Readers of GayIceland and a jury panel have chosen the person of the year 2017. And that person is … Anna Kristjánsdóttir!

Anna Kristjánsdóttir. Photo/Sigurður Kaiser.

Anna Kristjánsdóttir

Anna Kristjánsdóttir was the first trans woman to talk about her gender correction in the local media in Iceland. For decades she was at the forefront in the fight for equal rights for trans people in Iceland. This year a book detailing her story came out and reminded Icelanders of the groundbreaking work she has done for the trans community here and abroad.
“Anna Kristjánsdóttir, for her subtle, one woman’s campaigning for an awareness of trans people in Iceland. With others having stepped into the spotlight too in recent years, we still must never forget the resilience of the first openly/publicly transgender woman in Iceland.”

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Also mentioned

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and wife Jónína Leósdóttir. Photo / Sigurthor Gunnlaugsson

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and also the world’s first openly lesbian head of government. Before last Christmas a book detailing Jóhanna’s life, Minn tími, came out.
“Jóhanna has for years been an inspiration and a role model to LGBTI+ people all over the world. Last year we were reminded of how much Jóhanna has done for the queer community when she was presented with an Alan Turing Award at an event celebrating LGBTQI business, culture and tourism in Tenerife, Spain. Jóhanna was given the award in recognition of this milestone, and in recognition of her continued work promoting the rights of LGBTI+ people.”

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Ugla Stefanía. Photo/Móa Gustum.

Ugla Stefanía

Ugla Stefanía has dedicated their life to fighting for trans rights and equality in Iceland and globally. Ugla has been on the board of every major LGBTQIA organisation in Iceland and worked for a long time as the educational advisor of the National Queer Organisation. They are currently an Advisor for All About Trans in the UK, an organisation working on better media representation for trans people in the UK.

“In 2017, Ugla became the first Icelander to be invited to 10 Downing Street for their work in trans activism. Additionally, they were invited on Good Morning Britain to debate their existence with Piers Morgan, turning a 4 minute segment into a 15 minute feature, making it the longest segment on non-binary issues to date in the UK mainstream media. They also have worked for the past 2 years, setting up a committee in Iceland to update Trans and Intersex policies, and when this goes through, it will put Iceland on the map as the leading country in the world for trans and intersex rights. Additionally, Ugla is often in the media, writing articles and speaking on radio and television on trans rights. They are co-creating My Genderation (an ongoing film project), working with global organisation Stonewall on two trans related campaigns, and co-created the first free film on being Trans in the Workplace. They also co created the first feature film on non binary issues in the UK, titled I AM THEY.”

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Amir Shokrgozar. Photo / Ingibjörg Rósa

Amir Shokrgozar

Asylum seeker Amir Shokrgozar. “Amir’s case shows that in no way is Iceland the “Gay safe heaven” a lot of foreigners think it is. We often see articles online that considers Iceland as a very “gay” destination, and the recent mass tourism encourages it. It kind of hides the fact that there is a lot of room for improvement here on LGBT+ rights and LGBT+ acceptance, such as easier access to STD diagnostics or more queer-friendly health procedures.

It also shows how badly asylum seekers are treated in general, and how hard it is to be a foreigner in Iceland, with bureaucracy being sometimes idiotic or totally inefficient. A good example is that Amir had to pay 700.000 ISK to cover the government’s expenses to deport him.

In the end this is a year-long case, with his deportation in the early days of the year 2017 and him coming back -married- a few weeks ago. A story that ends well, and we desperately need that!”

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Eva María Þórarinsdóttir Lange.

Eva María Þórarinsdóttir-Lange

Last year was Eva María Þórarinsdóttir-Lange’s,  former chair of Reykjavík Pride committee. “2017 was Eva’s las year as chair of the committee. For the past four years she has taken the festival to a whole new level that has not only attracted around one third of the population every year but guests from all over the world. On top of the Reykjavík Pride is now officially a city festival thanks to Eva and her team. Eva María is also one of the founders and owners of Pink Iceland, a LGBT travel agency and Iceland’s leading wedding planner service that has helped fulfill the dreams of so many couples. Eva María should be chosen the person of the year for all the wonderful work she has done for the queer community in Iceland – and internationally.”

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Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson.

Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson

Guðjón Valur Sigurðsson is the captain of the men’s national handball team of Iceland.  “For being an ally of the queer community and a spokesperson for queer rights. For being outspoken about prejudice in sports and encouraging The National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland to take up queer education for coaches within the organization. For showing his support for LGBTI+ rights by sporting the rainbow flag on his shoe at the World’s Championship in men’s handball For taking the responsibility of being a role model for everybody, of any orientation and any gender, seriously and spreading love for all human beings everywhere, both on and off court!”

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Hilmar Hildar Magnússon, on the left, and Björg Valgeirsdóttir. Photo / GVA

Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson and Björg Valgeirsdóttir

“Person of the year 2017 should be two people: Hilmar Hildar Magnúsarson, former chair of the National Queer Organization Samtökin ‘78 and Björg Valgeirsdóttir, attorney (currently working as legal assistant to judges).

The reason is this: In December 2017 the Supreme Court of Iceland passed two breakthrough judgments on hate speech against the queer community. This is fundamental in the fight for equality and respect for the human rights, dignity and safety of our group. For the first time, we have received confirmation from the Supreme Court that there are limits to free speech when it threatens the rights and safety of queer people.

Hilmar was the chair of Samtökin ’78 who back in 2015 had the courage to go ahead and press charges, as hate speech had become more and more prominent. Björg was the attorney who passionately and tirelessly worked on the case – and this she did pro bono. This year, all of us are reaping the benefits of their important work. I couldn’t think of worthier people.”

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Jonathan Duffy.

Jonathan Duffy

Jonathan Duffy is a stand up comedian, artist and the author of the popular gay comic strip Bruce the Angry Bear. “With his podcast Icetralia, Jonathan reaches an international public and promotes Iceland, it’s culture and comedy to an international audience. Together with artist Hugleikur Dagsson he supports an open discourse between straight and gay people and helps these groups to communicate without any inhibition or prejudice. In 2017 we have to value our bridge builders in society.”

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Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson

Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson is the Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources in the new government of Iceland. “For being the first openly gay man to become a minister in Iceland and thereby turning a page in the political history of Iceland.”

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Ársæll Hjálmarsson.

Ársæll Hjálmarsson

Ársæll Hjálmarsson “for speaking openly about his experience of having neurosyphilis and therefore opening up a much-needed discussion about safe sex and sexual health in Iceland.”

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Todd Kulczyk.

Todd Kulczyk

“Todd moved to Iceland just a year ago and in that time he has achieved quite a few good things for our community. He is part of the counseling team at the National Queer Organization Samtökin ‘78 and has had a special focus in giving therapy to asylum seekers, giving a voice to the foreigner community living in Iceland, and dedicating much of his time to understand, enhance and join the LGBTQI community of Iceland. In his time here, he has provided counseling to many members of the community, suggested new ideas and organised events to grow together as a community and celebrate diversity, that is why I would like to propose him as person of the year.”

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María Rut Kristinsdóttir and Ingileif Friðriksdóttir.

Ingileif Fridriksdóttir and María Rut Kristinsdóttir

Ingileif Fridriksdóttir and María Rut Kristinsdóttir “for establishing Hinseginleikinn and encouraging all kinds of queer people to share their stories through Hinseginleikinn’s snapchat, getting them to speak about various queer issues and give insight into the lives of queer people. Ingileif and María Rut are great role models and deserve praise for their work.”

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Eva Ágústa Aradóttir.

Eva Ágústa Aradóttir

For the first time in Iceland’s history, a trans woman took on the role of the Lady of the Mountain, the national personification of Iceland, on the country’s National Day June the 17th. In Hafnarfjörður, a neighbouring town of Reykjavík, “the town’s organisers asked Eva Ágústa Aradóttir to take on the duty of being Lady of the Mountain and doing it with dignity. By taking on the role Eva Ágústa turned a page in the history of Iceland.”
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Lilja Sigurðardóttir. Photo / Halla Þórlaug Óskarsdóttir.

Lilja Sigurðardóttir
Lilja Sigurðardóttir has written not one, not two but three books that center on a lesbian character. Her Reykjavík Noir Trilogy, Tangle, Snare and Cage – which came out before last Christmas, tell the story of a lesbian drug smuggler. “In a time when the publishing world is, oddly enough, still hesitant about publishing books with LGBT protagonists Lilja deserves to be commended for still going ahead and writing her books, something that could have worked against her but turned out be a good bet with all the good reviews the books are getting, not only in Iceland but also on mainland Europe. Also, for giving readers insight into a “gay world” – which is uncommon in the crime genre and the Icelandic literature.”
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Alexander Björn Gunnarsson.

