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December 2018

in Reykjavík

Reykjavík’s leading guide to information, events, museums and galleries since 1983




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It’s Christmastime! Well, almost. To be honest, I find the Christmas preparation season almost as good as the real deal. During Advent, the whole city gets decked out in Christmas lights, making the darkness feel cosy, and there are Christmas concerts and other events on every corner of the city centre. If you want to get the full Icelandic Christmas experience, we’ve got you covered. In the magazine, you’ll find information on how to get properly stressed out on st. Þorlákur’s Day (Iceland’s only saint), why Christmas starts at precisely 18:00 on Dec. 24, and why we celebrate New Year’s Eve by burning lots of stuff. We also share the story of the 13 Yule Lads, Iceland’s version of Santa Claus. They’re trolls, they steal stuff and they have a child-eating cat. I promise, I’m not making this up. I highly recommend immersing yourself in the festivities in the city but don’t forget that Christmas is known as the festival of light and peace. For some serenity and calm in between the hustle and bustle, get out of the city and take in Iceland’s grand nature. Catching a glimpse of the northern lights wouldn’t hurt either!

Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir What’s On Editor What’s On Information Centre, Laugavegur 5.

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Published by: MD Reykjavík ehf. Laugavegur 5, 101 Reykjavik. Tel.: 551-3600

Content writers: The What’s On Team Ad sales: Reynir Elís Þorvaldsson,

Publisher: Kjartan Þorbjörnsson

Map of Reykjavík: Friðrik Bjarnason

Editor: Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir,

Printing: Oddi, Ecolabelled Printing Company.

Cover photo: Júnía Líf Maríuerla







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WHAT‘S ON IN REYKJAVÍK is published monthly, covering events and happenings in and around Reykjavík. Opinions expressed in WHAT‘S ON IN ReykjavÍk are those of the individual authors. While every effort has been made to ensure the information presented is accurate, prices, times, dates and other information may be subject to change.

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THE WHAT’S ON CHECKLIST December is a great month to visit Iceland. Even though it’s dark outside, it’s warm and cosy inside, and it’s Christmas! Plus, there are plenty of cool events going on. Here are some ideas on how to spend this December in Iceland.

Enjoy one of the many Icelandic Christmas buffets – it’s an experience. Spot the Icelandic Yule Lads around town. Try a Christmas beer.

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Go to the Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður!


Learn about Iceland’s geology at the Volcano House. Go to a New Year’s Eve bonfire! Attend a Christmas concert. Buy Icelandic books, the perfect Christmas gift. While you’re checking things off the list, we encourage you to take photos, and tag them with #whatsonrvk, of course!


Glacier Walks & Ice Caves


Kayaking by the Glacier







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So you’re in Iceland, enjoying life, seeing the sights and taking in everything our magnificent country has to offer. Why not share it with the world? Tag your photos using #whatsonrvk and your photo might be featured in our magazine next month! On, you can watch out for every issue published.



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SKYR Legend has it that the Vikings introduced Skyr to Iceland when they settled in the country some 1.100 years ago. Travel back in time to any farm and Skyr would be on the table – essential nourishment for young and old. Generations past may not have been able to measure the nutritional content in the way we can now, but the life-expectancy of the average Icelander was proof enough that something good was going on. Icelanders have ever since loved the smooth texture of this incredibly healthy dairy product and today

ICELAND‘S SECRET TO HEALTHY LIVING it plays a big role in the modern lifestyle diet. Skyr is high in protein and a virtually fat-free dairy delight. Thick and creamy in consistency, it is also rich in calcium and other nutrients. Skyr can be found at almost every home and workplace. Enjoyed at breakfast, lunchtime, pretty much anytime, it has also become a healthy “fast-food” for active people on the go. Delicious in smoothies or energy-boosting drinks, it even features on the dessert menus of many top restaurants, which are bringing a contemporary twist to this established favourite.

MS SKYR – PLAIN Skyr was originally only available as plain and was made at every farm in Iceland. Nowadays, there is a huge variety of flavours available but many still prefer the plain one, especially served with sugar and/or cream.

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KEA SKYR WITH VANILLA Kea skyr comes from the northern part of Iceland and this is one of the most popular flavours available. The taste is full and creamy with zero fat. It’s mild and creamy flavour also makes it popular as a base for desserts.


ÍSEY SKYR WITH BLUBERRIES Ísey skyr is a remarkable dairy product unique to Ice­land. High in protein and naturally fat free, Ísey skyr is delicious, rich in flavour with a thick and creamy tex­ture. Ísey is a beautiful Icelandic female name, meaning ice (ís) and island (ey), in honour of the women who passed on Iceland‘s secret to healthy living from generation to generation. ÍSEY SKYR WITH DARK CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA Skyr producers have been experimenting with new flavours in Ísey skyr while still keeping it as nutritious as possible. One of the more recent additions is Ísey skyr with dark chocolate and vanilla flavour. ICELANDIC PROVISIONS SKYR If you find yourself in the US, craving skyr, don’t panic! This is the only skyr available in the US that’s made with traditional Icelandic skyr cultures, passed down through generations of Icelanders. Rich in protein but low in sugar, with flavors that have a Nordic twist, such as Strawberry with Lingonberry. Icelandic provisions skyr is only available in the US and is a sister brand of Ísey Skyr. #icelandicprovisions







Kaldi is a very mild and comfortable pilsner, dry, fresh, slightly bitter, with notes of roasted barley and hops, and has 5% ABV. You might detect a hint of sweetness as well. The brewery on Árskógssandur, makers of Kaldi beer, was the first microbrewery that opened in Iceland, back in 2006. The regular Kaldi is a pure pilsner, with all the ingredients, except the Icelandic water, coming from the Czech Republic. Even their brewmaster is Czech! Following its success, the brewery opened Kaldi bar in the centre of Reykjavík, where all the varieties of Kaldi beer are available. Kaldi bar is, of course, the best place to get Kaldi, but it’s available in other bars as well, and in bottles at the liquor stores.


Egils Gull has followed Icelanders even since the beer ban was lifted on the 1st of March in 1989, aptly named the “Beer Day” and rightly celebrated. A standard light lager, Gull has proved a fantastic companion on Icelanders’ beer adventures, even winding up as the World’s Best Standard Lager at the World Beer Awards in 2011. Brewed in the style of a pale Munich lager, expect a crisp taste with a fresh lemony tang.

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Bríó uses German hops, giving the beer a very distinctive taste and a sweet aroma. Along with the hops, it uses Pilsen malt and underfermented yeast. Bríó is the first beer produced by Borg Brugghús, a brewery that now produces several popular beers all year round along with seasonal beers for summer, Christmas and Easter. Bríó is a pilsner, a style of beer named after the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic. This style of brewing first emerged in the middle of the 19th century and became so popular that the majority of beer drunk today is a relative of the original pilsner. Bríó was originally brewed as the house beer for Ölstofan but due to its popularity, it’s now available in liquor stores as well as most bars in town.


The aroma is of fresh citrus fruits, especially grapefruit, which can also be found in the flavour, along with a strong bitterness that makes you crave another sip. Úlfur was the first Icelandic IPA (India Pale Ale) on the market. It’s in the same calibre as the best produced on the West Coast of the Unites States and surprised many Icelanders with its distinct flavour and aroma. Only American hops are used in the beer and they are added when boiled and after fermentation; a so called “dry hopping” technique. Icelanders took to the beer immediately and it helped clear the way for smaller breweries to try new things.


Although beer and ale have been brewed in Iceland for a long time, beer production was limited during the 20th century, as beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989! Icelanders have more than made up for lost time and the growth in beer production in recent years has been amazing. In just a few years, we‘ve seen many great breweries emerge, filled with ambition and ingenuity, and beer is now the most popular alcoholic beverage in Iceland.

Icelandic Christmas Beers Every year, Iceland gets into the holiday spirit with seasonal beers. These festive drinks are a bit darker and stronger than your everyday lagers. We’ve compiled a list of some unmissable Iceland-brewed Christmas beers for you to try out during your stay. Christmas beers are available in bars throughout December.

GILJAGAUR For the serious beer drinkers comes Borg’s finest, Giljagaur. The beer is named after the mischievous Yule Lad Giljagaur, who is known for hiding in cowsheds and stealing foam off buckets of cow milk. His memory is celebrated with a strong 10% barley wine which promises to be an especially festive character with three types of yeast and a blend of British and American hops. Be sure to save some for after the trip home, the longer you keep Giljagaur, the better it’ll taste.

BOLI DOPPELBOCK The soft, warm flavour of Boli Doppelbock feels like a warm hug while notes of chocolate, caramel, and coffee delight the taste buds. Boli Doppelbock is best drunk next to a roaring fire and a Christmas tree, although in a pinch, a candle and a pine branch will do.

EINSTÖK CHRISTMAS ALE Einstök’s effort to bottle the taste of Christmas has paid off in a seasonal ale, perfect to drink in a snug, warm room while it’s snowing outside. This amber 6.7% doppelbock combines a full caramel taste with a subtle chocolate and whisky aftertaste. It pairs well with any Christmas dinner, chocolate desserts included.

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JÓLAKALDI Kaldi’s Christmas beer has been on the market since 2008. It’s a classic Christmas beer, or as close to it as you can get, as there is no real consensus on what constitutes a Christmas beer. JólaKaldi is a bit darker than most lager beers and has a bit higher ABV, along with a malty, spicy and orange-infused flavour, marking it as a seasonal favourite.


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THE LAXNESS MUSEUM Gljúfrasteinn was the home of writer Halldór Laxness (the winner of The Nobel Prize in Literature 1955) and his family for more than half a century. The house is now a museum, where the author’s home is preserved just as it was when he lived and worked there.



A number of events are hosted throughout the year. Every Sunday during the summertime there are concerts in the living room at 16:00. The museum is open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 10–16. Audio guides of the house are available in Icelandic, English, German, Swedish and Danish, and an illustrated guide in French. Gljúfrasteinn-Laxness museum is located in the valley of Mosfellsdalur on the way to Þingvellir National Park, only a 20 minute drive from Reykjavik. For more information, go to

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Tryggvagata 11 - Volcano house Open 11:30-21:00



What to Do in Iceland if You Only Have One Day If you only have one day in Iceland, the first advice I will give you is to change your flight and stay for at least a week more. If that’s not an option, my next suggestion would be to use the time you have to the fullest, since Iceland is a unique destination.

IF ICELANDIC GEOLOGY INTERESTS YOU No country does volcanoes like Iceland, there’s a reason it’s called the land of Ice and Fire. The Reykjavík Erupts! volcano hike takes you to a geothermally active area where the effects of the extreme heat underground are clearly visible on the surface. The colours of the earth are akin to a rainbow and there are bubbling cauldrons of mud everywhere. Lava Tube Caving tour, on the other hand, allows you to visit a cave that was formed during a volcanic eruption. The rock formations alone make this tour worth the trip.

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IF YOU JUST WANT TO SEE THE HIGHLIGHTS It’s no coincidence that The Golden Circle is the most popular day tour from Reykjavík. There are three stops on the way that just happen to be three of the most captivating destinations in Iceland, and as an added bonus, the tour doesn’t take up more than half of your day. The stops are Þingvellir, the national park where the Icelandic Parliament congregated since Viking times, Gullfoss, the awe-inspiring waterfall which lends its name to the Golden Circle, and Geysir, an erupting hot spring, guaranteed to wow visitors.


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IF YOU WANT TO SEE A GLACIER Since you’re visiting ICE-land, you might want to check out some icy tours and it doesn’t get any icier than hiking on a glacier. Glacier hikes are relatively easy and professional gear is provided so the tour should be accessible for most people. You get to walk on a glacier, with guides who know everything there is to know about glaciers and Iceland in general, what more could you ask for?


IF YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR A LITTLE LUXURY What’s better than having a spa day? Krauma is a natural geothermal spa in West Iceland, next to Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring. The water of the natural hot spring is mixed with cool glacial water for perfect temperatures. It has five hot tubs and one cold bath, a relaxation room and two steam baths. If you’re in South Iceland, then head to the Secret Lagoon. It’s situated in a geothermal area with plenty of hot water streaming naturally from the ground and steam rising into the air around you. The beautiful location really lets you feel at one with the Icelandic nature. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR AN ADRENALINE RUSH Looking for a thrill? Then go on a buggy ride. A buggy is a fast, sturdy and stable ATV, perfect for everybody who loves the outdoors. When

going on a buggy tour, you better be ready to get dirty, with water splashing up on the side of the tires and dust being blown around your head. Driving a buggy through rough Icelandic terrain, with mud pools, dusty roads and sometimes snow, offers an exciting adventure!

