Reykjavík Region Local Customs

  • Concert on Arnarhóll hill.
    Concert on Arnarhóll hill.
    by Regina1965
  • Dikes on bikes.
    Dikes on bikes.
    by Regina1965
  • Concert in Lækjargata.
    Concert in Lækjargata.
    by Regina1965

Reykjavík Region Local Customs

  • Icelandic food

    Reykjavík Region Local Customs

    Don't be fooled, the only time someone eats sheepheads and shark are at the "Thorrablot", annual festivals in january/february to celebrate the month of Thorri (according to the old calendar). Then people eat that as well as some other things and drink brennivin. (picture from: http://pannkaka.txt-nifty.com/pp/images/hakarl.jpg)

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  • Language

    Reykjavík Region Local Customs

    Icelandic is considered difficult and archaic - the least developped of the modern Germanic languages (to which, among others, belong the Scandinavian languages, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian and English). The University of Reykjavík, however, recently posted a free online beginner's course in Icelandic on the internet! Very neat site I must...

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  • Festivals/ Holidays

    Reykjavík Region Local Customs

    Reykjavík is probably not the first place people think about when looking for special places to ring in the New Year, but other major cities have nothing on the small capital of Iceland. Around 8:30 p.m., bonfires ("brenna") are lit up at different places in the city. Locals gather around these fires and sing traditional Icelandic songs. Around 10...

    more
  • Icelandic horse

    Reykjavík Region Local Customs

    The ICELANDIC HORSE - A completely pure breed. Horses from other countries may not enter Iceland, nor may horses return once they leave the country. Horses are seen everywhere including the city and riding is a popular sport. The Icelandic horse is unique in that it may have up to 5 gaits, most other breeds have 3.

    more
  • Fishing

    Reykjavík Region Local Customs

    Fishing is Iceland's most important industry. There economy depends heavily on fishing yet only a small percentage of the population actually work in the fishing industry. Nonetheless, almost every coastal town, city, or village has a fishing fleet. An amazing figure is that about 75% of Iceland's population lives in Reykjavik and the economy which...

    more
  • Learn the lingo!

    Icelandic is considered difficult and archaic - the least developped of the modern Germanic languages (to which, among others, belong the Scandinavian languages, German, Dutch, Afrikaans, Frisian and English).The University of Reykjavík, however, recently posted a free online beginner's course in Icelandic on the internet! Very neat site I must...

    more
  • Saemund and the Devil

    This sculpture by Asmundur Sveinsson (see museum of) in front of the University of Iceland depicts a man fighting a seal. It refers to an old legend, and the statue has become the unofficial symbol of the university. Saemund the Learned (1056-1133) was the first Icelander we know of who went to France to study at Sorbonne in Paris. The stories...

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  • Local café's

    There is a great vibe about Reykjavik and it seems no matter what the weather people tend to flock to local cafes of a morning/lunch time for coffee and catching up with friends and family. We found a nice place called Café Paris (Austurstræti 14), which was very lively and serve great pastries. Perfect place for people watching.

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  • New Year's Eve celebrations in Reykjavík

    Reykjavík is probably not the first place people think about when looking for special places to ring in the New Year, but other major cities have nothing on the small capital of Iceland.Around 8:30 p.m., bonfires ("brenna") are lit up at different places in the city. Locals gather around these fires and sing traditional Icelandic songs. Around 10...

    more
  • Corrugated metal sheeting as panelling

    I found it interesting to note that several houses, including historical buildings are covered with corrugated metal sheeting. It is certainly weather proof! Painted, it remained me of similar style panelling in upper Burma!

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  • Condos are rising!

    Iceland has been experiencing an economic boom in recent years - though perhaps the current (spring 2006) currency crisis will take some of the "oomph" out of economy. I had read that property values in Reykjavik have more than doubled in the last 6 years, and certainly I saw an ambundance of cranes along the waterfront. Much of the recent...

