Friday, March 25, 2011

Nói Síríus, Icelandic Chocolate

Nói Síríus is a family-owned chocolate and confection manufacturer in Iceland that was founded in 1920. Hallgrímur Benediktsson took over as main owner in the 1920s, and his grandson, Finnur Geirsson, is the
company's current president.

Nói Síríus is Iceland's
biggest candy producer.

The company produces Tópas and Ópal, "fresh breath products" known for being somewhat bitter and soothing a sore throat with menthol and eucalyptus, as well aspastilles, sugar twists, assorted chocolates and Easter Eggs.

The chocolates come in dark and milk chocolate varieties as well as bars with nuts and raisins, whole hazelnuts, raisins and liquorice chips.

Check out the Nói Síríus products here.

More Airlines to Fly to Iceland

There will be an increase of travel routes to Iceland next summer. The final schedule of many airlines has yet to be announced, Air Berlin, confirmed that the airline is planning to increase its presence in Iceland.

Icelandair will offer additional flights to New York next summer. Next summer, Air Berlin will fly to Iceland from Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Munich and Vienna, Morgunbladid reports. There will be an increase in flights between Iceland and North America next summer because Icelandair will also offer additional flights to New York while Iceland Express will add Chicago and Boston to its destinations. Last autumn Delta Air Lines announced its plans to commence direct flights between Iceland and New York in the summer of 2011.

Read more on Iceland Review

Eyjafjallajokull volcano center to open for tourists

A tourism center with artifacts, exhibits, films and photographs from last year’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano is set to open on the first anniversary of the eruption.

The center will be situated next to Highway 1 in the shadow of Eyjafjallajokull at a place called Thorvaldseyri and is set to open on 14th April.

The volcano center is being set up in an old machine room. It has been painted black, grey and red inside, like the volcano. The floor is made from volcanic ash and cement, adorned with a stone “rug” from the Katla volcano, which was made in the town of Vik.The center is heated with water from the volcano and the farm even produces its own electricity.

A tourism center with artifacts, exhibits, films and photographs from last year’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano is set to open on the first anniversary of the eruption.

The center will be situated next to Highway 1 in the shadow of Eyjafjallajokull at a place called Thorvaldseyri and is set to open on 14th April.

The center is heated with water from the volcano and the farm even produces its own electricity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The first Icelandic Horse Festival in Reykjavik

The 2011 Icelandic Horse Festival in Reykjavik will be held on March 26th - April 2nd at the showgrounds at Laugardalur, in the center of Reykjavik City. Horsemanship is born into the people of Reykjavik region and many of Iceland’s most famous horsebreeding farms are located there.

The program at the Icelandic Horse Festival 2011 is full and varied, and everyone should be able to find something of interest. The program will consist of various events ranging from breeding shows to saddle making. The events will take place at breeding ranches and horse club locations in and around Reykajvík. The final day there will be a celebration in Reykjavik Zoo and Family Park where a selection of the best horses and everything related to the Icelandic horse will be introduced.

The highlight of the festival will be a Ístölt "Their strongest of all" which will be held at Reykjavik Ice-skating arena in Laugardalur on Saturday night April 2nd 2011 and it is just with couple of minutes walk from Grand Hotel Reykjavik. You can enjoy special savings with Pay 3 Getaway 4.Book three consecutive nights at Grand Hotel Reykjavík and get the fourth night free on selected dates in March and April 2011.

Information taken from the website Icelandic Horse Festival website and further details can be found there.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Öskudagur - Ash wednesday

Ash Wednesday (öskudagur, in Icelandic) is preceded by Bun Day (bolludagur) and Bursting Day (sprengidagur).

Although Ash Wednesday is not originally an Icelandic tradition, the tradition to hang bags filled with ash on people’s backs without them noticing is uniquely Icelandic.

Nowadays, children are given the day off from school to dress up in costumes and sing in stores and companies in exchange for candy.

In the northeastern town of Akureyri, where Ash Day was first celebrated on the island, a pinata is hoisted in the town square and children takes turns “beating the cat out of the barrel” as it is called.

This year Spark Design Space in Reykjavik is currently exhibiting ash bags designed by various artists which will be sold for charity.