IF YOU READ MOBY DICK AND LIKED IT Marine life abounds in the ocean around Iceland. Of all the creatures that live in these waters, the most spectacular ones have to be the whales. If you’re interested in seeing these immense creatures for yourself, take a whale watching cruise. Even the smallest Icelandic whale you could spot is still the size of a full-grown man, and the largest can reach up to 30 metres in length! If you have a few hours to spare before or after the cruise (or if you get seasick and a cruise is out of the question), check out the Whales of Iceland exhibition for some extra information on these gentle giants.

Whether you are going on tours or staying within city limits, you can be sure of one thing: you won’t have seen enough of what Iceland has to offer. The next time you’re in Iceland (and we’re pretty sure you’ll be back) stop by the What’s On office, or send us an email,, and ask the staff to help you plan an unforgettable vacation.


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100 Years and Counting The Story of Icelandic Sovereignty

YEAR OF DISASTER Despite the occasion, Icelanders weren’t in the position to celebrate. The year leading up to December 1 had been a taxing one. The year started off with the Great Frost Winter, during which temperatures routinely hit -20°C. The

waterway between Iceland and Greenland froze, bringing polar bears to Icelandic shores in droves. Fishermen and labourers were unable to work, which, coupled with coal shortages due to World War I, had a devastating effect. The volcano Katla erupted in October of 1918, creating a massive glacial runoff flood, with ash blocking

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DECEMBER 1, 1918 This year, on December 1, 2018, Iceland celebrates 100 years as a free and sovereign state. The Kingdom of Iceland was established by signing the Act of Union with Denmark – with the Danish King as head of state. Foreign affairs and national defence interests were left in the hands of the Danes, while Iceland took control of all other matters pertaining to Iceland. An independence movement had been brewing for the past century, spearheaded by Jón Sigurðsson. The movement culminated with Iceland’s independence in 1944, but with Iceland being granted status as a sovereign state, the largest battle had been won.



the sun. In the same month as the eruption, the Spanish flu came to Reykjavík. Most of the city was bedridden, leaving the streets empty, and people passed away in masses. These events led to a sombre, stoic celebration of Iceland’s newfound status on December 1.

A NATIONAL IDENTITY CREATED The fight for sovereignty was not fought with fists or iron, but rather ideology and a deep-seated nationalistic pride, grounded in nostalgia. A clear national identity was created in the years leading up to December 1, rooted in history and Iceland’s unforgiving nature, but what mostly defined it was that Icelanders were emphatically not Danish. Nowadays, the right to be a nation is still a matter of pride for Icelanders. LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE December 1, 1918 was the day Icelanders took a step into the future. One of the most important victories in the peaceful war for independence, was that Iceland’s sovereignty let a proud people stand on their own two feet. Iceland of 1918 can hardly be compared to the Iceland of 2018. Hundred years on from gaining sovereignty, the country has been transformed from one of the least-developed countries in Europe to one of

the most-developed countries in the world. This December 1, we’ll be celebrating this momentous occasion all over Reykjavík, so if you’re in town, check out the program at

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CENTENNIAL CELEBRATIONS – OPENING CEREMONY From 13:00-13:30 Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will host the opening ceremony of the centennial celebrations at the Government Offices on Lækjargata. The Queen of Denmark, the President of Iceland, and the Prime Minister of Denmark will attend the ceremony.

NEW LOOK OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM The National Museum of Iceland has a new look and is ready to show this to the public during the 100th anniversary of Iceland’s sovereignty. On December 1, admission to the museum is 2000 ISK, but as a special gift, the ticket will be valid as a year pass from December 1, 2018 until November 30, 2019.

SOVEREIGNTY SONGS One of the country’s leading male choirs Fóstbræður (Foster Brothers) and Old Fóstbræður will perform a short concert in Hörpuhorn, the corridor of Harpa Concert Hall. They will sing traditional Icelandic songs from the years 1918-2018. The concert begins at 12:00.

WATER IN ICELANDIC NATURE The Icelandic Museum of Natural History and Perlan Museum present an interactive exhibition on water in Icelandic nature. The exhibition explores all facets of Icelandic water, ranging from groundwater reservoirs to lakes, from waterfalls to geothermal hot springs, and from snow to glaciers.

OPEN HOUSE PARLIAMENT BUILDING The Parliament Building will open its doors on December 1 from 13:30 until 18:00. Parliamentarians and employees of the Parliament’s Office will be present to guide visitors through the building. The event is open to the public and free of charge.

SOVEREIGN WOMEN AND MEN At the City Library in Reykjavík, there will be a photo exhibition telling the story of the women and men who joined the fight for independence and the rights of people in Iceland at the beginning of the 20th century. For more events, check out www.


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A Feast of Light and Peace Christmas in Iceland is the biggest celebration of the year. Perhaps this has something to do with the dark days of winter and the fact that Christmas coincides with the winter solstice. Whatever the reason, Christmas in Iceland is much more than just one day of celebration, there are 13 of them, and that’s not even counting Christmas Eve!

OVER THE TOP CELEBRATIONS Iceland is a very Christmas-oriented nation. It’s no wonder really, the winter months are dark, cold and damp, so celebrating with pretty lights and lots of staying inside and eating is a no-brainer. In the good old days, when people lived in dark and cramped turf houses half-buried in the ground, lived off the land and just tried their best not to freeze to death or get lost in a blizzard during the winter months, the winter solstice was a cause for celebration. It made perfect sense to turn on the best candles they

had, have the best meal possible and put on their best clothes during the darkest days of winter, because it meant that there were brighter days ahead. The same mentality still applies, we celebrate with all our hearts the fact that we’ve reached the darkest point of winter and that from now on, each day will be just a little bit longer than the last, until, finally, summer comes again.

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Christmas in Iceland


WHAT’S ON For more information on Icelandic volcanoes, check out 26

PREPARATIONS For most Icelanders, the time spent preparing for Christmas is no less important or magical than the actual event. During the last four weeks before Christmas, the Advent, people spend their time attending Christmas concerts, going Christmas shopping (a lengthy process that involves a lot of meeting relatives and acquaintances on the street), baking cookies and laufabrauð, and making sure their homes are decorated with brighter lights than their neighbours’. One tradition can certainly be said to be all Icelandic, eating fermented skate on December 23. Visitors to Iceland are often bewildered on this day by the foul odour surrounding the beautiful Christmas decorations in Reykjavík. This day is very important to many Icelanders and must not be underestimated as it is a vital part of the holidays.

FAMILY PARTIES Getting together with family is what this is all about. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the Second Day of Christmas are usually packed with family events; think playing cards with your grandma in her best dress while sipping hot chocolate after stuffing yourself with smoked lamb, white sauce and green beans. That doesn’t mean Icelanders don’t use the holidays to go out as well. The bars are open longer than usual on the Second Day of Christmas, and the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s

Eve is usually packed with concerts and parties. Last but not least is of course New Year’s Eve itself, when Icelanders go all out. Expect fireworks, glitter, parties, and even more fireworks.

CELEBRATED ON DECEMBER 24… Christmas Day in Iceland is a cosy affair, mostly spent wearing pyjamas all day and reading. Books are very important at Christmas in Iceland, and probably the most common Christmas gift in the country. Most people read until the family party (mentioned above) starts. That’s because in Iceland, Christmas starts at Christmas Eve. At precisely 18:00, families all around the country either sit down to a Christmas feast, followed by opening presents and vowing never to eat again, or sit down in church followed by the aforementioned activities. … AT PRECISELY 18:00 Why 18:00 you might ask? The answer most Icelandic people will give is that it’s when the church clock starts chiming and the mass begins on the radio. Maybe people believe that’s the time Jesus was born, or “because my mom says so,” but it actually is a bit more complicated than that. Following a tradition inherited from Judaism, the Christian liturgical day starts at sunset, not at midnight. Since the invention of the clock, they settled the exact time at 18:00. This means technically, 18:00 on Christmas Eve marks the beginning of Christmas Day.




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Restaurant & Lodging

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 28 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 25 rooms 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.

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The Festival of Overeating Food is a significant part of Christmas celebrations all over the world and Iceland is no exception. Every country has its own tradition and while trends and fashions can influence what families eat each year, there are some foodstuffs that just have to be a part of the experience or Christmas is ruined!

GINGERBREAD COOKIES As if Christmas can be celebrated without pepper cakes (piparkökur)? We, uh, mean gingerbread cookies! Pepper cakes is just a literal translation of their Icelandic name, even though they usually contain little to no pepper. Store-bought or homemade, they’re always fun to decorate with colourful frosting. Other

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MANDARIN ORANGES There’s something so addicting about these juicy and sweet mini oranges. Although mandarins are sold all year round, the fresh harvest coming into stores in November and December has the best-tasting fruit. No wonder we associate Christmas with the sweet aroma of mandarins. While mandarins are the current Christmas fruit, they’ve only recently replaced apples as the holiday fruit of choice. They’re available all year today but older Icelanders still remember a time when apples were only imported around Christmastime.


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popular Christmas cookies include buttery vanilla wreaths, light and crunchy cocoa cookies called loftkökur (air cakes), and “mom’s cookies,” ginger cookies sandwiched together with buttercream. There used to be a time when the excellence of a homemaker was judged by the number of different types of cookies she made for Christmas. Anything less than five was a sign of inadequacy. Thankfully, we’re past that now. We think.


LEAF BREAD Some traditions make more sense than others. Eating delicious cookies around Christmastime? Perfectly normal. Going to a Christmas buffet with your office mates? Fun and delicious. Spending a whole day with several other people carving delicate patterns in thin and fragile flour cakes which are then deep-fried in boiling fat, and served with butter come Christmas Eve? Labour-intensive to the point of insanity. Laufabrauð, or leaf bread, is very thin, pretty and subtly delicious. Today, you can get them from the store, but many people still like to get together with family or friends and make them the old-fashioned way. SMOKED LAMB The traditional Icelandic Christmas dish at the start of the last century was hangikjöt. Directly translating to hanging meat, hangikjöt is simply smoked lamb and today, most people serve it on Christmas Day. The salty delicacy is usually boiled and served with potatoes, white sauce similar to béchamel, and red cabbage from a jar. Canned peas are also popular (they mostly taste like nostalgia).

MALT & APPELSÍN There’s a special drink almost every Icelandic household serves at Christmas. It’s a non-alcoholic mixture of two soft drinks, Malt and Appelsín, produced by Iceland’s oldest soda factory, Ölgerðin. Appelsín is an Icelandic orange soda and Malt is, as the name suggests, a malt-based, non-alcoholic beer, dark brown and very sweet. There is some dispute over the correct way to mix it, Malt first or Appelsín first, dare we even suggest adding a splash of cola to the mix? The producer suggests an alphabetical mixing order, but if you want to err on the side of caution, it’s available premixed in cans in every respectable supermarket.

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MOUNTAIN BOROUGH HEALTH AND RECREATION WITH A TOUCH OF HISTORY With outdoor activities as its greatest attraction, get ready for a journey of beautiful hikes in diverse landscapes, historic sites, wool shopping and more, all within the area. Enjoy the hiking paths that lie from the seashore to the mountains. Walk up one of the seven peaks surrounding the area. Learn about the life and works of Nobel Prize laureate Halldór Laxness at his former home, Gljúfrasteinn museum. Take the hiking paths that lie from the museum to the historic Mosfellskirkja church. Go horse riding. Visit the interesting artistic community of Álafosskvos, where they sell handmade arts, crafts and knives; and the Álafoss store, which has been offering handmade wool products at reasonable prices since 1896. Take the kids to Lágafellslaug swimming pool with water slides, jacuzzis, a sauna and a steam bath, and visit Hraðastaðir, a fun petting zoo.



The Icelandic Yule Lads In most countries, one measly Santa Claus is considered quite enough. Icelanders, however, apparently favour quantity over quality and have an unruly group of 13 Yule Lads of troll ancestry roaming the mountains. If the Yule Lads ever meet Santa, we’re guessing it’s only because he’s asking them nicely to please keep it down, as he and Mrs. Claus are early risers – and incidentally, do they happen to know anything about the mysterious disappearance of all of Mrs. Claus’ sausages?

AND WHAT ABOUT THE PRESENTS? The Yule Lads arrive from the mountains one by one, just in time for Christmas. The first one arrives the night before December 12 and the last on the night before December 24. At some point in history, they picked up the habit of giving small children gifts as soon as they arrived

THE NAMES SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES The Yule Lads are pranksters, but they don’t go in for just any old trick. They’ve specialised, which is reflected in their names. The names are very descriptive and refer to their individual mischievous nature, which is further detailed in a popular 1932 poem by poet Jóhannes úr Kötlum. For instance, Þvörusleikir translates as SpoonLicker; Hurðaskellir means Door-Slammer; Gáttaþefur is DoorwaySniffer in English, and we also have, and this is no joke, Gluggagægir, which translates to WindowPeeper. If it makes you feel better, he’s only trying to locate laufabrauð he can steal.

