Articles in Destinations:

24.10.2013

A School For The Beer-Curious

In a small lecture hall doubling as a private bar, twenty men raise their glasses and have a big gulp of Egils Gull as Stefán “Stebbi” Pálsson begins the bjórskólinn (“beer school”) curriculum.
19.7.2013

Furiously Chasing Tranquility In Ísafjörður

Through my travels, I've been lucky enough to meet a ton of Icelanders who have become some of my closest friends—I might call them family.
19.6.2013

Where Are The Glowing Rocks?

As you would expect, many visitors to Iceland are more than eager to view the country’s famous volcanoes.
10.5.2013

Not For Your Average Latté-Drinker

“What are all these people doing here?” a guy asked his mate in the fourth row. “Beats me,” he replied, looking up at us as we walked past to find our seats on Air Iceland’s 37-seat Dash 8 bound for Ilulissat.
3.9.2012

High Hopes For Husavík

The northeast of Iceland has been steadily growing in popularity as a tourism destination, and small wonder, as it has a lot to offer.
17.8.2010

A Borganestastic Day

"Hey guys, let's go hang out in Borgarnes! I hear it's a really cool place!"
13.8.2010

Must-Love Foxes

Mere minutes away from Ísafjörður, the Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík is the first of its kind in the world.
6.8.2010

East Greenland Frozen In Time

A rocky mass jutting out of an ocean full of icebergs revealed itself below the clouds as our plane began its descent into Kulusuk, East Greenland.
3.8.2010

Survive Verslunarmannahelgi

This guide does not cover the basics. If you can't remember to pack your sleeping bag or an extra pair of underwear, you shouldn’t go anywhere, anyway.
25.6.2010

Ghosts And Goblins And Trolls, Oh My!

When I was a kid, my favourite ride at my hometown amusement park was the haunted house.
4.6.2010

More Like 'Best Man Islands'

Three weeks ago on the Westman Islands there was one day when Eyjafjallajökull’s ash fell so thick that everything outdoors was covered.
23.3.2010

Festivals

There’s a lot going on in Iceland’s capitol this month. We’re sure you’re all hyped up for DesignMarch, Reykjavík Fashion Festival and the Reykjavík Blues Festival. These are all surefire events, and it will be time to find time to go to work and stuff between all the parties and hangovers and cleaning broken bottles and condoms out of your back yard...
8.12.2009

Welcome to Fairytale Land!

Visiting the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is like stepping into a fairytale.
31.7.2009

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss. That waterfall. As far as natural phenomena go, it’s pretty great, and it is definitely deserving of its status as one of Iceland’s premier tourist attractions.
27.7.2009

Thank God For Hot Water

One of this country’s best redeeming qualities are the pools of hot water found sprinkled all over it.
21.7.2009

Fun Times in and Around Egilsstaðir

Welcome to Egilsstaðir, the sunny town in the east of Iceland that just happened to be cloudy and rainy when my colleague and I touched down for five fun-filled days of WWOOFing and exploration.
14.7.2009

Sundhöll Reykjavíkur

Stunning and unforgettable – the primary way to describe Sundhöll Reykjavíkur on Barónsstígur, Reykjavík’s longest running (and only) indoor swimming pool.
7.7.2009

Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool

Take a long, hard look at the accompanying photo. You'll want to be there.
6.7.2009

No More Blues

Opened in 1990, Fjölskyldu- og húsdýragarðurinn is a family escape open year round, giving kids (and city folk) the chance to get up close and personal with a variety of animals native to Iceland.
23.6.2009

Go to Nuuk, Do Things

Nuuk is, admittedly, not the most aesthetically pleasing of towns.
22.6.2009

Nuuk by Sea

The sun shone, and the water was calm and shimmering. Of the handful of days I spent in Nuuk, this was by far the most pristine.
25.5.2009

Watch Your Back

In Vík, the little white-and-red church stands alone, overlooking the sleepy village. Birds nest in the vertical Reynisfjall cliffs and waves crash against sea carved stone columns by the black beach.
Vík (Icelandic for ‘bay’) or Vík í Mýrdal (in full: ‘bay in the marshlands’) is the southernmost village in Iceland, the wettest place in the country and, with an impressive 300 inhabitants, one of the largest settlements in the area. I have several reasons to believe that Vík is also the epitome of all things creepy.

