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Reykjavik, Iceland - The Perfect Time to Visit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

Icelandic Horses - Photo by Luxury ExperienceIceland with its dramatic landscape created by volcanic eruptions has a rugged, natural beauty that is waiting for adventurers to discover its Icelandic horses,  waterfalls, hot springs, lava caves, and glaciers, and for those that prefer more urban adventures, Reykjavik, the capital city, offers excellent shopping, culture, museums, and diverse gastronomical possibilities. With the weakened Icelandic Krona and a stronger US Dollar and Euro, there has never been a better time to visit this unique country.

Having experienced Iceland several years ago, Edward and I decided that it was time for us to revisit this wonderful country that provides visitors with so many reasons to visit. Iceland is the 18th largest island in the world, covers 39,750 square miles, and is located 180 miles east of Greenland and 600 miles west of Norway. Contrary to its foreboding name, glaciers only cover one-ninth of its surface although Vatnajokull, the largest glacier in Europe and the size of the state of Rhode Island, covers 3,300 square miles. It is a land of natural beauty that is waiting for you to discover its 10,000 waterfalls, geysers spouting steam from the earth's core, 17 active volcanoes, 10 million puffins, 100,000 Icelandic horses, and thousands of hot springs.

In September 2009, Edward and I flew Icelandair with its convenient 5 hour 45 minute direct flight from New York (JFK, Terminal 7) to Reykjavik. Gracious service began at the check-in counter, and continued in the lounge, which Icelandair shares with British Airways in New York.

After a short but comfortable flight where Edward slept and I practiced my Icelandic, which was part of the Icelandair entertainment system, we picked up our Budget Rental Car at the Keflavik Airport and with Edward in the driver's seat drove the short distance of 34 miles (55 km) to our hotel where the passing landscape enthralled us with its early morning beauty. Rugged lava formations gave way to rich green moss, golden grasses, and a rocky coastline that was exquisite in its severity. As we reached the city center and neared our hotel we noticed an enormous rainbow over Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland, as if Iceland was welcoming us back.

Rainbow over Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Rainbow over
Hallgrímskirkja

We stayed at the Hotel Holt a distinguished Reykjavik landmark since it opened in 1965 and holds the distinction of having the largest privately owned collection of Icelandic art, which includes sculpture, carpets, and paintings that grace the walls of the public spaces of the hotel, the 40 rooms and 12 suites, and the acclaimed The Gallery Restaurant which features French-inspired cuisine by Chef Fridgeir Ingi Eriksson who competed as Iceland's Candidate in the prestigious Bocuse d'Or 2007 competition in Lyon, France, and brings his culinary excellence and artistry to the elegant fine dining restaurant.

The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Gallery Restaurant

The hotel's inviting wood paneled Library is lined with books and features an impressive collection of rare Cognacs and Armagnacs that are sure to please connoisseurs; the sitting room provides a comfortable oasis to relax by the fireplace in a comfortable leather chair to enjoy a late afternoon coffee, and the Bar is perfect to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif or post-dinner cocktail.

Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland
Hotel Holt

Although the hotel has old-world charm, technology is state of the state of the art with complimentary WIFI Internet access in the guestrooms and a Business Center in the Lobby.

Located on a quiet street a short 5-minute stroll from the city center and the main shopping streets, the Hotel Holt provided us with the perfect location to easily explore Reykjavik, and is perfect for business as well as leisure travelers.

Read about Hotel Holt and The Gallery Restaurant in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Fridgeir Ingi Eriksson shares a delicious taste of The Gallery Restaurant in English and in Icelandic.

Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, IcelandHotel Holt
Bergstadastraeti 37
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-552-5700
Fax:                  +354-562-3025
Email:             
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www.Holt.is

Culture abounds in Reykjavik and we had the good fortune of being in the city during the Reykjavik International Film Festival, which ran from the 17th until the 27th of September 2009. Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF) was founded in 2004 by a group of film enthusiasts and professionals with the goal of creating an annual international film festival in Reykjavik. Now in its sixth year, the festival is so successful that it attracts filmmakers and film lovers from around the globe.

