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Gudni Kristinsson has led our Iceland Gay Getaways for over a decade, and is beloved by travelers for his delicious smile and huggable persona.

He’s always the first to snorkel the Silfra fissure. The first to dive into the Blue Lagoon. And the first to down a pint before you’ve screamed “Skál.” Suffice to say, he’s a party in his own pants. Read on for this condensed version of a video chat we conducted for you to get familiar.

Gudni ice climbing.
Gudni ice climbing.

Tell us about yourself in a couple of sentences. 

I come from the south of Iceland. But I live in Reykjavik now. I’ve actually lived in Denmark, Holland, England, and Cuba.

What’s the draw to moving around so much?

Well, when you’re a little gay boy on an island in the middle of nowhere, you want to see beyond your country.

That makes sense. And how did you become a tour guide?

I did my university degree in Denmark. During that time, I always came home over the summer to work as a guide in the highlands. So I’ve been doing it since I was young.

Can you talk briefly about the gay scene in Iceland?

Simply put, it’s a non-issue. We don’t have a gay neighbourhood. There is just one queer venue called Kiki Bar. It’s really fun to dance, but you can go to any bar with your partner and no one will look twice.

A photo of Iceland's symmetrical housing. Kiki Bar – Reykjavik's only gay bar – is visible.
Photo by Evan F.
Kiki Bar.
Kiki Bar, Reykjavik’s only gay bar.

Tell us about Reykjavik Pride!

Well, it usually starts on Tuesday, when your Out Adventures tour is still in the countryside. But it goes on until Sunday, so you can partake in the grand finale. What I like the most is the opening ceremony on Thursday night. A big part of the community comes out to celebrate. And on Friday night, there’s cruising (and by that I mean sailing and whale watching).

The highlight of the summer tour is the parade itself. It’s very different from Toronto Pride or New York Pride. Everyone is there. Grandparents with the kids and all that. The biggest Pride was about 100,000 people attending. That’s out of a population of 335,000.

Befriending a ram.
Selfie by Hraunfossar!

A third of the population attended!?


What is the culture like in Iceland? What makes it stand out?

We are a bit like your dysfunctional uncle. A little bit crazy. Not quite as organized as our friends in Scandinavia. We like drinking in the street, but no one minds here. But we’re also very friendly and helpful. Icelanders take a lot of pride in this.

Gjáin, Iceland

Are there any Icelandic musicians you’d recommend people look into? Other than Bjork, perhaps…

I really like is Sóley. Also, Ásgeir Trausti. Sigur Rós are an indie band. Then there’s Of Monsters and Men. 

What about books?

Icelanders have been writing Nordic Noir for a long time. My favourite crime novelist is Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. She has written a lot of crime novels, but my favourite is I Remember You.

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Geysirs! Photo courtesy of Pink Iceland.

What about the food scene? What are Icelanders known for?

Fish and lamb. We have excellent cod. Also langoustine. It’s not exactly lobster, but it’s like that. 

Is there any Icelandic dish you recommend?

In the old days, you couldn’t grow much here. So we have weird things. Like ram’s testicles.

*awkward silence*

Rotten shark.

*awkward silence*

And the hot dog.

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Photo courtesy of Brian Yamanaka.

Hot dogs!?

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur is a local chain where hot dogs are made with of lamb and pork together. Then you have crunchy onions and three kinds of sauces: ketchup, sweet Icelandic mustard and a remoulade. Just ask for one with everything.

As an Icelander, what do you love showing off to visitors?

The swimming pool culture. I’m not just talking about the Blue Lagoon. We have these local pools all over the country with geothermal heated water. Icelanders go to these pools all the time. It’s like sitting in a hot tub or sauna.

Is there anything else you wanted to mention about Iceland?

When people come here they already know about nature and all that. But they’re surprised by how warm the people are. And of course, the food is really, really good. Even the ram’s testicles.

Out Adventures’ Iceland: Countryside & Reykjavik Pride runs every August, while our Iceland: Northern Lights & Essential Sites gay tour runs every March.

The interview was edited for clarity.

All photos of Gudni were provided by Gudni Kristinsson. All photos of Iceland are provided by Pink Iceland.

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