Icelandic girls are a league of their own. Here is everything you need to know about dating them:
- Is there really a dating culture in Iceland?
- Can you pick up local girls as a tourist (with the travel boom and all)?
- How hook up culture looks in Iceland?
- Is it smart to pay the bill on the first date?
In Iceland, everything you know about meeting, dating, and sleeping with girls is upside down. You can thank me later for this comprehensive guide to successful Icelandic adventures and avoiding culture shock (because whether you realise it or not, you are at high risk of getting it)!
What Kind Of Guys Do Icelandic Girls Like?
The typical Icelandic look is a big guy with a lot of facial hair. They might be progressive and all but Vikings still rule here. Most Icelandic girls agree, however, that there is not a single type of hot guy.
The first thing to know about Icelanders is they are a relaxed bunch. Pretty much everything you might be insecure about – they have it and embrace it. In the wise words of this one Icelandic guy:
So pretty much the two things about me are beard and bear belly. My fiancée loves them both though!
Now that’s a guy with more self-confidence than a gym full of bodybuilders! And most, if not all Icelanders are like this.
Confidence in Iceland is not about being cocky, though. I found Icelandic girls aren’t as receptive to typical ‘alpha male’ pickup strategies as I expected them to be. It’s a place of equality and women don’t appreciate your slight misogynist comments.
This is the downside to Icelandic girl dating standards:
You Have To Keep It PC
Political correctness is not the correct term here, actually. Icelanders are just very liberated. It’s not that they don’t say certain things out of fear. Most of them are genuinely involved in human rights, civil equality, or feminist movement.
The cool thing about them, though:
They are not feminazis.
In other Nordic countries, it’s quite common to deal with entitled know-it-all third-wave feminists. Wow, that came out like a rant.
Anyway, Icelanders are more relaxed. They are not easy to offend but sexism/ racism/ general arrogance will still be a major dealbreaker. You wouldn’t get dirty looks. Nobody will try to slap you. But she will for sure backoff and avoid talking to you for the rest of the night.
OK But What About… You Know, Looks?
As far as looks go, Icelandic girls aren’t too pretentious. I am yet to meet an Icelander that has a ‘type’. Once again, it goes back to their progressiveness. The dating philosophy here is You have got to try it to know if you like it.
By the way, this also goes for same-gender attraction. Bisexuality is almost not a thing in Iceland. Everyone seems to have tried it at least once. It’s not a weird thing for guys, either.
Icelandic dudes with their hyper-masculine looks, beards, and busy intimate lives are not at all afraid to admit that they’ve been with a guy before.
So, to answer your question:
Literally anything goes in Iceland! There is not one specific type of guy that every girl dreams of.
Side note: girls are probably not spending time dreaming about guys. Feminism and all…
Obviously, if you are more “traditionally good looking”, you will get more girls. But there is somebody for everyone, don’t worry.
Which brings me to my next point:
Hooking Up With Your Cousin?!?
This is a legitimate fear for Icelandic people!
Listen, the country is tiny. Even their largest city, Reykjavík, has a population of a little over 120K. Some towns around the country have under 100 inhabitants.
People know each other – there are not enough of them for this not to happen. But there is another, more immediate danger:
How do you know you’re not sleeping with your cousin?
Imagine how awkward the next family reunion would be!
Well, that awkward family reunion has been a reality for Icelanders for far too long. That is why now they have the Íslendingabók app.
Everybody is more or less related in Iceland.
But the thing is, there are some acceptable boundaries. Most Icelandic girls agree that first, second, and third cousins are off-limits. On the contrary, fourth cousin and beyond is fine. Yup, I said it. I did not come up with it, though. Icelandic girls are actually fine with sleeping with their cousins, as long as they are not too closely related.
Refreshing New Talent
As a visitor, you are actually in luck. Local guys have to worry about:
- Literally being their date’s cousin
- The fact that everybody knows each other
- He might have slept with one or multiple of a girl’s friends. Or even her sister!
- There is no such thing as a completely casual hookup. You better perform because you’re going to cross paths with the girl again for sure!
None of this causes too much worry to Icelandic guys. But my point is completely different:
As a foreigner, you can take your pick among literally all the Icelandic girls.
Don’t think that there are too many of them, though. Often, Western guys go to Iceland and find themselves only hooking up with other travellers. But if you’re willing to dive deep into the real Icelandic dating scene*, your tourist status will actually work for you.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, or bright orange. I told you, Icelandic girls are very open-minded. They don’t have a type. If anything, looking a bit more ‘exotic’ will open even more doors for you. How often do you think she sees a local guy that is not pale, freckled, and either blonde or red-headed.
Revel in your novelty status. It’s the best in a country where it’s so easy to exhaust local talent!
* There isn’t a dating culture per se in Iceland. More on that in the next section:
Hook Up And Then Date
If you think other Nordics are more liberal, you should come to Iceland for the real culture shock.