Reykjavik International Film Festival (RIFF)
Frikirkjuvegur 1
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-411-7055
Email:             
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www.Riff.is 

Reykjavik also offers great diversity in its museums, many of which have free entrance, or free entrance with the purchase of Reykjavik Welcome Cards that may be purchased for 24, 48, or 72 hours which provide free or discounted admission to museums and attractions, discounts at restaurants and shops, and more.

To have an appreciation of the development of Reykjavik, we visited The Settlement Exhibition (Die Siedlungsausstellums) and learned about Reykjavik 871 + 2, which refers to the dating of the volcanic ash found from 871 with a range of 2 years of error, and saw the exhibition "Step into the Viking Age" with many interesting artifacts and information provided in Icelandic and English.

The Settlement Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
The Settlement Exhibition Artifacts

The Settlement Exhibition is open daily from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm. Admission is charged. Adults: 600 Kr, Seniors (67+) and Children (13 - 18): 300 Kr, Children (2 - 12 accompanied by adults): Free, Groups (10+): 450 Kr. Free entrance with the Reykjavik Welcome Card.

The Settlement Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience

The Settlement Exhibition (Die Siedlungsausstellums)
Adalstraeti 16
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-411-6370
Fax:                  +354-411-6371
Email:             
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www.Reykjavik871.is

Another interesting museum is The Cultural House (National Center for Cultural Heritage) where we saw their Medieval Manuscripts (Eddas and Sagas through the Ages) exhibit, which provided an informative look into Icelandic history. The people of Iceland speak Norse (now called Icelandic), which is the same language as their Viking ancestors, and is the oldest living language in Europe.

The Culture House, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
The Culture House

The manuscripts show that Icelandic poets were at the Royal Courts, and that skaldic poetry resembled courtly poetry of Ireland. The exhibits also included information on the runic carvings dated as early as the 4th century AD and are the oldest records of the Nordic language.

We found the preserved vellums of the sagas of the kings, the saga of Greenland relating the tale of Leif the Lucky's explorations of Vinland (North America), and St. Margaret's Saga for women in childbirth to be very fascinating.

The museum is open daily from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. There is an elevator in the building for easy accessibility. Admission is charged. Adults: 300 Kr, Seniors and Students: 200 Kr, Free entrance for visitors under 18, Free entrance on Wednesday, and Free entrance anytime with the Reykjavik Welcome Card.

The Cultural House (National Center for Cultural Heritage)
Hverfisgata 15
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:      + 354-545-1400
Fax:                 + 354-545-1401
Email:             
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www.Thjodmenning.is 

We also enjoyed visiting the National Museum of Iceland (Das Landesmuseum Museum Von Island) where we saw many fascinating exhibitions including one about the epidemics and plagues noting the history of the Black Death that occurred between 1402 - 1404 AD that killed half of the population, and the second plague that took place between 1494 - 1495 AD which was less severe; as well as The Medieval Church; and artifacts from the Viking Age 800 - 1000 AD that included bronze jewelry, brooches, and decorated weapons.

The National Museum of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
The National Museum of Iceland

The National Museum of Iceland is open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (May 1st - September 15th), and from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm with the exception of Mondays (September 16th - April 30th). Admission is charged. Adults: 800 Kr, Seniors, Handicapped, Students, and Groups (10+): 400 Kr, Free entrance on Wednesday, and anytime with Reykjavik Welcome Card.

National Museum of Iceland
Sudargata 41
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-530-2200
www.Natmus.is

The Reykjavik Art Museum (Reykjavik Kunstmuseum) was also of great interest. One of the many interesting exhibitions that we saw was The Crated Rooms In Iceland - Yoshitomo Nara + Yng (exhibition runs until January 3, 2010) where the room-size installation requires visitors to view the contemporary art through the holes, windows, and the doors of wooden crates.

Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Visiting the Reykjavik Art Museum

The Reykjavik Art Museum (Reykjavik Kunstmuseum) is open daily from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm with extended hours on Thursday until 10:00 pm. Entrance is free.

Reykjavik Art Museum, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Reykjavik Art Museum

Reykjavik Art Museum (Reykjavik Kunstmuseum)
Tryggvagata 17
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-590-1200
Email:             
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www.ListasafnReykjavikur.is

One of the main Reykjavik landmarks is Hallgrímskirkja, an impressive church with its soaring white peak, located at the top of the fashionable street, Skólavörðholti. It is the largest church in Iceland and features a 73-meter tower. Although architect Guđjón Samúelsson (1887-1950) was commissioned to design the church in 1937, actual construction began in 1945, with completion 38 years later.

Hallgrimskirkja, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Hallgrímskirkja

Of particular note are the two organs, a small chancel organ built by Th. Frobenius & Sönner of Lynby, Denmark added in 1985, and a large concert organ made by Johannes Klais organ builders of Bonn, Germany added in 1992. Also of importance are the sculptures by Einar Jónsson, and the stained glass by Leifur Breiđfjörđ.

Hallgrímskirkja
Skólavörðholti 651
121 Reykjavik
Iceland
Telephone:       +354-510-1000
Fax:                  +354-510-1010
Email:             
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www.Hallgrimskirkja.is

Opposite Hallgrímskirkja, is the Einar Jónsson Sculpture Museum featuring the work of Einar Jónsson (1874-1954), who was Iceland's first sculptor. Although we have yet to be in Reykjavik when the museum was open, we always enjoy visiting the outdoor Sculpture Garden, which is open daily year round. There is free admission to the garden. Entrance to the Sculpture Garden is located on Freyjusgata.

Einar Jonsson Sculpture, Fur by Eggert Feldskeri - Photo by Luxury Experience
The Einar Jónsson Sculpture Museum (Fur by Eggert Feldskeri)

The Einar Jónsson Sculpture Museum is open from June 1 - 15th September from Tuesday - Sunday from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm, and September 16 - May 31 on Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm. The museum is closed for the months of December and January. Admission is charged.

The Einar Jónsson Sculpture Museum
Eiríksgata (across from the Hallgrímskirkja)
Telephone:       +354-551-3797
Fax:                  +354-562-3909
Email:             
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www.Skulptur.is

Of course, there is more to Reykjavik than just cultural attractions, there is shopping. The main shopping streets are Skólavörðustígur, Bankasræti, and Laugavegur that are lined with fashionable upscale boutiques and art galleries.

One of our favorite shops to visit in Reykjavik is Eggert Feldskeri (Eggert the Furrier), owned by the internationally renowned furrier Eggert Jóhannsson who is one of the foremost professional designers in his field and creates bespoke furs for men and women, as well as offers prêt-à-porter coats, jackets, and other fur accessorizes. For the past 30 years, Eggert has attracted a loyal clientele who travel to Iceland for the high quality he maintains and for his unique.

Eggert Feldskeri, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Eggert Feldskeri

His shop windows beckon invitingly like a mermaid's siren call; it is impossible for us to pass by without stopping. Inside the shop, his fur designs dazzle the eye as he always has something new that he has just created. He was one of the first designers to use what is now known as ocean leather, namely salmon, perch, and cod, which he uses to add to add interest to his fur designs.

Eggert Feldskeri Showroom, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Eggert Feldskeri Showroom

Eggert Feldskeri, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury ExperienceEggert Feldskeri belongs to The Kopenhagen Purple Club, (an elite club of the top 100 furriers in the world) and his quality and reputation stand behind his luscious creations. He specializes in high-quality mink and wild skins and if fur is your passion, a visit to Eggert Feldskeri should be on your Reykjavik "must visit' list.

Read about fur designer Eggert Feldskeri in the Fashion section.