This video was shot by Páll Kjartansson. Published on Iceland Review.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bun Day is followed by Sprengidagur. It means “Bursting Day” and the motto is to eat salted meat and bean stew until you burst.

During Sprengidagur Icelandic home and most restaurants flood with the aroma of Saltkjöt og baunir or salted-meat and bean stew. The name of the Sprengidagur refers to the idea that people feast on this hearty dish to the point of bursting.

Salted meat and bean stew has been served on this day in Iceland since the late 19th century. Before that, hangikjöt, smoked lamb, was eaten on Bursting Day.

Salted mutton, saltkjöt, can be bought in most stores the days preceding Bursting Day, easily recognizable by its distinct pink color.

Stores might also sell the other ingredients needed to make this dish in one package. Such a package typically includes onions, yellow turnips, carrots and yellow split peas.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Bolludagur - Bun Day in Iceland

Today is Bolludagur in Iceland.

“Bolla, bolla, bolla,” is the wakeup call for parents on the morning of Bolludagur, or “Bun Day,” followed by encouraging spanks. Their kids have spent hours and hours decorating their Bun Day paddles at school.

According to tradition, they will get one cream-filled bun on Bun Day for every time they manage to spank their parents with their paddles.

Bun Day is followed by Sprengidagur. It means “Bursting Day” and the motto is to eat salted meat and bean stew until you burst.

Then comes Öskudagur, when children dress up in fancy costumes and sing for candy in stores and companies across Iceland.

Photos by Candy Hearts and Paper Flowers

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Winter Mood in Reykjavík – February 2011

Watch this audio slideshow from Reykjavík, taken on cold winter days in February.

The first picture is of the Reykjavík Pond with a view of a snow-capped Mt. Esja. Then the camera captures the towers by the seaside, followed by a few shots of Mt. Esja taken from Laugarnes. The city’s old harbor and the maritime museum are also featured.

The photographer then focuses on the sculpture “Sólfarid” by Jón Gunnar Árnason before leading us out of town to the Bláfjöll mountains where the capital’s ski resort is located.

The slideshow ends with a picture of steam coming out of the snow-covered ground on Hellisheidi heath—the geothermal area provides energy for Reykjavík.

Originally published on Iceland Review. Photos and music by Páll Kjartansson.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Reykjavik is the largest community in Iceland, with a population of about 200,000. Including the neighbouring towns, the capital area has a total population of about 170,000, which is about 60% of Iceland’s population of 300,000 people.

Iceland was settled by Norwegian and Celtic immigrants during the late 9th and 10th centuries A.D. According to the medieval Book of Settlements, Ingolfur Arnarson – the first settler of Iceland – built his farm on the peninsula where Reykjavik stands today. The place was named Reykjavik – “Smoky Bay” - after the columns of steam that rose from the hot springs in the area.

Many centuries later, around the middle of the 18th century, a small town started to grow around the farm of Reykjavik, thanks to Royal Treasurer Skuli Magnusson, known as the Father of Reykjavik, who established wool workshops at Reykjavik as part of his efforts to modernise the Icelandic economy. This led to the beginnings of urban development at Reykjavik. Reykjavik received its town charter in 1786.

The Icelandic parliament, Althingi, was founded in 930 AD at Thingvellir in the southwest. In 1798 the Althingi was abolished, but in 1845 it was re-established in Reykjavik, where the country’s government and administration were now located. In due course, when Iceland won Home Rule and then independence from Danish rule, Reykjavik became the capital of Iceland. With the rapid economic progress of the 20th century, Reykjavik grew steadily, but developed especially fast in the second half of the century.

For a living view of Reykjavik's past, visit the open-air Reykjavik City Museum Arbæjarsafn, located in the eastern part of the capital.

The Reykjavik 871 +/-2 Settlement Exhibition, located on Adalstraeti in the city centre, allows visitors to view the recently discovered, oldest settlement ruins in Reykjavik and Iceland (possibly those of Ingolfur Arnarson or his descendents), featuring an original Viking age longhouse. The exhibition is open daily 10-17. Admission: 600 ISK per person, 300 ISK for children (children 12 and under, accompanied by and adult free) and 450 ISK per person in groups (10+). Museum shop on-site.