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NAUGHTY OR NICE? The first record of our Yule Lads dates back to the 17th century, although the tales have changed a lot since then. The 13 troll sons of giantess Grýla and Leppalúði, Grýla’s third husband, were originally scary figures. According to the stories, they live with their parents somewhere in the mountains outside of town, along with the Christmas Cat. Sounds cosy, right? Well, it isn’t. The Christmas Cat eats children who don’t get new clothes for Christmas, while Grýla prefers to snack on naughty kids. The Yule Lads have a less infanticidal reputation, limiting themselves to pranks and petty thievery. They’ve mellowed a lot through the years, and hardly steal anything really valuable these days.

in town. The last 13 days before Christmas, children leave a single shoe in the windowsill in their room before going to bed and wake up to a little trinket from one of the lads. If they’ve been good, that is. Otherwise, they just get a potato. So, the next time you wake up to a bearded and rough looking gentleman going through your shoes, just go back to sleep, he’s probably bringing you a present.



Þorláksmessa – Do It Right

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December 23 is the last day before Christmas in Iceland and the stress of getting everything done in time – the presents, the cards, the food, and the decorations – is beginning to get to people. It’s not all bad though, because mixed in with the stress and anxiety is a Christmassy sense of joy and a healthy dose of commiserating with friends and relatives. You’re all in the same boat!


SKIP THE MALLS AND HEAD TO LAUGAVEGUR While Kringlan and Smáralind, the biggest shopping malls in Reykjavík, have plenty of great stores for most of your shopping needs, you just can’t beat the Christmassy atmosphere of Laugavegur, the open-air shopping street in the city centre, lined with the colourful little houses Reykjavík is famous for. Plus, the hot chocolate tastes so much better when you come in from the cold. COMMISERATE WITH YOUR FELLOW SHOPPERS If you’re not fluent in Icelandic, it might be interesting for you to know that on Þorláksmessa you only really need to know one sentence to keep up a conversation. Just say “Jæja, ertu búin að öllu?” (“So, have you done everything yet?”). The person you’re talking to will probably get a worried look on their face and start rattling off a list of everything they haven’t, in fact, done yet. All you have to do to keep up your half of the conversation is nod sympathetically every now and then and maybe throw in a cheery Gleðileg jól (Merry Christmas) before leaving.

GO DOWNTOWN, EVEN IF YOU DON’T REALLY NEED TO GO SHOPPING! I may be exaggerating a tiny bit. There are people, or so I’ve heard, who have actually finished everything before Þorláksmessa, baked all the cookies, put up all the decorations, and probably finished wrapping all the gifts in October. But even those people come downtown on Þorláksmessa. Some people like to leave one last present unbought and others just take a shamelessly purposeless walk down Laugavegur. It’s the place to be, especially during the evening. So, buy that last present, or just go get a beer or a cup of cocoa, but don’t miss out on the Þorláksmessa experience. TRY SOME FERMENTED SKATE We saved the best for last. You thought this was going to be all nice walks down Laugavegur admiring the Christmas lights and drinking Christmas beer, didn’t you? Well, think again. An integral part of the Þorláksmessa experience is (I swear this is true) eating the most foul-smelling seafood Iceland has to offer, fermented skate. Fish with a cartilaginous skeleton, such as skate and shark, can be fermented for food because of the high amount of naturally occurring chemicals that preserve the fish but cause it to stink in the process. Sounds appetising, right? If you’re interested, many restaurants in Reykjavík offer a skate buffet on Þorláksmessa (usually serving other fish along with it, in case the skate turns out to be too offensive to your taste buds). Also, rumour has it that the taste is slightly better than the smell.

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? Christmas is great; some people even say it’s the best. But when Christmas Eve has come and gone, and you’ve been to all the family parties, eaten all the cookies and opened all the presents, what’s there to look forward to? New Year’s Eve, that’s what.

A FAMILY AFFAIR – AT FIRST New Year’s Eve in Iceland is a very special event, and it’s the party night of the year. This might not be completely clear in the early evening, because many Icelanders start the night with a family dinner (turkey has become popular), followed by watching the annual comedy revue on television. Things only start to get going once they get their hands on some fireworks and start doing their best to blow up the neighbour’s house just around midnight.

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Luckily, there is no need to despair on December 27. New Year’s is still to come! If you are a kid (or a grown-up with a moderate to severe interest in lighting fires), this evening can be just as fun as Christmas, but on a completely different level.

COME ON, BABY, LIGHT MY FIRE There is a reason for our burning desire to set things on fire, as there is an old superstition that says you have to burn away the old year to wake up on New Year’s Day with a clean slate. Just in case the fireworks aren’t enough, we also have New Year’s Eve bonfires. Since the bonfires promise to burn away the sins of the year gone by, you can imagine how popular they are. Most towns have one, of varying sizes, and Reykjavík



even has 10 in separate neighbourhoods. The bonfires are usually lit at around 20:30. That’s after dinner, but before the annual comedy revue starts.

ÁRAMÓTASKAUPIÐ – THE ANNUAL COMEDY REVUE Áramótaskaupið is a 50-minute comedy special satirising the year’s most prominent events, and it’s been on since 1966, which incidentally is the year RÚV (the Icelandic national broadcasting service) started broadcasting. Just how big of a deal is it? Well, in 2002, 95% of the population was watching. The other 5% were probably doctors and nurses on call tending to burns, their patients, and maybe a bartender or two. New Year’s Day conversations in Iceland are limited to discussions about what people thought of Skaupið, as it is affectionately known. THE PARTY It might surprise you, but it’s not until after midnight that the actual party gets started. After the fireworks have been lit and hot chocolate has been had with older family members, that’s when people put on their glitter hats, get their confetti bombs ready and head out, drink in one hand, and a lit sparkler in the other. House

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24 locations in Iceland


parties are popular, and downtown Reykjavík quickly starts filling up with eager partygoers.

ELVES AND HIDDEN PEOPLE There’s a fair bit of folklore dedicated to the beginning of a new year. According to tales, this is the night that the elves and hidden people move to a new house, cows speak, and seals leave their seal skin and walk on land as men. While few people have a strong belief in stories of elves and trolls anymore, many people still make sure to leave at least one light on for the whole night, for the hidden people.

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Enjoy the Best of Reykjavík this Christmas During the month of December, Reykjavík puts on its most charming face. Everywhere you go, you can expect Christmas markets, Christmas music and other Christmas events, and everything surface is covered with twinkly Christmas lights. If you’re wondering what to do in the city during Advent, look no further.

CHRISTMAS SPOTS AROUND TOWN The Christmas Village in Hafnarfjörður, a small town just outside Reykjavík, has been getting people into the holiday spirit for the last 14 years. It opens on December 1 with the lighting of the Christmas tree on Thorsplan square and will be open on weekends and on December 23. Experience the charming small-town atmosphere and chat with the local vendors.

For fans of classical music, Hallgrímskirkja church, the city’s most recognisable landmark, hosts an array of wonderful concerts. The Hallgrímskirkja Motet choir and the chamber choir Schola cantorum will put on Christmas concerts and the New Year’s Eve Festive Sound concert is not to be missed. Harpa Concert Hall is not only beautiful to look at, with its honeycomb façade designed by Ólafur Elíasson, but its Christmas programme has something for everyone. Some of Iceland’s most popular musicians put on their Christmas concerts and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra puts on their popular family Christmas concerts, with guest performances from choirs, dancers, and Hildur the clown.

HOLIDAY CHEER IN THE CITY CENTRE Downtown Reykjavík is brimming with Christmas spirit. The city’s Christmas tree will be lit at Austurvöllur square on the first Sunday of Advent. Expect Christmas music and a visit from the Yule Lads!

WINTER WONDERLAND If Christmas in the city isn’t up your alley, just get out of town. Taking a tour out to see some of Iceland’s stunning landscapes in their winter costume is highly recommended and who knows, you might even get to see some northern lights. Snowmobile tours have gotten increasingly popular in the last couple of years while the northern lights tours are always a solid option (you just can’t leave Iceland without seeing them).

Ingólfstorg, just around the corner from Austurvöllur, will be transformed into an

Pop into the What’s On visitor centre on Laugavegur for more information about tours.

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The Árbær Open Air Museum, which consists of several traditional homes, hosts their annual Christmas programme Sundays 9 and 16 until Christmas. It is a perfect stop for families who want to catch a glimpse of what Christmas used to be like in Iceland. There’s an Icelandic Christmas service in the museum church as well as traditional singing and dancing around the Christmas tree. Finally, the 13 Icelandic Yule Lads will entertain visitors.

ice-skating rink again this Christmas season. Skating under Christmas lights is the perfect winter activity and you can follow the smell of the roasted almonds seller Möndlubásinn if you need to warm up afterwards.



Christmas in Hallgrímskirkja Church Hallgrímskirkja church is probably the best-known landmark in Reykjavík, along with Perlan. It’s the last work of architect Guðjón Samúelsson, one of the most prolific architects of Iceland. For his work he usually drew inspiration from Icelandic nature in some way and Hallgrímskirkja is no exception, conjuring the mountains and glaciers of Iceland along with the iconic columnar igneous rock.

Hallgrímskirkja is the second tallest building in the Capital Area and the view from the top is incredible. Take the elevator to the top of the tower and you’ll be rewarded with a view of rows of multi-coloured houses in the centre all laid out neatly like doll’s houses, and further away, the bright-blue sea and mount Esja. During the Christmas season, the Hallgrímskirkja Friends of the Arts Society puts on an impressive Christmas programme, with art exhibitions and concerts to get you in a festive mood.

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DECEMBER 2-31 2018

A FESTIVE MASS December 2, at 11:00 Music by The Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir, conductor Hörður Áskelsson, Björn Steinar Orgelsson plays the Klais-organ.

ORGAN CONCERTO ON ADVENT Sunday December 16 at 17:00 Lára Bryndís Eggertsdóttir, organist in Hjallakirkja church, plays atmospheric organ music by Bach and more.

ART EXHIBITION OPENING Artist: Sigurborg Stefánsdóttir December 2 at 12:15 Opening of the art exhibition “AÐRIR SÁLMAR” by Sigurborg Stefánsdóttir in the foyer of Hallgrímskirkja.

CHRISTMAS CONCERTO AT NOON WITH SCHOLA CANTORUM Friday December 21 at 12:00 The chamber choir Schola cantorum performs diverse choral and christmas music.

THE HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA MOTET CHOIR CHRISTMAS CONCERTO Sunday December 2 at 17:00 Tuesday December 4 at 20:00 Performers include The Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir, conductor Hörður Áskelsson, organist Björn Steinar Sólbergsson and violinist Auður Hafsteinsdóttir.

FESTIVE NEW YEAR SOUNDS Sunday December 30 at 17:00 Monday December 31 at 16:00 The highly popular New Years event returns with festive music for two trumpets and organ.






CHRISTMAS CONCERTO AT NOON WITH SCHOLA CANTORUM Friday December 21st at 12pm The chamber choir Schola cantorum performs diverse choral and christmas music.


At this years annual and ever popular Christmas Concerto of the Hallgrímskirkja Motet Choir, a selection of beautiful choir music will be performed. The theme of the concert is the wonder and mystery of the Nativity and the programme includes a premiere of Magnificat by Sigurður Sævarsson, the hymn “Slá þú hjartans hörpustrengi” to the music of J. S. Bach and O magnum mysterium by Olav Gjelo, where the interplay between the violin solo and the choir is truly charming. One of Iceland’s best violinists, Auður Hafsteinsdóttir, will also perform violin solos accompanied by the Klais organ.



Performers: SCHOLA CANTORUM, and solists from the choir. Conductor: Hörður Áskelsson. Hot chocolate on offer after the concert. Ticket price: 3000 ISK.



Sunday December 16th at 5pm

The highly popular New Years event returns with festive music for two trumpets and organ.

Lára Bryndís Eggertsdóttir organist in Hjallakirkja church. Atmospheric organ music by Bach and more.

Two exceptional young Icelandic trumpetplayers visit from New York and Paris to start the New Year festivities with the Klais organ.

Ticket price: 3000 ISK.

Performers: Baldvin Oddsson trumpet, Jóhann Nardeau trumpet, Björn Steinar Sólbergsson organ. Ticket price: 4500 ISK

Ticket sale in Hallgrímskirkja and on -

WHAT’S ON Find more articles like this at 44




The new season may be bringing the end of the bright summer nights, but never fear, the northern lights are here. The aurora has been invisible all summer long, as its faint light is no match for the midnight sun, but as the autumn equinox draws nearer, it’s now getting dark enough in the evenings for the northern lights to strut their stuff.