Eggert Feldskeri
Skólavörðustígur 38
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       + 354-551-1121
Fax:                  + 354-551-1355
Email:             
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www.Furrier.is 

The iconic Icelandic designs feature heavily in wool hats, sweaters, and knitted garments, and the family owned shop Diza by Alprjón, owned by Asdis Loftsdottir, caught our eye with its attractive shop windows where Keli, the adorable black and white family cat greeted us at the door. The shop's motto is "Knitted with pride" and during our visit we watched with fascination as daughter, Adalheidur Steina Gudmundsdóttir, knitted a new creation.

Adalheidur Steina Gusmundsdottir of Diza by Alprjon - Photo by Luxury Experience  Icelandic Sweaters o Diza by Alprjon - Photo by Luxury Experience
Adalheidur Steina Gudmundsdóttir of Diza by Alprjón

Keli of Diza by Alprjon - Photo by Luxury ExperienceDiza by Alprjón
Designers Corner
Laugavegi 44
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       + 354-551-1121
Fax:                  + 354-551-1355
Email:             
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www.Diza.is 

For a city with a population of approximately 120,000, the restaurant scene in Reykjavik is exciting and vibrant with restaurants that range from casual to fine dining. We dined at restaurants that showcase the creative spirit of the talented chefs of Iceland, whose restaurants are as unique as their culinary styles. Alas, we were only able to scratch the surface of the many wonderful restaurants of Reykjavik, which provides us with yet another reason to return to this charming city.

For lunch, we went to the seafood restaurant, 3 Frakkar Restaurant, which translates as 3 French Coats, that is owned by Chef Úlfar Eysteinsson and his family, and has been a favorite with locals since it opened 20 years ago. Úlfar and his son, Chef Stefan Úlfarsson work in the kitchen and Úlfar's daughter, Guðný Úlfarsdóttir, who bears a strong resemblance to the actress Demi Moore, is the personable hostess and waitress.

3 Frakkar Restaurant - Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
3 Frakkar Restaurant

The intimate restaurant focuses on seafood and Icelandic ingredients and features nautical décor on the walls. A few of the many highlights of our lunch included Smoked Puffin Breast with Mustard Sauce, Graved Trout from þingvellir with Mustard Sauce, Raw Whale Meat Sashimi Japanese Style, and Fried Lemon Spiced Redfish with Mild Wasabi Sauce.

3 Frakkar Restaurant - Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Spiced Redfish with Mild Wasabi Sauce

3 Frakkar Restaurant is open for lunch Monday - Friday from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, for dinner Monday - Friday from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm, and Saturday - Sunday from 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm.

Ulfar Eysteinsson, Gudny Ulfarsdottir, Stefan Ulfarsson - 3 Frakkar Restaurant - Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Úlfar Eysteinsson,  Guðný Úlfarsdóttir, Stefan Úlfarsson

Read about 3 Frakkar Restaurant in the Restaurants and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Úlfar Eysteinsson and Chef Stefan Úlfarsson share a taste of the restaurant with their delicious recipe for Hashed Fish Úlfar's Style with Black Bread, a traditional Icelandic dish, in English and in Icelandic.

3 Frakkar Restaurant - Reykjavik, Iceland
3 Frakkar Restaurant

3 Frakkar, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience3 Frakkar Restaurant
Baldursgata 14
101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Telephone:       +354 552 3939
Email:             
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www.3frakkar.com

We had dinner at Silfur restaurant located in the Hotel Borg overlooking Austurvöllur Square in the city center. The name silfur means silver in Icelandic, and the setting is elegant yet contemporary, dramatically presented in white and black with embellishments of silver befitting its name that perfectly showcases the culinary artistry of Chef Hafthor Sveinsson.

