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Rainbow Reykjavik: winter's hottest holiday

Warm up your winter with Iceland's international festival, where the realm of natural spas, saunas and baths is just a few hours away

Rainbow Reykjavik: winter's hottest holiday

Icy drag queens, pool parties and man-on-man wrestling might sound like your stereotypical gay holiday, but Rainbow Reykjavik is far from it.

Not to be confused with Iceland’s LGBT pride, Rainbow Reykjavik is a gay and lesbian winter festival where Iceland’s rugged landscape and warm culture come together over a colorful weekend.

Dress up with swim trunks under your parka and experience Iceland’s Nordic heritage and natural wonders, including but not limited to the famous Blue Lagoon, Northern Lights and man-on-man Glima wrestling.

Rainbow Reykjavik could be your post-holiday holiday with friends, or your chance to mix and mingle with new mates from around the globe. Located between Europe and the US, Iceland is perfectly situated for a weekend getaway.

The Rainbow Reykjavik package includes return economy flights with Icelandair, three nights accommodation with breakfast at an Icelandair Hotels and the full Rainbow Reykjavik program organized by Pink Iceland. If you’re looking to make the most of your stay, the program also offers options where you can come a few days early or leave a few days later to experience the best of the rest of Iceland.

Read on for a glimpse into the weekend’s program, and for a sneak-peek into Iceland’s culinary must-try’s, check out GSN’s alcohol and food guide for Reykjavik and beyond.

The Blue Lagoon – For generations, Icelanders have utilized geothermal spas as a cornerstone of their culture. The shock of jumping from hot to cold water is meant to increase blood circulation and revitalize the senses. Jumping into the cold water isn’t mandatory, so feel free to enjoy a drink from the Lagoon Bar and mingle with fellow Rainbow Reykjavik guests. The Blue Lagoon is named for the piercing blue volcanic sediment reflected in the lake’s water. Visitors experience the sediment first-hand with a mineral scrub or mask that makes a great conversation starter to approach a cute certain someone.

Dinner at LAVA – The Blue Lagoon experience isn’t complete until you dine at LAVA, a fine-dining restaurant built into a lava cliff that overlooks the lagoon.

Welcome Party – held at the chic Slipp Bar where the bartenders decide what they wear and what drinks are on the menu, Rainbow Reykjavik’s opening party is a welcome from the locals. Slipp Bar is one of Reykjavik’s newest and best-loved bars where fashion, food and booze intersect in one of the capital’s coolest neighborhoods.

The Penis Museum – according to the website: ‘probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country’. We’re still not sure if homo-sapiens are included in the exhibition.

Glima Wrestling – lunch and a show of the country’s national sport in action.

Afternoon in Reykjavik – the country’s capital boasts some of the best vintage shopping and contemporary design anywhere. Stroll down the city’s main boulevard for hand-made wool accessories, local furniture and a bustling street art scene.

Hunting for Northern Lights – the famed aurora borealis only occurs in Artic and Antartic regions, and if the evenings during your stay are clear and crisp enough, tour guides will rip you out of bed to see this natural wonder.

Midnight Pink Party – location to be announced, but rest assured that the DJ and performances will keep you up as long as you can stand.

A) Golden Circle and Laugavatn Fontana – This tour makes a circular trip throughout Iceland’s southwestern region, stopping at the Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir hot spring areas. For a more intimate alternative to the Blue Lagoon, this tour also makes a stop at Laugarvatn Fontana, a modern facility built directly on a natural sauna and hot spring. What started in the 1920s as two shacks is now a two-level complex with a cafeteria, three dry saunas and three hot tubs overlooking a lake.
B) South Shore – for the nature lover in you, the south shore adventure takes you to stand behind the Seljalandfoss waterfall and walk up to the Skogafoss waterfall. The tour route includes views of Iceland’s glaciers, black lava sand coast lines and stunning rock formations.

Farewell Dinner and Concert in Harpa Hall  

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