8.5.2009

Phileas Fogg Would Weep

Four star country resort Hotel Rangá has been a favoured local city escape destination for years. Only an hour out of Reykjavík, right off the ring road in the Southern low lands between Hella and Hvolsvöllur, Rangá offers views of Mt. Hekla, river Rangá and the Northern lights (“subject to availability”) accompanied by all the luxuries of the civilized world, including a fine dining restaurant and a bar menu featuring a different martini for each day of the week.
3.4.2009

Ice-O-lation

Hrísey is Iceland's second largest island. It is located in Eyjafjörður, around 30 kilometres from the north’s capital, Akureyri.
6.3.2009

Never Let me Down: Aldrei Fór Ég Suður

For a free two-day event that involves airlifting the better part (in every sense of the word) of Iceland’s musicians to a remote part of the country and keeping them stocked on beer, food and blankets for two days, during the economically ravaged 2009 shouldn’t bode too well.
6.3.2009

Top 5 Ski Areas In Iceland

The top 5 ski areas to go see in Iceland
6.3.2009

An Oasis in the Snow

The second Northern Wave Film Festival was launched flamboyantly last Friday with champagne, caviar and speeches; the whole nine yards. Or so I’ve heard.
6.2.2009

Almost Snowboarding In Akureyri

My iPod is pink and ancient. Within it resides, among others, Steve Von Till.  He is gently crooning at my eardrums as turbulence hits like a linebacker, sending the Fokker into violent spasms affecting a change in altitude and piercing shrieks of terror from a few rows back.
10.10.2008

Sundholl Reykjavikur

Grapevine makes a splash
10.10.2008

South Shore Adventure

Grapevine chases waterfalls
10.10.2008

A Flying Visit to Akureyri

A day trip to Iceland's second city
12.9.2008

Witch Museum

 Bring the kids.
12.9.2008

On the Puffin Trail in Vestmannaeyjar

Vestmannaeyjar (also known as the Westmann Islands to English-folk) is the ideal remote milieu for an exotic off-the-mainland excursion.
12.9.2008

Waking Up in Wonderland

The Grapevine visits Electric Picnic Music Festival
4.9.2008

Reykjavik Zoo & Family Park

The kids will love it.
18.8.2008

Silver Rush in Siglufjörður

Those who lived it still claim it was the best time of their lives. The Great Herring Adventure of the ‘50s and ‘60s was the Icelandic equivalent of Klondike.
18.8.2008

Pioneering Sculptures

You’ll find Ásmundarsafn, the Ásmundur Sveinsson Sculpture Museum, in a unique building near Laugardalslaug swimming pool, just outside of the city centre.
1.8.2008

Sky's the Limit

Iceland’s rivers aren’t only perfect for fishing or picturesque to watch. Many times a month, a small group of adventurous whitewater kayakers paddle down the most ruthless ones and crisscross the country with the goal set to find new creeks and waterfalls to run down.

1.8.2008

Mountains, Fjords and Gods

As a day’s hike reveals, the Hornstrandir nature reserve leaves little to be desired, and a lot to be discovered.
1.8.2008

Icelandic Ponies

Peering out the window on route to the Snorrastaðir farm, I quip that English horses must be photo shopped, as the ones I spot outside all look rather small. “Shh”, my friend whispers. “The Icelanders are sensitive about their horses”.
10.8.2007

Island Life: 24 hours on Grímsey

The thought of spending the weekend on a tiny island with nothing to do is enough to send some people running. Instead, Gulli, the photographer, and I thought of some creative ways to keep ourselves occupied during our 24 hour stay. These included meeting as many of the locals (pop. 95) as possible, trying to defend ourselves from the aggressive arctic terns, and last but not least, scaling the dangerously steep coastal cliffs trying to catch puffins. While these may not be the most obvious tourist activities, our trip to Grímsey turned out to be full of adventure.
27.7.2007

