Hannes, Eva María and Birna Hrönn. Photo/Pinkiceland.is

Pink Iceland is the LGBT travel expert in Iceland. The company was founded last year and is owned and operated by lesbian couple Eva María and Birna Hrönn along with their friend Hannes Páll. Together they have years of experience in tourism, event management, marketing and they’ve worked with local gay associations and on the Reykjavik Gay Pride. GayIceland met up with the super friendly and flexible team and found more about the various aspects of the Pink Iceland, especially the wedding planning which is getting quite popular.

The beginning
“Well, the reason we founded the company is that we wanted to welcome “our” people and show them the best of what Iceland has to offer,” say Eva María and Birna Hrönn and add that even though Pink Iceland is only about one year old, they have helped LGBT travelers for years and enjoyed giving them tips about what to do during their stay in Iceland. “We think it is important that LGBT travelers get the best service available and to help them create a welcoming, friendly and fun experience. We love our work because we create unforgettable memories and make sure that our guests get a gay friendly approach at all times.”

Birna Hrönn and Eva María at the Blue Lagoon. Photo/Pinkiceland.is

According to Eva María and Birna Hrönn Pink Iceland offers an array of services from booking short tours around Reykjavík to all-inclusive luxury excursions around the country. They also organize events with local and international LGBT groups. Their partners are either gay owned, gay operated or gay friendly. “With a great cooperation of this Icelandic velvet mafia we hope to make our guests stay as unforgettable, wonderful and welcoming as possible.”

Pink wedding planners
Pink Iceland is, as mentioned before, now also specializing in gay weddings, including preparation, consultation, arranging the ceremony, the honeymoon and pretty much everything that concerns getting married. But how did they come up with the idea?

“When we were taking our first steps in the business we had no idea that a few weeks later we would be pink wedding planners,” say Eva María and Birna Hrönn and laugh. “We haven’t really started to promote our wedding planning service but we are always getting more requests and we feel how “word of mouth” is important. Our clients are more than willing to spread the word as they have been very satisfied with the personal service we offer.”

Champagne brunch. Photo/Pinkiceland.is

Asked about the legal aspect of gay marriages in Iceland they explain that same-sex marriage has been legal in Iceland since June 27, 2010. “The bill providing a gender-neutral marriage definition was passed by the Icelandic Parliament (i. Alþingi) with all members in favor and public opinion polls suggest that the bill is very popular in Iceland. Iceland became the ninth country in the world to have legalized same-sex marriage.”

Eva María and Birna Hrönn say that notable Icelandic individuals have joined in civil union and on 27 June 2010, they had their registered partnership transformed into a recognized marriage. The first couple to do so was the current Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and her partner Jónína Leósdóttir. “This has made Iceland an attractive destination for gay people who want to get married and specially the ones that can’t do so in their home countries.”

Good to be gay in Iceland
Since Pink Iceland was founded a year ago there has been a steady uprise in demand for gay wedding planning from abroad. The company is already planning weddings in 2013 and it looks like weddings are going to play a big part in Pink Iceland’s every day life. But why is Iceland becoming such a popular place for LGBT travellers who want to get married?

“Iceland is already a popular spot for LGBT travelers, it is renowned for its gay friendly attitude, the Reykjavík Gay Pride is famous for its number and the fact that the prime minister is married to her same-sex partner helps a lot,” explain Eva María and Birna Hrönn.

They also point out that since gay marriage was legal in Iceland same-sex couples, and LGBT people from around the world look to the country as a role model and as an opportunity. “Here is a country where your love is equal to the love of straight people, both in society and in the eyes of the law, this is special and creates an environment where people feel safe and you couldn’t imagine a better environment to get married in. We are proud of our country and we have noticed that our guests are impressed with the positive attitude here in Iceland towards same-sex marriages and that definitely attracts more couples coming over.”

Rainbow cake. Photo/Pinkiceland.is

Couples from all around the world
The couples that have gotten married in Iceland are from the US, Australia, Germany, Canada, Russia and Iceland according to Eva María and Birna Hrönn. They now also have inquiries from couples from the UK, Finland, Italy and even China.

Asked whether they have any unforgettable stories to share with us they say all of Pink Iceland’s weddings have been very special to them. “To make that journey with a couple is exciting and we cherish each experience,” Eva María and Birna Hrönn say – but indulge us by telling a story of a couple, a person from the US and another from Germany, who got married in Þingvellir as they decided to meet in the middle where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates divide the continents. “One was an army officer and the other worked at a Catholic hospital and this marriage confirmed their relationship in the eyes of the law and was important for them, both emotionally and in their personal lives.”

Photo/Pinkiceland.is

Eva María and Birna Hrönn say that their visitors, that is the ones that are not getting married, have even been from places far away such as India and Kuwait. “It was surreal greeting the group from Kuwait knowing that in their country it is illegal to be gay. The couple who came from India had been living as a couple in secrecy for 8 years, carrying two households and pretending to be single in the eyes of their families. One of the high points of their journey was to be able to hold hands on the main street of the city and the knowledge that Pink Iceland only sent them on journeys with their gay owned or gay friendly collaborators so they could always be themselves during their visit.”

Popular to go natural
The weddings that Pink Iceland has planned have been everything from a simple civil ceremony with the couple and up to celebrations with family and friends where arrangements are made for private excursions for the wedding party to see the sights, walk on glaciers, whale watch, snorkel, go horseback riding or whatever their mind wonders to. In other words every wedding package is tailor-made for each couple and is one of a kind.

Eva María and Birna admit that both they and their mate Hannes love weddings in natural spots as there are so many beautiful spots in Iceland to choose from. “Ceremonies can be arranged e.g. by a waterfall, in a cave, on a glacier, on an island or by a geothermal area. The national park Þingvellir has been the most popular spot for the simple ceremonies as the place is beautiful and offers a lot of possibilities. It is great to head on a honeymoon from there.”

They say that when weddings are held out in nature there might always be surprise wedding guests. “At last wedding in Thingvellir the crowd of tourists and travelling Icelanders grew bigger as the ceremony went on and when the grooms kissed there was a big applause from the crowd, something the couple really appreciated.” Of course those who wish have the option of getting married in a church. “Either having a nordic mythology theme or a simple civil ceremony. Pink Iceland’s aim is to make the wedding experience as gay friendly, fun, relaxing and unique as possible,” they say with a big smile.

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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