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Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration

Gilbert Watchmaker Workshop: Laugavegur 62, 101 Reykjavik Tel: 551-4100 /

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at your reception

Your seat is always guaranteed

Trip duration approximately

BSÍ Bus Terminal Reykjavík City

Keflavík International Airport

Free WiFi on all our buses

In connection with all arriving & departing flights at KEF Int. Airport



the Blue Lagoon

There is no better way to start or end your Iceland adventure than by bathing in the famous Blue Lagoon. For departure times, please go to our webpage:



BSÍ Bus Terminal 101 Reykjavík +354 580 5400 • 2 REYKJAVÍK living

at your reception

Free WiFi


Trip duration approximately 45 minutes




at your reception

More tours available on our website AND IN OUR BROCHURES!

Free WiFi

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Reykjavík Center Map. This interactive web site features a detailed and accurate pen and ink drawing of the oldest part of Reykjavík. Explore the city centre and enjoy great art in a fantastic map produced by Borgarmynd architects. Check it out at

INDEX THE FOOD OF THE DAY - CAFÉ PARIS..................... 8 VESTURBYGGÐ AND THE WESTFJORDS ............... 12 WESTFJORDS ADVENTURES................................... 16 HOUSE OF MONSTERS.......................................... 20 BOREA ADVENTURES............................................. 30 INTO THE GLACIER................................................ 50 VESTMANNAEYJAR - RIB SAFARI............................ 52 SAGA CENTRE - NJÁLS SAGA.................................. 56 RESTURANTS - ART - DESIGN................................ 60 ICELANDIC MOUNTAIN GUIDES............................ 82 THE MUSEUM AT SKÓGAR.................................... 84 ALL ICELAND TOURS.............................................. 92 GULLFOSS - THE GOLDEN WATERFALL................. 94 THE FIVE FACES OF REYKJAVÍK CITY...................... 98 HALLDÓR LAXNESS - GLJÚFRASTEINN................ 100

Reykjavík living 2015 FULLT HÚS S/F PO BOX 25 172 Seltjarnarnes Tel: +354 692 1400 E-mail:

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Akranes Reykjavík

Garður Sandgerði Reykjanesbær




Hafnarfjörður Hveragerði Árborg Þorlákshöfn Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri

North Iceland

West Iceland

Editor Súsanna Svavarsdóttir Sales and marketing Elín Bragadóttir Tel: +354 662 2600 E-mail:

East Iceland

Vestmanna­ eyjar

South Iceland

Cover work Grímkell P. Sigurþórsson Design/Marketing/ Co-Owner JS Watch co. Reykjavik Top photo Ingolfur Arnarsson:

Proof reading Jess Bygd Design and Art Direction Hugverkasmi›jan - Helgi Sig Tel: +354 895 5797 E-mail: Printing Prentmet

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Neither this publication nor any part of it may reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior of Fullt hús publishing. Fullt hús publishing takes no responsibility for errors and changes.

Contradicting volcanoes and hot springs; quiet peaceful winter mornings and the glaciers’ bellowing groans as they crack under the great forces of nature. Those are the contending forces that the ICECOLD founder and lead designer, Jón Sigurjónsson, master goldsmith, draws inspiration from and which are combined in the unique ICECOLD range. Sigurjónsson brings out the beauty of these contradictions as the ICECOLD shapes and textures mimic the Icelandic nature, a bit rough but with a hint of softness here and there.

Northern lights

Available in Jón & Óskar stores, Laugavegur 61, Kringlan mall, Smáralind mall. Tel. +354 552 4910 //

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PIPAR\TBWA • SÍA • 141315

.. There is something about ... the Northern Lights. Handcrafted, each exquisite pendant is unique. This latest design of the ICECOLD line is made from silver and titanium and inspired by the magical Northern Lights.

Sigurður Jarl Magnússon:

Welcome to Iceland Born from ice and fire, Iceland has a strange and otherworldly quality, emphasized by the Midnight Sun in summer and the Northern Lights in winter. The nations culture and outlook on life stems from the old Nordic Mythology. Thus, you‘ll find the islanders hospitable and friendly, polite and proud. Reykjavík Living is designed to tell you about some of the elements most treasured by the Icelanders themselves. In order to make most of your stay, we introduce some of our most prestigious artists and designers, shops offering Icelandic heritage, hotels and restaurants we favor. We also introduce you to the Westfjord Peninsula, by many an Icelander considered to be the most beautiful part of the country. Living in Iceland is a bit of an adventure – and it is often difficult for the Icelanders to stay away from the island for too long. Icelanders living abroad tend to spend most of their holidays in Iceland. There is something magical, even addictive about the island.  The Icelandic soul much reflects the land itself, with constant earthquakes, active volcanoes and geothermal activity, with light


nights during summer and the northern lights during long, dark winters. It is a restless soul, with strong undercurrents of creativity. It is a happy soul and a brooding one. It is hot and cold, full of contrasts. Which possibly explains the endurance of the islanders throughout the centuries. Iceland is no toy-land. It makes and breaks by shear force of nature. We might not always like it – but, love it we do. We hope you enjoy reading about our country‘s nature and history, the outdoors adventures, arts and leisure, our hospitality and the endless possibilities to have a good time. We also want you to enjoy our greatest treasure – endless sources of fresh cold water and geothermal hot water. Most of all we hope you will enjoy your stay.

Súsanna Svavarsdóttir, editor in chief Convenient booking of tours and activities in Iceland

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The best health and body experience Iceland has to offer

A world where water, art and design play together in perfect harmony Laugar Sundlaugarvegur 30a 105 Reykjavik Tel. +354 553 0000

Opening hours

Mon - Fri 06:00 - 23:00 Saturday 08:00 - 21:00 REYKJAVĂ?K living 7 Sunday 08:00 - 19:30

Enoy the Food and the Day Iceland’s favorite restaurant throughout the years is Café Paris. It is located in the dead center of Reykjavík by Austurvöllur (the Parliament Square). It was founded in 1992 and very soon became the lively center for quite diverse groups. On any given day you will find a group of serious lawyers sitting by the table next to merry college students. Members of Parliament will be plotting, agreeing or disagreeing. You will find grandparents, who have taken their unruly grandchildren to the center to feed the ducks, may be sitting next to you trying to make the youngsters eat something wholesome. There are groups of girlfriends giggling the day away. Then there are tourists tasting Icelandic delicacies and journalists interviewing their subjects. Every morning, you will be a witness to a

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group of regulars, nicknamed The Wise Old Bunch, who show up every day to discuss the topic of the day. It may be politics or religion, education or sports, latest news or scandals.

Like a fishbowl One of Café Paris’s attractions is its glass walls. It is like sitting in a Fishbowl and watch the lively city center bustle. People in hurry, with all the intolerance they can muster. Easy going people with not a care in the world. People lazing about by the Parliament Square. They come in all shapes and sizes. But, the view would never do if the cuisine weren’t up to standard. Which it most certainly is. The menu at Café Paris is vast, to say the least. In the morning you will find a very pleas-

Café Paris in the center of Reykjavík offers excellent food and a great atmosphere ing breakfast menu and great coffee. You can also order from the regular menu, if you like, from early morning until eleven o’clock at night when the kitchen is closed. Café Paris is actually one of the best places to take your family for a meal, as the menu is quite diverse. You’ll get sandwiches and hamburgers, salads, pasta, soups. You can choose from a number of fish, chicken and red meat dishes. No need for everyone at the table to stick to just one dish. The children can get what they want, the teenagers can certainly find something to eat, mother can go wholesome and dad can enjoy what he likes best.

There to please you One of Café Paris’s objectives is to try and please all its custom-

ers. There you’ll be able to get a taste of the international cuisine, as well as, trying out traditional Icelandic delicacies. You will find the traditional Icelandic Lamb Meat Soup, whale meat, pancakes or waffles with jam and whipped cream, fish prepared the Icelandic way. When the sun is shining you have your meal served outdoors and then linger over your coffee, beer, or glass of wine. Café Paris has a very good wine list and a vast selection of alcohol beverages, as well as, most any soda and fruit juice you like. And prices are pretty moderate. Café Paris is an exceptional restaurant. The menu is diverse and interesting, the chefs quite good and the staff very friendly. And, the atmosphere is different from anywhere else. ■

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Hidden Treasures Skólavörðustígur is the most interesting street in Reykjavík

Skólavörðustígur is a relatively short street, stretching from Hallgrímskirkja to Laugavegur, but it is packed with designer shops, art galleries, lovely restaurants and cafés. There are no chain shops here, but mostly artifacts designed, invented and/ or made in Iceland. You will find the Handprjónasambandið shop, which is possibly the only shop in the center where you can buy Icelandic wool products that are actually knitted/made in Iceland. This shop relies entirely on Icelandic knitters and thus is quite authentic. 10 REYKJAVÍK living

Another such shop is Eggert the Furrier who designs and even makes most of the lovely coats, jackets, hats and scarves you see in his shop. On Skólavörðustígur you’ll also find Geysir, one of the most popular shop in Iceland, both amongst visitors and the Icelanders themselves. Nearby is the Naked Ape, selling designer sweaters, t-shirts, dresses and handbags. Photo: Roman-Gerasymenko

Skólavörðustígur is one of Reykjavík’s hidden gems. It doesn’t matter if it is located smack in the center of town, the inhabitants tend to overlook it on their stroll around the center. Then they are amazed when they venture out of their comfort zone of Laugavegur, running nearly adjacent to Skólavörðustígur.

You should definitely enjoy a lunch at Sjávargrillið. It offers the most delicious lobster soup and further down the road you’ll be able to enjoy a great cup of coffee in Mokka café, the oldest café in Reykjavík, a home to the city’s bohemian lot through decades. These are but a few of the interesting places to visit on Skólavörðustígur. ■

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The Greatness of Nature Vesturbyggð – the southern part of the Westfjord Peninsula is a must visit area at least once in your lifetime

Vesturbyggð – the southern part of the Westfjords is possibly the only region in Iceland that’s got everything to please the tourist: Majestic mountains, deep, tranquil fjords, dizzying cliffs, colorful beaches, glittering waterfalls, wonderful vista, friendly inhabitants, healthy environment and fantastic birdlife. What more can you ask of nature? From the minute you enter the top of Hjallaháls, east of Barðaströnd, you will be in constant state of amazement. With the view over the Breiðafjörður bay with its hundreds of islands, you will keep descending and ascending moors and mountains, drive in and out of the most beautiful uninhabited fjords with rich flora and tranquil waters. Until you reach Flókalundur in Vatnfjörður which most certainly is a place to take a break from your journey. On location there is a beautiful country hotel with an excellent restaurant, a small shop and a camping site with a spectacular view.

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Towards the sunset Short distance away is Brjánslækur where you can catch the ferry to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with a short stop in the island of Flatey. But, we are heading further west, crossing one more moor before we find the sign pointing to Rauðisandur (The Red Beach). It literally has red sand that scintillates on sunny days. It is quite a sight to see. But, be careful, the road down the hill to reach the beach is a narrow gravel road. Still, it is worth the cautious drive. Vesturbyggð has one very nice town, Patareksfjörður and a lovely village, Bildudalur. You will find all the services you need there. Hotels and guesthouses, restaurants and cafés, camping sites and a swimming pool, golf courses, shops, banks and petrol stations. In Patreksfjörður you will also find Westfjords Adventures where you can get some pretty good ideas on how to get the most of your stay in this magnificent area.

Of course, you will want to go to the renowned Látrabjarg cliffs, the most western point of Iceland, with its fantastic birdlife, dizzying hiking trails and the most beautiful sunsets. On your way back, you must stop at the Hnjótur Folk Museum to learn all about life in this remote area. It also has tales of the inhabitants’ heroic rescue operations when ships were wrecked along their unscalable cliffs.

With time standing still There are endless more things to do in this area. You can go horse-riding, kayaking, angling, hiking, bird watching. You can explore the historical churches and buildings. Take your time. There is no rush. In this part of the world, time stands still. When you move on to the the northern part of this region you will find yourself in Bildulaur by the fjord of Arnarfjörður. It is the second largest fjord of the Westfjords and is know as one of the most beautiful fjords in Iceland, due to its diverse

landscape, majestic mountains and the precious Dynjandi waterfall. It is 30 km long and 10 km at its widest and features several smaller fjords and inlets. The tiny village of Bildudalur is quite interesting. With its 200 inhabitants it hosts an annual folk music festival and one “must visit” place is the Melodies of the Past, an exhibition of Icelandic music memorabilia. Also, the Arnarfjörður fjord is well known for its numerous sea monsters so Bíldudalur is the proper place for the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum, an action-packed multimedia display of sea monster tales and folklores, for the whole family to enjoy. ■

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Where the Eagle recides Bjarkarlundur hotel is located in one of nature’s untouched spots Bjarkarlundur hotel is often referred to as the gateway to the Westfjords. This family run hotel has been in operation since 1947 and is the oldest summer hotel in Iceland. It is located in a beautiful and quite dramatic spot by the Vaðlafjöll mountains with their two basaltic volcanic plugs. The mountains are believed to be the dwellings of elves and the hidden people featured in many an Icelandic tale. Further, this lovely hotel is located in middle of the area where the Icelandic eagle has chosen to reside. If there is anywhere in Iceland you’d be able to spot this majestic bird, this is it. Maybe, because the weather in this area is rather pleasant. Shielded by the Vaðlafjöll mountains from the northern wind and the neighboring heath from the cold arctic breeze, it is a rather tranquil and lush spot.

Comfortable dwellings Even though the Bjarkarlundur hotel is by the road leading to the Westfjords, it is a quiet and comfortable place to stay. During the past few years it has undergone some major renovations. Its surroundings have had a face-lift and are quite pleasant to the eye. The ten original rooms downstairs have been partly renovated and four modern rooms with private facilities added, so altogether this hotel offers fourteen comfortable rooms downstairs and additional 4 rooms upstairs. The lobby has undergone some major changes and the old, rather unwelcoming entrance has disappeared.

The Bjarkarlundur hotel also offers six comfortable summer cottages located in a tranquil grovel mere 20 meters from the hotel. For the past five years these cottages have been very popular with families as they are very well facilitated and the surroundings are exceptionally beautiful. On location is also a camping site with a playground for the children, a mini-golf course and across the road you’ll find the lake Berufjarðarvatn where you can catch a trout for your BBQ. The camping site has a newly built service house with toilets and showers and electricity plugs are available. And, of course, it is only a few steps away from the Bjarkarlundur restaurant and shop.