People here do not date. Unless you’re 150 years old (or feel that old anyway), dating is literally frowned upon. Here is how it goes in Iceland instead:
- You meet at a bar.
- Hopefully, you are not cousins.
- You hook up.
- After the deed, you might decide to get to know each other.
In Iceland, everybody more or less knows of each other. I guess it’s not as weird this way. But then again, Icelandic girls do that with strangers, too. This is just the way it’s done.
OK, But Isn’t It… Weird?
No matter how open minded you are, doing it with a complete stranger might be uncomfortable for you. I mean, morals aside:
“I thought making love was better when you build attraction first?”
In theory, yes, this is completely true. In practice, Icelanders are the perfect hookup buddies. There is the odd exception. For the most part, however, Icelanders are just naturally easygoing. This is true for friendships as much as it is for a hookup.
And there is also another important thing:
Tell Me How You Like It
Ask Icelanders what their defining quality is and 90% of the time you will hear:
We are super honest and straightforward!
On every step of the dating process (if there is even such a thing), you can see the Icelandic directness. Feminine and super shy girls? Not in this country!
In bed, Icelandic girls are amazing. What they lack in mystery (the pleasure of the chase is nonexistent in Iceland), they make up for in genuinely enjoying themselves. An Icelandic woman will not shut up and expect you to get it. She knows that honesty is the best policy – in all aspects of life.
No Romance Whatsoever
You probably got the picture already. Icelandic girls are not about the movie-and-dinner date experience. Most of them admit they have never been on an actual date. If that seems crazy to you, that’s just a cultural thing. In fact, most Icelandic women are perfectly happy this way.
Not only are they happy with their ‘no strings attached’ lifestyle, but Icelandic women are also actively repulsed by grand gestures. When I say grand gestures, I don’t mean showing up to her house with a boombox either. Instead, consider every single thing that usually happens in rom coms a gesture too grand for Icelanders.
Here’s a simple example:
In Russia, most first dates look the exact same way. The boy, the girl, and the red rose – taking a stroll around the main street. Bringing flowers on the first date is not just nice – it is expected!
In Iceland, if you bring flowers to a first date, the girl might literally refuse to come with you. It’s way too much. Flowers? Dating? She’s cynical about all of this.
And if you think “Oh, she hasn’t been wined and dined before so she will be super impressed”, that is faulty logic. Young Icelandic girls are put off by the slightest trace of romance.
You could say romance truly is dead in Iceland. But that is not all:
Chivalry Is Dead, Too!
The good thing about Icelandic feminists is they are being fair. They don’t expect special treatment. They don’t act particularly entitled. Try to pull a chivalrous gesture and you will make them uncomfortable.
Why should I get any special treatment?
That is the general consensus. Let me give you a quick list of what that means for you:
- Buying her a drink
- Picking up the tab
- Bringing flowers to a date
- Buying her a gift without any particular reason (i.e. not her birthday or Christmas, or your anniversary)
- Opening the door for her
- Instinctively sitting in the driver’s seat
- Ordering for her at a restaurant
- Choosing the wine when you eat out
All of those are a no-no. Even asking her to text you so that you know she’s safe (especially when she’s out with her girlfriends) could be misinterpreted.
Is there the occasional Icelander that’s a romantic at heart?
I guess, but I am yet to meet her.
While you’re looking for that elusive super feminine Icelandic woman, approach dating in Iceland as you would a friendship. In Iceland, relationship literally means friends who sleep together. If it’s an exclusive partnership, that’s cute. If not, that is fine, too.
Icelandic dating is completely fuss-free. As you will find out, this is a blessing and a curse.
Are You Really Ready For No-BS Dating?
Iceland does casual dating perfectly. But are you actually prepared for it? That’s a completely different story! New expats to Iceland always suffer cultural shock. You might, as well.
The secret to Icelandic girls is not everybody can handle them. If you get attached, Icelandic dating won’t work for you.
Time for a fun fact:
Did you know they have a word for girls/guys that have slept with the same person?
Kviðmágar for men or kviðsystur for girls, literally translates to Stomach or Belly sisters/brothers. But the meaning is completely different. You’re kviðmágar with your buddy if you hook up (rub bellies) with the same person.
In a small nation, that is not at all unlikely!
Take a second to think about this.
In any other country, you would be embarrassed to find out your friend slept with the same girl. In Iceland, they have a word for it. They embrace their promiscuity. If you’re not into that, you will not find a single Icelandic girl that fits your standard.
There aren’t that many Icelandic girls, to begin with!
How Do Relationships Start?
The most common way people meet in Iceland is through mutual friends/when they are in the same environment. For such a tiny country, literally, everybody knows everyone. You might not have met the person per se but you’d know their friends or their family, or maybe you share the same dentist. Whatever, the point is: there is no such thing as a complete stranger in Iceland.