Seeing the lights is a magical experience and we recommend seeking them out while you’re in Iceland. However, there are a few things every northern lights hunter should keep in mind. The northern lights aren’t a reliable attraction and seeing them can be a matter of being in the right spot at the right time. It’s not all down to luck, however, as there are a few things you can do to maximise your chances of seeing the ethereal lights.

Different ways to see the Northern Lights: GOING BY COACH:


Cheap and effective. A northern lights tour by bus or minibus is a good way to see the lights if you’re not too concerned about being surrounded a lot of people and simply travelling by bus. Perhaps not the best time if you don’t see anything – but it’s the cheapest option to see the lights, and it gets the job done.

A great experience regardless of lights. Going by boat and seeing the city from the sea at night, is in itself a great experience. The boat ride is a very good choice for those who want to ensure they get something out of their tour even if no lights are found.superjeep



To p 8 tip s fo r th e no rth er n lig ht s The city lights block the northern lights!


Daylight and northern lights don’t go hand in hand!


The northern lights appear way above the clouds!


The northern lights don’t come out by order – be patient and you might get lucky!


So we’d recommend a tour that includes some great activity as well as northern lights hunt – so you won’t feel disappointed!


It can get seriously cold, especially when the sky is clear and you’re waiting for a long time.


Taking photos with a flash won’t work. Ever. A tripod and long exposure are your friends!

Lie down on the ground. Look up. Enjoy!

Book your northern lights tour now online or at the What’s On tourist information centre, at Laugavegur 5. GOING BY SUPER-JEEP: Exclusive and thrilling. Going on a hunt for the lights with a specially modified superjeep is a thrilling experience that’s fun and exciting. Sights can of course never be guaranteed, but the off-road action of a superjeep makes for a great adventure, the lights are just an added bonus.

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The northern lights forecast can be found on, but it is a little hard to decipher if you’ve never seen it before. Our handy-dandy guide should make things a little bit easier.


How To Read the Northern Lights Forecast

THE COLORS WHITE means NO CLOUDS, while DARK GREEN means VERY CLOUDY. The different shades of green then mean more, or less, cloudy.

GOING ON A TOUR? There are many tours taking you far from the bright city lights for a better chance of seeing the aurora. These tours will be cancelled if there is no chance of seeing the lights. All major operators can be

trusted to do this, first of all, because there is a high standard of professionalism in Iceland, but more importantly, because they lose money if they take you out needlessly – most of them promise to take you out again for free if you don’t see anything.

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THE NUMBERS The numbers are a combination of how likely it is for the lights to be active and how active they will be. Don’t be discouraged if the number is low, it’s actually very rare for the number to be higher than five. Also, take the scale with a grain of salt; a low number doesn’t mean that they won’t come out or won’t be impressive, and a high number isn’t a guarantee that they will be glorious all through the night.



R E Y K J AV Í K SIGHTS TO SEE Reykjavik sightseeing has something for everyone! The city is filled with things to do, places to go and stuff to see, but some things are just a little bit more important than others. Check out the map in the centre of the magazine to find the exact location of these Reykjavík sights.

Check out our centerfold map for the locations of these sights

1 | HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA Hallgrímskirkja church is one of Reykjavík’s most iconic buildings and is visible from almost anywhere in the city. It is the largest church and the sixth tallest architectural structure in Iceland. The church tower offers a fantastic view of the city. It’s named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Petursson, author of the Passion Hymns. The architect, Guðjón Samúelsson, designed it to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape. Construction started in 1945 and was finished in 1984.


2 | PERLAN Standing at 25 metres, Perlan is one of Reykjavík’s most striking buildings. Built on top of the city’s hot water tanks, Perlan is known for its unique architecture. Up on the fourth level, there is a 360 degree viewing platform where you can get the city's best panoramic views for a fee. During the day, the Perlan café is a nice place to get coffee. Surrounding the Perlan is the Öskjuhlíð area, one of the many green spaces in Reykjavík, perfect for a walk on a sunny day. 3 | TJÖRNIN Tjörnin (the pond) is the heart of the city centre and offers some of the most amazing views in Reykjavík. There is no better place in the city to enjoy a beautiful sunset and you can watch or feed a huge variety of birdlife that calls the lake home, while you’re at it. When the lake freezes over in winter, geothermal water is pumped in to defrost an area for the birds, and feeding them is a popular family pastime all year round. Those who can handle the cold take to the lake on ice skates.

4 | AUSTURVÖLLUR When the sun is shining, Austurvöllur is the place to be. Surrounded by cafés and restaurants, this public square is a popular spot for locals to dine outside, soak up some sunshine or recline on the grass with picnics. In fact, whatever the season, Austurvöllur is the place to be. It‘s used for celebrations on holidays and in December, the city‘s biggest Christmas tree is located here. Due to its proximity to the Parliament building, Austurvöllur is also a popular gathering spot for political protesters. At the centre of it all stands a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, the renowned figure who is credited with leading Iceland to independence.


5 | KOLAPORTIÐ Whether you want to sample dried fish and fermented shark, purchase a bag of Icelandic candy or browse through thrifted clothing, Kolaportið, an indoor flea market, open on the weekends between 11:00-17:00, is your best bet. The atmosphere is unique and the old industrial building is usually filled with people hunting for books or antiques, grocery shopping at the food court, selling their old garments, buying music and DVDs or digging through piles of stuff in search of hidden treasures. We recommend bringing cash, or visiting the ATM at one of the entrances, as the majority of stalls don’t accept cards. 6 | HARPA The whole 28,000 square meters of Harpa stand at the edge of the Reykjavik Harbour. It houses Iceland‘s biggest concert hall, suitable for a broad range of concerts and cultural events, a conference centre with meeting facilities and in-house catering, as well as a couple of fine restaurants. Harpa also hosts promotions, plays, and public events. It‘s open to everyone, always, and you should definitely visit Harpa, whether it‘s to take in a show, buy souvenirs, go to a concert or have a lovely dinner in one of the fabulous restaurants. Harpa was designed by a Danish firm in cooperation with Ólafur Elíasson, an Icelandic artist, and opened to the public in 2011.

7 | THE OLD HARBOUR It’s the first lasting harbour in Reykjavik, although it’s no longer the city’s busiest one. The most visited area is the eastern pier where you’ll find a community of shops, galleries, electric bike and scooter rentals and guided tour operators. You will also find numerous whale watching companies willing to take you out to sea on unforgettable excursions. The area is filled with excellent restaurants (sushi and other seafood, tapas, burgers, etc.) and cafés. The atmosphere at the old harbour is friendly, the air is fresh and salty and there are plenty of interesting activities to check out. 8 | THE SUN VOYAGER A beautiful sculpture of a Viking ship located

9 | HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT Founded in 950 A.D, Iceland‘s parliament, Alþingi, is the oldest extant parliament in the world! For centuries, the parliament gathered in the open air (on the aptly named Þingvellir, Parliament fields) but in recent years, they’ve met in Reykjavík. The House of Parliament is a modest classical building of hewn Icelandic dolerite, and it gives Austurvöllur square a dignified look. The parliament garden behind the building is small but lovely in the summertime.

10 | LAUGARDALSLAUG Every country has traditions when it comes to leisure. Icelanders' favourite pastime is going swimming. Laugardalslaug is the city’s largest pool with extensive facilities, located in Laugardalur Valley. Its facilities include a 50 metres outdoor pool, an outdoor children’s pool and a paddling pool, two waterslides, numerous hot tubs, a steam bath, gym, and a mini golf course. There really is no better place to be on a sunny day, or a cold one for that matter. Right outside you will find a hot dog stand where you can buy traditional Icelandic hot dogs.

Check out our centerfold map for the locations of these sights

by the ocean on a small peninsula by Sæbraut, close to the Reykjavík centre. The sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason symbolises the Viking past of the Icelanders and is an ode to the sun. It serves as reminder of our history and heritage when the first Viking settlers came sailing to Iceland. The Sun Voyager looks its best when the sun is setting, at whatever time that may be. The unforgettable view of the sculpture with a backdrop of the ocean and Mt. Esja is every photographer’s dream.



i 5



4 6 3















Check out the article The Reykjavik Sight Experience on pages 48-49 for more information about the places numbered here.



What’s On Tourist Information and Booking Centre Locations Main areas


Tour Pick Ups

10 12 10


THE REYKJAVÍK MUSEUM WALK Reykjavík’s history reaches back for more than a thousand years and the city is rich with culture. This heritage can be experienced in the museums scattered throughout the city. To make life easier for you, here is a proposed Museum Walk that covers the best ones in downtown Reykjavik, all within a walking distance. VOLCANO HOUSE The museum gives visitors an idea of the life in Iceland, where volcanoes and earthquakes are a constant threat. Icelandic nature is in a state of constant flux, earthquakes occur daily somewhere in Iceland, and volcanic eruptions are always a possibility. Volcano House lets you experience the world of Icelanders by coming as close as possible to experiencing an eruption or earthquake for yourself. They also have a Volcano Show, which consists of two back-to-back documentaries on historical volcanic eruptions.


REYKJAVÍK MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHY The museum’s main objective is to present both historical and contemporary photography in an artistic, social and cultural context, as well as nurture public and scholarly interest in photography and its culture. The collection’s themes are diverse, you can find family photographs, photos from portrait studios, industrial and advertising photographs, press photography, landscape photographs and more.


REYKJAVÍK ART MUSEUM Hafnarhús serves as the museum’s institute of contemporary art, where new developments in art are explored through diverse exhibitions of Icelandic and international artists. An exhibition of paintings by wellknown pop artist Erró is a permanent feature. Don’t forget to stop by the Hafnarhús shop for postcards, art posters and books published by the museum.

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SETTLEMENT EXHIBITION Archaeological remains were excavated in Aðalstræti in 2001, which turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in Reykjavík. The relics are now preserved at their original location and are the focal point of the Settlement Exhibition. The construction of Viking Age buildings is explained using multimedia technology and computer technology is used to give an impression of what life was like in the hall.




The nation’s most precious treasures are kept and displayed at The National Museum of Iceland. The museum was established on the 24th of February in 1863 and its aim is to increase and relay knowledge of Icelandic cultural heritage from the country’s settlement until now. In the museum you will find a permanent exhibition of objects that provide insight into Icelandic history and culture as well as temporary exhibitions highlighting specific eras or aspects of the Icelandic cultural heritage. THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ICELAND The principal art museum of Iceland, established in 1884. Its art collection consists mainly of 19th and 20th century art works. In its possession are many of the keystones of Icelandic art history, as well as a growing collection of works from other countries. The National Gallery’s main role is to collect, preserve, research and exhibit Icelandic art and offer education about it. There is also a considerable emphasis laid on showing Icelandic art in context with international art.


WONDERS OF THE VOLCANO In the city centre, by the old harbour

SHOWTIMES 9 AM – 9 PM on the hour, every day.

“ “ “

Great intro to Iceland! Really interesting documentary and lovely staff! The hands on display of different rocks/volcanic products is great fun.

Tryggvagata 11, Reykjavík, Iceland | +354 555 1900 |





N E W I N TOW N LA PRIMAVERA One of Reykjavík’s long-lost loves has returned! Inside the Marshall Restaurant at Grandagarður 20, Italian-Icelandic restaurant La Primavera is taking over the kitchen for a limited time. La Primavera was a popular restaurant from 1993 until 2011, famous for their lobster pasta. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restaurant, they open their doors again until January 31, 2019. Since both the Marshall Restaurant and La Primavera are run by the same chef, the revival is not completely out of the blue. Expect fresh traditional Italian food prepared with the best Icelandic ingredients.

HOTEL HOLT RESTAURANT Hotel Holt, a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Reykjavík, open their new hotel restaurant December 1. Along with dinner, they offer a predinner in-house art walk through the hotel’s gallery, including a complimentary glass of

sparkling wine. The restaurant offers two- or three-course set menus with seasonally-inspired dishes. Their focal point will be Icelandic fish and meat, but vegan options are also available. They offer special Christmas and New Year’s Eve menus, which will be presented on their website soon. Availability will be limited, so be sure to reserve a table on time.

MÖNDLUBÁSINN – ROASTED ALMONDS Möndlubásinn is the jolt of Christmas spirit everyone needs. During Advent, the roasted almond sellers set up shop wherever and whenever they can, but you can often find them on the corner of Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur in downtown Reykjavík. Just follow the delicious scent of cinnamon sugar. They’re not exactly new in town, as they’ve been warming the hearts and bellies of Icelanders every Christmas season since 2010, but they are always a welcome sight (and smell!) each December.


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HAGAVAGNINN At the beginning of November, former hot dog stand Hagavagninn opened its doors again after being renovated into a small burger joint. They’re still located in West Reykjavík, very close to Vesturbæjarlaug swimming pool. Describing themselves as a “place that serves good burgers,” they’re bound to become a local favourite. Next to three different burgers (that can be made vegan), they also serve fries, hot wings, and ice cream. The perfect spot for grabbing some decently-priced comfort food after soaking in a hot tub.