Relaxing atmosphere If you are planning to drive along the south part of the Westfjords you should definitely take a break at the Bjarkarlundur hotel to relax. The road ahead, though breathtakingly beautiful, is somewhat nerve-racking. It is a bit narrow in places and leads up and down mountains. This hotel is a good place to pause and have, at least, a hearty meal before venturing further. At the hotel restaurant you’ll be able to get traditional Icelandic dishes with the ingredients mostly coming from local producers. The hotel chefs have just one motto: To exceed their customers’ expectations. Apart from a breakfast buffet served between 08.00 and 10.00, the hotel restaurant offers a diverse a la carte menu from 11.00 to 22.00, every day of the week. Just relax and enjoy. ■

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Ready for adventures? Westfjords Adventures are there to meet your requirements Westfjords Adventures offers somewhat unique travel services. Based in Patreksfjörður it specializes in leisure activities in the scenic, spectacular and picturesque Southern Westfjords. Guided bus tours, super jeep tours, bicycle tours, riding tours, panoramic boat trips, sea angling tours and bike rentals. Whatever adventure you wish to experience, they've got it. If not, Westfjords Adventures will tailor their service to meet your needs, whether you are a photographer, bird watcher, wildlife spectator, hiker, biker or an adrenaline kicker, they will design a package to meet your requirements.

Dizzying heights and red colored sands The south part of the Westfjords Peninsula is the company's playground. And what a playground. The Látrabjarg cliffs, the most western point in Iceland and known to the locals as the cliffs of all cliffs. It is home to millions of puffins, guillemots, razorbills and gannets. Indeed, Látrabjarg is the largest bird cliff in Europe. And, even though you are not a bird watcher, the sheer experience of the majestic cliffs, fourteen kilometres long and 441 metres high is an otherworldly experience. Another spectacular part of the Westfjords Adventures playground is Rauðisandur or the Red Beach. Rauðisandur most likely derives its name from the colour of its sand, which is red but can change to yellow and even black at the blink of an eye. It all depends on lights and shadows. The beach stretches ten kilometres from the cliffs of Látrabjarg. The road leading to Rauðisandur is a gravel road, winding and steep and not for the faint of heart. But, on a guided trip you'll be perfectly safe.

Hiking, biking, driving or riding Of course, there are many more spectacular places to visit in the south part of the Wesfjords and Westfjord Adventures will lead you to whichever one you want to see. On their Bike tours, they will take you from Tálknafjörður to Sveinseyri with its world of magnificent birdlife and white beaches, to Sellátrar, an old abandoned farm. Also, to Arnarstapi where you'll find the westernmost grove in Europe and one of Iceland's energy centres where you can recharge your energy. At the end of the bike tour, you'll be able to relax in Pollurinn, a hot spring pool located in the hillside just outside Tálknafjörður village to admire the extraordinary view of the fjord. Another bike tour takes you from the Látrabjarg cliffs to Patreksfjörður with a stop over at Hnjótur, the Heritage Museum. There you find out how people survived this remote area in the old days, how the rescued foreign fishermen from ships stranded by the Látrabjarg cliffs and how important Látrabjarg and the treacherous ocean were to the local livelihood. Mind you, you can also do all those magnificent places and more by bus, or a jeep. Whichever way you want to travel, Westjfords Adventures will do their utmost to meet your needs. The company offers riding tours through the Westfjord valleys, crossing rivers and black sand beaches. For further information on kayaking, angling, hiking around this spectacular area go to ■

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Simply Wonderful Tálknafjörður Village is most likely to capture your heart Tálknafjörður is one of the most likable village in Iceland. Located at the southern part of the West­ fjords, it used to be fishing village. In a way, it still is, but the innovative inhabitants have branched out, so to say. They have looked into the possibilities provided by the land and the sea. Today you will sea trout farms floating just off the shore and a trout smoking company. Indeed, Tálknafjörður provides a big part of the smoke trout much loved by the Icelanders. Further, you will find the prosperous company Villimey Cosmetics where they produce creams and ointments from the wild plants and herbs found in the area surrounding this beautiful fjord.

Activities and relaxation Every summer hundreds of sea anglers flock to Tálknafjörður. The village is perfectly located for this fun activity and also offers unique natural amenities. In the northern part of the fjord, hot water springs from the earth. The pure energy is used for the fish farming and the very nice swimming pool (with excellent hot tubsL) you’ll find in Tálknafjörður. It is definitely, one of the best. And, just outside the village you’ll find a natural hot pool where you can complete each day by gliding down into the warm water and enjoy stunning views. Or have you ever seen pink sea? Well, on a nice summer’s day the midnight sun is reflected in the sea – and that’s what you get. All around Tálknafjörður, you’ll find excellent hiking trails, both easy and hard. You can simply choose how much workout you

desire on any given day. You can hike the heaths or the mountains, the shoreline or just roam around the village. Or, maybe you just want to rent a bike and enjoy the wind in your hair while observing this extraordinary area.

Everything you need One of the first things you’ll notice about Tálknafjörður is how clean and tidy it is. Indeed, the inhabitants take pride in their well-kept houses and gardens. Many of them are decorated to celebrate the village’s heritage. In the garden and on the lawns you will find small statues and boating/fishing paraphernalia, like nets, buoys and the like. In Tálknafjörður it is also a kind of tradition to decorate house windows, blue glassware being quite a favorite. Of course, you’ll find all basic services in Tálknafjörður. They have pretty good grocery shop, a petrol station and a bank. The village has two exceptionally lovely guesthouses with no-fuss, friendly hosts, and if you are camping you have come to the right place. The camping site in Tálknafjörður is one of the best you will find in Iceland. It is adjacent to the swimming pool and has facilities to accommodate you in any imaginable weather. A great indoors kitchen, clean and top-of-the-range bathroom facilities, a lawn that is always carefully maintained and in excellent condition. You might say: Tálknafjörður is just another village. But, the fact is, you are likely to simply fall in love with it. ■

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The House The Sea Monster Museum in BĂ­ldudalur is now the home to the colorful folklore creatures

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of Monsters Bíldudalur is quite an interesting village on the Westfjords Peninsula. Located by the picturesque fjord of Arnarfjörður, generally considered one of the most beautiful fjords in Iceland with its sandy beaches and majestic mountains, it is a home to the interesting Sea Monster Mueum. In 2014 the museum was chosen one of the most outstanding cultural projects in Iceland and it is also by far the most Steampunk’d museum in Iceland, if not the whole world. First opened in 2009 it is constantly being updated and technically improved, with new monsters arriving every year. What started as a project depicting the local sea monsters is now an information centre on all kinds of monsters from all over the world. On touch sensitive screen you can access all the monster information you wish. The Sea Monster Museum is opened from 15th May, until 10th September every year and is becoming increasingly popular by children and adults are like. Well, when it comes to monsters, what is there not to like?

The right atmosphere Tales of sea monsters have played a colorful role in Icelandic folklore for centuries and thousands of written accounts can be found all around the island. Today, these elusive creatures have been given a worthy home at this interesting and fun museum. The Sea Monster Museum in Bíldudalur has played a major role in gathering stories and information of sea monsters around Iceland. The exhibition uses both interactive media and tangible items to express the lore of monsters throughout Iceland’s history. The museum’s location is no coincidence as Arnafjörður

and the surrounding areas is the region of most frequent sea monster sightings throughout the centuries. The museum itself is housed in an old factory building which provides a great atmosphere for this type of museum And this museum offers a lot more than just exhibitions. It hosts the annual Steampunk Iceland festival (this year from 20th to 27th June). Further, the museum also has its own Monstergames at the beginning of each season and a second one late in the summer. For futher information on these events, go to www.

Increasing number of monstrologists It goes without saying that the Sea Monster Museum is extremely popular amongst children and every year the museum is visited by a lot of “monstrologists.” The museum is open from 10.00 to 18.00 and you might as well prepare for a rather long visit, as there is so much to learn. But, don’t worry. On the premises is a vry nice coffee shop where you can sit down with books borrowed from the museum’s library. Or, you can chat with other guests aboutn the monsters and mysteries of Iceland.

And here is a true monster story from Iceland: A man riding home along the shore from church at Otradalur late one evening accidently ran his horse over a monster which lay on the beach. The creature gave chase and slashed the horse’s back causing a deep gash. It also ripped the man’s back with its claws, causing two sets of triple wounds. At last, the creature gave up and disappeared, leaving the man lying for some time nursing his wounds. His horse had to be put down. ■

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Great for the Athletic Tourist Þingeyri is quite the place for those seeking action packed holidays Þingeyri, a small village near Ísafjörður is an old trading port for the Vestfjords Peninsula. It is a heaven for tourists seeking activities. The surrounding mountains have quite a number of well-marked trails. The village has a horse-rental, a bike-rental, a swimming pool and hosts the most dangerous marathon in Iceland, along the old highway high on the mountain with a precipice straight into the sea. The village has a handicraft gallery and a beautiful Musical Instrument Museum, with instruments collected and made by a local instrument maker.

You will find a very nice accommodation at the Sandafell Hotel. It is a former co-op store that has been quite tastefully renovated. The hotel has nine double rooms with television and en suite bathrooms and five sharing a communal bathroom. You will enjoy a full wi-fi access. The hotel lounge is very comfortable and the restaurant is good. It offers traditional Icelandic home cuisine, like fish stew, panfried cod and lamb meat soup, but of course, you can pick just anything from the menu. And you do not have to be a hotel guest to have a meal at the restaurant. It is open to everyone. ■

Dýrafjörður Dyrafjordur is one of the fjords comprising the Westfjords and is situated between the fjords Arnarfjordur and Onundarfjordur. The fjord has a lot of interesting history and natural attractions. Haukadalur valley is the main site for the saga of the outlaw Gisli Sursson, Gisla Saga. At Nupur, an old residence for chieftains and a church site, there is now a nice summer hotel.

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Celebrating the Fishing Tradition In Suðureyri the locals have tied their fishing traditions in with tourism Suðureyri is a fine example of an Icelandic fishing village and one of the youngest one. The village only began to form in the early 20th century, but growing rapidly with the mechanization of the fishing industry. It is still going strong, especially singe the villagers decided to tie their fishing tradition in with tourism. It is a heaven for European sea anglers who flock in their hundreds to this beautiful village during the summer, to try their luck at catching cod and halibut in the Súgandafjörður fjord. Or, if you are not keen on angling, you can feed the cod in a lagoon just outside the village. Another, quite interesting thing to do in Suðureyri is a visit to the local fish processing factory where you have a chance to learn all about the lifestyle in a small village by the Arctic Circle. You will be guided through the processing factory and you’ll even get to taste the fresh product. You will be told a number of stories of the livelihood and adventures of local heroes and foes alike.

The Fisherman Hotel The place to stay is, of course, the Fisherman Hotel where you can choose between a variety of comfortable and well-equipped accommodation. You can choose between staying in a cottage, a double room, a single room, or a family room – with or without private facilities. Free wi-fi is available. The hotel restaurant is The Talisman seafood Restaurant. It offers buffet breakfasts in the morning, but in the evening

you will find a very interesting a la carte menu. The kitchen team prides itself in sourcing for as many ingredients as possible from within the village limits. Thus, they know exactly were the product comes from and have a guarantee of absolute freshness. They fetch the fish from the Suðureyri harbor and grow their own herbs in the hotel back yard. Then, they put their personal and absolutely amazing twist to each and every course. Or, whatever springs into mind when you hear of courses named “The Confused Trout,” “Fish in Wolf’s clothing,” “No Animals were harmed” and “Ballerina in a Jar”? I must go through here to be in heaven, like one customer wrote on TripAdvisor.

Worth the visit You will simply have to go there and find out for yourself. It is really worth the trip. If you don’t have time to sit down for a meal, you can always buy a packed lunch to take away with you. It will be both nutritious and fulfilling. Of course, Suðureyri offers beautiful nature with hiking-trails crisscrossing the area. It is practically the home of the Midnight Sun. You can find all basic services in the lovely village, a grocery store, a bank, a petrol station – and, of course, a very popular swimming pool. Stay awhile and enjoy. ■

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The Village of the fishing heritage Bolungarvík is one the Westfjords hidden treasures The coastal town of Bolungarvík is located at the edge of Ísa­fjarðar­djúp, making it the northernmost village in Iceland. At first sight, it may seem a wee sleepy place, surrounded by steep mountains, moors and largely uninhabited valleys, but it is anything but. Being the one of the oldest fishing port in Iceland, Bolungarvik still thrives on fishing and fish processing. Wake up early to see the boats, now made of plastic, but still carrying long line for fishing like centuries ago, preparing for the next fishing trip. Most of them still use long line as a technique for catching fish. Be on the quay late in the afternoon or early in the evening to see the fishermen land the days catch. Fish that will be on somebody’s plate in Europe in a day or two. Their inhabitants are extremely creative and innovative. They’ll launch a celebration or a festival, at a drop of a hat. The biggest events are by far the Seaman’s Sunday on the first weekend in June, celebrating the heritage. The Market Weekend is celebrated at the beginning of July. The town is divided into the red and the blue parts. On Friday the inhabitants decorate their houses and 26 REYKJAVÍK living

gardens in their allotted colors, go on a parade and have a sing along in the evening. Saturday is market day. In the town center you’ll find market stalls where the inhabitants sell their artifacts, handicraft, food and drinks. There is playground equipment for the children, entertainers do their gigs and the teenagers take part in a song contest. On Saturday evening there is a great ball where hundreds of guests dance the night away. You will most certainly enjoy their 9-hole golf course, hiking trails and swimming pool, whether you are staying in a hotel, a guest house or at their excellent camping site. There are not many restaurants in Bolungarvik, but among restaurants is Einarshus located in one of the oldest houses in the village, a former residence of two of the major entrepreneurs shaping the village in the 20th century and, of course, a grocery shop a petrol station, a bank. You will find a playground for the children and you can roam through the handicraft and art gallery at your leisure. Being inspired by the breathtaking nature around them the artist will be sure to have great artifacts to take back home. You will not want for anything, even on a prolonged stay.

The unforgettable view

Man and Nature

The magnificent nature around Bolungarvík provides the area with interesting birdlife, beautiful flora and access to fabulous scenery. Towering over the village is Bolafjall mountain, quite menacing during winter, but inviting during summer, when the dirt road is open to access to the peaks – where you will enjoy a truly spectacular scenery.