The Westman Islands: Puffins Abound

No sooner had I started to settle into my seat than the pilot announced he was commencing the descent.
15.6.2007

Four days in Northern Poland

“You need a special car for Poland – we don’t have any cars for Poland,” repeats the sternlooking woman at the budget car hire counter in Berlin Tegel airport. Some insistence that we had provided details of our Poland trip days earlier is all that is needed – we are eventually told that a car is on its way. The “special” car in question is a shiny new Opel station wagon, and we eagerly load our baggage and excessive food supplies in the car and part with Berlin for four days of excitement in Poland.
13.4.2007

The Arty East

12.1.2007

A Tale Of Two New Year’s

In which a Grapevine staff journalist swaps apartments with a NY couple in time for 2006’s passing. Both parties end up enjoying themselves and learning some new things, despite the alien surroundings.
7.4.2006

We Live to Be Radical

Four years ago, when I lived in Brooklyn, Williamsburg was losing its cool, which is to say it was cool and everyone knew it. To indicate how mass hip the neighbourhood was, it’s best to refer to one incident: In 2001, a graffiti artist from Williamsburg stole a friend’s photo from a gallery opening as a joke, and escaped in a getaway car… along with his buddy, Ryan McGinley, the photo editor of Vice and the youngest photographer to ever have a solo show at the Whitney. When the New York Times reported on it, the number of band members, magazines and graffiti crews boggled the mind.
10.2.2006

Akranes

13.1.2006

After the Flood

5.12.2005

Blue Lagoon

7.10.2005

Forget What You Know: Enjoy London

The new London likes drinkin’ in museums, Ferris wheels and cleavage. The land of Shakespeare wants to export low culture, and they’re doing a pretty good job.
2.9.2005

Landmannalaugar, Sprengisandur and Akureyri

This is the tale of three happy people who set out on a trip to Landmannalaugar... and ended up in a desert on the Sprengisandur route that crosses the island from south to north and leads you in between glaciers to the most beautiful part of Iceland. The problem: In former times, when people used to ride through this barren landscape as fast as possible in fear of ghosts and outlaws, they often exhausted their horses (hence “sprengi”). Today, the horse is substituted with a car, and its battery is dying of exhaustion, almost as in the olden days. The next hut is 20 kilometres and a few river-crossings north. Will our three anti-heroes die in the wilderness?
2.9.2005

The Last Place in the World You Can Expect to Rock:

Walking in the relaxed park and café Sofienberg district on a Sunday after the Oya festival, I saw Oslo at its best. On a moderately sunny day, groups of four and five young exceptionally fit professionals sat outside bars sipping beers and being polite.
5.8.2005

Sónar Festival for Advanced Music and Multimedia Art in Barcelona and G! Festival in the Faroe Islands.

Grapevine designer Hörður Kristbjörnsson, one half of the dynamic DJ-duo Skratch n Sniph, loves music festivals. He can’t get enough of them. Or at least of the Sónar and the G! Festival. In this extremely intimate Q & A, he tells all the Grapevine readers what makes a festival hot enough for his liking. And that is hot indeed.
22.7.2005

Never Enough Time

I used to pride myself on being a well-traveled person in this country, yet in the nearly six years I’ve lived in Iceland, I didn’t get around to visiting one of the most distinct parts of the country, the West Fjörds, until this month. The only thing I knew about the West Fjörds up until then was that the schizophrenic 17th priest Jón Magnússon had his witch burnings there, the people were alleged to have a distinct accent, and that both Mugisson and Eiríkur Norðdahl are from there. Having just returned from the West Fjörd’s capital, Ísafjörður, I’ve come to the conclusion that the whole region is worth repeated explorations.
8.7.2005

On Tolkien's Trail in Oxford

OXFORD, England - I had vowed to take Dead Man’s Walk. To sneak into Gothic-trimmed courtyards. To wander beside the shadow of Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy. Alas, I heard the trail was unmarked. Shrouded in rumor and false steps. I would have to find my own path.
27.5.2005