Silfur restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland
Silfur restaurant

A few of the many culinary highlights of our Tasting Menu included Langoustine with Rhubarb Foam, Deep-Fried Langoustine Roll, Char Combo with Chili and Fennel, Grapes, Tomatoes, Cardamom Glaze, and Pea Purée; Lightly Salted Cod with Cardamom Glaze and Orange Cauliflower Purée with Asparagus, Dried Cod, and Polenta; and Monkfish and Smoked Herring with Saffron Foam, and Smoked Potato Mousse crowned with Apples.

Icelandic Lamb - Silfur restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Icelandic Lamb

Chef Hafthor Sveinsson of Silfur restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury ExperienceSilfur restaurant is open for lunch Monday - Friday from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, for dinner Sunday - Thursday from 6:00 pm - 10:30 pm, and Friday - Saturday from 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm.

Read about Silfur restaurant in the Restaurants section and in Chefs' Recipes where Chef Hafthor Sveinsson graciously shares a delicious taste of the restaurant with his recipes for a two-course menu of Langoustine Roll with Fried Langoustine, Rhubarb and Langoustine Glaze, and Lightly Salted Cod with Cardamom Glaze and Cauliflower Purée in English and in Icelandic.

Silfur restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland

Silfur restaurant
Pósthússtræti 11
Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       + 354-578-2008
Email:             
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www.Silfur.is 

Another restaurant where we had dinner was Fish Market (Fiskmarkaðurinn), which is another hot restaurant on the Reykjavik scene. Chef/Owner Hrefna Rósa Jóhannsdóttir Sætran describes her culinary style as using fresh Icelandic ingredients of fish, meat, and poultry in an "Asian costume" although she does not consider it fusion cuisine.

Fish Market Restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland
Fish Market Restaurant

The attractive ambience has a Zen-like appeal with bamboo poles and bamboo shoots that line the walls, a small sushi bar allows diners to watch the chefs in action, and wood tables are minimally accessorized to best showcase the food.

A few of the many highlights of our dinner included Maki Rolls with Salmon, Wagame Salad, Chili Mayo, Nigiri Sashimi with Tuna and Wasabi Caviar, Sashimi Salmon, Halibut, Wasabi, Ginger and Wagame Salad; Cod Marinated in Orange, Cinnamon, and Clove, with Pan-fried Cabbage, Chili and Coriander Potato Mousse, Ceviche Tomatoes, Olive Puree, Bacon Sauce, Olive Mousse, and Smoked Haddock with Ceviche Onions; and Ocean Catfish, rice with baby corn, fresh pineapple and chili.

Sushi - Fish Market Restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Sushi

Chef Hrefna Rosa Johannsdottir Saetran of Fish Market, Reykjavik, IcelandFish Market (Fiskmarkaðurinn) is open for lunch Monday - Friday from 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, and for dinner from 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm.

Read about Fish Market (Fiskmarkaðurinn) in the Restaurants section and in Chefs' Recipes where Chef Hrefna Rósa Jóhannsdóttir Sætran shares a taste of Fish Market with her delicious recipes for Wild Salmon with Yuzu Miso and Onion Pakoda and Breast of Puffin with Smoked Eel, Mango, and Coco in English and in Icelandic.

Fish Market Restaurant, Reykjavik, Iceland

Fish Market (Fiskmarkaðurinn)
Aðalstræti 12
Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-578-8877
Email:             
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www.Fiskmarkadurinn.is 

We also had dinner at The Gallery Restaurant at the Hotel Holt where Chef Fridgeir Ingi Eriksson focuses on French-style cuisine. The fine dining restaurant features elegant décor and an impressive collection of Icelandic paintings grace the walls that perfectly complement his culinary artistry on the specially designed china.

The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland
The Gallery Restaurant

A few of the many highlights of our Tasting Menu included Lobster Soup with Marinated Langoustine and White Chocolate Cream; Scallops on a Tapenade Bed with Coriander, Bell Pepper Coulis, Zucchini, Tomatoes, Parmesan, and Rocket; and Flounder Filet under False Fish Scales with Whipped Nut Oil and Vanilla Seasoned Meat Stock.