Being close to excellent fishing grounds, Bolungarvík has been a fishing port since earliest settlement. The inhabitants have always appreciated their bountiful livelihood and celebrated it by reconstructing a 19th century fishing outpost, the Ósvör Maritime Museum. The Museum’s curator greets visitors wearing a skin suit similar to the one Icelandic sailors wore in the 19th Century. Then he leads his visitors through this baffling world where one is amazed by the duress. Both seafarers and those who processed the fish ashore, had to endure freezing cold and harsh winds in this wet outdoors workplace.

The top, being relatively flat, is pure joy to roam around with a view almost to Greenland to the west, the majestic mountain range of Jökulfirðir to the north and the dwarf-like fishing boats working the waters far below. A midnight picnic on top of Bolafjall is a must if you are in the area on a beautiful, still summer day. You will never, ever forget the sight of the Midnight Sun. A visit to Skálavík with its black sandy beach and heavy waves breaking on the shore is truly worth while. The road to Skálavík is also an experience to remember.

Another interesting place to visit is the Westfiord Natural History Institute and the Natural History Museum which share lodgings in the town Bolungarvik. The Museum boasts a great collections of nature’s wonders, among them stuffed birds, fishes and mammals.  One of its most precious possessions is a stuffed Polar Bear, caught swimming off the northwest coast. All in all, this Museum gives a comprehensive overview of the livestock and wildlife of the Westfjords. ■ REYKJAVÍK living 27

Preserving the Past The eco-friendly village of Súgandafjörður is proud of its heritage Súgandafjörður’s Archeaological Heritage Society represents the huge interests the Icelanders have in their own history. Its members have been mapping out and filming the local history, writing down place names and drawing maps of old ruins that can be found all over the fjord. The oldest are from the earliest settlement of the Vikings in Iceland. The villagers have preserved quite a lot of artifacts from earlier times, i.e. from trading with Dutch seafares during the Middle Ages, old cutlery and milk churns. The objective is to tell Súgandafjörður’s history visually and in written texts.

Battling the corrosive ocean Many of the villagers are taking part in this extraordinary project. They share the passion of preserving old artifacts and recording local stories, tales and events. And the right time to do it is now, as the coastline around Iceland is constantly being eroded and there is a danger of losing relics to the ocean, slowly but surely. Being a fishing village most of the relics have been found along the seashore. The members of the society point out the fact that this is happening all around Iceland. They have

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been urging other villages to start their own preservation process before it is too late. Within a very few years you will be able to spend a day or two in Súgandafjörður and observe eleven hundred years of this curious village’s history. Until then, you can simply enjoy observing ruins and get a glimpse of the future.

Sustainable energy Sudureyri is different from any other village in Iceland in many respects. It doesn’t have much lowland and thus has always been utterly dependent on the sea. It is the only village in Iceland running completely on sustainable energy. The fishers and the fishery never throw anything away, i.e. all gurry is recycled. And, the village is a favourite amongst anglers. Súgandafjörður is a long an narrow fjord, sheltered by mountains. You will find the weather mild and the sea quite tranquil during your stay there. The only thing you’ll have to do in this eco-friendly village is enjoy. ■


Plain and simple fun

www. Convenient booking of tours and activities in Iceland REYKJAVĂ?K living 29

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Into the Pristine Nature Borea Adventures offers you unforgettable guided trips to no-mans-land Borea Adventures is a fully licensed adventure guiding company based in the beautiful town of Ísafjörður in the heart of the West­fjords Peninsula.

trips are “silent.” They adhere to the principles of low impact, sustainable tourism.

The company was founded in 2006 by a group of people who had this vision of introducing their home environment to visitors through the nature respecting ways they themselves had been taught. Being descended from Hornstrandir, the northernmost and least populated area in Iceland, they had learned to appreciate the sheer beauty of total quiet and stillness; where the only moving things you would see for miles and miles were birds, large and small.

If you are not sure of your own stamina when it comes to physical exertion, you can start by going on the Borea Adventures day trips. You can kayak along the area and fjords around Ísafjörður, or hike or ski in one of those fabulous mountains in the Westfjords Peninsula. The views and the wildlife you’ll see in just one day is astounding, amongst them whales and seals and rare birds.

Safe and fun-filled adventures The Borea Adventures Company is operated by sailors, climbers, skiers, hikers and sea kayakers inspired by the wilderness they seek. All the guides are Icelanders. They have designed each trip to reflect the still wilderness, thus leaving as few footprints as possible where they go. Their motto: Respect nature, use local sources whenever possible, offer the best trips, cause no unnecessary harm and inspire people. If you are an adventure-seeking traveller, this is the company for you. You will be granted access to remote areas through safe and fun-filled adventures. The means to this wonderful world is either by hiking or kayaking throughout the summer, or skiing during the winter. The company refrains from using any motorized vehicles, as all their

Long and short trips

But, if you are up to a real adventure you will most certainly want to take part in their extended trips. You can go on a six-day hiking trip into the Hornstrandir Reserve. Or a six-day kayaking trip to the magnificent Jökulfirðir, where even very few Icelanders have ever ventured. Borea Adventures has a cottage there where you will be able to rest. During winter you will want to do the same trip on skis. It is quite a different world from the summer world.

All inclusive trips All the tours are all inclusive. The company provides tents when needed, as well as, sleeping bags and all the food needed for the trip. The company’s priority is to guarantee their guests an enjoyable wilderness experience in perfect harmony with the environment that supports their area. This most certainly will be an unforgettable experience. ■ REYKJAVÍK living 31

Home bakery Heimabakarí

Garðarsbraut 15, 640 Húsavík, Tel: 464 2900, Fax: 464 2902

Safe and Friendly Horses

Skólavörðustígur 8 Skólavörðustígur 101 Reykjavík 8 Skólavörðustígur 8 101 Reykjavík 101 Reykjavík


Horse Rental Fun for children Horses for Everybody Beautiful Nature Near Stórhöfði - Tel: 898-1809 / 481-1509 - Palli and Ása 32 REYKJAVÍK living Email: Tel.: +354 488-2555 Fly from Reykjavík Airport – 20 min. Ferry from Landeyjahöfn – 30 min.

Guesthouse Bjarmaland

Raudsdalur Guesthouse By road 62

Our guesthouse is open all year round! Guesthouse Bjarmaland Bugatún 8, Tálknafjörður Tel. +354 891 8038

Destination Paradise When driving around the Westfjord Peninsula be sure to make a stopover at the Flókalundur Hotel in the Vatnsfjörður Nature Reserve. It has been a favorite destination and stopover amongst Icelanders for decades. The cottage style hotel is constantly being renovated (during winters) and offers quite comfortable dwellings. And believe it, once there you will want to stay. The latest renovations have been to the welcoming reception and the restaurant. The food is mostly local and quite typical for this area. The vegetable, herbs and spices are mostly homegrown in a greenhouse on the hotel premises. It is clean and fresh – and, of course, absolutely delicious.

Rauðsdalur, 451 Patreksfjörður Tel. 456-2041 & 694-5099 -

Flókalundur Hotel has been a favorite amongst Icelanders for decades The hotel has 15 double rooms with en suite bathrooms (one being wheelchair accessible) and a comfortable lounge. The nature in this Reserve is simply splendid, fertile and ever so green. The tranquil Vatnsfjörður reflecting the Sun’s light and colors day and night. You can choose from a number of hiking trails to enjoy this piece of Paradise. Or, you can go fishing for a trout by the shore. At the end of the day you can relax in a natural hot pool by the shore. On the premises is also a petrol station and a small shop, and a little further up the hillside is one of the most beautiful camping site in Iceland. ■ REYKJAVÍK living 33

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Photos: Þórður Kr. Sigurðsson.

Family friendly and a lot of fun Súðavík is a great creator of fond memories Visiting the lovely Súðavík village with its easy going lifestyle and family oriented tourist service, you’d never guess that big part of the village was destroyed in an avalanche mere twenty years ago. Located 20 kilometers from Ísafjörður the new village was built in a location safe from avalanches and the old part kept intact as a summer resort for travellers. Súðavík is especially welcoming to tourists with young children. In the centre of the village, which used to be the heart of the old town, is Raggagarður, a fantastic playground where children of all ages can spend hours enjoying themselves. The playground equipment offers the youngsters a lot of fun and ways to spend surplus energy before enjoying meals or snacks at the picnic area. Raggagarður has at least three BBQ grills and restroom facilities. It is facilitated for the handicapped and has a restroom for wheelchairs.

The wild Arctic Fox As most children like animals, especially wild animals, the Arctic Fox Centre is a great place for the family to visit. It houses an exhibition, as well as, a research center focusing on the only native terrestrial mammal in Iceland, the Arctic fox. The Museum consists of two parts. The first part deals with the biology and natural history of the Arctic fox, including details about their behavior and diet. The second deals with the social history of Iceland in relation to Arctic foxes. It explores Iceland’s fox-hunting tradition which continue to affect Iceland’s relationship with the fox. So, a lot of interesting new things to learn. Súðavík is also a great place for sea angling. In fact, Sumarbyggð/ Iceland Sea Angling is the oldest sea-angling project in Iceland. It offers boats and accommodation services in Súðavík, Tálknafjörður and Bolungarvík.

This lovely village, with its magnificent view across the fjord, has a beautiful camping site two restaurants, a café and a grocery shop, gas station, post office and a bank. It is great for hiking, both easy and hard, and it is relatively easy to hire a local guide if you wish to explore the neighboring area.

The healing part Súðavík is a short distance from Heydalur, an extraordinary area characterized by magnificent ravines with beautiful waterfalls teaming with salmon and trout, and diverse vegetation. Heydalur is renowned for its plants with medicinal and healing components and is quite popular with those who believe in nature’s healing power. At Heydalur you will find a wonderful guesthouse with various types of rooms in a renovated barn or cottages. It also has a great camping site and a very good a la carte restaurant where you can taste the healthy local food, like wild mushrooms and blueberries, greens from their own garden, trout during midsummer and salmon in the late summer. And while there, be sure to make use of Heydalur’s horse riding service. They offer short tours for beginners and longer ones (up to 4-5 hours) for those more experienced – and always with a guide. Exploring this beautiful, fertile area on horseback is a rare treat. Another place you shouldn’t miss while in Súðavík is the Litlibær café Built in 1895 by two families who lived in this tiny cottage. It was inhabited until 1969 and later the Icelandic National Museum had it renovated and turned into a café. For those of you who like kayaking, or are travelling by sea, the goregeous islands Ögur and Vigur are but a stone’s throw away from Súðavík. If you are travelling by car, you can drive into Ísafjörður and take a trip to the islands with their rich birdlife and curious history. ■

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The Secret Gem A piece of history and refreshing coffee One of the rare gems you will find when you are driving around Iceland is a Litlibær, a café near Súðavík on the Westfjords Peninsula. It is a tiny cottage called Litlibær, but despite its smallness it used to be home to two families for decades. Built in 1895, the cottage was inhabited until 1969. For a few years it was in a state of disrepair until the National Museum of Iceland had it renovated as very few old cottages had been preserved in Iceland. The cottage used to belong to the family living at the Hvítanes farm and today their descendants run a fabulous café on the premises. It is small, can only seat 25 people comfortably indoors though it is known to have accommodated 50 people. But, on a nice sunny day you can sit outdoors and enjoy a refreshing cup of coffee and a freshly baked waffle with cream and homemade jam. The selection of jams is what this place is all about, made from different kind of berries picked by the farmer’s wife or her excellent rhubarb jam or jelly from her very own secret recipe. Afterwards, you can roam around the cost where the seals are playing throughout the summer. ■ 36 REYKJAVÍK living


r 20


ure The G


nt i l S e p t e m b e

ea s Tr

The exhibition Points of View, in the historic Culture House, takes visitors on a journey through the Icelandic visual world of past and present with works of great diversity from six significant cultural institutions

uk u tA

illuminated manuscripts + contemporary art + paintings + archeological findings + crafts + natural specimens + artefacts + historic photographs + album covers + artist books + cozy café + unique museum shop

The Culture House Hverfisgata 15 101 Reykjavík

The exhibition, shop and café are open daily 10 - 17

Closed on Mondays 16/9 – 30/4 REYKJAVÍK living 37

Towards your soul Árneshreppur at Strandir has magnificent stillness and breathtaking nature If you ever wish to get far away from the madding crowd to enjoy inner peace; your own heart, mind and soul, go to the Westfjords. To be more precise, to the eastern part of the Westfjord Peninsula, and as far north as you can get, all the way to Árneshreppur. Pretty decent roads (even for trailers) lead you to its most northern part, Norðurfjörður, and from there, you can take a boat trip even further north. They even have their very own boat company, Strandferðir, offering trips to Hornstrandir. Norðurfjörður is an old trading hub where coaster used to pause on their way to the east, or before tackling the treacherous seas surrounding the Westfjords peninsula on their way south. The dock is still standing, and this gorgeous little hamlet has decent hostels and guesthouses, a nice camping ground, a lovely café, as well as, a small shop and a bank.

Accommodation Urðartindur is a family run guesthouse and camping site in Norðurfjörður. Its location offers stunning views, dominated by the mountain Kálfatindar – a popular hiking destination. It 38 REYKJAVÍK living

offers four rooms in a converted barn. All the rooms have private bathrooms with a shower, twin beds, a refrigerator and an electric kettle – and a private balcony. At Urðartindur they also offer accommodation in small cottages each for 3 people. The Barn Hall has cooking and BBC facilities and can seat up to 80 people. The camping site is pretty large with all necessary facilities, as well as access to the Barn Hall. A short distance away (4-minute drive) you'll find the amazing Krossanes swimming pool. Built by the local farmers for the Youth Association in 1954 on the pebble beach, its walls are a stone's throw from the icy waters of the Arctic seas. But, never mind, the pool's water comes from natural hot springs nearby and offers a clean and delightful experience that's worth writing home about. Bergistangi also offers accommodation in a lodge in Norður­ fjörður. With two houses and altogether five rooms, it offers bunker beds and shared bathrooms, a kitchen and a dining room, it has been extremely popular with families and groups travelling together.

North of Norðurfjörður is Ófeigsfjarðarflói, with its three breathtaking fjords, Ingólfsfjörður, Ófeigsfjörður and Eyvindafjörður. Ófeigsfjörður is as far as you can drive to the north in this area. Ófeigsfjörður sports a lovely camping site and for those of you who like bird-watching and hiking, this is a spot to take a break for a day or two to enjoy nature in its purest form. It is also your destination if you plan to hike the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve.