Most Icelandic girls do not venture out of their social circle. Rather, they expand it laterally. They get to know a friend of a friend, or maybe start hooking up with a colleague at work.
If there is any dating scene in Iceland, it’s through mutual friends. This way, you casually get to know your friend-of-a-friend, acquaintance, buddy, one-night-stand, casual boyfriend/girlfriend. This is the natural progression in Iceland.
Not counting the ‘meet through mutual friends’ route, virtually all other encounters happen between people who barely know each other. Now you know why the cousin app is so popular.
Icelandic Girls And Their Perfect Guy
Let’s assume you already met a cute Icelandic gal. What are the features she appreciates in a guy? Here are the five most common traits that Icelandic girls look for:
- Interesting – don’t be a bore, there are surely tons of cool things about you. Icelandic girls are not impressed by a guy’s money. They love it if you have a passion, something that genuinely lights you up. You get bonus points if you’re a creative type. But hey, even an accountant can talk about his job in a cool way if he actually likes it.
- Put together – muscles are not that important to Icelandic girls. Given the choice, they would go for put together and good-looking, over hyper-muscular. While some women prefer their guy to be on the manly side, it’s not a must. A nice, clean, polished look, however, will get you far.
- Fun and relaxed – Icelandic culture is all about enjoying yourself without overthinking things. That’s a huge reason why the dating scene is so casual. No Icelandic girl wants a clingy, needy guy. They wouldn’t go for the macho type, either, but that’s because they don’t appreciate a big ego. Basically, be your most natural and relaxed self. It works best.
Another common question we get is:
Do Icelandic Girls Like Black Men?
And, sure enough, they do.
Icelanders are one of the least racist nations in the world. Icelandic women are happy to date a person from any skin colour. It’s 100% about your personality and absolutely nothing to do with race.
Pro tip: as stupid and stereotypical as it may sound, check out the hip-hop clubs in Reykjavik. The Icelandic girls you meet there… Yeah, some of them have a full-on fetish for black men.
Icelandic Women In Relationships
Say you got past the part of casual hookups.
(Side note: you are more likely to do that if you meet an Icelandic girl in a more ‘serious’ environment than the club. For instance, dating platforms like International Cupid are much more likely to produce a relationship than Tinder or a bar hookup)
Anyway, before you know it you have an Icelandic girlfriend! What now?
Icelandic women have a couple of great qualities when it comes to relationships. Even though they’d be considered ‘loose’ by most standards, you can make a housewife from a hoe, at least in this case.
Icelandic culture is very open and accepting of others. Unlike other women (khm, those in Eastern Europe), she will not try to change it. The whole premise behind dating in Iceland is anything goes. If you got to the point where you’re going steady, she obviously likes you for you.
How does that work?
Well, in Iceland, it’s not taboo to be single. Au contraire, most young Icelanders are now single or just casually dating.
There is no pressure to find a partner, even past a certain age. Women (or men) don’t just jump into the first relationship opportunity that comes to them. When they do get in one, it’s not because they settled.
Safe to say that if an Icelandic girl becomes your girlfriend, she is with you for you.
Think about it, this eliminates a bunch of problems that people usually find in relationships:
- She will not try to change you. If she didn’t like you enough, she wouldn’t have gotten with you.
- There will be no jealousy over past relationships. She has had her fun, too, and she knows that sleeping around doesn’t mean you can’t eventually get in a committed relationship.
- Miscommunications are rare because she approaches dating from a very open-minded and accepting place.
- Because Icelandic girls are not desperate to find a boyfriend, they know they can survive with or without one. While she will value you and enjoy the time together, there is rarely any jealousy or over-dramatization of things.
The Secret To Relationships With Icelandic Girls
OK, so having an Icelandic girlfriend is awesome. How do you get there? Well, there are only three things to remember and you are not going to like them:
- It’s up to chance. The people we like don’t always like us. Is this really a surprise? Icelandic girls would not get in a relationship if they’re not completely sure you are compatible. Sometimes, you’re just not. Move on, that is why dating is a numbers game.
- Be yourself. If ‘yourself’ is a bit lame, aim to improve and grow. Either way, there isn’t one specific thing you can do to impress Icelandic girls. Since the end goal is compatibility, it’s in your best interest to be authentic. It shows when you’re not and, trust me, Icelandic girls have a sixth sense for it.
- It might happen, it might not. You are a bit privileged for being a foreigner. Accidentally hooking up with a cousin isn’t a danger for you. Basically, the entire country is your dating pool. Still, Icelandic girls aren’t that many. Don’t go in, desperate to find the love of your life. It might as well end up with just hookups.
So really, there is no secret to Icelandic girls. Keep it casual, enjoy yourself, and remember that you’re lucky you’re not related to half of the city. Oh and, as usual, come back with your field reports in the comments below!