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  • Feed the ducks at Lake Tjorn

    The pond in front of the City Hall is a popular meeting place for members of Reykjavik's avian community. They seem to welcome heartily those who will "break bread" with them - why, they'll practically eat in right out of your hand!

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  • Busy harbor life

    Reykjavik is a working harbor. The seafront is a abuzz with activity: cargos loading and unloading, fishing vessels setting out, commercial ships setting out for Europe. . . If you like the tang of salty air, or if Joseph Conrad is your favorite "English" writer, then you'll enjoy a walk dockside in central Reykjavik.

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  • The beautifull Icelandic language.

    Icelandic is a beautifull language but difficult to learn, in Icelandic there are some letters that don't exist in other European languages. The letter thorn (Þ and þ) and letter eth (ð and Ð) for example... That makes the languages interesting and mysterious. But there are only 300 000 people who are aible to speak and understand Icelandic.

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  • Cocktail sauce

    If you buy french fries ask for cocktail sauce on the side. Almost as compulsory as mayo in Amsterdam. (Picture: http://www.hroi.is/myndir/kokkteilsosa.jpg)

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  • Food

    Don't be fooled, the only time someone eats sheepheads and shark are at the "Thorrablot", annual festivals in january/february to celebrate the month of Thorri (according to the old calendar). Then people eat that as well as some other things and drink brennivin. (picture from: http://pannkaka.txt-nifty.com/pp/images/hakarl.jpg)

    more
  • Learning Icelandic.......

    I try to learn the local language wherever I go, however I must say that Icelandic is pretty difficult. It is a language that has been relatively unchanged over the past millenia. Although the government actively promotes the language, most Icelanders speak English. Nevertheless, you will be well received if you at least pick up a few words and...

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  • Chess is pretty popular in Iceland......

    Needless to say, with Bobby Fischer's recent asylum-seeking scheme, that chess is big in Iceland. Apparently, the Vikings brought chess (and backgammon) over 1300 years ago and it has been popular ever since. Bobby Fischer competed in a few tournaments here back in the 1970s.Quite a few cafes in Reykjavik have chess sets and it is not uncommon for...

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  • Food and drinks

    Icelandic cuisine isn't that much different from other Nordic countries, but more limited to fish, spuds and a limited range of veggies. Add to this some fantastic lamb and reindeer and that's about it. The good thing is that within these limits, Icelanders excel in stuff! Dairy products like skyr (what Dutch would call 'kwark'), local beers and...

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  • Skyr!!!!!

    Oh, another delicatess. My main food source while staying in Iceland, skyr. This is very traditional stuff in Scandinavia, for Americans a quick explain, something between sour cream and plain yogurt. Skyr or kvark or rahka as we say in Finnish, is sour milk product, which is an excellent to use in sweet desserts. Because of its low fat content, it...

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  • Rúgbrauð

    Oh, this is so good! The Islandic Ryebread, yummy yummy. Just a thought of it makes me feel hungry. We do bake good ryebread here in Finland, but this Icelandic one is great. It might be because of syrup or sugar, which makes it so sweet kind of, but anyways, oh man it is yummy. Try it. Go to local grocery store and check out labels with Rúgbrauð,...

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  • Luminous tombs

    I think this is the only place in the world where even the graveyards get Christmas decorations and fairy lights! It struck me as very weird at first, but it actually looks looks very pretty, especially during those long winter nights.

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  • Cultural Night in Reykjavik

    “The Cultural Night” in Reykjavik has become an annual event in the cultural life in Iceland. Actually it’s an all day event, which takes place on the same day as the Reykjavik Marathon (see Sports Travel). Thousands of people will take to the streets of the city on this occasion. It is called Cultural Night because a number of cultural institutes...

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  • Metal houses

    Something you may or may not notice is that most of the houses in Reykjavik are not made out of wood. Most are made of corrugated metal or cement/plaster due to the lack of wood around the country. Iceland has historically used driftwood as it's major source of wood. This driftwood floated to Iceland from Norway and Greenland. Unfortunately, it's...