Heading south When heading south you'll come upon Tréklyllisvík, characterized by the majestic mountains surrounding lovely farmland (pretty rare in this area). Finnbogastaðaskóli, a primary school during winter, offers sleeping bag accommodation with access to bathrooms and a kitchen and also has a pretty nice camping site. Central to this area is Kört, a very wonderful little museum and gallery offering local handicraft made from wool, bones, driftwood, clay and stones. Djúpavík is a short distance from the area's only airport at Gjögur, and there you'll find Hótel Djúpavík, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Formerly the lodgings for

women working for the local herring processing factory. It was renovated and established as a hotel in 1985. It is delightfully rustic, with the original wooden floors and historic memorabilia. It offers eight comfortable rooms, as well as, sleeping bag accommodation in separate houses. Also, a full breakfast and dinner service in a charming dining room. The Herring Factory is now the site of Djúpavík Historical Exhibition where old photographs and texts lead viewers through the life and times of people who used to live in this quiet cove. A guided tour of the factory is available at the hotel. Untouched nature and interesting history are among the attractions of Árneshreppur. You can go hiking or kayaking from one fjord to the next. Anywhere you go the birdlife is amazing. Árneshreppur has fantastic and well-marked hiking trails. The community and local firms have deviced a map available to guests wishing to enjoy their fabulous nature. ■ REYKJAVÍK living 39

Photo: Anna Guðmundsdóttir -

The Viking Horse Surviving the unforgiving nature The Icelandic horse is in a league of its own. Though hardy, athletic and sure-footed, it is spirited, het friendly and adaptable. The five gaits is what sets ist apart from all other horses. The fifth gait is called tölt, a very smooth four-beat gait. While reaching speed similar to fast trotting, it is far less jolting to the rider. The average Icelandic horse is 13-14 hands tall. It is versatile, bred to carry adults at a fast pleasing gait over long distances. It is distinctive for its thick and often double-sided mane and long tail and remarkable for its wide range of colours. What makes the Icelandic horse interesting is its genetic purity. It has been the only horse breed since the Viking era. Already in 1882 Althingi (the Icelandic government) passed a law forbidding any import of horses. A law which is still valid today and even more strict. Today, used bits, bridles, health products, brushes etc. are included in the list of things that can not reenter the island. An Icelandic horse exported to other countries can never return. Ever. And indeed, virtually all contagious diseases, from which horses on the European continent and the US suffer, are unknown in Iceland. 40 REYKJAVÍK living

In the early 20th century the Icelandic horse was an all-purpose animal, taking on chores carried out by different breeds in the wider world. Driving carts and harvesting tools, serving as pack-animals, used for riding, of course, and they were also food. They still are. The horse was the only means of travel in the rugged coutryside where they even swam over deep glacial rivers with their passengers intact. pendent on their horses for centuries. Lack of roads is possibly the reason why it is so sure-footed. For breeding, the Icelandic farmers chose the horses most outstandingly sure on tracks, and rocks, moors and steep hillsides. Our unforgiving nature made its choice. It is most certainly a question of the survival of the fittest. The Icelandic horse has been exported, mainly to Europe and the US. Nearly 90.000 of them are now living abroad, never to return. The funny thing though is the tradition all over the world to provide the horses with Icelandic names. It is a lovely tradition, honouring the deep roots this amazing animal has in the Icelandic culture.. ■

Welcomes you - olafial

Hótel Djúpavík

Our Hotel is Open All Year Round Accommodation, Catering, Hiking, Boat and Kayak Rentals Remember the History Exhibition at Djúpavík Cancelations have to be made as early as possible. Individuals should cancel at least 3 days before arrival. If reservations for groups are cancelled with less than 8 weeks notice, a payment of 25% of reservation´s total value can be required.

Hótel Djúpavík

Tel. +354 451 4037

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook/ hotel.djupavik?fref=ts

REYKJAVÍK living 41

Mánafell Self catering apartments with 2-3 bedrooms. Beds for 5 to 8 persons. Each has full kitchen facilities and free internet.

Fancy winning a trip to the

westFjords? Visit for your chance to win your dream trip.

All apartments are furnished with a sitting area with TV/DVD and a private bathroom with shower/tub facilities.

Mánafell, Stigahlíð 2-4, 415 Bolungarvík Tel.: 863 3879 & 696 1368 E-mail.

Hotel WEST

Áslaug's Accommodation Marsellíusarhús and Faktorshús HÆSTIKAUPSTAÐUR


Aðalstræti 62, 450 Patreksfjörður Tel. +354 892 3414 For more information and reservations: Or simply call us: +354 892 3414 42 REYKJAVÍK living

1 Marsellíusarhús (No 1)

Rooms with a wash basin, shared bathrooms and a kitchen at the corridor. Made up beds or sleeping bag accommodation.

Faktorshús - Hæstikaupstaður (No 2) In one of the oldest houses in Iceland ANNO 1788, a suite/room with private bathroom and a kitchenette. Made up beds.

400 Ísafjörður - ICELAND E-mail: Tel.: (354) 899-0742


...if you like local food


Núpur Guesthouse Dýrafjörður / 471 Þingeyri / Tel. 456 8235

...if you like local food Accommodation in the countryside / REYKJAVÍK living 43

The Witchcraft Village Hólmavík is more than meets the eye Hólmavík is the largest town in the Strandir region, an area with an exciting and tragic history of witchcraft, witch-hunting and sorcery. Inhabitants in the countryside surrounding Hólmavík live mostly on sheep farming, while economic activity in town revolves around the fisheries and the service sector. The Museum of Sorcery & Witchcraft invites visitors on a tour into the mystical world of the supernatural. The history of witch-hunting in 17th century Iceland is presented at the exhibition as well as various aspects of magic from more recent

sources. A second part of the exhibition is in Bjarnarfjörður, 30 kilometres from Hólmavík. Next to Hólmavík there is also the Sheep Farming Museum, an entertaining exhibition dedicated to the Icelandic sheep and sheep farming. Visitors will find all basic amenities, and more, in Hólmavík. Accommodation of various kind, a camping ground, restaurants, a newly built swimming pool and a good Tourist Information Center that serves the hole area. A golf course and a horse rental can be found just outside the town.

Touching Nature The Broddanes Hostel is ideal for nature lovers and family comfort In a spectacular location the Broddanes Hostel, just south of Hólmavík, offers a lot for a moderate price. On east coast of the Westfjords, Broddanes is former school that has been nicely refurbished to accommodate guests who prefer peaceful and quiet atmosphere. On the upper floor you will find five double rooms and one single rooms with two shared bathrooms. On the lower floor you will find two family rooms with bunkers, a wc for each sex, as well as two showers. Spacious and fully equipped kitchens are located on both floors. Guests have access to these kitchens, dining rooms and sitting rooms where they can watch TV, listen to music,

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surf the net, play pool, read magazines and books, or just simply enjoy the view. And what a view! The diverse coastline with small peninsulas and bays, creeks, islets and reefs, driftwood at the shore, seals swimming along the coastline and the birdlife is amazing. With puffins, eider ducks, black guillemots, arctic tern and oystercatcher you are in real touch with nature in this great location. ■

Opening times in May – September Tel.: 618 1830

Fashionable and Genuinely Icelandic Kidka, the wool factory, is a warm place to visit KIDKA is the biggest wool factory in Iceland and its name stands for beautiful, high-quality wool products. They are fashionable, comfortable and genuinely Icelandic. The factory is located in Hvammstangi, in North Iceland, a mere ten minutes drive from Road 1. The KIDKA shop is always open to visitors and on any given day you will find guests from all over the world buying the company’s great production.

Ever so soft The factory produces machine-knitted wool that is finer and fluffier than hand-knitted wool products. You will find sweaters, pullovers, blankets, hats, scarves and other accessories, divinely soft to the touch and very comfortable to wear. Of course, you will also be able to find hand-knitted goods in the lovely factory shop – and at quite reasonable prices. KIDKA labelled sweaters, cardigans and accessories are machine knitted. The process of washing, brushing and steaming the wool gives them a softer and fluffier texture than you’d find in hand-knitted products. Still, it maintains the important feature of keeping you warm all year-round.

Visit the factory The KIDKA factory is an interesting place to visit. Apart from the lovely products on offer, you can spend some time there to follow the whole production process, starting with the knitting machines. Then, you can observe the washing, steaming, brushing and making up of the pullovers, sweaters, blankets and accessories. The factory tours are given in English and German and provide a unique insight into the Icelandic way of handling their unique wool. When you are travelling in the north of Iceland, make sure you allow time for the short drive to Hvammstangi to visit this great shop. ■ REYKJAVÍK living 45

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The Icelandic Wildlife At the Icelandic Seal Center you can get close and personal with the Icelandic Seal The Icelandic Seal Center was established mere ten years ago, but already it is becoming one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Iceland. Visits from Iceland and foreign guests are doubling each year. Located in northwest of Iceland at Hvammstangi, it houses exhibitions, provides information on the Icelandic seal and a research center.

wildlife in Iceland. There you will find large colonies of harbour seals and eider ducks, arctic terns, oystercatchers and black guillemot in their natural habitat. Throughout the Peninsula, specific seal watching locations have been developed, where seal watching from land is possible. In the village Hvammstangi seal watching boat trips are on offer.

All you ever wanted to know about the Icelandic seal, its ecology and biology is available at the Seal Center. You can inspect seal skeleton and obtain knowledge of the importance of seals in Icelandic culture and traditions, how seal hunting has evolved. Then you’ll be able to watch a documentary on the seals around Iceland. And, to top it all, you can observe the seals in their natural environment either by taking a boat trip from the harbour or by driving a short distance from Hvammstangi, to the Vatnsnes peninsula.

Of course, great care has to be taken not to disturb or trigger stress responses among the wild animals, which would affect their welfare. Because of human disturbance the animals have been known to move from a specific location to another where human disturbance is less likely. They may be large, they may be sturdy – but, in fact, seals are extremely sensitive creatures.

From land or from sea Of course, research is the main objective at the Icelandic Seal Centre. The main research area is the Vatnsnes Peninsula and inner Húnaflói Bay area, where a large number of harbour seals can be found in a relatively small area. The seal research department employs two scientists working on individual, as well as, shared projects. And throughout the year, they will also have visiting students and scientist on location. The Vatnsnes Peninsula is an exceptional area to observe the

Observe them leisuring At the Vatnsnes peninsula special seal watching locations have been developed. Those are: Svalbarð, Illugastaðir and Hvítserkur. Each area offers a different perspective and experience of both the seals and the area’s beautiful nature. For the best seal watching it is important to arrive at the seal watching location around low tide time. This timeframe together with favourable weather conditions, usually produces the largest number of seals hauled out onto the rocks and beaches, or playing close to the coast. And you can always obtain information on tide times at the Icelandic Seal Center. ■

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JS Watch co. Reykjavik is a small Icelandic watch manufacturer whose exceptional timepieces promise to put the country on the map for something other than hot springs, Bjork and disruptive volcanoes. Icelandic Ingenuity The collaboration of a watchmaker, collector and designer has produced the JS Watch co. Reykjavik, one of the world’s smallest manufacturers of stylish, quality watches. Is JS Watch co. Reykjavik, from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, one of the watch industries best kept secret? All watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection. The quantity of watches produced is limited, giving them an exclusive and truly personal feel. Currently the watches are being worn on many celebrity wrists such as Viggo Mortensen, Quentin Tarantino and his holiness 14th Dalai Lama to name just a few.

Meet the watchmaker The JS Watch co. Watch factory and exclusive retail shop located at Laugavegur 62, in the trendy “101” area of Reykjavik provides customers with unique opportunity to meet the watchmakers who assemble and test their timepiece. Quality control is administrated by Master Watchmaker Gilbert O. Gudjonsson who is one of Iceland’s best known watchmakers and has more than 40 years of experience. If you are interested in unique Icelandic design stop by and have a look at the JS Watch co. Reykjavik collection of quality mechanical timepieces.

Gilbert ‘O Guðjónsson Master watchmaker, Laugvegur 62 48 REYKJAVÍK living tel + (354) 551 4100, or



Our Master Watchmaker never loses his concentration

With his legendary concentration and 45 years of experience our Master Watchmaker and renowned craftsman, Gilbert O. Gudjonsson, inspects every single timepiece before it leaves our workshop. All the watches are designed and assembled by hand in Iceland. Only highest quality movements and materials are used to produce the watches and every single detail has been given the time needed for perfection.

At JS Watch co. Reykjavik we’re committed to provide a personal quality service and we pride ourselves on the close relationships we have with our customers. We’re always happy to assist and we provide a friendly and reliable service where our customers speak directly to the designers and manufacturers of the brand.

JS Watch Co. Reykjavik, Iceland, tel + (354) 551 4100,

Scan it and learn more! www.jswatch.comREYKJAVÍK living 49

Magical Journey into the Ice Into the Glacier will take you on the trip of your lifetime – into a man-made ice cave Have you ever wondered what a glacier looks like underneath the tranquil white surface? Did you ever want to know how deep the snow is underneath the snowcap? And does it consist of snow – or ice? The latest rave in the Icelandic tourist industry is trips into the Langjökull glacier. Through an ice-tunnel you can make your way into a man-made ice cave where you will be able to explore the glacier from within. It is indeed a fascinating experience.

A mystery revealed Until recently, glaciers and what they hide, has only been known to a small group of scientists and glaciologists. To the rest of us,

they have been a mystery. But, trust the Icelanders to be eager to lift the mystery surrounding their vast number of glaciers. Their pride in their unruly, rugged and contradictory nature is legendary. So it was, that a group of explorers decided to study the Langjökull glacier with the aim of drilling through the icecap and turn it into a regular tourist attraction – for all to see. After nearly five years of study, planning, modeling and careful preparation by top engineers and geophysicists the “Into the Glacier” project was launched in May 2015. The Into the Glacier company has highly motivated, well trained and highly experienced employees who will take you on the once-in-a-lifetime trip. And whilst there are a few man-made ice tunnels and ice caves in various locations around the world,

® Roman Gerasymenko

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® Roman Gerasymenko

there is nowhere quite like Into the Glacier, a tunnel and a cave dug into a large glacier in a remote area. Never before has the general public been able to see the beautiful blue ice at the heart of an Ice Cap Glacier. It is a magical journey deep into a magical new world.

