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Being Nude in Iceland: the Naked Truth

Being nude in Iceland might not be how you experience things back home or what you might expect. In a country where members of parliament have no problem popping out a boob to breastfeed on national television, you can rest assured that locals don’t have any overly conservative notions when it comes to nudity.

But, in a country that is on most travelers’ bucket lists, we are also considerate and respectful of others. That’s why there are certain etiquette, rules, and regulations regarding when and where you can be nude in Iceland. If you have a bit of an affinity for letting loose or would just like to know more about nudity in Iceland for interest’s sake, read on. 

Being Nude in Iceland

Iceland’s History Surrounding Nudity

Like the Roman Baths of old, Iceland has its own fair share of historical nudity. During the Viking Age, bathing naked in communal baths was common practice, and relaxing naked in one of our hot springs was actually called ‘gudlaug’ and an invaluable part of the daily routine.

There are myths and legends about the Hidden Folk murdering women for dancing naked, but these old folktales served as general lessons in morality rather than Icelanders’ personal feelings towards nudity. It is believed that Iceland’s modesty streak came into the country along with Christian beliefs during the 19th and 20th centuries.

For example, our Midsummer in June has always been a good excuse for a party. Based on all sorts of beliefs and superstitions, it included certain practices, such as rolling naked in the morning dew to ensure luck for the upcoming year. After the Reformation, the Catholics preferred to simply celebrate Midsummer’s Day as the birthdate of John the Baptist.

But these religiously restrictive years are behind us here on the island, and today, Icelanders are credited as incredibly open-minded and accepting people. One of the ways in which it’s clearly expressed is the Icelandic Phallological Museum that’s home to the penis of every mammal on the island – including a human that willed it to the museum after his death!

iceland nude

Iceland’s Nude Beaches (or Rather Lack Thereof)

If you’re planning on finding a nudist beach in Iceland or want to go topless tanning in Iceland, you’re out of luck. We have no official beach in Iceland where you can be nude. But there’s no need to despair.

Being naked on a beach in Iceland is all about common courtesy. Unless otherwise stated, you can be topless or nude on any beach in Iceland as long as it doesn’t infringe on others’ rights. For example, if others are enjoying the beach with you, you can’t just assume that they’ll be okay with it and disrobe. If children are in the vicinity, getting naked is also a big no-no.

That being said, there are also certain places in Iceland that are considered nudist beaches without officially being proclaimed as such. In these cases, you might end up being the odd one out if you’re not necessarily looking to be naked in Iceland.

One such place is Kolka Beach in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. If you’re unsure whether a beach might be an unofficial nudist hot spot, you can always ask the locals. We’re known for our friendly and helpful manner towards visitors.

Being Nude at the Hot Springs in Iceland

Iceland is a treasure trove of hot springs scattered all across the island. Some can still be found (and used) in their natural form, while others are used in geothermal pools. But before you get into some hot water (and not the good kind) when visiting one of these hot springs, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to nudity at the hot springs in Iceland:

When you’re visiting one of Iceland’s natural hot springs, especially those in more remote regions of the island, it’s perfectly acceptable to leave the swimwear by the wayside – as long as there is no one else there. You will also need to keep a keen eye out for any new arrivals as to not surprise them with all of your…uhmm… splendour.

Being Nude at the Hot Springs in Iceland

Just because you can get away with nudity at the natural hot springs doesn’t mean you’ll be able to visit the Blue Lagoon in Iceland and proudly let your nudist flag fly. Taking a dip at one of our geothermal pools and resorts means adorning swimwear, with absolutely no exceptions.

Soaking in the hot springs with swimwear should not be confused with the showers we take beforehand. It’s considered incredibly bad etiquette to get into the hot springs and pools in Iceland without taking a shower first, and this needs to be done completely in the nude.

Tips on Staying Warm and Comfortable While Nude

For a country with such liberal views towards nudity, the climate certainly isn’t playing along. The following helpful tips will help you keep all your extremities while living out your best nudist life:

  • You can keep an eye on the Iceland weather forecast to ensure that you pick the most opportune time for your nude adventures. You might not have control over the weather. Still, you can control whether you visit a spot during 2-degree temperatures or howling blizzards.

  • If you want to go and take a naked dip in the hot springs, you can keep a big towel wrapped tightly around you so you’re not really “vulnerable to the elements” before entering the warm waters.

  • Depending on how seriously you’re taking your nudity, many opt to wear a warm beanie when lounging naked in the water on those extremely cold mornings.

nudity in iceland

Our Flippant Attitude Towards Nudity Stops When Money is Involved

In 2010, it was ruled that a person’s naked body can’t be a commodity. This means that you won’t find any strip clubs with naked exotic dancers here on the island. Iceland is pretty much divided on this piece of legislation, with some slamming it as a move that promotes sex negativity and others praising it for protecting women against being exploited and curbing the shadiness of the sex trade.

You are Free to be You in Iceland ♥️

Iceland is an incredibly liberal country where open-mindedness and creativity are the order of the day. So, just like we don’t blink at Björk (yes, she’s a local) making headlines in US tabloids for wearing swan dresses, most locals won’t really care if you decide to streak naked across the Highlands.

Here, you are free to be you, even if that entails being nude in Iceland. You won’t get any backlash if you are considerate and respectful of others. Now that you know the naked truth about nudity in Iceland, you may feel like you want to experience the freedom of being naked here on the island yourself. In that case, we suggest you rent a car in Iceland and travel to one of the known nudist spots around the island to let loose without any fear or negative consequences.



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