Nauthólsvík

6.5.2005

Tips

6.5.2005

AKUREYRI

8.4.2005

Mývatn

8.4.2005

BALTIMOREUnited States of America

It was owner of Full Moon Saloon (1710 Aliceanna St.) Ezekiel Phelps reminded me of what’s truly great about Baltimore’s music scene. “A lot of big name bands stop here on their way to New York,” he said. “and they often use Baltimore as a testing ground for new material. They’ll be playing great songs here you won’t hear at venues in other towns, sometimes songs that don’t even make it onto their albums. Baltimore is the town where these lost songs are played. Plus, we got a lotta blues and jazz.” This is certainly true. You can find a blues or jazz show going on somewhere in town just about every night of the week. Flip through the listings in Baltimore’s free weekly, City Paper, and your music choices on any given weekend are mind boggling.
11.3.2005

STOCKHOLM Picks

11.3.2005

Stockholm’s Great Highway to Hope

Stockholm is, at first glance, just as you expect it to be. Safe, clean and polite, if not going out of its way to be overtly friendly. This might be a nice place to live and bring up children if you’re so inclined, I thought to myself, but there’s something lacking. Some sense of excitement, of the unknown. And as you walk down the main pedestrian and shopping street, Dronninggatan, it looks safe, clean, polite, and mostly predictable. Or so it seemed, until the street itself started speaking to me.
11.3.2005

HRÍSEY: Keepin’ It Real

Hrísey is a small place, even by Icelandic standards. 200 people live on an island measuring approximately 7.5 km by 2.5 km. If you want to experience “Old Iceland,” this is one of the best places to go. After a six hour drive from Reykjavík, me, our graphic designer, one of our photographers, and our publisher arrived at Árskógssandur and took the ferry to what their website (www.hrisey.is) calls “the pearl of Eyjafjörður.”
11.2.2005

THE WESTMAN ISLANDS: The Atlantic Stopover for Puffins, Pirates and Superstar Killer Whales

The Westman Islands are Iceland’s frontier to the south. The island of Heimaey is the largest populated island off the coast of Iceland, and has a thriving community of almost 5000 people. This manages to support two local papers and even a TV station. It takes half an hour by plane to get there from Reykjavík, or almost three hours with the ferry Herjólfur from Þorlákshöfn on the southern coast. A tunnel is planned to finally end their relative isolation, although a group of enterprising university students suggested a zeppelin might be more economical.
11.2.2005

BARCELONA Picks

14.1.2005

BERLIN Picks

14.1.2005

HEAVEN IS A PLACE OF NO HOPE

The Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek wrote that in the German Democratic Republic, aka. socialism, East-Germans had everything, psychologically speaking: they did not have to worry about food and shelter, access to education or even time, of which they also had plenty as they constantly had to wait for everything (trains, buses, bureaucrats etc.).
14.1.2005

Sólheimar in Grímsnes:

Situated at the bottom of a narrow gorge amidst hot springs, Sólheimar is home and workplace for 70 villagers, whereof half have special needs. The ideology which the place is based on is rooted in the theories of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist who developed the Gestalt ideology of anthroposophism (I’m glad we cleared that up –ed). The founder of Sólheimar, Sesselja Sigmundsdóttir, was a follower of Rudolf Steiner and attended his institute in Dornach, Switzerland in the late 1920´s. A visionary, she began the arduous task of building Sólheimar in the summer of 1930.
5.11.2004

Copenhagen for the desperatly poor

“This neighbourhood used to be called ‘Shit Island’,” Laust and Sara tell me. They are a Danish couple I am intrusively asking for directions in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Amager, and I can’t help but feel even more encouraged to be here.
20.8.2004

Borgarnes: Dead bald guys and a surprise appearance by Bush

Borgarnes is steeped in Egilssaga lore. According to the saga, Skalla-Grímur, Egil´s father, let his father Kveldúlfur´s coffin float to land, as Kveldúlfur had said that wherever the coffin came ashore, Skalla-Grímur was to make his home. That sure beats Ingólfur and his sissy seat posts in shopping for land. In Borgarnes today you can find Skalla-Grímur park, set up in 1930 to commemorate the events of the saga
20.8.2004