A mythical world On a guided tour you will walk through the Ice Cave entrance and commence on your sub-glacial adventure. Through a 200 meter tunnel you will reach the cave itself and be able to inspect its crevasses and textures, cross a specially constructed bridge and get a feeling for what it was like during the Ice Age. At a number of places within the glacier, you will receive interesting information on the glacier, glacial exploration and research, as well as research into global warming. The led lighted walls inside the tunnels are sheer-carved and you will find the interior

chambers containing a small chapel. You will have a chance to visit the multi-purpose cave room available for weddings, parties, meetings and special events. Now, there is an idea. ■

® Roman Gerasymenko

® Roman Gerasymenko

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The Pearl in the Atlantic The Vestmannaeyjar islands are one of nature’s wonders If there is one place in Iceland you must visit, it is Vestmannaeyjar. The islands are stunningly beautiful and have a lot to offer, amazing history with pirates and eruptions, precious whales and Mormons. By all means, stay for a few days to enjoy the exquisite nature and fun-loving inhabitants. They are a force of nature unto themselves. Vestmannaeyjar is an archipelago of about 15 islands and some 20 cliffs. The southernmost island, Surtsey, is the latest addition, created during the longest historic eruption of the country from 1963 to 1967. The only inhabited island, Heimaey, has also had its share of fire as it erupted unexpectedly in 1973. All the inhabitants were evacuated in a matter of hours. There were no fatalities but a large part of the town was destroyed.

A sporty lot No sooner had the eruption ceased than the majority of the inhabitants returned to reclaim their island from the forces of nature and rebuild their community. Surrounding the lovely town of Heimaey is an impressive lava field where there used to be green pastures. The islanders base their livelihood on fisheries, fish processing and tourism. During the summer the ferry ride from Landeyjahöfn is an experience of its own and when 52 REYKJAVÍK living

the ferry enters the harbor entrance you will get the first “WOW effect”. Be aware, if the weather forecast is bad the ferry might leave from Þorlákshöfn, but don’t let that discourage you, the journey to the island is worth the trip. You can also catch a flight with Eagle-air to the islands, from Reykjavík, which will take approximately 20 minutes. The islanders pride themselves in being good at sports, so their sporting facilities are excellent. They have one of the best football teams in Iceland and many of their sons and daughters have gone abroad to play in major leagues all over Europe. They also have one of the most amazing golf courses you’ll ever encounter. It is located inside a whale that resembles an old crater with bird cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other. And, of course, as any true Icelandic urban town the islanders have their own indoor swimming hall and outside play park with, waterslides combined with trampoline, hot tubs, climbing wall and warm fountains. Definitely worth the visit. The birdlife in Vestmannaeyjar is extremely rich with the beautiful puffin being their signature bird. The puffin starts arriving to their breeding colonies in late April. The large numbers of puffins on sea or in the grassy cliff tops surprises even the most experienced bird watchers. Vestmannaeyjar are in fact the biggest

breeding colony in the world. During late August and September the young chicks, called “pufflings,” begin to leave their burrows and some of them are drawn to the lights in the town. The children are allowed to stay up late and rescue the pufflings of the streets. The following mourning they are released into the ocean.

Excellent museums The islands’ history is quite remarkable and it is really worth visiting Sagnheimar, the Folk Museum of Vestmannaeyjar where various permanent exhibitions are on display. A large part of the exhibit hall contains the harbor and dock area where fishing and fish processing are portrayed. At the old radio center a visitor can listen to harrowing narratives of life and sea and tales of heroism and rescue. The museum also contains an exhibition portraying Vest­manna­ eyjar annual festival, first held in 1874 and nearly every year since; always the first weekend in August. The festival is quite an important cultural gathering for the islanders with all its traditions, not least their local and very distinct music. And, of course, they have a sports exhibit, as well as, an exhibition of the feminine contribution of medicine, handcraft and arts. Then there is the Mormon exhibition as the first Icelandic

Mormon came from Vestmannaeyjar and between 1854 and 1914 approximately 200 islanders emigrated from the islands to America in search of better life. The Algerians pirates also have their place in the Center. In 1627 three ships sailed up to the eastern shore of Heimaey. Three hundred pirates disembarked and capture 242 of the islanders whom the sailed back to Algeria and sold into slavery. Last, but not least, is the exhibition on the eruption in 1973. Another museum is Sæheimar, Aquarium and Museum of Natural History . Opened in 1964 it is the oldest museum of its kind in Iceland and holds three exhibit areas: the Fish Tanks, the Bird Exhibit and the Mineral Exhibit. It is also an unofficial bird rescue center. One of the rescued puffins is Tóti, a four-year-old puffin that loves to be held and stroked and is happy with the attention he gets from the museum´s visitors. There is indeed a lot more to experience in the exceptionally beautiful Vestmannaeyjar. It offers excellent hotels, hostels, guesthouses and camping sites, as well as, great restaurants and endless activities. ■

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Designed to please you Ribsafari is in business to make your life more fun When in the Westman Islands do not fail to take a trip with Ribsafari. Sailing around the islands in a rigid inflatable boat is an experience you will never forget.

during the summer time. You might even get lucky and see whales during our trip.

Operating Ribsafari is a group of islanders who have been racing around the islands in Rib boats, practically since birth. They know the islands inside out, as well as, the seas surrounding them. It is sheer unadulterated fun.

Their Roundtour will take you to the east of Heimaey to check out the new lava which formed during the eruption in 1973. Then you will head off to the puffin paradise in Stakkabót, where you’ll be able to observe thousands of puffins before heading off to inspect more islands with their birds and seals, sea caves, rock formations and strange creatures.

Ribsafari’s most popular tour is the Small Islands Trip. They will sail you west of Heimaey. There you’ll see the largest rockformed auk's head in the world, the cannon ball from the Turkish abduction in 1627 and the largest elephant head in the world in Dalfjall.

You can go on a special puffin watching trip, small islands trip, Súlnasker trip, Surtsey trip, a photography trip – or have one tailor made just for you.

You will also visit four sea caves. Among them Klettshellir, renowned for its perfect acoustics and Kafhellir in the island Hæna.

And if you want to have a great bachelor or bachelorette party, your are in the right place. Ribsafari will design an unforgettable day for your group, with waterskiing, doughnut dragging or parasail, light meals and the drinks you prefer.

Of course, they will also sail by all the small islands that are inhabited by puffins, auks, fulmars, seagulls, eiders and seals

The only think you have to do is contact, and they will arrange a trip to meet your requirements. ■

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Where History

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Comes Alive It is easy to forget all about time at the Saga Centre in Hvolsvöllur Njáls Saga, or Njála, the epic story of friendship, intrigue, love and warfare for generations is Iceland’s best loved Saga, by far. With characters larger than life in their wisdom, strength, loyalty and revenge it gives a clear and concise picture of Iceland throughout the Viking era. Set in Rangárþing region in South Iceland, so it is only appropriate to find the Saga Centre located in the lovely Hvolsvöllur village. Though Njála is the focal point at the Saga Centre, it houses quite a lot of exhibitions. One of them is an exhibition through Njáls Saga and the Viking age. A guide will lead you through the medieval Icelandic world where you will learn about Viking navigation and Viking cosmology, as well as, the storytelling tradition that gave rise to the Sagas of the Icelanders. In the Centre there is also a replica of a medieval longhouse.

explains how the Lögberg, or Law Rock, was used as the hub of the Alþingi meetings. It was from this rock that the Law Speaker, proclaimed the laws of the Commonwealth for members of the general assembly. It is wise to spend some time at the Saga Centre. Apart from the historical exhibitions, you’ll find the fine Ormur Gallery exhibiting Icelandic paintings inspired by the region’s history, as well as, diverse and beautiful nature. Don’t forget, this is a region with active volcanoes, raging rivers, a dangerous coastline and then, the most fertile farmland in Iceland. It may seem tranquil on your day of visit but it can change in a heartbeat.

The Children’s World Children are especially welcome at the Saga Centre where they can dress up in costumes and play with medieval children’s weapons. They can re-enact scenes they have been told about or sit down to make drawings. Their drawings can be a contribution to the Children’s Art Exhibition presently on display at the Saga Centre. While at the Saga Centre, you might be tempted to sew a few stitches into the Njála tapestry. Started in 2013 this tapestry will be approximately 90 meters long. It is made in Bayeux stitch, a special type of stitch used during the Viking era. It is made from Icelandic wool, dyed locally using natural herbs. The plan is to complete the tapestry in 4-5 years. Anyone visiting the Saga Centre can sew as much or, as little as they wish after receiving instructions on how to sew the particular stitches used in the tapestry.

Forgotten times The Saga Centre also houses the “Exhibition of the Cooperative Society,” where guests can study the history of trade and commerce, as well as, the cooperative movement in Iceland during the 20th century. On the premises you will find a rather interesting model of the world’s first national assembly, established around 930. The model was built to celebrate the Millennium of Christianity. It

Enjoy the longhouse While lingering at the Saga Centre be sure to taste their excellent traditional Icelandic cuisine in the Saga Hall. With its timber walls and horsehide bench coverings it is a replica medieval longhouse. You can also rent the hall for a private party, meetings or other functions you may be organizing. The information Centre for Hvolsvöllur is located in the reception area at the Saga Centre. Here you will be able to obtain information on nearby attractions, as well as, travel plans for the region and other parts of Iceland. And while you are at it, take a peak at the souvenir/bookshop that is located in the museum and find that perfect gift or souvenir to remember your visit by. ■

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you are invited to experience

unique icelandic art

at iceland’s oldest fine art gallery

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Skipholt 50a Tel 581 4020

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Aðalheiður Héðinsdóttir, founder of Kaffitár.

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Your Great Cup of Coffee Kaffitár is strong on taste, ethics and environment Coffee has always been a favorite drink in Iceland. Not that they had remotely decent coffee throughout the ages. Still, the mere hint of this wonderful, aromatic drink was much appreciated. Of course, being incurable globetrotters, they soon upped their demands and the nation’s coffee situation gradually improved and became a little less than satisfactory. Until 1990, the year Kaffitár was launched. The coffee company answering all the coffee-lovers’ coffee-prayers. Kaffitár is an Icelandic roaster company, specializing in the import, roasting and serving of the finest Arabica coffee beans. Kaffitár’s very own specialist personally handpicks each type of coffee to meet the company’s high standards – and straight from the farmer. They compare the production of specialty coffee to wine production and brewing, where good quality beans and correct preparation is essential from start to finish. This is pure passion, much appreciated by the Icelanders.

Excellent baristas Kaffitár has six cafés/coffee shops in Iceland, as well as quite a number of espresso-bars. Their headquarters, with a great coffees shop is located about five minutes’ drive from Keflavík International Airport by the road to Reykjavík where they have five more cafés/coffee shops. You can sit down, relax and have a great cup of coffee or a coffee drink, or take one to go. Of course, you can also buy their beans, whole or grounded to enjoy at your own leisure. And be sure to taste some of the Artisan sourdough breads and cakes. They are delicious. Kaffitár’s coffee drinks are really worth trying; the company’s

baristas are very well trained and have participated in the World Barista Championship several times, as well as, the Icelandic Barista Championship, where they frequently end up with the gold medal. Their Kaffitár baristas are truly creative and innovative. Every year Kaffitár launches their summer coffee. This year, it is the Columbian Narinjosol, a hearty, aromatic coffee. Narinjosol is from a Co-op in Colombia and is a blend of two kinds of coffee variety, roasted in two kind of roasting styles. It is an excellent coffee to follow a spicy dinner or a BBQ. It is lovely when you need a warm cup of coffee, and great for ice-coffee. It has a subtle fruity taste at the start, when it touches your lips and when it touches your tongue you’ll taste the dense, aromatic fullness. You can drink it with or without milk. This is a coffee been with such diverse possibilities it seems to be to everyone’s taste.

Environmentally friendly Integrity is very much part of Kaffitár’s vision. It is a certified Nordic Ecolabel company, which means only the to-go coffee is served in paper cups, no packed portions are used inside the café, only environmental labeled detergents and cleaning is used. The staff receives the correct training in routines and rules for providing their services. You’ll get organic coffee and tea, products are obtained from local farmers and producers. All waste is sorted in at least four different groups: Organic, paper, plastic and general waste. During the past two years the café has reduced its waste by at least 40 percent. So, while enjoying the best cup of coffee you’ll be able to get in Iceland, you can be quite confident in your new environmental friendship. ■

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Enjoy our wide variety of feature cocktails inspired by the panoramic view from SKY.

HAPPY HOUR BETWEEN 17:00 - 19:00 EVERY DAY Top floor CenterHotel Arnarhvoll Ingólfsstræti 1 • 101 Reykjavík e-mail: Tel: 595 8545 OPEN FROM 11:30 TIL MIDNIGHT

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The Viking Village Viking Restaurant

Restaurant Fjaran

Here you can step into the world of the past, the World of the Vikings. The dĂŠcor is in the Viking style and we offer true Viking feast with traditional meals served in oldfashioned Viking-style trays. The guests can expect various treats and surprises offered by our singing Valkyries and Vikings. The fun reaches its height when the Fjoru-chieftain crowns a guest as an Honorary Viking.

Fjaran is a cosy restaurant that provides an elegant dining experience (a la carte) and can seat up to 58 guests. The house is ideally situated, offering picturesque view of the harbour. Built in 1841, recently renovated and restored to its original style, it provides a cosy, romantic atmosphere. In Fjaran we offer a wide selection of gourmet dishes.

- Restaurant Fjorugardurinn

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- For Elegant DIning

Two Icelandic themed villages “You haven't been in Iceland if you haven't been to us“ Don’t miss it!

The Viking Village is a unique place and it is the only Viking theme Hotel and restaurant in Iceland. We have step by step been developing our facilities over the last 24 years and will hopefully continue to do so in the future. We offer Hotel accommodation and Viking houses. Good for families and groups.



The Fisherman´s village, our newest accommodation is Hlið in Álftanes only few minutes drive from the Viking Village. Like a country home by the seaside. Such an idyllic place to visit. The restaurant is open for groups in the evenings. Close to the president´s residence.


Restaurant & Lodging

Viking feasts - Souvenirs - Live entertainment most nights ve ri re d nt es ce ut ty in ci m e 15 th to

Booking: | +354 565 1213

The Viking Hotel

The Cave

Hotel Viking has 42 well furnished and luxurious rooms including shower, WC and television. The décor of the rooms on the first floor is Viking style and on the second floor it is a West Nordic theme. When you enter the Hotel, you are greeted with fine art and crafts from these three countries, Iceland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. There are also 14 viking cottages that are good for families and friends. There is free access to wireless Internet and free parking just outside the hotel. In the hotel garden there is a hot tub and a sauna where guests can relax after a long day.