Alexander Björn Gunnarsson
Alexander Björn Gunnarsson “for being the first trans man to undergo radial forearm phalloplasty in Iceland and talking openly about his experience on his blog, Phalloplasty in Iceland, with the goal of educating others about phalloplasty and how it works, and hopefully helping and encouraging other trans boys at the same time.”
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Andrés Peláez.

Andres Pelaez

“For years, Andres Pelaez has been a force of positive change for the gay community but this year, in particular, he has been a major personality.

International Nights is an important gathering that unites the global LGBTQIA+ community. Andres, one of the creators, has moved the group from social to activism. Andres has inspired discussions about the challenges in Keflavik, unfair working environments, and human trafficking conditions. The group continues to explore how we can support each other.

In an act of true social justice, Andres took what he learned from these meeting and created signage to march during various significant days including Multicultural Day and Pride making their stories visible to the Icelandic community. He has highlighted the struggle with working conditions in Keflavik as well as the abuse within the asylum seekers housing.

Distant Voices was a project created to explore the relationship between the stories of LGBT refugees, immigrants, and asylum seekers with how they are held by the Icelandic community. Tirelessly reaching out to the community to collect stories from refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers then finding local Icelanders to read the stories in front of an audience during Pride. Not only did this project allow these stories to be heard but the performance ignited a conversation that has been echoing ever since.

The Hump Day Social is a monthly event for gay men to meet up. Every month, Andres meets with local businesses to create a conversation about the need to support the gay community. These conversations lead to the bar/lounge extending their happy hour and creating a signature drink for the social event. More importantly, these conversations create a personal awareness for local businesses about the need to support our community.

With most of these project, Andres has worked tirelessly with various teams. He has given our community the most value gift: his time. He has volunteered all of his time and received no monetary gain from his work.

Andres has shown true allyship and activism with his continued active commitment to creating spaces for voices to be heard and providing a voice for those who are silenced. It is because of this that I believe Andres in the Person of the Year.”

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Hannes Óli Ágústsson and Anna Margrét Grétarsdóttir.

Hannes Óli Ágústsson and Anna Margrét Grétarsdóttir

Actor Hannes Óli Ágússton “for staging a play, She’s my dad, (in co-operation with the stage group Trigger Warning) last year about his experience of his father coming out as a trans woman. Anna Margrét Gústavsdóttir, who is Hannes Óli’s previously mentioned father, had already told her story in a book titled She is my dad. It takes a lot of courage coming out with a story like that. Hannes Óli and Anna Margrét are exceptionally brave people.”

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Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson.

Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson

Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson a.k.a. dragqueen Gógó Starr “for fostering and creating a platform for drag and queer variety, for doing lectures in social centers and for being a living proof that it gets better. Gógó Starr as Lady of the Mountain in (Fjallkonan) 2018!”

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Einar V. Másson, on the right, and Jonathan Duffy. Photos/Laufey Elíasdóttir, courtesy of Fréttablaðið

Einar Másson

Einar Másson “for being a cis-straight man who has illustrated the first gay comic strip in Icelandic history: Bruce the Angry Bear. He has taken part in telling the stories of a community that doesn’t really effect him and has done so with a great deal of compassion and respect.”

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Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen.

Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen

Director Erlingur Óttar Thoroddsen “for his beautiful and horrific film Rift (Rökkur), a story of a gay male couple. Erlingur’s film is the first Icelandic film that centers on the relationship between two gay men. It has been praised all over the world and awarded at festivals.”

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Hildur Lillendahl Viggósdóttir. Photo / a still from TV show Kastljós.

Hildur Lillendahl Viggósdóttir

Feminist and activist Hildur Lillendahl Viggósdóttir. Following a clash between Tara Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir, chair of the Association for Body Respect in Iceland, and anchorman Sindri Sindrason on TV, Hildur, made a comment on Facebook, that roughly translates: “The marginalizing of Sindri Sindrason is never going to end. All the fiddles and candles for him. I feel like putting my hair on fire for the poor oppressed white body-abbelled white Epal-gay with all the TV-shows”(Epal is a company that sells design products).

“Hildur as person of the year, for showing us that even a person who has done so much for one particular group in society, can mock/talk down to someone who belongs to another group, a marginalized one, by calling that persons names based on a stereotype of his/hers/their group. What has come out of that is a much-needed and heated discussion of stereotypes and stereotyping and it shows a growing need for interaction between marginalized groups. That these groups need to learn from one another and work together to achieve a more just society. It’s the only way forward!”

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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