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  • Iceland’s Sonic Landscape

    Not long ago, I was packing my travel bag into the back of my friends’ four-wheel drive SUV as we all headed out for an extended week navigating the Ring Road. I was somewhere between a tourist and a resident, living in Iceland on a yearlong fellowship, and on my boss’s advice, I decided to

  • Tölting Through The Lava Fields

    “This is Stormur,” says the German staff member at Íshestar as she hands me the reins of my horse for the morning. She leaves us to get acquainted, and I pet Stormur’s soft nose, barely able to contain my glee. With impatience, I had sat through Íshestar’s instructional video for people who have never touched

  • Americans Love Iceland

    A couple of weeks ago I was hiking on a trail about 90 minutes from my home in Portland, Oregon, USA. I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a year. I asked her what she’d been up to. “Oh, I just got back from Iceland,” she said. “Really? I’m going Wednesday.” Is the

  • Thieving Santas And Priest-Driven Volcanoes

    Fists clenched, a middle aged bald man sits torn between frustration and amusement. “But Iceland is so ordinary. Nothing exciting happens here,” he says before walking off into the un-setting sun. It’s 6:30 am and I’m on a busy street corner with a crowd of friendly strangers. Sitting in a circle of borrowed patio chairs,

  • Winter Wonderland

    Vatnajökull is the second largest glacier in all of Europe, covering 8% of Iceland’s land mass and dominating the southeast corner of the country. Visible only on clear days, the glacier’s peak sits atop a vast sheet of compacted snow and ice, estimated to be up to a kilometre deep at its thickest point. Seen

  • In The Giant Redwood Forests Of Iceland

    Visitors to Iceland seem to have no interest in the island’s forests. Instead, they delight in the volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs and a midge-mobbed lake called Mývatn. Trees simply get in the way of the view. Not only that, but as a woman from Los Angeles told me, “Hey, I can see all the trees

  • A Sunny World

    If you happen to be cruising down a valley-snaking road about an hour’s drive east of Reykjavík, there’s a chance you’ll curl around a grassy embankment and notice, nestled among rolling hills, Iceland’s lone ecovillage. The Sólheimar Ecovillage has existed sustainably since it was founded in 1931 by trailblazing humanitarian Sesselja Hreindís Sigmundsdóttir. Tucked between

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  • In A Van Down By The Ocean

    Nearly 200 kilometres of road lay in front of us. From Reykjavík to Vík í Mýrdal in two days, that was our mission. That’s not at all that much, you might note, but we had to make some stops on the way in order to delve into the towns along the way and get a

  • Merchants’ Weekend Is Here!

    Every year in Iceland, the first weekend in August is dedicated to celebrating Verslunarmannahelgi (“Merchants’ Weekend”), a labour day / bank holiday equivalent. While not everyone is actually a Merchant, every Icelander is encouraged to celebrate like the holiday is their own, with many getting three or four days off work. Though it is traditionally

  • Iceland In Miniature

    Having planned to spend much of this summer—my first summer in Iceland, in fact—gallivanting around the country, I’ve instead spent most of my time in the city, close to home. But today, I’m lucky. In the name of research, my partner and I get twelve hours to explore the Snæfellsnes peninsula. This is “Iceland in

  • Don’t Take Hiking Lightly

    Hiking is a popular recreational sport in Iceland. People by the thousands are on the move in the vicinity of Reykjavík on a good day. While many hike on rather flat ground, mountain hikes have gained popularity over the last two decades. There is a vast array of easy to moderate hikes to choose from

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