Early summer 2005 we opened a cave behind the Hotel Viking. In and around this mysterious dwelling we have our playful and exciting Viking Kidnappings which we have surprised groups with through the years. We are now springing such adventure on all our guests to the cave and every brave soul gets the Adventurer Welcome Drink made the authentic Viking way. ■

- A friendly hotel in the heart of Hafnarfjordur

- The Element of Surprise

Víkingastræti 1-3 - 220 Hafnarfjörður - Tel.: 565 1213 - -

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Ves t

The Harbour









Church Tower

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The Pond








FOIE GRASLOBSTER Laugavegur 53b • 101 Reykjavík • Tel.: 511 3350 • www.hereford.isREYKJAVÍK living 67

The Beach of the Brave In Reykjavík you will find a goldensanded geothermal beach at Nauthólsvík It was opened in 2001 to the delight of residents and tourists alike and now attracts an estimated 530.000 guests each year. The creation of the geothermal beach was an ambitious, but very successful, project involving the construction of a lagoon with large sea walls, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together resulting in higher temperatures. The main objective of creating the geothermal beach was to establish the bay of Nauthólsvík as a diverse outdoor area and haven for recreational activities, such as sunbathing, sailing and sea-swimming: the latter is surprisingly popular all year round with people enjoying the use of the hot-tubs, steam-bath and changing facilities and showers, even when the water drops below freezing. Cold-water swimming might sound crazy, especially in a country like Iceland, however this extreme activity dates all the way back to the age of settlement. The sea temperature varies from around -1,9°C during the coldest months and around 17°C in the summertime. Average temperatures are between 3°- 5°C in the winter and 12°- 15°C in the summer. The temperature of the sea inside the lagoon itself is higher in the summer, averaging at between 15°- 19°C, due to the geothermal heating. It's also significantly warmer in the winter when the overspill from the hot tubs warm the lagoon. ■ 68 REYKJAVÍK living

ENNEMM / SÍA / NM52750

Honest Icelandic Food

Satt is your kitchen away from home, comfortable, fresh and beautiful. We meticulously select the best possible produce and prepare your meal from Satt Restaurant posesses its own Icelandic scratch with care and insight and we sure know how style, sense of place and a toculinary make it delicious.

talented executive chef in charge of the kitchen. Freshand and organic We grow salads herbs in theingredients, backyard, bake local flavours and warm, thoughtful fresh bread daily in our very own bakery and lovely service is the our fire passion. pizzas leave oven crusty and delightful.

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Icelandair Hotel Reykjavík Natura Nauthólsvegur 52 101 Reykjavík Tel. (+354) 444 4050

Listen to the Music Throughout the Middle Ages the pious fathers of religion banned all joy from peoples‘ lives. There was to be no music or dancing and for ages the islanders largely kept to their ancient ways of rímur. Around 1900 though a few individuals, educated abroad, started bringing back with them musical instruments and telling people about the wonderful world of music. Still, music didn‘t become an artform for anyone who loved music until the second world war, when quite a number of musicians from Germany and Austria came to Iceland as refugees and started teaching music to the general public. Now, this is an extremely short version of the history of music in Iceland. But, the Icelanders were quick to catch on and today it studying music is considered an important part of childrens‘ education. The Icelanders simply love music. Any kind of music and the music created, produced and performed in Iceland is very diverse.

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Quite a number of Icelandic musicians have entered the international stage. Icelandic opera singers can be found in Opera Houses all over the world. Musicians playing classical and contemporary music appear regularly in Concert Halls, as soloists, in duos, trios, quartets, etc. as well as in chamber and symphony orchestras. A number of composers are working for musicians and orchestras all over the world. The jazz and blues scene is quite rich and in the pop and rock scene, Bjork opened a door , without doubt. Today, Icelandic music isn‘t only made for Icelanders. The world is listening. Take some time to visit a record store and ask for Icelandic music. You can be certain to find something to your taste. ■

Why in the world would you settle for average? E N N E M M / S Í A / N M 6 9 276

When there is Slippbarinn

Ask anyone. Slippbarinn is hands-down the number one place for cocktails in Reykjavík. But our delicious menu is still a relatively well-kept secret. Healthy, fresh and hearty dishes with a creative twist, from the best ingredients, at affordable prices. You‘ve met our artists behind the bar, now see what our artists in the kitchen can do.

For reservation call +354 560 8080 or Icelandair hotel Reykjavík Marina Mýrargata 2 101 Reykjavík Sími +354 560 8080

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Designed in Iceland

Eleven hundred years of creativity The identity of Icelandic design is in the materials, the Nordic forms and patterns from the Saga age, along with modern ideas and innovation. Icelandic designers use anything from fish skin to lamb skin to fox and mink pelts, fish bone to wool, silver to glass, lava rocks and nature stones, scrap metal and porcelain as well as wood for carving. Handicraft has always thrived quite well in Iceland. When walking through the centre of Reykjavík, one cannot but wonder at the sheer number of designer and handicraft stores and galleries. And indeed the Icelanders are exceptionally creative and love their heritage. The most plausible explanations is their way of life for centuries, closed-in on their farms by darkness and forces of nature for months during harsh winters. To make it bearable they had to create something beautiful as well as making clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, furniture, pottery, tools and knickknacks. One only has to visit the National Museum in the heart of Reykjavík to see how the islanders survived their isolation. Creativity was their journey from darkness to light. After the second Wold War, the Icelanders were eager to join the Western World and for some time the heritage was generally

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frowned upon, not fit for the modern culture – but never forgotten. Even during the feminist era which made quite an impact amongst such a small community, the women would be seen knitting during their get-togethers and meetings, whether they were political, cultural or educational. The joy of creating returned with a vengeance after the financial crisis in 2008. Suddenly, all those who had used their creative talents on mere gifts for families and friends, dared to show their product to the world. In general the nation was relieved to be re-joined with its beautiful heritage; to be able to find new approaches to old ideas, use old patterns for modern pieces of clothing, accessories, pottery, toys and tools. Icelandic designers are quite eco conscious. They work wonders from recycled materials and prefer material provided by Mother Nature to express their creativity, with the Icelandic sheep wool as the favourite, by far. Their pieces are designed to last a long time and quite a number of them have already become classics. Like the Icelandic “lopapeysa” sheep wool sweaters and cardigans. ■

A unique Icelandic Feast Amazing 7 course menu Starts with a shot of the Icelandic national spirit “Brennivín“ Puffin Smoked puffin with blueberries, croutons, goat cheese, beetroot Minke whale Date purée, wakame and teriaky Arctic charr “Torched“ arctic charr with parsnip purée, fennel, dill mayo Lobster Lobster cigar with chorizo, dates, chili jam Reindeer Reindeer slider with blue cheese, portobello, steamed bun

kj ar ga ta

Free range icelandic lamb Lamb with coriander, pickled red cabbage, fennel, butternut squash purée, chimichurri Hv erf

And to end on a high note ... Icelandic Skyr Skyr panna cotta with raspberry sorbet, white chocolate crumble, passion foam, dulche de leche






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6.990 kr. Sushi Samba Þingholtsstræti 5 • 101 Reykjavík living 73 Tel 568 6600 REYKJAVÍK •

Grillid Top Floor Restaurant - a treasured experience Through the last 50 years, Grillið has earned a reputation of sophistication and splendour. Grillið is a special place and holds memories of special occasions and tender moments of its dinner guests. Each of these moments has laid the foundation for the award-winning chef de cuisine, Sigurdur Helgason. The chef is fully aware of the status Grillið has in the hearts of Icelanders, and more than capable to meet the expectations of guests hungry for an exclusive dining experience. In the kitchen with Sigurdur is the renowned executive sous chef, Atli Þór Eðvaldsson.

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Together they create extraordinary menus with a careful consideration to each season. Their dishes are constructed of the freshest and best in-season ingredients available; Icelandic specialties mixed with a selection of exclusive flavours. The highlight of the winter is a special tasting menu, a four or seven-course peek into the chef’s mind. For those who visit Grillið, located on the top floor of Radisson BLU Hotel Saga, it’s not only the perfectly executed food that leaves behind the wonderful feeling of quality; the fine service, warm atmosphere and a stupendous panoramic view of the city complete the unforgettable night of indulgence.

Tel.: +354 525-9960




Always on the top! Indulge yourself with dishes prepared by Iceland's best team of master chefs; Sigurður Helgason Bocuse d'Or participant in 2015 and Atli Þór Erlendsson, Chef of the year 2015 in Iceland.

We offer only the freshest ingredients available, prepared in a light and modern manner with an emphasis on creativity and exciting flavour combinations. Grillið is loved by the locals and symbolizes a perfect night in Reykjavik. The outstanding view from Grillið Restaurant and the delicious dishes makes your visit unforgettable. * The Bocuse d´Or is one of the world´s most prestigious cooking competitions. REYKJAVÍK living 75

Radisson BLU Saga Hotel 8th floor tel. 525 9960


Healthy Food and the Sweetest Tooth Good food is essential for our well-being. We want it to look good, taste good and be good for our health. In Iceland that is precisely what you will find.

of business. So, you can be quite sure, wherever you have your meal, it will be good.

It is almost impossible to find a bad restaurant in Iceland. This health conscious nation wants its clean ingredients, non-processed meats, a lot of fish and their vegetables from the Icelandic greenhouses scattered around the geothermal areas.

But, of course we also have a sweet tooth – and love the Icelandic sweets. We even claim our chocolate, liquorice and other candy is the best in the world. We find it totally natural to be labelled the greatest candy-eaters in the northern hemisphere. It only goes to show how right we are about our chocolate.

The is a simple reason for all those good restaurants. With such a few inhabitants, news spreads fast. When a restaurant isn‘t up to the standards, the Icelanders simply boycott it and it goes out

Everybody has to eat, but of course not everybody needs to munch on sweets. Still, spoil yourself and taste the divine Icelandic chocolate and the various chocolate bars. It is simply divine. ■

Vitinn Seafood Restaurant in the Fishing Village Sandgerði

Booking advance for groups at: Tel: +354 423 7755 -

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The restaurant specialises in keeping seafood at the top of its varied menu, which also includes lamb and chicken dishes. The Vitinn’s menu offers whole langoustine and whole plaice, but the fruits de mer platter is the restaurant’s centrepiece. The food is freshly cooked. Dining at Vitinn is a very inspiring introduction to Iceland. The restaurant interior, with its richly coloured wooden walls and beams, is adorned with mementos from both Sandgerði’s agricultural and seafaring past. In summer months, diners can enjoy their meal outside in the garden and watch crabs in our specially equipped aquarium.



A Ð A L S T R Æ T I 2 • 1 0 1 R E Y K J AV Í K TEL: 517 7373 • WWW.KJALLARINN.IS

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An exquisite breed The tender and tasty Icelandic lamb so loved by the islanders Icelanders love their lamb and indeed claim it – unashamedly – to be the best lamb in the world. Being relentless travelers themselves, they will be sure to try lambmeat wherever they go, just to prove their point, shaking their head, wondering aloud why other countries can‘t produce lamb like „we do at home.“ Closer to game than other farm animals, the meat is exceptionally tender, its texture fine and nutritious enough to have carried many an Icelander, adult and child, through harsh winters and natural disasters. Though best fresh, it can be smoked, salted, pickled and frozen – still keeping its distinct quality. When producing high quality meat, you need unpoluted raw materials, and Icelandic sheep farmers can guarantee as much. Sheep farming in Iceland is as old as the settlement in Iceland itself. To this day the farmers have reared their sheep by methods established by centuries of tradition, with most farms familyowned and operated. The lambs are entirely reared outdoors, roaming moors and mountains throughout the long summer days, feasting on sedge, willow, thrift, campion and berries – making the Icelandic lamb instantly recognizable for the delicious and distinctive taste. It is closer to game than farm animals. Most of Iceland‘s lamb productions is based on sustainable harvesting of the bounties of nature. The use of hormones is prohibited and antibiotics are strictly regulated. The Icelandic climate, clean air and abundant supply of fresh mountain water make the use of pesticides and herbicides unnecessary. The cool climate protects the land against many diseases and pests which plague agriculture in warmer latitudes. Due to Iceland‘s geo78 REYKJAVÍK living

graphical isolation and agricultural regulation which prohibits the import of live animals, many common livestock diseases are unknown in Iceland. In a world where comsumers are becoming inreasingly conscious of their health, food must be safe to eat, pure and nutritious. For these reasons the Icelandic lamb is recognized throughout the world for its healthy nutritional value and unique taste. The Icelandic sheep is a direct descendant of the sheep first brought to the island by the Viking settlers. It has not been crossbred by importing other breeds. The cool climate influences the composition of the plants the sheep graze on. The lambs move freely through wild pastures and pristine mountainous landscapes. This, and the young age of slaughter (4-5 months) give the meat unique qualities and properties. The muscle has a high proportions of Omega-3 fatty acids and iron, providing the meat with its wild game flavours. The distictive taste is a result of the wild pastures; the grass as well as the aromatic and spicy herbs on which the lambs graze. The meat is exceptionally tender, with fine texture due to its high amount of red muscle fibres, influenced both by the breed and the grazing habits. The lamb is perfect match to any herbs and spices. It can be adapted to all the diverse world cuisines. Still the Icelanders have their own traditions. The meat being so clean and nutritions, they will eat it raw, undercooked and overcooked, baked, grilled and boiled, in soups and casseroles. The majority of restaurants in Iceland offer a variety of lamb dishes on their menu – but, if you have a chance of the traditional Icelandic Lambmeat-soup, don‘t let it slip by. ■


Steikhúsið simply means „The Steak House” and that underlines our goal, to focus solely on steaks. The Steak house is in the middle of Reykjavík, opposite the old harbor which has recently formed into a lively neighborhood of restaurants, cafes and artisan stores and work shops. When you wisit us, remember to try our “28 days” tendered meat. The heart of the place is a coal oven from Mibrasa, Spain. It is only fitting that we use coal for grilling and baking The Building housed a blacksmith and metal works in years gone by.