Flounder - The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Flounder Filet under False Fish Scales

Chef Fridgeir Ingi Eriksson of The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience The Gallery Restaurant is open daily for lunch from 12:00 pm until 2:30, and for dinner from 6:00 pm until 10:30 pm.

Read about The Gallery Restaurant and Hotel Holt in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, and Chefs' Recipes sections where Chef Fridgeir Ingi Eriksson shares a taste of the Gallery Restaurant with his delicious recipe for Flounder Filet under False Fish Scales with Whipped Nut Oil and Vanilla Seasoned Meat Stock in English and Icelandic.

The Gallery Restaurant, Hotel Holt, Reykjavik, Iceland

The Gallery Restaurant
Hotel Holt
Bergstadastraeti 37
101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:      +354-552-5700
Fax:                 +354-562-3025
Email:             
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www.Holt.is 

Expanding our restaurant repertoire, we ventured an hour outside Reykjavik to have dinner at Restaurant 4 at the Hotel Rangá located in Hella in South Iceland, which was well worth the drive. Although there is excellent salmon fishing on the property, which has the added caveat that chef will prepare your catch for dinner, we opted to order our dinner off the menu.

Restaurant 4, Hotel Ranga, Hella, Iceland
Restaurant 4

The restaurant features three walls of windows overlooking the river that provide a remarkable view to watch the salmon fishermen as well as the changing sky. If the night is clear, the restaurant is the perfect place to watch the Northern Lights (aurora borealis) in the winter months.

A few of the many highlights of our dinner included Mushroom Cappuccino paired with Icelandic Langoustines and White Chocolate Sweet Potato Purée; a luscious quartet of Smoked Sturgeon with Sour Cream and Sevruga Caviar from Canada, Smoked Icelandic Halibut with Mango and Mustard Sauce, Smoked Tuna with Teriyaki Curry Sauce, and Graved Smoked Wild Salmon with Horseradish Sauce and Artic Char Roe; and Beef in a Burgundy Cherry Reduction Sauce with Pickled Portobello Mushroom, Vegetable Terrine, with Carrots, Parsnips, and Snow Peas.

Wild Salmon - Restaurant 4, Hotel Ranga, Hella, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Wild Salmon

Restaurant 4 is open daily for lunch from 12:00 pm until 3:00 pm, and for dinner from 6:30 pm until 10:00 pm (April until September), from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm (October until March Weekdays), and from 7:00 pm until 10:00 pm (October until March Weekends).

Bjorn Eriksson of Restaurant 4, Hotel Ranga, Hella, Iceland
Björn Eriksson showing his Wild Salmon catch

Read about Restaurant 4 in the Restaurants section and in Chefs' Recipes where Hotel Manager and former chef Björn Eriksson shares his special recipe for Fishsoup a la BB at Hotel Rangá.

Restaurant 4, Hotel Ranga, Hella, Iceland

Restaurant 4
Hotel Rang
á
851 Hella, Iceland
Telephone:       +354-487-5700
Fax:                  +354-487-5701
Email:             
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www.HotelRanga.is    

Iceland is a land that offers diverse outdoor adventures, and one of the best ways to experience them is by taking a tour with experienced guides. Edward and I contacted Iceland Rovers who provide Super Jeep Tours, since many of the sights that we wanted to experience require travel over rugged terrain and traveling off-road that car rental companies definitely frown upon.

Edward and Debra at Hot Springs - Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward and Debra visiting the Hot Springs

Iceland Rovers offers many tours, however the tour that best suited our interests and our time schedule was the Essential Iceland tour, which is offered year-round and provided us with the opportunity to experience lava caves, hot springs, waterfalls, the Þingvellir National Park, and the magnificently breathtaking Langjökull Glacier.