Geysir: The Resurrection

If you cast your mind back to your dim and distant childhood (or in my case last Saturday afternoon), you may remember a popular cartoon character called Yogi Bear. Along with his faithful sidekick, the cheerful if verbose Booboo, Yogi eked out a comfortable existence pilfering picnic baskets from unsuspecting tourists. I guess you could say it was his life’s work.
6.8.2004

The Patented Icelandic Underwater Massage

The afternoon I spent at the Blue Lagoon was similar to what I imagine it to be like on the deck of a ship in a squall. Winds, which can only be described as gale-force, slapped at my face and I feared for my eardrums as they were blasted with surf. It was exciting and only slightly annoying.
6.8.2004

Stykkishólmur after dark

“Are you Icelandic?” asks a man as I stand outside Narfeyrarstofa bar in Stykkishólmur up on Snæfellsnes, wondering whether to go in. “Yes,” I replied. He looks at me disappointed. “And I was so hoping to speak English,” he says and walks away. No one can accuse the people of Stykkishólmur of not being friendly to foreigners. And it´s been moving a lot closer to Reykjavík recently. In 1980 a bridge was built over Borgarfjörður, connecting that peninsula with this one. In 1998, a tunnel was opened under Hvalfjörður, meaning that Stykkishólmur is now a mere two hour drive away from Reykjavík.
6.8.2004

BREIÐAFJÖRÐUR: THE ICELANDIC MEDITERRANEAN?

Breiðafjörður means literally “wide fjord.” It was said that there were too many islands in the fjord to count, but modern science has revealed these to be about 2800. People have lived on the islands since Iceland was settled. At its height in the early 18th century, some 70 islands were settled and islanders owned a total of 140 ships and boats. One historian has even likened the area to an “Icelandic Mediterranean.” The last permanent residents moved away more than 20 years ago, but the islands are still used for summer houses. It may not be a watery highway anymore, but there is still traffic there. The ferry Baldur operates between Stykkishólmur and Brjánslækur on the West Fjords. And the company Sæferðir operates cruises on the fjord with its two catamarans, the ms Særún and the ms Brimrún.
23.7.2004

THE MUSK OX: NOT AS STUPID AS IT SEEMS?

I got off the plane in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, and lit a cigarette. A woman immediately came over and told me in a heavy Danish accent that smoking was not permitted. At least we weren´t that far from civilisation. For anyone who´s ever promised to love each other till the end of the world, Kangerlussuaq is as good a place as any to call it quits. There´s something unreal about everything this far north. Perhaps it’s the lighting. Even though it was past midnight, it was still bright as day. I should be used to that by now, but somehow it seems even more apparent up here. I wondered if this was how travellers coming to Iceland for the first time viewed it.
23.7.2004

Westman’s Your Man

For almost two years now I have blighted this fiery island with my presence. For nearly as long every Tom, Dick and Þorsteinn has been asking me this recurring question: “Have you been to the Westman Islands yet? What! You haven’t made it out there yet? Man, you don’t know what you are missing!” Well, I already live on a small remote island. Why go to a smaller and more remote one? But, tired of fending off incredulous and indignant Icelanders, I retrieved my tent from the attic, borrowed a sleeping bag and headed off to see what all the fuss was about.
23.7.2004

THE FAROE ISLANDS FROM QUAINT TO COOL

Coming to the Faroe Islands reminds you of Iceland before the fall. Before baseball caps. Before pizza deliveries. Before FM hnakkar. When people had less and appreciated more. To experience the real Iceland, perhaps that´s where you need to go.
11.6.2004

Geysir

Iceland is often accused of having been dealt a poor hand by whoever it was who handed out nature’s goodies all those years ago. No oil, no mineral wealth, no forests, no sun. This was a country that seemed to be sucking on the hind-teat of Genesis, a place destined to receive Mother Nature’s nul-points for life.
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