La Primavera


EVENTS NOTABLE EVENTS IN REYKJAVÍK FInd more information and events on 56

Sigga Beinteins performs with friends



DECEMBER 7-8 Sigga Beinteins will perform Christmas songs and classical ballads in both Icelandic and English. One of Iceland’s most beloved pop singers, you might know her from Eurovision Song Contest, in which she participated three times. During her concert, she will invite some of the best guest singers and musicians with her on stage. She will sing pop, rock, classical songs, and ballads, and her shows are known for a theatrical stage design and visual effects. Christmas spirit guaranteed!

DECEMBER 20-21 Icelandic pop sensation Jón Jónsson has held Christmas concerts every year since 2013, always selling out the venue. Jón has been compared to Jack Johnson, John Mayer, and Gavin DeGraw before, and his songs are characterised as a mix of pop and R&B. This year, there will be three concerts, all held at Háskólabíó. One concert will be on December 20 at 20:00, and two will be on December 21 at 20:00 and at 23:00.

LIGHTING OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE DECEMBER 2 For many locals, the lighting of the Christmas tree on Austurvöllur square in front of the Parliament building is the official start of Christmas. Norway has gifted Reykjavík with a Christmas tree since 1951, as a sign of the relationship between the two nations. The lighting of this tree is always done on the first Sunday of Advent, and festivities start in the late afternoon. There will be hot chocolate and coffee, Christmas carols will be sung, and the Icelandic Yule Lads will make their appearance and entertain both adults and children.

A RARE, ONCE-INA-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY Around, on and deep within the awesome Langjökull ice gap glacier. Into the Glacier offers various tours to the World's largest ice tunnel. The ice tunnel and caves are located high on Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull. Daily departures from Klaki base camp, Húsafell center and from Reykjavik. You can choose from various tours and book online at Tel: +354 578-2550



DECEMBER 19 Norwegian soprano Sissel will come to Iceland for the third consecutive year to perform a Christmas concert series in Eldborg hall of Harpa Concert Hall. She is known for singing the Olympic Hymn at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1994 Winter Olympics. She performs pop songs, folk songs, classical vocals, and operatic arias. Her Christmas shows are old out every year throughout all of Scandinavia. For her concert in Reykjavík, she will bring friends from Iceland, the UK, and Norway with her. Merry Christmas!

DECEMBER 14 Stína Ágústs and Marína Ósk, two Stockholm-based jazz vocalists, lyricists and composers, will perform a Christmas jazz concert together for the first time. They will play known and lesser known Nordic Christmas songs with new Icelandic lyrics written by them. Their concert takes place at Múlinn Jazz Club in the Björtuloft room of Harpa Concert Hall. The concert takes place from 21:00 till 23:00.

EIVØR CHRISTMAS CONCERTS DECEMBER 7-9 Faroese singer-songwriter Eivør, known for her distinct and powerful voice, is performing four Christmas concerts in the Silfurberg hall of Harpa Concert Hall. There will be one concert on December 7, two on December 8 and one on December 9. Pursuing music since she was just 15, she sings pop, jazz, rock and folktronica songs in English, Faroese and Icelandic. Her Christmas shows are intimate concerts during which she will perform a mix of her own songs and her favourite Christmas songs.


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VOLCANO HOUSE Wonders of the Volcano The Volcano House includes a hands-on mineral exhibition featuring different mineral samples, such as lava from the 2014 eruption of Bárðabunga and ash from the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull. A documentary in English is screened every hour, on the hour, from 9:00 to 21:00. It focuses on some of the most famous eruptions of Iceland and covers the causes and effects of Icelandic volcanic activity in general. The show is also available in different languages by arrangement. The Volcano House is fun and educational for people of all ages, and kids are especially welcome (free for 0-10 years old).

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The Volcano House is a great stop on your museum day. After standing and reading for hours, it’s nice to sit down and watch a movie.


Wonders of the Volcano

The Volcano House is a great late-night activity (the last show is at 21:00), a good replacement if your tour is cancelled, or if the weather is bad (it’s always nice and warm inside). Drop by anytime! For more information, see

LIVING ART MUSEUM Another Space Works by Eygló Harðardóttir are gathered together in the exhibition Another Space. For Eygló, works of art happen with an intuitive approach to their materials, with no planned or perceived endpoint in sight. She explores the edges of different materials, their structure

Another Space

and potential, she discards and employs the opportunity to change them. In that process, materials are stretched out, suspended, adjusted and

rearranged. She works in both two- and three-dimensional forms, with paper sculptures, installations and bookwork.


R E Y K JAV I K A R T MUSEUM Á S M U N DA R S A F N Art for the People Retrospective on the works of Ásmundur Sveinsson. The sculptor was born in 1893 and died nearly 90 years later, in 1982. He lived through some of the most intense times of history. He was born into poverty, like most Icelanders at the time. When he died, Iceland had become one of the richest nations of the world, and the country had long ago become a republic with an active democracy. The nation’s history is reflected in his work.

Black and White

Invasion IV: Margrét Helga Sesseljudóttir Margrét Helga Sesseljudóttir makes use of various media and materials in her multi-layered sculptures. Her natural and personal approach is fascinating and provides an interesting viewpoint of the work of Ásmundur Sveinsson.

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Erró: Black and White Erró: Black and White has around 30 new and recent black-and-white paintings by Erró. The works show the artist’s creative energy and innovation. He mixes historical figures with manga and cartoon figures. The material is diverse, and it is safe to say that it covers most of the artist’s interests. Erró is known for his unbridled enthusiasm for most things between heaven and earth. Inspired by cartoons and art history, he has created powerful pieces. These paintings are brimming with sarcasm and humour towards social issues and human nature. D35 Leifur Ýmir Eyjólfsson The series aims to give promising artists a chance to hold their first solo exhibition in a public art museum and direct attention to new and exciting currents in the art world.

Art for the People

Ingólfur Arnarsson: Ground Level Ingólfur Arnarsson has been influential on the Icelandic art scene ever since the early in the eighties. Arnarsson’s drawings are characterised by delicate lines, precision and time. The exhibition in Hafnarhús’s A-Hall holds new works, precisely executed for the hall space.

Colour: Draft of Contemporary Art History in Iceland (II) Colour is the subject of all the works in this exhibition, both as a natural phenomenon as well as a cultural one. The artists reflect different ideas, the history of painting, chemistry, symbolism, perception and even house paint.


Steikhúsið simply means “The Steak House” and that underlines our goal, to focus solely on steaks. Steikhúsið is in the middle of Reykjavík, opposite the old harbor, which has recently formed into a lively neighborhood of restaurants, cafes, artisan stores and work shops. When you visit us, remember to try our “28-day” 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, since the building housed a blacksmith and metal works in years gone by. THE KITCHEN IS OPEN FROM 17:00 ‘TILL LATE — VISIT WWW.STEAK.IS

Booking: +354 561 1111 &

Riding with Eldhestar

The guide will tell guests stories about the Icelandic Jólasveinn (Yule-lads or Santa Clauses) and their mother, the mythical giantess named Grýla, who roamed around the countryside. Depending on the tour you are invited for a traditional Icelandic Christmas meal (tour 2c) or coffee and Christmas cookies in a cosy cafeteria were Christmas music will fill the air (tour 2a & 3c).

Christmas Heritage Tour This tour takes us through meadows, lava fields and a small river. On our way we enjoy the nice scenery of volcanic mountains and farmland. 1.5-2 hours riding 12,900 ISK Tour 2A

Christmas Season’s Speciality This tour starts with a riding tour in the spirit of the Vikings. Where we go depends on wind, weather and the participants’ riding experience, and of course to stay out of the way of Grýla´s wrath. 1.5-2 hours riding 15,500 ISK Tour 2C

Horses & Hot Springs Experience a variety of scenery and excellent riding trails. 2.5-3 hours riding 15,000 ISK. Tour 3C


Get further information at

Eldhestar, Vellir, 816 Ölfus, Iceland +354 480 4800



Jóhannes S. Kjarval: of great aspirations Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval (1885-1972) was one of the pioneers of Icelandic art in the 20th century and is one of the country‘s most beloved artists. His connection to, and interpretation of Iceland’s natural environment is thought to have taught Icelanders to appreciate it anew, and to have encouraged pride in the country’s uniqueness and the world of adventure to be discovered within it. Kjarval’s subject matter can be categorized into three main groups: landscapes, portraits, and fantasies or works of imagination. These often overlap, however, so that all three kinds may be found in the same canvas.

KORRIRÓ OG DILLIDÓ PICTURES OF FOLKLORE AND FAIRY TALES BY ÁSGRÍMUR JÓNSSON Step into magic! The visual world of Icelandic folklore and fairy tales created by Ásgrímur Jónsson in his art is a truly enchanted realm. Elves, trolls and ghosts were given a clear form in Ásgrímur’s art. He first exhibited such pieces in Iceland in 1905. Ásgrímur’s works on folklore themes were well received; in the press, reviewers expressed delight that the folktale heritage was being addressed, for the first time, by an Icelandic artist. Ásgrímur’s depictions of the appearance of elves and trolls

met with widespread approval; hence the artist appears to have succeeded in capturing the way that Icelanders in general imagined such beings. The exhibition Korriró og Dillidó offers an ideal opportunity for the entire family to experience the unique supernatural world of elves in their finery, and terrifying trolls, as depicted with passionate sincerity by Ásgrímur Jónsson. The emphasis is on the visitor’s own imagination – offering the opportunity to enjoy this aspect of the cultural heritage, which can throw light upon the fears, dreams and desires of former generations – and their relationship with awe-inspiring Icelandic nature.

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SIGURJÓN ÓLAFSSON MUSEUM CONNECTIONS – SCULPTURES BY SIGURJÓN ÓLAFSSON AND SOME OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES The thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Sigurjón Ólafsson Museum in October 2018, is marked by an exhibition in which fourteen artists , all of whom had some connection with Sigurjón and his art, engage in dialogue with Sigurjón’s works, in his former studio. The work of all is characterised by a passion for craft. All set out to create spatial works, whether stone sculptures or three-dimensional works in metal, wood, paper or textiles.


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Treasures of a Nation In the collection of the National Gallery of Iceland, there are over 11,000 works of various kinds, from various countries and from various periods. In the exhibition Treasures of a Nation a fair selection of works from the collection displays the evolution of art in Iceland from the early 19th century to our times. The exhibition features a variety of media and styles distinguishing this short but eventful history. During the first decades, from 1884 to 1911, the collection was exclusively based on the generous donations of foreign artists, mostly Danish and other Scandinavians, but in the early 20th century, Icelandic art became more prominent. Today, only one of every 10 works in the collection of the National Gallery is foreign, despite the fact that foreign artists are still slightly more numerous than Icelandic artists. The generosity of various individuals, artists and other parties can be thanked for the pace with which the collection grew during the last century. Many of the pioneers of modern Icelandic art bequeathed their works to the nation. In the late 20th century the museum’s


purchasing fund increased and with it the collection expanded. There is a long and remarkable trajectory from the fragile drawings of Helgi Sigurðsson (1815-1888) to the frail poet Jónas Hallgrímsson (18071845) to the exquisite sculptures of Margrét H. Blöndal (1970-).

ORACLES An exhibition of a selection of the works of Karl Einarsson Dunganon, which aims to throw light on the life and art of this unusual artist, who always cherished a great affection for Iceland, and bequeathed his life’s work to the Icelandic nation. The National Gallery collection includes more than 200 works by the artist.

BLOSSOMING The exhibition Blossoming is about Iceland’s 100 years as a sovereign state. The exhibition title references Halldór Laxness’s novel Independent People and, like that work, the exhibition explores a deep yearning for independence. During its hundred-year history, the sovereign state of Iceland has faced many adversities with regard to its economic and cultural independence, control over marine resources, nature conservation, and participation and responsibility in international cooperation. Just like a small and hardy flower, sovereignty needs nourishment, and that nourishment includes, among other things, exchanging views and sharing the world with other people.

r e t p o c i l e H urs To






EINAR JÓNSSON MUSEUM This is a museum in the heart of Reykjavík that houses the work of Iceland’s first sculptor Einar Jónsson. The museum contains close to 300 artworks spanning a 60-year career: carvings from the artist’s youth, sculpture, paintings and drawings. A beautiful tree-clad garden adorned with 26 bronze casts of the artist’s works is located behind the museum. The task of the museum is to collect, preserve and display the work of Einar as well as to conduct research on his life and art.

