Goodbye to the Grind

kaffi valeria kirkjufell grundarfjörður

The oldest known evidence of coffee in Iceland is a letter that Lárus Gottrup, a lawyer in Þingeyri, wrote to Árni Magnússon, a professor and manuscript collector, on November 16, 1703. They had spoken at the Alþingi (national Parliament meeting) that summer, and Árni was upset that his friend had forgotten to send him the […]

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The Centre Can Hold

Einar Þorsteinsson mayor of reykjavík

“My approach to politics is based on the concept of “public service,” says Einar Þorsteinsson, the new mayor of Reykjavík. “The people who enter politics should be there to serve the public.”Already a household name as a TV personality, Einar was primed for the spotlight before making the move into politics. The 45-year-old Kópavogur-born father […]

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High Levels of Gas Pollution over Weekend, Areas of Grindavík Fenced Off

lava, hraun, eruption, eldgos

Significant levels of gas pollution were detected in Grindavík over the weekend. Parts of town were also closed off over the weekend, and the Blue Lagoon closure has been extended.

Highest levels of SO2 since records began

“Especially on Saturday, there was an unusually high level [of SO2] in Grindavík,” stated Þorsteinn Jóhannsson, an air quality specialist at the Environment Agency, to RÚV. Readings are said to have topped out at 9,000 μg/m, or around 3 parts per million.

Although the highest levels were reached only briefly, the recordings are the highest-ever in an inhabited area since records began.

Such levels are considered by the Environment Agency of Iceland to be “Unhealthy.”

The high levels of SO2 are of course due to Grindavík’s proximity to the latest eruption.

According to RÚV, the Met Office also installed three new gas monitors in and near Grindavík over the weekend.

One is at the harbour, another at Húsafell mountain near the live webcam, and the third at the Blue Lagoon.

Travellers and residents can monitor the air quality in Iceland live here.

Areas of Grindavík fenced off

Additionally, nine dangerous areas in Grindavík were fenced off over the weekend following the results of a geological survey. Vísir reports.

The survey was conducted with ground-penetrating radar, reaching depths of 4 – 4.5 metres [15 feet] in order to search for sinkholes or fissures that prove hazardous.

“We quickly scan with shallow ground-penetrating radar (COBRA) and then use deeper radar in areas where we see indications of cracks or voids,” Hallgrímur Örn Arngrímsson, the project manager for the survey at Verkís, stated to Vísir.

“And what has emerged is that there are nine locations in the western part of town that we need to examine more closely and report those findings to Civil Protection authorities.” Hallgrímur continued.

The engineering firm Verkís is responsible for carrying out the geological survey of Grindavík, but it will ultimately be up to the Grindavík town council to take action, whether that means repairing roads, filling in cracks, or condemning certain parts of town.

As a protective measure, several areas in Grindavík were fenced off to prevent residents and workers from venturing into the dangerous areas.

Blue Lagoon closure extended

Today, March 25, the Blue Lagoon also extended its temporary closure through Wednesday, March 27.

Read more here.

 

Enjoying Iceland as a Couple

Something that can be said unequivocally about Iceland is that it is an exceptionally cozy place for couples. The small, intimate streets of Reykjavík, the numerous swimming pools and hot baths and the hotels and lodges in remote and breathtaking nature, all work together to make Iceland feel like a couple’s own private playground. Whether going on a honeymoon or simply a romantic getaway, Iceland is an ideal destination, making up for sandy beaches with raw, natural charm and unforgettable scenery. 

Romantic Reykjavík

It’s not necessary to plan a big trip around Iceland in order to have a romantic vacation there, Reykjavík is big enough to offer numerous activities and restaurants while it’s small enough for the natural elements to never seem far away. A perfect start to the day on a weekend would be to head to one of the many bottomless brunches around the city, for example at Brút Restaurant. Brút offers a delicious buffet of unconventional brunch courses that are a great way to try out some of the best of Icelandic cuisine. There’s also a separate dessert buffet and a self service bar of brunch drinks classics like mimosas and bloody mary’s. Afterwards, it’s nice to walk around down to the harbour or wander into Harpa music hall to enjoy the views of Esjan mountain that’s right off the coast. 

Photo: Golli. Beautiful scenery in the harbour area of Reykjavík

There are numerous museums in Reykjavík that are worth a visit, but The Einar Jónsson Museum, up by Hallgrímskirkja church, is one that stands out and would be a perfect addition to a couple’s visit to the city. The museum was designed and built by sculptor Einar himself, and he lived and worked there most of his career. As a result, it has a homey feel to it while also displaying Einar’s beautiful art in a distinct way. After a stroll to the museum, it’s a must to go up to Hallgrímskirkja tower for a stunning view of Reykjavík.

Soaking in Luxury 

While Reykjavík has no shortage of public swimming pools and hot tubs to soak in, for a special treat on a couple’s visit we recommend heading out to the Sky Lagoon in Kópavogur, a short 20 minute drive from Reykjavík. It’s a newly built, adult’s only, geothermal retreat with a special seven step spa type ritual that is designed to relax and rejuvenate visitors. 

Photo: Golli. Soaking in a natural pool is a great way to spend time together in Iceland for a couple

Going on a treasure hunt for a good natural bath is a great way for a couple to explore the country. In the vicinity of Reykjavík there are some good options, like Hvammsvík Hot Springs, which was opened in 2022. The Hvammsvík experience is similar to Sky Lagoon, with its man made, luxurious feel, but for a more authentic adventure, there is the Reykjadalur Hot Spring, an all natural river flowing down Reykjadalur Valley, close to the town of Hveragerði. There’s about an hour long hike to get to the hot spring but the reward of a soak in the unique landscape is priceless. Also in Reykjadalur is a newly installed zip line for thrill seekers looking for unconventional views of the land.

Seeking Adventure

In the fall and winter months, it’s possible to spot the Northern Lights from within Reykjavík but to make an event out of it, there’s no better way than on a cruise around Reykjavík Bay. A boat trip will take visitors far from the city lights and a nice, heated, café area inside the boat makes for a cozy, romantic outing. To get a glimpse at the power of Icelandic nature, the Golden Circle is a classic, taking visitors on an exciting trip to the iconic Gullfoss waterfall and Strokkur geysir. It’s the cherry on top for couples that are looking for an Icelandic experience they’ll never forget.

Photo: Golli. Catching the Northern Lights is an unforgettable experience

The possibilities for a couple’s getaway in Iceland are endless, and certainly not limited to Reykjavík. Some might enjoy renting a camper van and going rogue out in the rugged countryside while others might enjoy a more contained experience like the dreamy Highland Base on the Kerlingafjöll mountain range or a cozy cabin in the magnificent Þakgil canyon. Whichever route is chosen, Iceland is sure to deliver a romantic wonderland full of special moments that will last long after the trip is over.