the event in such large numbers, the Icelandic people demonstrate their support, recognition and respect for the LGBT community. Indeed the Mayor of Reykjavik, former actor and comedian Jon Gnarr (pictured), has shown his solidarity by dressing in drag to celebrate the festival.
The 2013 programme combines an array of free and ticketed events throughout the six days including concerts, exhibitions and documentaries as well as the Pride Parade on Saturday 10 August.
With its openly gay-friendly atmosphere and active gay scene, Iceland is a great holiday destination for gay travellers. The island nation has been a leading light on gay issues in recent years, welcoming the world’s first out-gay head of government, former Prime Minister, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, in 2009 and legalising same-sex marriage in 2002.
While in destination, travellers should also check out tourist favourites such as the geothermal spas of the Blue Lagoon, a whale watching tour from Reykjavik’s Old Harbour or the Golden Circle tour which calls at the powerful waterfall Gullfoss, Geothermal Geysir and Thingvellir national park where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet.
HOW TO GET THERE: WOW air’s direct route between London Gatwick and Reykjavik costs from just £74 one way, which includes taxes and hand luggage allowance (one bag measuring 56cm x 45cm x 25cm) plus handbag and duty-free shopping bag. www.wowair.co.uk or call 0118 321 8384.