Lava Caves of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Ludvik (Lullí) Sigurdsson and Debra at Lava Caves

Our knowledgeable, professional, and fun-loving guide Ludvik (Lullí) Sigurdsson, picked us up at the Hotel Holt at 8:30 in the morning for an exciting day of adventure and returned us to the hotel at 5:30 pm with our heads filled with memories to last a lifetime and over 600 photos shot in our cameras.

Glacier of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Ludvik (Lullí) Sigurdsson and Edward on Glacier

Read about our adventures with Iceland Rovers in the Adventures section.

Iceland Rovers, Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience

Iceland Rovers
Vagnhöfði 7
110 Reykjavik, Iceland
Telephone:      +354-587-9999
Email:             
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www.IcelandRovers.is 

We also went driving on our own to see the verdant valleys where white steam from the many hot springs rose dramatically, drove by black sand beaches and vibrant terracotta colored lava fields, waterfalls that cascaded down mountains, and by the many sheep and Iceland horses that grazed in the foreground.

Waterfalls of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience Hot Springs of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Waterfalls and Hot Springs

With every passing bend in the road there was something new for us to see from the varying topography to the ever-changing sky. To really appreciate all that Iceland has to offer, one must take time to discover its secrets, its folklore and tales of trolls and ghosts, and spend time speaking with the friendly Icelanders, who are rightly proud of the beauty of their country.

Red Lava of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience Sprawling Valley of Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Red Lava and Sprawling Valley

We also went with our friend Eggert Jóhannsson to see his Icelandic horses where there were many mares in the pasture with their foals, some of which were only one and two months old. I would have been more than happy to spend my time in Iceland in the pasture playing with the horses, as the Icelandic horse is a very gentle, friendly, beautiful, and curious animal.

Icelandic Mare and Foal - Photo by Luxury Experience Debra with Icelandic Horse - Photo by Luxury Experience
Edward and Debra visiting the Icelandic Horses

During our time with the horses, Edward made friends with an inquisitive blonde mare named Ljósbrá and her first foal, and I, too, had my share of horse admirers including a gorgeous mare and her darling foal that I wanted to take home with me.

Icelandic foal and mare - Photo by Luxury Experience Icelandic Mare and Foal - Photo by Luxury Experience
Gorgeous Icelandic Mares and their Foals

On our way back to the airport, we could not resist visiting one more interesting museum, Vikingworld (Vikingaheimar), located on the coastline and is only 5 minutes from the airport. The museum houses the replica Viking ship, Íslendingur (the Icelander) designed and built in 1996 by Captain Gunnar Marel Eggertsson who sailed the ship 4200 nautical miles from Iceland to North America in the summer of 2000, to celebrate the 1000 year anniversary of Leif Eriksson's voyage.

Islendingur at Vikingworld, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Íslendingur

The Íslendingur provides insight into the craftsmanship that went into the building of these ships, and the museum provides valuable insight into the Viking world.

Vikingworld, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Vikingworld

Vikingworld (Vikingaheimar) is open daily from 11:00 am until 6:00 pm. Admission is charged.

Vikingworld (Vikingaheimar)
Vikingabraut 1
260 Reykjanesbær, Iceland
Telephone:      +354-422-2000
Email:             
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www.Vikingaheimar.com 

With our sightseeing finished, we drove to the airport, reluctantly returned our Budget Rental Car which allowed us to explore the beauty of the countryside, and after a quick check-in at the Icelandair counter, relaxed in the comfortable Icelandair lounge where we checked our email and had a glass of champagne to toast our exciting trip before boarding our 6-hour return flight to New York.

Architecture of Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
View from Reykjavik

Once again, our trip to Iceland was filled with so many wonderful memories that we know that we will soon need to return to this country that never fails to charm us.

Architecture of Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Architecture of Reykjavik

Important information for Iceland:

The weather in Iceland changes continuously throughout the day often with sudden quickly passing rain showers followed by sunshine. It is best to bring a small folding umbrella with you.