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  • Iceland's third most important resource.

    Aside from fishing and tourism, the Icelandic people obtain a substantial boost to their economy from their sheep industry. Not only is Icelandic wool world reknown for superior quality and density, but the best lamb dish I've ever had was is Iceland. Pretty much anywhere you go in Iceland (except maybe the inner city of Reykjavik) you will see...

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  • Phone cards instead of pocket change

    Although they're popular elsewhere, phone cards seemed to be firmly entrenched all over Reykjavik. Cards are convenient and easy to use at most phones -- and they are a bargain, too. I think I bought one card for around U.S. $10 and made plenty of long-distance calls before it was used.

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  • New Years Eve in Reykjavik

    People fly in from half the globe to witness two things in Iceland during the New Year. 1) the Aurora and 2) the local celebrations.Almost every family in Iceland buys fireworks to use on New Years Eve and at midnight the lightshow above Reykjavik is magnificent.

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  • Fishing, Iceland's most important...

    Fishing is Iceland's most important industry. There economy depends heavily on fishing yet only a small percentage of the population actually work in the fishing industry. Nonetheless, almost every coastal town, city, or village has a fishing fleet. An amazing figure is that about 75% of Iceland's population lives in Reykjavik and the economy which...

    more
  • The Reykjavík Art Festival is...

    The Reykjavík Art Festival is a biannual Festival. This year there are many interesting events. The festival is from May 11th till the 31st.Just to name some of the artists/events this year:Salka Valka - a play based on a book by Halldór Laxness.American Odyssey - Mary Ellen Mark photographer.Cenizas de tango - The Argentinian dance group El...

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  • When you are a pedestrian...

    When you are a pedestrian cross only at the red light. The Icelanders dislike the unruly people like me. It seems so incredible to see a couple crossing the street at the green light, the driver looked twice to the traffic light before tell us something unpleasant.We were lucky to not understand the language.

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  • The Tjörmin (pond) is the most...

    The Tjörmin (pond) is the most beautiful area in the town. All the most important buildings are really close: cathedral, parliament. They are all tiny and charming. Reykjavik is actually a mini-capital. You can have also a good view of the city from the Halgrimskirkja (see travelogue)

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  • Everybody speaks good english....

    Everybody speaks good english. That's a good thing as the Icelandish is just alien. Well, actually it's the original language spoken by the Vikins. It just hasn't changed much while the other Scandinavian languages have.

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  • Fishing is very important to...

    Fishing is very important to Iceland. It is a major part of the economy and also very prevalent in their cuisine.

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  • Icelandic people love bathing....

    Icelandic people love bathing. This is one of the swimmingpools, just two minutes walking distance from the main camping ground.

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  • Reykjavik isEUROPEAN CITY OF...

    Reykjavik isEUROPEAN CITY OF CULTURE FOR THE YEAR 2000This work of art is the logo for this event.

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  • The ICELANDIC HORSE - A...

    The ICELANDIC HORSE - A completely pure breed. Horses from other countries may not enter Iceland, nor may horses return once they leave the country. Horses are seen everywhere including the city and riding is a popular sport. The Icelandic horse is unique in that it may have up to 5 gaits, most other breeds have 3.

    more
  • SOME USEFUL WORDS YOU MIGHT...

    SOME USEFUL WORDS YOU MIGHT NEEDYes já No nei Hello (good day) góðan dagHi hæ, hallóGood-bye blessExcuse me afsakiðSorry fyrirgefðuThank you takk fyrir

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  • “101 Reykjavik”

    The film “101 Reykjavik” (2001, writer/dir. Baltasar Kormakur), a black comedy, which takes place mostly in Reykjavik (101 is the postcode of the city centre). This is the story of Hlynur, a spineless guy living off social benefits, who is still living with his mother at the ripe age of 30, downloads cyber porn from the Internet and sleeps until...

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Reykjavík Region Local Customs

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