Booking: +354 561 1111 & REYKJAVÍK living 79

Gorgeous and tasty Black Lava salt that goes well with all kind of food, especially grill food

The Gourmet’s Favorite Urta Islandica produces teas, salts, jams and syrups to please your palate Icelanders have always believed in the healing power of nature. Importing medicine was hardly an option in past centuries, being far away from mainland Europe. Still, remedies were needed to soothe and cure sore throats, colds, insomnia and other ailments, just like the rest of the world. With time Icelanders learned to read their own nature and find out which herbs, grasses and berries were best for their teas, salts, jams and syrups. Urta Islandica specializes in producing goods from Icelandic herbs. They apply traditional methods to turn birch, wild thyme, lady’s-mantle, angelica and chervil into wonderful delicatessens.

Immediate success Urta Islandica is a young company, founded in 2013 and already enjoys healthy success. After the economic crash in 2008 artist and founder, Þóra Þórisdóttir realized that the situation was less than favorable to artists. She started working on her herbal

The house in Hafnarfjordur where the family lives and works

knowledge, making test products and selling them in Iceland’s only marketplace, the Kolaportið in Reykjavík. Her products proved to be immensely popular and during the following two years she teamed up with family members who shared an interest in the concept of sustainability, transparency and combining fine art with food production in a new and exciting way. They developed their ideas and turned them into a production line with its very distinct Urta Islandica label. The company’s owners and workers are mostly family members and they all have different educational backgrounds such as artists, illustrators, a philosopher, a peace educator, an engineer, a designer and an aviation mechanic. These various educational levels gives the team opportunity to be innovative and open minded in producing the specialty food gifts. The group is using traditional preserving methods such as the

Urta Islandica’s growing team

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urta.islandica three well known ways to preserve herbs. You could dry it, blend it in with salts or immerse them in sugars. Urta Islandica has adopted all these methods, making teas, salts, syrups and jams from Icelandic herbs and berries, many of which are known for vitality and healing powers. The products are also designed as gift items, great for bringing home as presents for friends and family.

Try all of them A packet of Bilberry tea, believed to improve eyesight and reduce cholesterol. Or Birch tea is believed to stimulate the liver, cleanse the blood and be good for kidney problems. Since this summer being rather chilly in Iceland, you may have gotten yourself a nasty cold. What better cure than Urta Islandica’s Intruders tea blend? It is made from some of the least facorite weeds of Iceland, f.e. Angelica, Chervil, Northen dock and Sweet cicely that grow all over Iceland which the name referres to as

Traditional Icelandic jams

Beautiful and tasteful

Indtruders but are in fact especially rich in vitamins and mineral that makes it good remedies for flue. Aside from the remedial factor, the Urta Islandica products will most certainly please your palate. Their Blueberry and Rhubarb jams, as well as Bilberry Sauce with Chili go beautifully with both your meat dishes and your cheese sandwich. And of course, you must try their Black Lava or Kelp and Garlic Salt Blends – and, well, the rest of their unique Icelandic herb blended salts. The blends are specially good as finishing salt for all types of cooking. The Artic herbs salt that is first marinated in Icelandic moss and then mixed with five other known herbs will definetly go well with all cooked food, but the herbs give good taste to both fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. The variety that Urta Islandica offers ensures that anyone can find a herbal tea, salt, jam or syrup to love. ■

Their gourmet tea blends are all packed in teabags

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Glacier Walks are fast becoming the most popular outdoors activity in Iceland

Into the World of  


Did you know that glaciers cover around 12% of the country‘s surface and Vatnajökull is Europe's largest glacier? Further, did you know that glaciers are not just the simple ice-caps you see from afar? They have their own landscape with spectacular ice sculptures, water cauldrons, ridges, crevasses and even sometimes ice caves become accessible on the outlet glaciers. This pristine and disappearing world of glaciers is well worth the trip. But, by all means, don‘t go on a glacier without a proper guidance! They may look appealing, but glaciers can be a treacherous sort. 82 REYKJAVÍK living

Icelandic Mountain Guides is Iceland‘s premier adventure tour operator. The company was established in 1994 by four young mountain and outdoor enthusiasts who became pioneers in the way of introducing the wonders of the Icelandic nature to travellers from all over the world. At first Icelandic Mountain Guides started by offering Glacier Walks from Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park and later on Sólheimajökull glacier in the south. Hiking, backpacking and other adventures and expeditions in Iceland and Greenland soon followed. Today Icelandic Mountain Guides is a company that offers a wide range of adventure tours from short day tours to longer multi-day expeditions in the great outdoors.

Glacier walks and outdoor adventures Icelandic Mountain Guides offers a great selection of glacier walks and outdoor adventure day tours from Reykjavík, Sólheimajökull glacier and Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park. To join a day tour from Reykjavik is a great way to experience all the highlights of the Icelandic nature. Whether you want to explore the Icelandic glaciers on a glacier walk, visit waterfalls, hot spring areas, lava caves, black sand beaches, and volcanoes, or even visit some hidden gems in the Icelandic highlands you will be in good hands with the experienced guides of Icelandic Mountain Guides.

The Training of Guides Most of the guides at Icelandic Mountain Guides have a background from training with the Icelandic rescue teams and have completed an eight day Wilderness First Responder course. All the guides then go through a structured training system to ensure the standard of safety and experience on the Icelandic glaciers. This training system now sets the standard for all other outdoor adventure companies in Iceland.

Quality and professionalism Icelandic Mountain Guides is a proud member of Vakinn which is the new official quality and environmental system for Icelandic tourism. Only tourism businesses that maintain the highest standards in all aspects of their business practices and meet VAKINN´s comprehensive assessment criteria have earned the right to carry this official quality label.

You just have to choose the right tour for you Of course, Icelandic Mountain Guides is not limited to glaciers and day tours from Reykjavík. Be it hiking, trekking, skiing, mountain biking, or super jeep expeditions, Icelandic Mountain Guides provides adventures for all. Whether you are looking for a short or a long adventure tour, be sure to check the Icelandic Mountain Guides brochures or homepage for more information ■

For those who plan on renting a car, a stop at either Sólheima­ jökull glacier or Skaftafell is truly a must do. We highly recommend joining one of the glacier walk tours that are offered on daily basis all year round. The glacier walks are indeed a familyfriendly activity as the shortest tours are suitable for children from the age of eight. For the adventure seekers longer glacier tours are also available as well as ice and mountain climbing tours. All glacier equipment like pick-axes and crampons (spikes) are provided by the company. Hiking shoes and clothing can also be rented for a small fee (1.000 ISK). Still it is important to be dressed according to weather and remember, pre booking is always advised. REYKJAVÍK living 83

The Museum at Skógar shows you how The history of surviving unruly natural forces for centuries Contemporary Icelanders often wonder how their forebears survived the unpredictable winters and short summers, the eruptions and earthquakes. Before harnessing the geothermal powers, without electricity and modern day technology, how on earth did they manage?

A visit to Skógar Folk Museum is pure joy which even children love at every turn. Just make sure to give yourself ample time for the visit. A day at the museum, which has a lovely café/bistro, is a day well spent.

Skógar Folk Museum, the biggest folk museum in Iceland, goes a long way to answer those questions. With a vast collection of tools and equipment applied on land and sea, clothing, furniture, handicraft, old buildings, books, manuscripts and documents, the secrets of centuries gone by are revealed. The latest addition to the museum is the Museum of Transport, bridging the development from the dark ages to modern times.

In the Museum building you‘ll find the Maritime Hall with a treasured fishing boat and nautical equipments of old, artifacts of mysterious sources, whalebone craftsmanship, utensils used at sea and carved timber from much loved and well cared for boats designed for the arctic oceans.

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Three collections

In the same building is the Crafts museum with its examples of

embroidery and weaving, horn and wood carvings, metal – and leatherwork. From dainty lace to coarse wool, from needles and knives to riding gear. Designs and workmanship were created by candle light and oil lamps during the darkness of winter days. And the winters were long.

With the reconstructed turf farmhouse, built from driftwood and stones, the roofs covered with stone slabs, then turfed; and the old and amazingly small timber houses, school and church, everything furnished according to the correct era complete with bed linens, knick-knacks and artifacts.

The Agricultural Hall exhibits tools and equipment used for harnessing the near unhabitable land. From homemade kitchen utensils to the blacksmith‘s tools, equipment for haymaking, riding and traveling, for building houses, for milking and creating dairy products. This hall bears witness to the innovative and creative element, as well as the endurance of the Icelandic soul.

The aforementioned Museum of Transport is quite unique in Iceland. It tells the story of travel and communication from the year 1900. The first cars, the first agricultural machines, how telecommunication develops during the next decades. And of course, it contains equipment from the absolutely important history of Search and Rescue on sea and land in Iceland.

Architecture and Communication

The Museum is open throughout the year. For opening hours and further information, go to ■

On the premises is also an excellent collection of buildings.

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Hveragerði The Geothermal Village Hveragerði is quite a unique town – even by Icelandic standards. The town is positioned on an active volcanic zone and thus, is constantly moving. Earthquakes are frequent and throughout the year pillars of steam may be seen across town. As recently as May 2008, an earthquake of 6,2 magnitude hit the town and a new geothermal area was created. The inhabitants are not at all concerned about this geological activity. Instead, they use all changes to their advantage. They use it to power up their greenhouses, to bake bread, or cook a meal, in the hot earth. They are well aware of how fascinating their dangerous area is to tourists. They have created bathing and swimming facilities, indoors and outdoors. There is quite number of natural hot pools in the area, especially in Reykjadalsá to the north of Hveragerði. But, before entering them, obtain safety information from the Tourist Information Center. During summer, Hveragerði is the one true green town in Iceland. That’s where Icelanders mainly go to buy seeds, seedlings, flowers and trees for their gardens. Because of the geothermal activity – it is a warm, fertile and wonderful place to visit. ■ 86 REYKJAVÍK living

Restaurant Varmá Unique location by the river Varmá

At Varmá we pride ourselves with excellent cooking and make an effort to use only the finest local ingredients. We have developed a way to use the all natural hot springs at our doorstep and mix it with traditional cooking. Our à la carte menu is ambitious and Varmá has received excellent reviews on the Tripadvisor webpage.

Open from 08.00-22.00 every day Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Hótel Frost & funi •• Veitingahúsið Varmá Hverhamri •• 810 Hveragerði •• Sími/Tel. +354 483 4959 •• frostandfirehotel

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A diverse community Árborg is a worth the visit

Árborg is a community of three towns: Selfoss, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri on the south coast of Iceland, where lush farmlands and large lava fields intertwine to create one of the most interesting landscapes in Iceland. It is also densely populated and with people come culture, history and entertainment. Only 58 km from Reykjavík.

Southward bound via Selfoss Selfoss, the largest city in South Iceland, is also the 3rd largest in the country. Start your journey by popping into the Tourist Information Centre on the ground floor of Hotel Selfoss, located just beyond the bridge. Here you will find all you need to plan your trip and discover all the hidden gems via a plethora of maps, magazines and brochures that are available free of charge. Icebook – Good neighbours Right across the corridor from the Tourist Information Centre is one of the newest additions to Selfoss’ growing list of amenities for travelers. It is a service-minded company called Icebook, which offers a Europcar car rental service, event planning, and short tours to all the big name places in South Iceland such as the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle for small groups of 2, 3 and 4 passengers. You can find them on Face Book or just drop in during business hours. Dining Out Selfoss’ Tryggvaskáli Restaurant is located on the banks of the Ölfusá River in the town’s oldest building from 1890. Decorated in the classic 1930s-1950s style that was characteristic of the period in Iceland, the fine dining restaurant is charming yet elegant, with modern touches throughout. Fannar, the head chef, received his culinary training in Iceland and in 2007 did a stint at the London restaurant, Texture, working under Iceland’s only Michelin starred chef, Agnar Sverrisson.

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Eyrarbakki – Rauða Husið Restaurant Rauða Husið means ‘red house’ and the building is one of the oldest in the village of Eyrarbakki. This fine dining restaurant is an excellent choice for an outstanding meal with outstanding service. The restaurant is located right next ‘Husið’ or ‘The House’ -Iceland’s oldest timber house, and now a heritage museum where rooms are set up as they were in the past, with period furnishings and interesting details about Eyrarbakki’s most illustrious townspeople. Open by appointment only from Sept 15th – May 15th. The village of Eyrarbakki served as Iceland’s main harbour and trading station from 1765 to 1925. It was the centre of art, music, fashion and European culture and occupants of The House played a major role in defining Iceland’s bourgeois standards during that period. The Village of Stokkseyri The small fishing village is an easy 10 minutes drive from Selfoss. Stokkseyri is home to Fjöruborðið, an authentic seafood restaurant just a stone’s throw from the beach itself. Don’t let the casual atmosphere mislead you into thinking that the food is anything less than wonderful. Fjöruborðið is known for its overflowing buckets of langoustine tails, lobster bisque and an allround fun dining atmosphere. After your meal, take a relaxing stroll along the shore that is easily accessible from both Stokkseyri and Eyrarbakki. Also in Stokkseyri you can try the kayak that are located near the swimming pool. In Selfoss there is the possibility of walking along the Ölfusá River or through the Helliskógar Forrest.

An Authentic Cultural Experience Hot tubs have been a part of Icelandic culture ever since the settlement when Snorri Sturluson built his own hot tub in Reykholt in the 13th century. ‘Snorralaug’ as it is called, is one of four ancient pools that are still in use today. In and around Selfoss you can immerse yourself in Icelandic culture by trying out the hot tubs at the Sundhöll municipal swimming pool in Selfoss or Stokkseyri. These warm geo-thermal swimming pools are open year-round and are part and parcel of life in Iceland.

Iceland is truly amazing in any season!

Árborg tourist info Eyravegi 2, 800 Selfoss Phone: (+354) 899 8663 REYKJAVÍK living 89

The Reykjanes peninsula

Nature's Gallery Did you ever imagine stepping of an aircraft at an international airport to be a stone’s throw away from exhilarating natural wonders? Probably not, but in Iceland that airport is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, an exceptionally active geothermal area and until recently much ignored by the tourist industry. Which is really amazing as it is possibly Icelandic nature at its wildest with its barren and rugged stretches of lava fields and coarse black beaches.

A short distance away you will find ramps crisscrossing in and out of an otherworldly area with steam rising from the ground, from Gunnuhver, which marks the future geopark of hot mud springs and steam vents. Right by this area you can visit a Power Plant where Iceland’s geothermal water is harvested.

