Páll Óskar: Iceland’s Queen of Pop

It’s about 10.30pm in Reykjavík. As the winter gets shorter, the skies are getting lighter and for Páll Óskar, his days seem to be following the sun. After all, it’s an exciting time for Iceland’s queen of pop; he was recently voted “musician of the year”, he sang the official theme song for the 30th anniversary of Söngvakeppnin 2016, he’ll be putting on an exclusive performance at Pink Iceland’s Pink Masquerade Party in Reykjavík this Saturday and most importantly, he’s putting the final touches on his upcoming new album.

Dressed in a casual navy sweatshirt, no glitter or jewellery, greeting me with his signature smile, Palli, as some people call him, plonks himself unceremoniously on a divine white sofa, pushed up against a wallpapered corner that glistens with a metallic sheen. He positions himself comfortably in front of the camera, tilting his phone left and right to avoid the dreaded horizontal Skype angle. His apartment radiates with a captivating artistic luxury.

“Designing this place was the most fun I’ve had in a while,” he says while giving me a cyber tour of his seaside flat. There is something unsurprising about the aesthetic of his home, every room buzzing with drama, going the extra mile for maximum ambiance and pleasure. This doesn’t steer far away from the pop star we all know as “Páll Óskar”, a natural performer, who captured the hearts of many in a similar fashion, back in the 90s. “Once I’m prepared to perform, I always give the same amount of energy; I give it my all, regardless of the audience. I only really care about the technical issues and that the show is going to be “ok”. As soon as I hit the stage, I become almost possessed. I usually zone out and can hardly remember the things I did while singing. When I look back at the videos of my performances, I usually shrug my shoulders, having forgotten how it all went down.”

There’s a specific tone of passion in Páll’s voice. In reality, it’s already 11pm and you’d never guess that he spent the entire day rehearsing for his performance at Söngvakeppnin 2016 (the Icelandic pre-selection competition for the The Eurovision Song Contest), but instead his energy is contagious, full of zest, mirroring the man you see on stage.

“I do have an alter-ego and that’s the “Páll Óskar” character. He has sort of evolved into this figure over time. I mean, there’s plenty of space in my body for both characters, both “Páll Óskar the pop star” and “Palli”, who’s me. But neither of these characters should ever do a hostile takeover of the other. They have to remain friends. That being said, I have spent huge amounts of time creating this “Páll Óskar” character. The experience for me is like doing a drag show, really. I feel like I’ve been doing drag for more than 20 years now.” He pauses, in a clear moment of reflection. “I know one thing for sure, that as I grow older, I will probably go easy on the dance bits and I will slowly but surely move towards a concert for sitting audiences. I’ve already started that and I love it. I know this is where I am heading.”

Páll has come a long way since he became an internationally known figure in the European music scene in the late 90s. After representing Iceland in the 1997 Eurovision series, he’s been extensively involved with the Söngvakeppnin song contest, where his image often goes hand-in-hand. “I’ve been involved with the contest in so many ways, I’ve been on both sides of the table. I’ve competed on the stage, I’ve been a fan in the audience, I’ve been a commentator, I’ve hosted my own TV show, where we speculated the results, I’ve hosted parties… Every year my face seems to be linked to the contest. But not always in the same light and this time around, I’m doing the theme song for them.” In a similar way to his 1997 hit “Minn hinsti dans” (My Last Dance), “Vinnum þetta fyrirfram” (Lets win this in advance) opens with a bang and has all the ingredients of a classic Páll Óskar hit. “Well, I don’t think it’s going to fit on my next album, but I think it’s a great song for this contest, for the people of Iceland. It fits the theme of Söngvakeppnin and I think I was fit for the job!”

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“I was laughed at when I made my first record. Nobody believed that it would sell, nobody believed that there was a market for my work. The first question I ever got about the album was, “what color will the cover be? Pink?”

Of course, each year, Páll’s opinion on the contestants holds significant value. He comments on this years group without much hesitation. “For this years contest, the song that I would play for myself is “Ég sé þig” (I see you) by Hljómsveitin Eva. These are two young girls, performing a beautifully written tune with such a strong clear message. Upon the first listen, you might think it’s an ordinary love song but after hearing them on the radio and learning that they were addressing the refugee situation in Europe, the whole song took on a new meaning. It’s really good.”