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MANNABEIN Designer Torfi Fannar has set up his clothes collection at the entrance of the Museum of Design and Applied Art. Mannabein is the fruit of a yearlong process of self-inquisition through various means. It’s about coming to terms with “being” in a bigger and smaller context and creating harmony between external and internal reality. Every garment in the collection was knitted from soft cotton on a hand knitting machine, aside from the felted hats which are traditional style hats from Pisac and Chinchero, villages in Peru. BEHIND THE SCENES WITH EINAR ÞORSTEINN In 2014, the Icelandic architect and mathematician Einar Þorsteinn Ásgeirsson (1942-2015) donated most of the contents of his workshop to the Museum of Design and Applied Art in Iceland. The gift included diaries, photographs, drawings, calculations, sketchbooks, models, furniture, and other items relating to his life and work. Instead of


Einar Jónsson Museum

filing Einar Þorsteinn’s work and belongings in the backrooms of the museum, as is normal practice, in this case, the process will take place in the museum’s exhibition space. They will open the boxes, photograph the work,

enter it into the filing system, and finally pack everything up according to best practice. The aim is to preserve the work but also to make the information gathered on each object accessible.

HAPPY HOUR 4-7PM every day Live music EVERY NIGHT Beer Bingo & Pub Quiz every month



Ingólfssstræti 3, 101 Reykjavík | Tel: 552-0070 |

Reykjavík´s Thermal Pools

A source of health

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Thermal pools and baths in Reykjavik are a source of health, relaxation and pureness. All of the city´s swimming pools have several hot tubs with temperatures ranging from 37˚ to 42˚C (98˚–111˚F). The pools are kept at an average temperature of 29˚ C (84˚ F)

Tel: +354 411 5000



Ng Hui Hsien The Weight of Air Ng Hui Hsien’s exhibition emphasises the essences of spaces and situations in relation to the subconscious in Icelandic nature. Photographer Ng Hui Hsien explored Icelandic natural environments in her search for quiet.

Settlemen Exhibition

SETTLEMENT EXHIBITION The Settlement Exhibition An open excavation where Viking ruins meet multimedia technology. Just below ground in downtown Reykjavík, this open excavation uncovers the city’s Viking Age history. Discovered during building work in 2001, these archaeological remains turned out to be the earliest evidence of human settlement in the city, with

some dating to before AD 871±2. Careful excavation revealed a 10th-century hall or longhouse, which is now preserved in its original location as the focal point of the exhibition. Interactive technology immerses you in the world of the Reykjavík farm at the time of the first settlers, including information on how Viking Age buildings were constructed and what life was like in the hall.

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Family Photos The exhibition Family Photos comprises photographs from Guðbjartur Ásgeirsson and his wife Herdís Guðmundsdóttir, along with works from some of their descendants, who are among the most renown Icelandic photographers. They left a remarkable photographic archive, now in the collection of the Reykjavík Museum of Photography. The photographs capture life in Iceland, at sea and on land, from poor working people to visiting royalty. We see the work of three generations in one family.



Making of a Nation

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From creative printing to artist publishing In this exhibition we are introduced to examples of Icelandic artists’ books from the collection of the National and University Library of Iceland. Examples of printmaking dating all the way back to the latter part of the 19th century to modern day book art. One of the pioneers of artists’ books, Dieter Roth (1930- 1998), made his first book in Iceland around 1957. Since that time, artists’ books have been part of the expression of Icelandic visual artists. During the Reykjavik Arts Festival there will be a special exhibition of Eygló Harðardóttir’s, Sculpture (2016), and the prototype will be exhibited in the Reading Chamber in

the Culture House. The exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the National and University Library, but within the Library there is an increased emphasis on book art.

The Making of a Nation Heritage and History in Iceland The National Museum of Iceland’s permanent exhibition, Making of a Nation – Heritage and History in Iceland, is intended to provide insight into the history of the Icelandic nation from the settlement to the present day. The aim is to cast light on the Icelanders’ past by placing the cultural heritage preserved by the National Museum in a historical context, guided by the question: what makes a nation? The exhibition includes about 2,000 objects, dating from the

Settlement Age to the present, as well as about 1,000 photographs from the 20th century. The exhibition is conceived as a journey through time: it begins with the ship in which medieval settlers crossed the ocean to their new home, it ends in a modern airport, the Icelanders’ gateway to the world..

Discovering Iceland’s Monasteries The exhibition is based on research done by Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir, professor of archaeology at the University of Iceland and the National Museum of Iceland. The research aimed at finding clues on monastic activities in Iceland from the foundation of the earliest one in 1030 to the dissolution of the last in 1554.


THE ICELANDIC PUNK MUSEUM The Icelandic Punk Museum is located at Bankastræti 0, an underground location that served as public toilets from 1930 to 2006. The museum honours the music and the spirit that has shaped musicians and bands to this day; people who dared to be different. Objects, photographs, videos, posters, etc. from roughly 1978 to 1992 are on display with texts in Icelandic and English, and the main music from the period is available to guests.

Punk Museum

C U LT U R E H O U S E Points of view This exhibition gives visitors the chance to delve into the collections of six different cultural institutions. A unique journey through Iceland’s visual legacy, offering an innovative guide to a nation’s cultural history.

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Points of View


Welcome to Jómfrúin, the home of Danish smørrebrød in Reykjavik. It all began in 1888 with Oscars Davidsen’s highly praised smørrebrød restaurant in Copenhagen. An unbroken tradition of quality and Danish culinary culture for the past 100 years. Enjoy! Open every day 11:00 - 22:00 | Lækjargata 4 | 101 Reykjavík |

STEAKHOUSE STEAKHOUSE With taste taste of of iceland iceland

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REYKJAVÍK CITY MUSEUM This unique museum was founded in 1957 in order to give visitors a tangible sense of Reykjavík’s past. It comprises a village-like collection of over twenty “homes,” each creating a very interesting exhibition in itself.

REYKJAVÍK CITY MUSEUM Experience Viking-Age Reykjavik at the Settlement Exhibition. Multimedia techniques bring Reykjavik’s past to life, providing visitors with insights into how people lived in the Viking Age, and what the environment looked like to the settlers.

Kistuhylur, Reykjavík 411-6304 | Hours: Daily 13-17

VIÐEY ISLAND REYKJAVÍK CITY MUSEUM Unspoiled nature reigns on island of Viðey, which has a unique place in Icelandic history. Birdlife abounds on the island, while out­stand­ing works of modern art also make their mark.

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Viðey Reykjavik 411-6356.


REYKJAVIK CITY LIBRARY FREE ENTRY Looking for a place to hang out, browse the internet, get access to Wi-Fi or meet the Reykjavik locals? Then Reykjavik City Library is the perfect place to visit. Have a seat and dip into the latest magazine or relax while checking out their great selection of books. Tryggvagata 15, Reykjavík 411-6100 | Hours: Mon-Thu 10-19, Fri 11-18, Sat & Sun 13-17

REYKJAVIK MARITIME MUSEUM REYKJAVÍK CITY MUSEUM It is impossible to truly get to know Iceland without getting to know its fishing history. The museum’s main exhibitions illustrate the development from rowing boats to modern trawlers and the construction of Reykjavik harbour.

Aðalstræti 16, Reykjavík | 411-6370 | Hours: Daily 9-18

Grandagarður 8, Reykjavík | 411-6340



REYKJAVÍK CITY MUSEUM The aim of the museum is to shape a unique vision and to be leading in its field. The museum preserves various collections from professional and amateur photographers. Tryggvagata 15, Reykjavík | 411-6390 Hours: Mon-Thu 10-18, Fri 11-18, Sat & Sun 13-17

THE ICELANDIC MUSEUM OF ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Björk, Sigur Rós, Of Monsters and Men… What’s their story? At the museum guests can dive into the history of Icelandic rock ‘n’ roll music. Don’t miss the cinema running documentaries all day, the gift shop, the sound lab where you can try various instruments and sing your heart out in a karaoke booth! Hjallavegi 2, 260 Reykjanesbæ 420 1030 | Hours: Daily 11-18

FREE ENTRY Hafnarborg has a collection of Icelandic art and regular exhibitions presenting leading Icelandic and international artists. Collection exhibitions are a regular part of the program. Around exhibitions are workshops and guided tours. Strandgata 34, Hafnarfjörður 585-5790 | Hours: Wed-Mon 12-17

EINAR JÓNSSON MUSEUM A museum with indoor and outdoor exhibitions dedicated to the work of Einar Jónsson, Iceland’s first modern sculptor (1874-1954). The museum was built in the early 1900’s when Einar Jónsson offered all of his works as a gift to the Icelandic nation. Hallgrímstorg 3, Reykjavík 551-3797 | Hours: Tue-Sun 10-17

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Iceland's leading art museum, established in 1884. Its collection consists mainly of 19th, 20th and 21st century art. The National Gallery possesses a coherent array of Icelandic works and a fine collection of international art. Together they constitute around 11.000 items.

Offers a state-of-the-art exhibitions on the cultural history of Iceland. The permanent exhibition, Making of a Nation - Heritage and History of Iceland, gives a comprehensive picture of Iceland’s cultural history through the ages to the present day.

A museum that Icelandic sculptor Sigurjón Ólafsson’s wife founded as a tribute to his life and work in 1984. She had his studio in Laugarnes converted to an exhibition space to house his collection of works, including sculptures, sketches, drawings and biographical material.

Fríkirkjuvegur 7, Reykjavík 515-9600 | Hours: Tue-Sun: 11-17

Suðurgata 41, Reykjavík 530-2200 | Hours: Tue-Sun: 10-17

Laugarnestangi 70 553-2906 | Hours: Sat-Sun 14-17



One of the pioneers of Icelandic art and the first Icelander to take up painting professionally. Having died in 1958, he bequeathed all his works, as well as his studio home to the Icelandic nation.

Probably the most unique museum you’ll visit on your trip, the Icelandic Phallological Museum is a one of a kind. Here you’ll find a collection of more than two hundred penises and penile part belonging to almost all land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland.

The Northern Lights Center, Aurora Reykjavik, allows you to experience the Northern Lights in a completely different way, both if you saw them, but as well if they escaped you while in Iceland. The centre features information, education and of course stunning visuals of the elusive lights that’ll get your heart racing.

Laugavegur 116, Reykjavík 561 6663 | Hours: Daily 10-18

Grandagarður 2, Reykjavík 780-4500 | Hours: Daily 9-21



Cultural center and historic home of Hannes Hafstein, Iceland’s first Minister of State, now houses the non-profit Hannesarholt, dedicated to retrieving cultural memory, and revitalizing cultural roots. Bordstofan Bistro open daily from 11-18. Short doc on Hannes Hafstein and early. Reykjavik Guided historic city walks Tue and Thu at 1 pm by appointment.

Shows documentaries that give a good idea of real life in Iceland, where volcanoes and earthquakes are a constant threat. There’s also a mineral exhibition, giving a brief overview of Iceland’s geological history and volcanic system, and a boutique, with Icelandic designs, artwork, lava rocks, pumice, bottles of ash and Lava Jewellery.


Grundarstígur 10, Reykjavík 511-1904 | Hours: Mon-Fri 10-16

Tryggvagata 11, Reykjavík 555-1900 | Hours: Daily 9-22

Its objective is to collect, study and present Icelandic design and crafts from 1900 to the present day. This young museum, the only one of its kind in Iceland, holds regular exhibitions of Icelandic and international design during the year. Exhibitions from the museum‘s own collection are regularly held. Garðatorg 1, Garðabær 512-1525 | Hours: Tue-Sun 12-17

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Bergstaðastræti 74, Reykjavík 515-9625 Hours: Sat-Sun 14-17








Mainly devoted to paintings and sculpture by well established Icelandic and international artists. Kjarvalsstaðir offers a permanent exhibition of key works by one of Iceland’s most beloved landscape painters, Jóhannes S. Kjarval, as well as changing exhibitions that explore various thematic and historical aspects of Icelandic art.

Opened in 1983, the collection is housed in a unique building designed and constructed mostly by the artist himself from 1942-1950. The original building served Sveinsson as studio and home; behind it he built a crescent-shaped structure as a workand exhibition space.

The old harbour warehouse, Hafnarhús, offers a progressive exhibition program with local and international contemporary artists. The work of current notables, art canons and newcomers are presented in six galleries. Hafnarhús is also home to the works of Erró (b. 1932), a significant player in the international pop art scene.

Flókagata 24, Reykjavík 411-6420 | Hours: Daily 10-17

GLJÚFRASTEINN LAXNESS MUSEUM Halldór Laxness is arguably the most famous Icelandic writer of all time, and the only Icelander to have won a Nobel Prize, which he received for literature in 1955. Gljúfrasteinn was his home until his death, and today it is a museum dedicated to his life and work.