Facts about Iceland II


Because of its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Iceland is a hotbed of volcanic and geothermal activity: thirty volcanoes have erupted in the past two centuries, the last one Eyjafjallajökull, in the spring 2010. Most famous and active volcano is Hekla. Natural hot water supplies the majority of the population with inexpensive, pollutionfree heating.


Iceland’s population is about 317,000, about six percent of which are foreignborn.
It’s growing at a rate of 2.6 percent per year. Only 2 percent of Icelanders live in rural areas, the rest live in urban areas, and the majority, about 75 percent, live in the capital area of Reykjavík.


It is believed that the first permanent settler in Iceland was Ingólfur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking who settled in A.D. 874 and named his home Reykjavík (smoky bay) after the steam rising from the surrounding countryside. In 930, Icelanders founded Althingi, which still functions as the legislative body, making it the world’s oldest parliament. In 1262, Iceland lost its independence to Norway and in 1380 came under Danish control with Norway. On 17 June 1944, Iceland became independent of Denmark in a ceremony that took place at Thingvellir, the old site of Althingi, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Despite its mid-Atlantic location, Iceland observes Greenwich Mean Time yeararound and does not go on daylight saving time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Classification of accommodation

The Icelandic Travel Industry Association has come up with the following classification system of accommodation:

Two Stars

A telephone booth or a public telephone where the guests can speak in privacy. There is a bar or service counter where it is possible to buy light refreshments, as well as a dining room where breakfast is served, and other meals, depending on circumstances. The rooms may be equipped with a private bathroom , but this is not a obligatory.

Three Stars

In addition to the class above, all rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, telephone, television, radio and desk. There is a service counter open during the day and it is possible to buy small items, reading material etc. Goods and services can be paid for by credit card. There is a lift in the building, if guest rooms are on three or more levels above the reception.

Four Stars

In addition, there are easy chairs in all rooms, TV with remote control, satellite channels and a movie or video channel. There is room service day and night, or a minibar, an "a la carte" restaurant, and breakfast can be ordered in guest rooms. There is also a clothes cleaning service. There is a lift in the building, if the guest rooms are on two or more levels above the reception.

For further information read

Approximate prices of accomodation

Price of overnight stay depends on the type of lodging selected.
Here below are average prices of the main options available for an individual’s overnight stay.

Most Iceland´s camping places are located in spectacular surroundings and camping in the countries beautiful nature will make your trip exceptional. There are camping places all around Iceland. Camping Grounds: 500-1000 ISK

Bed and breakfast at Icelandic farmhouses is a uiniqe and exciting experience.
Sleeping bag accommodation: 1.800-4.000 ISK Made-up bed: 4.000-8.000 ISK

You are always welcome to show up without a reservation at Icelandic hostels but we strongly recommend that you book ahead and do it well in advance in order to ensure you the facilities and the service you wish for.
Members: 1.600-2.300 ISK Non-members: 1.900-2.700 ISK

Farmhouse accommodation is a popular in Iceland. Many farms all around Iceland offer a variety of hospitalable and affordable accommodation. Sleeeping bag accommodation: 1.800-3.000 ISK Made-up bed: 3.200-8.000 ISK

Hotels in Iceland generally follow a high standard, two star hotel accommodation or a grand high class four star hotel. There is no official five star hotel in Iceland. In Reykjavik you can find several high quality hotels.

In downtown Reykjavik, there are luxury hotels with great facilities, spacious rooms and first-class service. Hotel room: 5.000-15.500 ISK

Facts about Iceland I


Iceland is an island of 103,000 square kilometers (39,756 square miles) and 4,970 kilometers of coastline, making it the16th largest island in the world.

Only Madagascar, Britain and Cuba are larger single independent island states.

The country’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur, rises 2,110 meters above sea level.

Roughly ten percent of the country is covered in glaciers, including Vatnajökull,the largest in Europe. Sólheimajökull, an outlet glacier of the Mýrdalsjökull ice cap, south Iceland, is presently retreating at a rate of approximately 100 meters per year.