It is the area where you can easily experience the geothermal wonders of hot springs and steam vents and where you can safely look down to observe fresh magma pulsating by your feet. You will, of course, have heard about the peninsula’s most famous landmark, the Blue Lagoon, where you can enjoy bathing outside in the crisp, clean air while immersed in warm, natural, and self-renewable geothermal water.

The Power Plant Earth is an exhibition located in the Power Plant not far from the edge of Reykjanes, the Reykjanes Lighthouse and Bridge between two Continents. The location is in one of Iceland’s most beautiful lava fields. Whether during summer’s midnight sun or winter’s northern lights, Reykjanes is an extraordinary and magical place to visit.

From the Blue Lagoon you drive the short distance to the town of Grindavík and turn towards the tip of the peninsula where all the natural activity is happening. It boasts the country’s best preserved volcanic craters, endless numbers of caves and expansive lava fields. By the tip you can literally take a walk between Europe and America by the acclaimed “Bridge Between two Continents.”

The Reykjanes Lighthouse is Iceland’s oldest lighthouse and remarkably built on top of a crater and located by steep cliffs with a sheer fall into the ocean. The cliffs are easily accessed by light trails and really worth the short hike as they display a dizzying number of sea-birds – and a spectacular view towards the Atlantic Ocean horizon. ■

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1-HOUR TO FULL DAY AT 10:00/12:00/14:00 AND 17:15 PICK-UP IN REYKJAVIK AT 8:30/10:30/12:30 AND 15:45 FREE PICK-UP AT THE BLUE LAGOON

1-HOUR TO FULL DAY AT 10:00/12:00/14:00 AND 17:15 PICK-UP IN REYKJAVIK AT 8:30/10:30/12:30 AND 15:45 FREE PICK-UP AT THE BLUE LAGOON





REYKJAVÍK living 91 - - +354-857-3001

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Making Iceland Accessible All Iceland Tours offers specially designed tours for handicapped and healthy tourists alike Two years ago a group of Icelandic taxi drivers founded a company to be of service to handicapped tourists visiting Iceland. Equipped with a few vans specially designed to accommodate wheelchairs they started attending tourist trade conferences and meetings to introduce their concept, not expecting much.

wheelchairs, but all kinds of trips for everyone: Super Jeep Tours, Bus Tours, Snowmobile Tours, ATV Quad Bike Tours, Angling Tours, Helicopter Tours, Cycling Tours, Trekking and Hiking Tours, Caving Tours and even Birdwatching Tours.

Much needed services

All Iceland Tours has expanded from being a company with a vision to service the handicapped to becoming quite a force in organizing adventurous trips to Iceland for the handicapped and healthy alike. On their website, you can organize any trip whether you want to observe the midnight sun or the northern lights, whether you want to go boating or diving and snorkeling. Or, you might want to inspect the volcanic sights, churches, museums or restaurants. Just go to their homepage at www. and design your visit to Iceland. All you have to do is send your wishes to your basket on their booking site, print out the voucher and you will be picked up at the hotel or the place of your choosing.

Now, two years later, they are offering a variety of over 400 different day tours in partnership with over 50 different experienced tour operators in Iceland. The minute they said "wheelchairs" everybody and their uncle jumped aboard. They were introducing much-needed services, where healthy and handicapped tourists alike could visit this island, along with their assistants, and be able to access most natural wonders hidden in this remote region of the world. In cooperation with partners in the tourist industry, the Highlands are even made accessible to everyone. To start with, All Iceland Tours expected to be hired for a trip here, a trip there, approximately ten trips a year in total. But, today they are serving as agents for most travel companies offering day tours around Iceland. And the variety of trips available is quite diverse. Not only do they offer vans equipped for

From sea-shores to volcanoes

If you have any questions, All Iceland Tours operates a 24-hour phone service, and they are always online. Tel.: +354 781 2022. â–

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The Golden Waterfall Gullfoss, is a massive waterfall in the Hvítá river that originates in the Langjökull glacier. The water cascades down two steps, one 11 m high and the other 22 m high into the canyon below. The canyon was created at the end of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves. Gullfoss means 'golden falls' because the glacial sediment in the water turns the falls golden in the sunlight. As you approach, you hear the falls before you see the wild, tumbling water, as the river valley is a deep, dramatic crevasse. You can stand at the top or walk down the path to the bottom. To stand by the majestic Gullfoss is a unique experience. The sheer force of nature becomes apparent. Somehow, you want to be a part of it. It can even be tempting to merge with it. Of course, you won’t, but as you walk away you’ll notice how much your energy has been renewed. Above the waterfalls are dangerous rapids. History tells us about daredevils, who forded the river there. One of them was a young man, who watched his father’s sheep every summer on the west

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bank of the river. On the other side, a young woman did the same thing for her family. They started shouting across the river and became acquainted that way. Eventually the young man proposed to the girl accepted on one condition; that he jumped across to seal their agreement. He did and, of course, they lived happily ever after. In 1930 and 1948, the river was flooded to the brim of the canyons and the bridges further down river were swept away. Early in the 20th century the farmer of Brattholt, who owned the water rights of the river contracted them to an English firm for a hydroelectric power station. The farmer’s daughter opposed this and even threatened to throw herself into the foaming water to prevent this accident. She fought bravely alone until a young lawyer, who later became the country’s first president, came to her aid. Together they managed to save the waterfalls and she was commemorated by a monument by the canyon by the waterfalls in 1978. ■

Kjötsúpa at the Golden Waterfall A friendly restaurant

Welcome to our warm, friendly restaurant, just a few steps away from the famous waterfall Gullfoss. Enjoy the beautiful mountains and glaciers of Iceland, along with a taste of the country – our famous Icelandic meat soup, “kjötsúpa”. We also offer sandwiches, homemade cakes, excellent coffee, drinks and fresh salad.

Seating for 350 people

Gullfoss Café has seating for up to 350, where guests can enjoy food and drink in comfortable surroundings. The ideal group stop for lunch or dinner when sightseeing by Iceland’s most waterfall.

Tax Free shop

Gullfoss Café has a souvenir shop with a wide selection of woollen products and other clothing, jewelry and Icelandic crafts. Guests from abroad can shop tax free, saving up to 15% from the original price.

Gullfoss kaffi, 801 Bláskógabyggð Tel.: (00354) 486 6500 Email: REYKJAVÍK living 95

More Iceland for less money

Blue Lagoon Schedule

javik Sept 15-June 15 Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik 14:00* / 16:00 / 18:00 / 20:30

Blue Lagoon to Keflavik Airport 14:00 / 21:00**

Pickup at hotel in Reykjavik upon request 08:45 / 10:15 / 12:15 / 14:45 / 16:45

Blue Lagoon to Reykjavik June 15-Sept 15 14:00* / 16:00 / 18:00 / 19:30 / 21:00*

* Via Keflavik Airport

• Please book in advance. • Be ready in front of your hotel. Pickup can take up to 30 min.

** From June 15th – Sept. 15th

The South Coast - Skógafoss - Vík

Grand Golden Circle

Golden Circle Afternoon

This tour takes us along the South shore and on to the charming village of Vík. Highlights on this tour: Waterfalls Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss and the glacier Sólheimajökull, where you can touch the ice. We drive along the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, last eruption in 2010.

Highlights visited: The farming districts in the south, Faxi waterfall and the spectacular Geysir. The waterfall Gullfoss, the national park Thingvellir, including the Rift valley and the Rock of law which was the site of the first Viking parliament.

Highlights visited: The national park Thingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss and the spectacular Geysir.

Pick up time: Mon/Wed/Fri at 08:00 Duration: 10 hours Professional english guidance

Pick up time: Daily at 08:00 Duration: 8 hours Professional english guidance

Pick up time: Daily at 12:15 Duration: 5-6 hours Professional english guidance

Explore the unique volcanic and arctic nature of Iceland

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Tel: +354 511 2600


4 x 4 DAY TOURS YOU’LL LOVE THE THINGS WE DO – JUST TO PLEASE YOU! Thrilling all-day excursions through the spectacular nature of Iceland. A combination of our rough terrain and natural wonders.

Golden Circle and Snowmobiling. South Coast and Eyjafjallajokull by 4x4. Glacier Lagoon and the South Coast. High and Mighty ½ day tour departing twice a day. For further information and booking | +354 660 1499 | Follow us on facebook for live coverage from our trips, inside info and fun facts! REYKJAVÍK living 97

Five Faces of Reykjavík City

The Reykjavík City Museum is a collection of five venues portraying Reykjavík’s history: The Árbær Open Air Museum, The Settlement Exhibition, the Reykjavík Maritime Museum, the Reykjavík Museum of Photography and Viðey. The Reykjavík City Museum is responsible for collecting and conserving objects from the city’s cultural history. Apart from research obligations the Museum stages exhibitions to share its knowledge on the history of life in Reykjavík from settlement times to the present day.

Architecture and lifestyle Árbær is an open-air museum with more than 20 buildings forming a town square, a village and a farm. Most of the buildings have been relocated from the central part of Reykjavík reflecting on the architecture and way of life in Reykjavík. The buildings are dated to the times when farm animals were a natural part of the city life. Thus, during the summer you will be able to observe domestic animals roaming the museum’s grounds. 98 REYKJAVÍK living

The Árbær Museum also stages excellent exhibition. Presently you can observe an exhibition on women’s contribution to society. Apart from taking care of home and hearth, women needed to earn money. They turned their domestic skills and appliances into tools of production and produced saleable commodities from their homes, a sideline in order to support themselves and their families.

Settlers and Seafarers In 2001 archaeological remains were excavated in Aðalstræti in the center of Reykjavík. They turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in the area. A wall fragment was found dating before 871 AD. During the excavation a longhouse hall from the tenth century was found as well. The hall and the wall fragment are now preserved at their original location as the focal point of an exhibition about life in Viking Age Reykjavík called The Settlement Exhibition

The Reykjavik City Museum will tell you all the tales

Iceland´s past, present and future are intimately tied to seafaring. This activity defines the nation’s character, making it difficult indeed to know Iceland and Icelanders without knowing its maritime history. The Reykjavík Maritime Museum´s exhibitions are an insight into Iceland’s relationship with the sea throughout the centuries. The main exhibitions illustrate the development from rowboats to modern trawlers and cargo vessels, as well as the construction of Reykjavík Harbor. Temporary exhibitions are changed regularly. Docked to a specially built pier alongside the museum is the Coast Guard Vessel Óðinn. The vessel participated in all three Cod Wars against Britain in the latter part of the 20th century. Moreover, it was a highly effective patrol and rescue vessel accredited with saving the crews of grounded or sinking ships, and towed nearly 200 vessels to safety.

The picturesque moments The Reykjavík Museum of Photography preserves around 5 million photographs that have been shot by professional and amateur photographers dating from 1870 to 2002. Around thirty thousand of these photos are available on the museum’s photo web. The museum also holds an extensive offer of exhibitions focusing on historical and contemporary photography in artistic- social- and cultural context. You’ll find great pictures in this museum and excellent exhibitions, portraying new and old technique, present and past lifestyles – and the face of the Icelandic soul. Last, but not least, is the island Viðey, situated just off the coast of Reykjavík. Apart from its beautiful nature, ancient ruins and rich historical background, other attractions include the Imagine Peace Tower by Yoko Ono and the Milestones project by Richard Serra. There is also rich bird life with 30 species nesting on the island. A day-trip to observe all the island’s nature, history and food, is a treat. REYKJAVÍK living 99

Gljúfrasteinn Where the fish can sing HALLDÓR LAXNESS (1902-1998) was the undisputed giant of Icelandic literature in the twentieth century and won the Nobel Prize in 1955 "for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland". His life spanned almost the entire century and his writing is like a mirror of the turbulent literary and political trends and movements that shaped it.

Atom Station and the The Fish Can Sing reflect a magical literary world, with tender stories of ordinary lives and Iceland´s distinctive, sometimes surreal environment. But above all he will be remembered for the great characters in his novels, the wit and compassion with which he captured the essence of the Icelandic identity.

He was prolific during his long career, writing 13 major novels, five plays and a dramatisation of one of his novels, not to mention his collections of short stories, essays and memoirs. His books have been translated into 43 languages and published in more than 500 editions.

Gljúfrasteinn was home to the Nobel Prize winning author and his family for more than half a century. The house is now open to the public as a museum, unchanged from when Laxness lived and worked there. Tucked away in the green valley of Mosfellsdalur, it is only 20 minutes from Reykjavík en route to Þingvellir national park. The ideal place to take a break from the city or stop and enjoy a picnic in nature.

The diversity of his works is almost without parallel and with every book he can be said to have approached his readers from a new and unexpected direction. Intriguing titles such as the

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Laxness was a personal friend of many of the great artists and thinkers of the twentieth century, and his home often served as an “unofficial cultural embassy”. Visiting heads of state and international cultural figures were entertained with soirées and concerts in the beautiful surroundings that can be seen in their original state on the tour of the house. As well as learning more about the man, visitors are encouraged to wander in the garden and surrounding countryside, a source of much inspiration in his later life. ■

Gljúfrasteinn – Laxness museum is located in Mosfellsbær on the way to Þingvellir national park; only 20 minutes drive from the centre of Reykjavík. Gljúfrasteinn was the home and workplace of Halldór Laxness, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, and his family for more than half a century. Halldór Laxness (1902 - 1998) Nobel Prize for literature 1955

VISITING THE MUSEUM Our audio tours of the house take about 25 minutes and Icelandic, English, Swedish, Danish and German. An extensive multimedia presentation about the life and work of Halldór Laxness is running in the reception area. The presentation is accessible on a touch screen in Icelandic, English and Swedish. A selection of Laxness´s books in various languages, the museum shop at the reception. The museum garden is open to visitors. Pleasant walks can be made from the garden around the vicinity and down to the small river that runs by the house. It is also possible to picnic in the garden.

ADMISSION AND OPENING HOURS 2015 Adults Children age 6-18 Seniors

ISK 900,Free ISK 700,-

June 1st – Agust 31st Open every day 9.00-17.00 Concerts Gljúfrasteinn hosts concerts every Sunday at 16.00 during the summer. Admission ISK 1.500

Gljúfrasteinn – Laxness museum P.O. Box 250 270 Mosfellsbær Tel. + 354 586 8066

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Great collection, good prices

The viking:info Laugavegur 1 · Reykjavík Hafnarstræti 1 - 3 · Reykjavík Hafnarstræti 104 · Akureyri

Akureyri Reykjavík TAX FREE

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Rvikliv15 vef  

Reykjavik living 2015