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Krona. As of September 2009, the exchange rate was 1 US Dollar (USD) to 124.17 Icelandic Krona (ISK), and 1 Euro (EUR) to 181.43 Icelandic Krona (ISK).  Icelandic Krona coins come in denominations of: 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 Krona. Banknotes come in denominations of: 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000.

The electric current in Iceland is 220 volts, so it is helpful to bring your own converter, and it is important to note that Iceland is on Greenwich Mean Time year-round.

Architecture of Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Architecture of Reykjavik

Although many Icelanders speak English, it is always helpful to have some basic vocabulary when traveling. Icelanders still speak the language of the Vikings, (Old Norse), so listening and speaking the Icelandic language will capture the history of this most unique country.

Architecture of Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Architecture of Reykjavik

One of the more unusual things that we learned about Icelanders is that they use a patronymic naming system, using their father's first name with the suffix "son" or "döttir (daughter) after their own first name. Example: Stefán Stefánsson is Stefán, the son of Stefán.

Architecture of Reykjavik, Iceland - Photo by Luxury Experience
Architecture of Reykjavik

Guide to pronunciation:

Á, á is pronounced like "ow"
ð is pronounced like "th" as in "the"
Þ, þ is pronounced like "th" as in "rather"
Æ, æ is pronounced like "i" as in "high"
J is pronounced like "y"
Ö, ö is pronounced like "u" as in "burn"
Ó, ó is pronounced like a long "o"

English

Icelandic

Hello

Halló

Goodbye

Bless

Good morning

Góðan dag

Good evening

Gott kvöld

How are you?

Hvernig ert þú?

Fine thank you, and you?

Fínn þakka þú, og þú?

Please

þóknast

Thank you

Takk fyrir

Yes

No

Nei

Maybe

Kannski

My name is ...

Minn nafn er ...

What is your name?

Hvaða er þinn nafn?

Where?

hvar

When?

Hvenær

How much is this?

Hvernig mikill er this?

Open

opinn

Closed

loka

Left

vinstri

Right

réttur

Straight

Beinn

Near

nálægur

Far

langt

   

Health

Help!

Hjálpa

Hospital

Spítali

Urgent

áríðandi

I am sick.

ÉG er veikur.

I need a doctor.

ÉG þörf a læknir.

I need a dentist.

ÉG þörf a tannlæknir

Diabetes

sykursýki

Faint

falla í yfirlið

Headache

höfuðverkur

Heart problems

hjarta vandamál

High blood pressure

háþrýstingur

Nausea

velgja

Vomiting

Uppsölu

   

Days of the Week

Monday

mánudagur

Tuesday

þriŏjudagur

Wednesday

miŏvikudagur

Thursday

fimmtudagur

Friday

föstudagur

Saturday

laugardagur

Sunday

sunnudagur

   

Beverages

Drykkir

Coffee

kaffi

Hot chocolate

heitur súkkulaði

Tea

te

Milk

mjólk

Sugar

sykur

Juice

safi

Ice

ís

Beer

bjór

Vodka

vodka

Water

vatn

Wine

Léttvín

   

Food

Matur

Meat

kjöt

Beef

nautakjöt

Chicken

kjúklingur

Lamb

lamb

Pork

svínakjöt

Cod

Þorskur

Crab

krabbi

Fish

fiskur

Lobster

humar

Mussels

kræklingur

Scallops

hörpudiskur

Shrimp

rækja

Vegetables

grænmeti

Vegetarian

grænmetisæta

Desserts

eftirréttur

Cake

kaka

Cookies

kex

Pie

baka

Pudding

búðingur

Read other articles on Iceland in the Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Fashion, and Adventures sections.

Icelandic Horses - Photo by Luxury Experience
See You in Iceland

Go IcelandFor information on Iceland, please visit the Iceland Tourist Board website, www.IcelandTouristBoard.com.

IcelandairFor information on Icelandair, please visit: www.Icelandair.com.

Budget Rental Cars - IcelandFor information on Budget Rental Car, please visit: www.Budget.is.


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