Icelanders are of Norse and Celtic ancestry, and have lived for more than a millennium far away from other countries, which has provided geneticists with a key body of DNA. The language, Icelandic, is close to that of literature (the Sagas) in the 12th century. Most people can also speak English. Icelanders maintain a patronymic naming system, which means that someone’s first name is followed by his or her father’s name and the suffix ‘son’ or ‘dóttir’. For example, Hermann Páll Jónsson is Hermann, the son of Jón.

Hljómskálagardurinn, Reykjavík

Hljómskálagardurinn, which translates as Music Pavilion Park, is popular for outdoor concerts. On July 2 the “Iceland Inspires” concert took place there.

There is a birdlife around the Pond and it is popular among city residents, to take a walk to the Pond and feed bread to the ducks.

In winter when the Pond is frozen, it is popular to go ice skating on the lake, play hockey.

If you’re visiting Reykjavík, make sure to include the Pond on your sightseeing list. It is beautiful both in summer and in winter.

Horse Riding Tours in Iceland


All their tours begin at their farm Vellir, just a 30 minute drive from Reykjavík. They offer itineraries that range from one or two hours to several days to suit riders of all ages and abilities.

Read more


Íshestar has been a leading tour operator through 26 years. Horse rides are available from the beginning of June to the end of September.

Read more

Kidafell Farmhouse

Kidafell farm have horses of different temperaments enabling both novices and experienced riders to have an enjoyable and safe ride. They can provide helmets, boots, warm clothing.

Read more

Laxnes Horse Farm

For over 30 years Laxnes Horse Farm has been a leading company in organized horse treks in Iceland.

Read more

Icelandic Horse

The history of the Icelandic Horse can be traced right back to the settlement of the country in the late 9th century. The breed has remained pure for over a thousand years and thus today there is only one breed of horse in Iceland – The Icelandic Horse.

The Icelandic Horse has played a key role in the life of Icelanders from the beginning. In heathen times the horse was highly regarded and renowned in Norse mythology. For centuries the horse was the only means of transportation in Iceland as well as being the most important working animal in the days before machinery. Therefore the horse was called “the most useful servant”.

When the first automobile arrived in Iceland in 1913 the horse rapidly became redundant. Iceland’s first horse breeding association was formed the same year the automobile arrived, but up until that time horses had mainly been bred with strength and stamina in mind, rather than riding abilities or gaits.

For further information on the Icelandic Horse read more here

Ráðhús Reykjavíkur

The City of Reykjavik's website.

Reykjavík's City Hall, Ráðhús Reykjavíkur

Reykjavik City Hall is on the northern shore of Lake Tjornin. Opening in 1992, it houses the Mayor and executive officials of Reykjavik.

On the ground floor you’ll find a helpful information desk, internet access and the café Radhuskaffi as well as galleries with exhibitions. In the exhibition hall is the huge relief map of Iceland.

The building is open to visitors, Mondays to Fridays 8:00-19:00 and Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 to 18:00.

View from Perlan

The Pearl, Petrlan

The Pearl (Perlan) is a remarkable building, built in 1988, unique in Iceland and probably in the whole world. On Oskjuhlid hill, atop the huge tanks in which natural hot water is stored for heating the city, a glass dome has been constructed: under the dome is a rotating restaurant serving fine cuisine.

The dome also houses a café, while around the outside is a viewing platform with panoramic 360 degree views of the city and its surroundings. Access to the viewing platform is free of charge.

Below the dome, between the hot-water tanks, is a spacious atrium where various exhibitions and other events are held. Inside the building is a small artificial geyser which spouts every few minutes. Interestingly, one of the tanks contains not hot water, but a museum: at the Saga Museum, waxwork figures bring Viking-age Iceland to life.

Close to the Pearl, to the left of the car park, is Strokkur, a man-made geyser that imitates the natural spouting hot springs at Geysir in the highlands of southwest Iceland.

Oskjuhlid hill, on which the Pearl is located, is a pleasant wooded area with many footpaths, ideal for a relaxing walk. At the bottom of the hill lies Nautholsvik geothermal beach, a popular place on a sunny day.

Read more here.