Sigtún, Reykjavík 411-6430 | Hours: Daily 13-17



FREE ENTRY A selection from the numismatic collection is on display on the ground floor of the Central Bank’s main building in Kalkofnsvegur 1, Reykjavík.

An active exhibition space that has organized many exciting exhibitions throughout the years. They put an emphasis on introducing young Icelandic artists, as well as showcasing work by better-known Icelandic and foreign modern and contemporary artists.

Kalkofnsvegur 1, Reykjavík 569-9600 Hours: Mon-Fri 13:30-15:30

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Gljúfrasteinn, Mosfellsbær 586-8066 | Hours: Tue-Fri 10-16


Tryggvagata 17, Reykjavík 411-6400 | Hours: Daily 10-17, Thu 10-22

The Marshall House Grandagarður 20, Reykjavík 551-4350 | Hours: Tue-Sun 12-18, Thu 12-21




A progressive modern art museum in Kópavogur, dedicated to sculptor Gerður Helgadóttir; the only museum in Iceland dedicated to a woman. Its collection consists of more than 1400 works by Gerður, as well as the works of the most celebrated Icelandic artists of the 20th and 21st century.

Artifacts and works of art from the varied collections of six institutions provide a reflection of Iceland’s visual art history and cultural heritage in the exhibition Points of View, a journey through the Icelandic visual world of past and present.

Iceland maintains strong ties to other Nordic countries, and the center of this cooperation is the Nordic House, designed by acclaimed Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in 1968. The Nordic House is the venue if you want to enjoy the best of Icelandic culture as well as experiencing rich culture of the Nordic countries.

Hamraborg 4, Kópavogur 441-7600 | Hours: Tue-Sun 11-17

Hverfisgata 15, Reykjavík 530-2210 | Hours: Daily 10-17

Sturlugata 5, Reykjavík 551-7030 | Hours: Sun-Tue 10-16, Wed-Sat 9-21

Lunch from 1.690 kr Happy-Hour 600 kr Brewery Tours






For over twenty years, jewelry designer Anna Maria has created her things of gold and silver, a design that is both pure and timeless. Exceptional attention to detail and craftsmanship create the elegant simplicity that shines through Anna Maria’s products.

Icelanders are known for being a stylish people, whether you judge from their clothes, their homes, or just their lifestyles. At the heart of their stylishness is Scandinavian design, whether it‘s Icelandic or from our neighbouring countries. The Hrím stores offer you the chance to decorate your home (or even yourself) with the classic style of the Scandinavians!

On Laugavegur, in the heart of Reykjavík, you’ll find the very unique Little Christmas Shop—which is dedicated to the spirit of Christmas, all year round. There you’ll find Icelandic decorations and everything needed for that festive spirit. Should not be missed as it is definitely one of the most special and fun stores to visit.

Laugavegur 25, Reykjavík 553-3003 |

Laugavegur 8, Reykjavík 552-2412




The oldest ceramic workshop in Iceland established 1927. Three generations of artistic potters. Unique handmade ceramics, Viking masks and various ceramic potteries decorated with lava, made by Gudmundur Einarsson. Located right next to Hallgrímskirkja and the statue of “Leif the Lucky”.

An Icelandic design company and clothing brand, founded in 2005 by a young artist couple, designer Bergthora Gudnadottir and musician Jóel Pálsson. With strong ties to the vibrant Icelandic music and design scene, the Farmers Market design concept and inspiration draws from Icelandic roots, combining classic Nordic design elements with chic modernity.

The jewellery forms which Metal design is known for are inspired by the Icelandic flora. But what stands out the most is the shape “The Coast” that is inspired by the waves of the Icelandic coast.”The coast silver jewellery line is for ladies and gentlemen.

Skólavörðustígur 3, Reykjavík 551-0036

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Skólavörðustígur 43, Reykjavík 551-2850 |


Laugavegur 37, Reykjavík 552-1965 |

Skólavörðustígur 2. Reykjavik 552-5445




If you‘er interested in getting some Icelandic design to take back home , be sure to stop by Jökla on your way down the Laugavegur shopping street. You can get Icelandic design for you, your children, or your home and the best thing is that you‘re buying straight from the designers

Loved by parents and children alike and praised in the media for boldness and creativity, Ígló&Indí has offered both parents and children an ever growing collection of clothes with a fresh take on children’s fashion since 2008—representing the best childhood has to offer.

Laugavegur 90, Reykjavík 696 6604

Garðatorg 4, Garðabær 445-2020 |

Nowhere in the populated world does the weather change as fast, or as often as here. Thus Icelandic designers have to meet the requirements of consumers who have to go out all year long in harsh conditions. That‘s where the label Cintamani comes to the rescue. Their goal is to keep us warm, dry and comfortable, whatever the weather may bring. Bankastræti 7, Reykjavík 533-3800 |


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BOOK NOW! +354-560-8800

SKÓLAVÖRÐUSTÍGUR 14 - 101 REYKJAVÍK - TEL: +354 571 1100


Inside their spacious shop in downtown Reykjavik, Michelsen Watchmakers offer you to browse one of Iceland’s best selection of watches. Along with their own design they also have a wide selection of well-known brands including Rolex, Tag Heuer, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Diesel, Movado, Swiss Military and more.

The Icelandic music scene is extraordinarily vibrant, considering the size of the nation. Is there a better souvenir to take home than music from your new favourite Icelandic musician? This shop is a friendly place where you can sit down, listen to a selection of music, enjoy a free espresso, read magazines, or browse their juicy collection of rock literature.

Laugavegur 15, Reykjavík 511-1900 |

Skólavörðustíg 15, Reykjavík 511 5656 |




The Geysir stores have been selling beautifully designed clothes for years but the recently opened Geysir Home focuses on quality design items for the home, everything from candles and linens to ceramics and posters by Icelandic artists. Don’t miss the downstairs art & design gallery, Kjallarinn.

Taking some Icelandic design home is the best possible souvenir of a great trip. Luckily, Icelandic designers are known for their inimitable style! Try stopping by Kiosk, a co-op shop owned by 8 different designers. Not only are the clothes to die for, but the designers also take shifts behind the counter so you get to meet the people behind the design as well!

Rustic, vintage interior, intertwined with the latest fashion in outdoor and woolen clothing. Add some puffin, reindeers and other iconic animals and you‘ve got one of the coolest shops in town. This is one place you‘ll have to visit, if only for the experience.

Skólavörðustígur 12, Reykjavík 519 6033 |

Laugavegur 65, Reykjavík 445 3269 |

Skólavörðustíg 7, Reykjavík Skólavörðustíg 16, Reykjavík 519-6000 |




Epal’s goal is increase Icelanders interest and respect for fine design by introducing and providing top quality design products from all over the world, particularly Scandinavia. Epal has always been very supportive of Icelandic designers and done what they can to help them promote their design around the world.

Kringlan Shopping Centre is conveniently located close to downtown Reykjavik. Standing at 50.000 sq.m. and equipped with 150 shops and services, including a multiplex cinema, a seven-outlet food court and three themed restaurants, it has something to suit every need.

Laugavegur 70, Skeifan 6, Kringlan & Harpa Reykjavik, Keflavík Airport 568-7740 |

Kringlan 4-12, Reykjavík 517-9000

Renowned for its excellent products and quality. Offering the widest selection of traditional hand knitted Icelandic sweaters, the range of products also includes special designs and a variety of woolen products from leading Icelandic manufacturers. Borgartún 31, Reykjavík Skólavörðustígur 19, Reykjavík 552-1890 |

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MJÚK means “soft.” This Icelandic brand reflects sustainable design, and care about nature and people. Stylish and durable blankets, hats, and scarves from the purest country in the world. Norse quality, a perfect present for your family. Deliveries to your hotel in Iceland or your home. Visit us in the magical Hafnarfjörður Christmas Village Dec. 22-23. Special Christmas offers on For additional 10% discount use code: 2019. Tel.+354 832 0567




Tasty Local Cuisine by the old harbour NÝLENDUGATA 14, 101 REYKJAVIK


6.950 kr. FESTIVE PLATTER salmon gravlax, marinated herring, wild goose breast, smoked lamb carpaccio DUCK LEG CONFIT

——— 2018 ———


I C E L A N D I C R E S TA U R A N T & B A R Table Reservations: +354 517-1800 -

Trip - Booking Agency & Tourist Info | Laugavegur 54, Reykjavík | | +354 433 8747 Open from 9AM to 7PM | Located directly opposite Bónus Supermarket, on the main street



Named after a legendary Icelandic football player, Reykjavík's premier Sports Bar is nestled in the heart of the city and boasts the biggest array of HD screens in town. Classic bar food is served hot and the beers ice cold. Finally, it’s open 7 days a week so you never miss the game!

One of the coolest bars in Reykjavik these days is Kaldi Bar. In close cooperation with north-Icelandic micro-brewery of the same name, Kaldi offers you a selection of craftbrewed beers on tap. Great happy hour and great fun, Kaldi is a place not-to-be-missed!

American Bar is named appropriately since it’s an American Bar in Reykjavík, of the kind you’re probably familiar with from other countries: there are dudes, chicks and random university students partying to the latest MTV tunes. They specialize in American culture and entertainment.

Austurstræti 20, Reykjavík 561-2240

Laugavegur 20b, Reykjavík 581-2200

Austurstræti 8, Reykjavík 571 9999




This café/bar is in the perfect spot on the main street. This snug basement used to be a butcher’s shop but has been transformed into a comfy place to relax, have a drink and swap tales with friends. As an added bonus, Kofinn doesn’t just have happy hour, they have coffee hour as well!

b5 bar/bistro has become a very popular establishment with the locals of the capital. With its very contemporary and stylish interior, b5 is laid back during the day, while as night falls, the lights dim and the atmosphere changes accordingly.

There is live music playing every night at Den Danske Kro, a Danish themed bar. You can also expect live football games, pub quizzes, beer bingo and happy hours. Den Danske Kro is a casual place in the heart of Reykjavík where everyone is welcome.

Laugavegur 2, Reykjavík

Bankastræti 5, Reykjavík 552-9600




Best known as Damon Albarn’s hangout place back in the days, this most famous bar in Iceland is a popular destination for the artsy crowd. During the week it‘s more of a café, but on the weekend the volume rises and KB becomes one of the hottest bars in Reykjavik.

Ten seconds from Laugavegur, you'll find Iceland’s one and only BeachBar/Tiki Bar in downtown Reykjavík. There, most things are made in the shape of a pineapple. Pillows, glasses, chandeliers, candlesticks and more. At weekends city's best DJs will make guests feel sunny while they enjoy some of the best cocktails in town.

In the mood for a pint? English Pub offers over 35 brands of beer and Whiskey. Whatever your preference – you will find it here. This is also a great place if you would like to catch some football (soccer). Inside they have 3 big screens and 2 TV’s so that you can catch all the action as it happens.

Klapparstígur 38, Reykjavík

Ingólfsstræti 3, Reykjavík 552-0070

Austurstræti 12, Reykjavík 578-0400

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Bergstaðastræti 1, Reykjavík 551-1588








Dark and raw, this large bar/club opens up its back room to make a concert venue, with live music or DJs most nights. They’ve got six Icelandic microbreweries on tap and happy hour runs till 21:00. One of the coolest and hipster friendly places in town and your best bet of catching the next big thing from Iceland.

The Big Lebowski by the Coen brothers is not only a film, it has now become a lifestyle. With the emergence of the Lebowski Bar in Reykjavik, everyone can now be a part of The Dude’s peculiar world. They even offer a whole White russian menu!

Beer enthusiasts look no further! In a cellar underneath Restaurant Reykjavík, just off Ingólfstorg square, you will find Micro Bar. This ambitious bar serves only beer from microbreweries! Carrying an impressive 140 different kinds of beers from all over the world, this is definitely the go-to place for beer fans.

Tryggvagata 22, Reykjavík

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Vesturgata 2, Reykjavík




Every city needs to have a friendly neighbourhood Irish pub and in Reykjavík, that bar is the Drunk Rabbit. It doesn’t matter if you’re going in for a snack, to enjoy the live music they have every night, people-watching in the lively bar, or just enjoying a beer or five in good company, the Drunk rabbit has got everything you need.

Port 9 wine bar is a hidden gem just off the main shopping street. Serving selected wines and a unique blend of appetizers made with the freshest seasonal ingredients, Port 9 is one of the best spots in the city to stop by for a glass of quality wine in a relaxed atmosphere.

This cozy little bar is named after the Icelandic word for weather, Icelanders’ conversation topic of choice in most situations. Offering a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails, Veður is a great spot for hanging out with friends, and the large windows make it ideal for people-watching over a drink.