Páll emits a supportive energy, a clear team player who wants everybody to succeed. “This is not a sports contest where you can calculate your points. You can’t measure these songs in centimetres, seconds or scores. When competing in music, it’s on a completely different level. That being said, the Eurovision format usually ends up the same way; two or three songs skyrocket to the top, regardless of where they come from, and get all the points, for some strange reason. We, as Icelanders, have just as many chances of winning Eurovision than everyone else. We came close twice, placing 2nd, and I think that’s amazing, coming from a nation of 300,000 people.
To win Eurovision, it’s a combo of the song itself, the melody, the production value, the artist, a flawless performance, the theatrics… it all has to come together and be perfect during those crucial 3 minutes. Every Eurovision winner had just that.” He pauses and shrugs. “I don’t know, I think the energy that you pick up when you hear a Eurovision tune on the dance floor is that it’s a competitive track. It has an aggressive tone, which is probably why it often caters to the gays. We like the drama of the nations competing against each other, we love the hair do’s and the hair dont’s (laughs). We love discussing why one song is better than the other and I’ve noticed that as gays grow older, they don’t stop. They always keep a solid relationship with the pop and dance music of Eurovision and never let go.”

There’s a vibration of warmth that can be felt through the computer when Páll talks about music. It’s no wonder that his effervescent persona has positively impacted the music scene of Europe, that he has earned everyone’s respect.

“Being a role model doesn’t come first. It has to be a result of what you do. I can’t sit down and tell myself “I’m going to write a #1 hit”. It doesn’t work that way. If I knew the secret formula to do that, then I’d be a very rich man. All you can do is trust is your own insights and your own voice. If you listen to that, while creating and performing, someone’s going to pick it up and be inspired. Someone’s going to connect with it. The same goes with all art. It connects with the viewers or the listeners, keeping us connected in conversation about the creations. Anything that comes from artistic inspiration is wonderful. I’ve been inspired by so many different forms of art, not only music.”

His upcoming untitled album is taking on a new avenue. As with his past records, Páll perfectly translates individual experience into collective feeling. He does this with his voice, but also with his songwriting, which is undeniably smooth but oh so redolent. “It’s going to be a pop album, very danceable. I’m working with two producers, Kobbi and Bjarki a.k.a. “Dusk”, who are absolutely amazing. Believe me, those two guys are going to be hit-makers, producing even more artists in the future. They have a very distinctive, excitingly-edgy sound that I really like. But most importantly, I love their personalities. It’s so easy to work with them.”

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Is the Söngvakeppnin 2016 theme song a preview of what’s to come? “We’re spicing things up. They’re spicing up my life, which is necessary. I’m just excited for everyone to hear what we’ve been up to.” With his last solo album being released in 2008, this is his first go at releasing a full-length LP in the internet era. “Everyone in the business is asking the same question: “What are we going to do? How are we going to make money creating and producing album?” And I don’t have the answer to that question.”

His eyes perk up, almost as if he’s a young kid on Christmas Eve. “I’m going to make an experiment and it goes like this: I’m going to release five or six singles, with music videos, and I’m going to give them out for free. We started filming them in April of last year and now, the 4th single is already being released. Once we get to the 6th single in June 2016, I’m going to ask the audience: “Now that I’ve given you five or six of my songs, I’ve still got 10 more tracks… would you like to buy an album? Are you willing to prepay for your copy?” People will have roughly one month (June 2016) to digitally pre-order a copy of my album, which will then become available sometime in July. This allows me to see exactly how many copies I need to print, which can be very expensive if you produce more than you can sell. Record labels nowadays are going bankrupt because they’re printing more materials than they can sell. This is the most expensive part of the whole process, so don’t do it unless you know exactly how many copies you need.”

“When you open YouTube, the first VEVO videos on the front page are paid for. If I look under the surface, I will find gay artists. But never on VEVO. Perhaps the guy in the business suit at any major label doesn’t want to market a gay pop star.”

And like any business man on Wall Street, Páll Óskar has evolved with the times, using modern-day technology to his advantage. “Today, I don’t consider the internet a curse. I think it’s more of a blessing because even though musicians aren’t selling that many copies of their albums, people are taking interest in the live shows and the artist’s online presence. They’re willing to pay 20,000ISK for a festival, if they really love the artist. The internet is summing up what David Bowie started doing in the beginning of his career. He was a pioneer for us pop artists because he was the first to let us experience his work in four different ways. First, you heard the song. Secondly, you read the lyrics. Then you’d see the music video, which took his songs to a whole new level, allowing the theatrics to take centre stage. Lastly, the live performance. He gave us permission to do all that. A successful pop star usually has a knack for all 4 art forms.”
Of course, this doesn’t always fill a bank account. “If we look at Iceland in the 90s, you were considered lucky to break even if you were making music. You were lucky. I don’t know a single artist in Iceland who owns a mansion or underground swimming pool.”