Austurstræti 3, Reykjavík 553 1041


Laugavegur 20a, Reykjavík 552-2300

Veghúsastígur 9, Reykjavík 897 8212

Klapparstígur 33, Reykjavík




This hostel café/bar is bright and spacious; the perfect place to start the night. The hall hosts events most nights and on summer afternoons, the balcony is the best place in town for a beer in the sun. Last but not least, Loft has the best foosball table of all the bars in the city centre.

Kiki is the only queer bar in town these days but it is also the best one! If you’re worried you won’t find the place, don’t be. The rainbow coloured street entrance, stream of people in a dancing mood, and the far off sound of dance-heavy beats should lead you where you want to go!

Cocktails, dancing, and a tropical atmosphere, what more can you ask for? Climb up a flight or two of stairs from the central Ingólfstorg square and you’ll find Pablo Discobar, one of the best places in town to get a cocktail and dance the night away.

Bankastræti 7, Reykjavík 553 8140

Laugavegur 22

Veltusund 1, Reykjavík 552 7333

There are many places worth checking out in Iceland and even though we feel that our 21 stores should be up there with the waterfalls and geysers, we’re not completely mad. That’s why we offer free delivery right to your door.

Reykjavik area


Akranes Reykjavik Keflavik Selfoss

TEL. 58 12345


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d oo r





Tasty tapas with an Icelandic twist. With a new spin on traditional Icelandic cuisine and an extensive selection of local beer, Forréttabarinn – “The Starters Bar” – is worth seeking out when you need a bite to eat or a place to start your night out in Reykjavík. Whatever you choose from the refreshingly creative menu, you’re in for a treat!

Iceland is an island, surrounded by water, so it only makes sense that we have some of the best seafood in the world. Taste the delicious grilled fish skewers and try the fermented shark if you dare but don’t miss out on their famous lobster soup. It’s delicious!

An open-sandwich restaurant in the Danish tradition offering authentic Danish smørrebrød along with a selection of hot dishes. The restaurant is located in the heart of the city centre and seats 80 guests. It is a popular lunch venue, especially with people from the business sector.

Nýlendugata 14, Reykjavík 517 1800 |

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Lækjargata 4, Reykjavík 551-0100




KRYDD is an à la carte restaurant that offers a dinner and lunch menu, along with appetizers and a state of the art cocktailbar. On sundays, it offers a brunch buffet between 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM.

What’s the only thing that’s better than a feast of Icelandic langoustine? A feast of Icelandic langoustine in a charming restaurant by the seaside in a tiny, picturesque fishing village. Their langoustine soup alone is well worth the 45-minute drive from the city.

BREAKFAST Early in the Morning is the perfect start to your day, whether you're going hiking on a volcano or just strolling around Reykjavík. This breakfast/brunch spot is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, so stop by for a tasty breakfast in a relaxing atmosphere!

Hafnarborg, Strandgötu 34, Hafnarfjörður Open: M-T 11-23, F-S, 11-01, S 11-23


Geirsgata, Reykjavík 553 1500

Eyrarbraut 3A, Stokkseyri 483-1550

Veghúsastígur 7-9, Reykjavík 695 1021 Open daily 07:00-10:00




Snaps is a classic french bistro using local Icelandic ingredients, located at Odinstorg. The location could not be better. Snaps is literally a few steps away from downtown Reykjavik, close to the National Theatre, The National Gallery of Iceland and the two main shopping streets of Reykjavik.

As the name suggests, Reykjavík Meat is the city’s newest new steakhouse. The food is cooked over coals giving it a delicious flavour, and crowning their menu is the award-winning sashi marbled beef. They also offer seafood, lamb and vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as delicious cocktails!

Óðinstorg, Reykjavík 511 6677 |

Frakkastígur 8, Reykjavík 557 7665 |

This is not your run of the mill fish and chip shop! Not only does the restaurant use the freshest fish and ingredients, they serve their fish with delicious skyr-based sauces. This fast-food upgrade is much more nutritious than you‘d think! After eating, we recommend visiting the Volcano House, it‘s in the same building! Tryggvagata 11, Reykjavík 511 1118 |


LARGEST SHOPPING CENTRE FREE SHUTTLE BUS FROM CITY HALL Monday – Saturday To Kringlan Every hour 10 am – 5 pm Sundays: 1, 2, 3, 4 pm From Kringlan On the half hour 11:30 am – 4:30 pm Sundays: 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 pm




A restaurant opposite the old harbour that offers traditional steak dishes along with some exciting and fairly unorthodox choices. The pride and joy of The Steakhouse is the Mibrasa charcoal oven, a rare oven that is designed to cook the perfect steak by mixing modern technology with ancient tradition.

Looking out over the Nauthólsvík beach, this charming Scandinavianinspired bistro is the perfect oasis from the stress of the everyday. Whether you’re there for a light lunch, a glass of wine on a sunny afternoon, a cup of hot coffee on a cold one, or a lovely dinner with a loved one, Nauthóll is the place to go.

Tryggvagata 4-6, Reykjavík 561-1111 |

Nauthólsvegi 106, 101 Reykjavík 599 6660 |

Matur og Drykkur translates simply as Food and Drink. They serve traditional Icelandic recipes with a modern twist – made with the best Icelandic ingredients. Every element of the food is made in-house, from first-class produce and Matur og Drykkur has received the prestigious Bib Gourmand award from Michelin two years in a row.




Joe & The Juice is an on-trend coffee shop / juice bar. The concept answers today’s busy people’s needs for a quick pick-me-up in the form of great espresso drinks, freshly pressed juices, and variety of sandwiches prepared on the spot.

The Icelandic Bar is very aptly named: it is an Icelandic bar. But more than that, it is a bar that aims to preserve the essence of being Icelandic by combining the historical and cultural heritage of this ancient land with the very hip and cutting edge culture of modern times.

An exciting restaurant located in one of the most beautiful corners of Reykjavik, Apotek Restaurant is casual-smart, offering delicious food in a vibrant atmosphere and stylish surroundings. The menu is a fun mix of Icelandic and European cuisine and the dishes are designed to share and enjoy together.

Laugavegur 10, Reykjavík; Smáralind, Kringlan, World Class Laugum, Keflavík Airport

Ingólfsstræti 1a, Reykjavík 517-6767

Grandagarður 2, Reykjavík 571-8877 |

Austurstræti 16, Reykjavík 551-0011 |



Mathús Garðabæjar, the newest addition to the restaurant flora in Garðabær, has been delighting its customers ever since they opened their doors. Serving everything from fish to pasta to vegetarian fare in exquisite dishes, Mathús Garðabæjar is the perfect place to bring the whole family!

A chain of cafés and espresso bars with over 30 years of experience in serving and roasting high-quality coffee. They operate cafés in 7 locations in Iceland, promising a highly knowledgeable staff and a great cup of coffee procured in a responsible and fair way.

If you’re looking for top-notch Italian food, look no further than Essensia. Using only the best ingredients and preparing them in a way that showcases their quality, the good people of Essensia make sure our whole dining experience is one to remember. Don’t forget about their delicious Italian wines!

Bankastræti 8, Reykjavík 420-2700

Hverfisgata 4-6, Reykjavík 517-0030 |

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Garðatorg 4B, Garðabæ 571 3775 |








This elegant Icelandic bistro in the heart of the city centre serves delicious food from Icelandic ingredients in a historic environment. A light lunch or a delicious dinner is perfectly accompanied by people watching in this lovely old building, part of the oldest street façade in Reykjavík.

If you want to enjoy gourmet French cuisine with a nordic twist, then The Lobsterhouse is the right place for you. Our langoustine, “the Icelandic lobster“, is widely know for it’s great taste and one of our most favourable dishes. Dining at The Lobsterhouse is an experience full of warmth and history.

Grandagarður 20, Reykjavík 519-7766 |

Bankastræti 2, Reykjavík 551-4430

Amtmannsstígur 1, Reykjavík 561-3303 |




Kopar is a restaurant by the old harbour in Reykjavik which has an emphasis on adventure and experience in a brasserie setting. Their menu is composed of various locally sourced ingredients from sea and land, and aims to give you a taste of Iceland in a single evening.

A fun restaurant, with the look and feel of an American Diner. Reasonably priced, offering delicious food and a very good service, you‘ll definitely get great value for your money here. They put a special emphasis on using only high quality ingredients, making for a terrific meal.

Hop lovers, rejoice! UK’s Craft Beer Phenomenon just opened a bar and restaurant in downtown Reykjavik, located at the corner of Hverfisgata and Frakkastigur. Featuring 20 taps including BrewDog’s headliners, seasonals and one off brews as well as great local Icelandic craft beers. Highly impressive food menu and a very cosy atmosphere.

Marshall Restaurant + Bar is situated in Marshallhúsið, a new center for modern art in Reykjavík. Honest approach to food and cooking and an atmosphere of warmth. Icelandic fish and mediterranean inspired fare with vegetarian dishes, pasta and meat.

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Geirsgata 3, Reykjavík 567-2700


Tryggvagata 20, Reykjavík 527-5000

Frakkastígur 8, Reykjavík




This gastropub in the city centre serves classic bistro fare with an Icelandic twist. It’s not just the food that’s delicious, their cocktails are pretty great as well. They also serve a wide selection of Icelandic beers and host bingo and karaoke nights. After a night out, you can even return to the restaurant for a restorative brunch!

Quality, fusion and fun are the Fish Company’s main characteristics. The interior is stylish and the quirky tableware fits in wonderfully. The menu is a world of adventures from starters to deserts. It’s designed to take you on a seafood journey and not only a journey of the Icelandic culinary waters but a trip around the world.

Head out to Brauð & Co. to get your hands on the scrumptious sourdough bread and tasty cinnamon buns. The early bird gets the worm, so don't be late! Keep in mind that the queue can get quite long, but it's well worth it.

Hafnarstræti 1-3, Reykjavík 555 2900 |

Vesturgata 2a, Reykjavík 552-5300 |

Opens early, closes at 18:00. Frakkastígur 16, Reykjavík Hlemmur Mathöll, Reykjavík Fákafen 11, Reykjavík



TOUR BOOKING Grandagarður 2 | 101 Reykjavík Tel: +354 780 4500



open daily 09:00 - 21:00


Buffet Everyday from 17:30

+354 552 3030 Vesturgata 2, 101 RVK

Salted Cod with almond and chive butter, fig and potatoes

+354 517 4300

Aðalstræti 2, 101 Reykjavík



HOW TO ... GET TO THE AIRPORT Iceland’s international airport is located in Keflavík, about 50km from Reykjavík. If you rent a car or take a cab, it will take about 45 minutes to get to Reykjavík. A cheaper but just as reliable option is taking a bus to and from the airport. They connect to flights and will drop you off or pick you up at bus stops close to your accommodation in Reykjavík.

PARK IN THE CITY CENTRE There are different parking zones which charge different rates. Look for a parking sign (a big P on a blue and white sign) indicating zones 1-4. Look for the nearest black terminal to pay, with cash or card. Street parking is limited so consider parking in one of the many parking garages in the city centre.

TAKE THE BUS Strætó is the Icelandic bus company, and their yellow buses are easy to spot around the city. You can only buy a ticket on the bus if you have the exact amount in cash. Tickets can also be bought in 10-11 supermarkets, What’s On and by using the free Strætó app, which also has the latest bus schedules. GO SWIMMING There are 18 swimming pools in the capital area and if you have the time, you should try them all. Swimming is great, but don’t miss relaxing in the hot tubs – this is where the community gathers and socialises. If you haven’t packed a bathing suit, you can rent one at the pool. If you need any more information or want to book a tour while you’re in Reykjavík, visit What’s On at Laugavegur 5 or contact us at

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GET MONEY Iceland has its own currency, the Icelandic króna (ISK). It’s best to get króna at any bank (open monday to friday, 9-4), including the one at the Keflavík International Airport (open 24/7). You can either exchange money or go to an ATM to get cash. You don’t need piles of cash, though, as credit card and debit card payments are widely accepted in Iceland.

MAKE CALLS Getting an Icelandic SIM card is easy, you can get them at the airport, phone companies, and of course the What’s On tourist information centre at Laugavegur 5.


VOLCANO & EARTHQUAKE EXHIBITION The Gateway to Iceland’s Most Active Volcanic Area

The Lava Centre

The creation of Iceland

Earthquake simulator

A world class exhibition on volcanoes and earthquakes surrounded by active volcanoes.

Learn how and why Iceland hosts so many volcanic eruptions.

Feel what it’s like when the ground starts to shake and rumble.


Open every day

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9:00 - 19:00

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Iceland Volcano & Earthquake Centre Austurvegur 14, Hvolsvöllur · South Iceland

MEN: Skólavörðustígur 16. WOMEN: Skólavörðustígur 7 & Kringlan. HOME: Skólavörðustígur 12. GEYSIR: Hafnarstræti, Akureyri and Haukadalur.

Profile for MD Reykjavik

What's On - December 2018  

What's On - December 2018