This is what makes Iceland so remarkable; the superficial luxuries and Santa Monica Boulevard-eque lifestyle of North America doesn’t penetrate through Icelandic skin. Beneath the lush green moss fields and booming tourist attractions, is a nation of creative thinkers who live minimally and often don’t aspire to live “the American dream”. In Páll’s case, his comfortably sized Reykjavik apartment certainly doesn’t, however, lack in imagination, taste and pazazz.

When asked about his views on today’s music industry, he pauses. “When you open YouTube, the first VEVO videos on the front page are paid for, fed to you by the same executives who have been doing this since the early 40s. It’s been like that forever. If I look under the surface, I will find gay artists. But never on VEVO. Perhaps the guy in the business suit at any major label doesn’t want to market a gay pop star.
I know how that feels. In the early 90s, I was laughed at when I made my first record. Nobody believed that it would sell, nobody believed that there was a market for my work. The first question I ever got about the album was, “what color will the cover be? Pink?” I went through this process where I wanted to prove that I was just as compatible of a pop star as the leading “straight guy”, who was topping the charts at the time.
With that said, I firmly believed, and continue to believe, that regardless of your gender or your sexual orientation, the song comes first. The melody and the lyrics come first. When the energy of the song is there, it’s going to exist forever and I’ve always believed that a good pop song will take care of itself; like water, it’ll find it’s way. Then, that’s when all the other stuff comes in from the image, to the performance, the ribbons that tie it all together.”

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It’s almost midnight in Iceland and yet, there’s no feeling of pressure from Páll to wrap up the interview. Instead, he graciously dances around his flat, talking about the Pink Party where he will be performing this weekend.

“I’ll be playing a DJ set and then performing some live material, perhaps some new tracks. It’s going to be a great time and I just want everyone to have a blast!”

And in that moment, it’s clear that Páll Óskar’s success isn’t a result of his flashy stage pieces alone, but that his star quality is fuelled by his authenticity. An Icelandic celebrity at face value, but a man of many hats; a talented singer, writer, dancer, director, activist and role model. Beneath the shimmering blue sequins is an intelligent creator, ceaselessly pushing the musical envelope, redefining innovation and demanding his audiences to think outside the box.

“I think I’ll be heading to bed soon, as tomorrow’s a big day”, he says. Before hanging up, he insists on showing me, what looks like a black light disco party room, his entire CD and DVD collection. The purple light disappears as he flicks on the light switch and like a magician unveiling a new trick, he smiles, spinning his camera around in circles displaying the four walls of the room, all of which are entirely covered by CDs, DVDs and vinyl records. “I’ve got hundreds in my collection,” he says, before wishing me a goodnight in Icelandic.

Photos: Courtesy of Páll Óskar.

Our sponsors

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Ísey skyr
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        The Hamburger Factory
        - gourmet burgers

        Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

        You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
        Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
        something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
        The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
        Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

        The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
        Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
        regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
        welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
        packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

        Locations:

        Omnom Chocolate
        - award-winning chocolate maker

          Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

          Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

          Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

          In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

          At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

           

          Alfred’s Apartments
          - gay owned an operated

            Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

            Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

            Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

            Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

            Laekur hostel
            In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

            All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

            Blue Lagoon
            - a world of wonder

            Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

            From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

            Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

            Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

            Whales of Iceland
            - larger than life

            Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

            Landsbankinn
            - leading financial institution

            Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

            The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

            Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

            The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

            Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

            Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

            It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

            Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

            Dohop
            - get inspired

            Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

            Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

            More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

            Macland
            - for all your Apple needs

            From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

            Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
            For all your Apple needs. We are here.

            Aurora Reykjavik
            - northern lights center

              Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

              Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

              The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

              Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

              Contact Aurora

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              Ísey skyr
              - once tasted never forgotten

              Our Story
              Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

              For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

              Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
              This is our secret and you are in on it

              You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

              Núðluskálin
              - noodle bar

              Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

              All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
              We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
              Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

              Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

              Seatours
              - adventure cruise

              Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
              and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

              The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

              600x400-seatours-tasting

              This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

              600x400-seatours

              The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

              Birds, possible to spot:
              -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
              -eider ducks
              -shags
              -kittiwakes
              -fulmars
              -white-tailed eagle

              The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
              Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

              Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

              Contact Us


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