Breiðamerkursandur: Iceland’s stunning Diamond Beach

A black sand beach littered with huge chunks of glistening ice is today one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. Locally known as Breiðamerkursandur, “Diamond Beach” takes its name from the chunks of pristine ice scattered across the black volcanic sand and glistening like giant, uncut diamonds. It is located next to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon on the South Coast of Iceland, about six hours away from the country’s capital, Reykjavik. Although it’s not part of the popular Golden Circle Tour, Diamond Beach has become one of the country’s top…

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Zombie Hunters, a local singer or photoshop? The true story of loneliest house in the world

For years, a variety of photos of a mysterious solitary white house on the side of a green hill, on a small, deserted island surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see have been doing the rounds on the web, earning the unofficial title of “loneliest house in the world”. But where is exactly? In Iceland. The Vestmannaeyjar archipelago consists of a cluster of small islands off the southern coast of the country. Elliðaey, or Ellirey, is the most northeastern of these islands, and home to the iconic…

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14# Iceland’s Yule Lads: like 13 small amazing Santas

If you arent’t lucky enough to have been born in Iceland, or not have visited the island through a Christmas season, you probably won’t have never heard of the Yule Lads. One by one they’re said to visit children in the 13 days leading to Christmas. Children leave their shoes on the window, and if they’re good they’re filled with candy and toys, while if they’re bad they get a raw potato. They’re also to leave specific treats for each lad, corresponding to his personality: there’s Stekkjarstaur, translated as Sheep…

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Drangurinn Rock and the Elves in South-Iceland Folklore

Drangurinn rock is a mysterious giant tuff rock formation that sits below the Eyjafjöll Mountains in the south of Iceland. However, according to Icelandic folklore, it did not get there naturally, but It is said that a semi-legendary outlaw tore it from Mount Hrútafell and dropped it just there. According to the story, a strongman named Grettir Ásmundsson once passed through this area in a bad mood. In his rage, he grabbed a handful of the mountain and flung it westwards onto the lowlands. The rock he threw down is…

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Þrídrangaviti Lighthouse – Iceland – is probably the loneliest in the world

A cluster of slender rock pillars jut out from the ocean’s surface, miles away from civilization. From a distance, it looks like a colorful bug has settled atop on the highest of the three rocks, called Háidrangur, or High Rock in English. If you look closer, you’ll see it’s a tiny red-roofed lighthouse, perhaps one of the loneliest in the world, and you’ll need wings to go to there, because the only access to the Þrídrangar lighthouse is by helicopter. The whitewashed lighthouse is perched atop the tallest of the…

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The last execution in Iceland: a mysterious murder case that’s intrigued a country for nearly 200 years

For centuries, some small farms near the water on Iceland’s Vatnsnes peninsula are scattered among the grassy fields and rocky hills, more or less content to be living at the edge of the world. Cherry on the cake, the peninsula is known for a black basalt rock formation that’s said to be a petrified troll, and for the colonies of seals that come to sun themselves on the beach. On current days, this surreal zone is still almost as peaceful—and lonely—as it was the night in March 1828 when a…

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The Library of Water

In the sleepy little town of Stykkishólmur, Iceland, is a very interesting long-term project known in the native Icelandic as “Vatnasafn” or “Library of Water”. It is a very interesting project that has set out to capture the spirit of Iceland through its waters, weather, and words. Located in a former library building built on a coastal promontory, this installation by American artist Roni Horn, is both an art piece and natural history collection, and it was created in 2007. There are three parts to the exhibition, the beautiful building…

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Akureyri Heart-Shaped Traffic Lights

All we know that Icelandic winters can be very cold. With six months of darkness and icy storms that close roads and bridges, much of the country becomes inaccessible from October to April. This is the reason which led many residents to vacation through the winter months and financial instability can often make these much-needed breaks impossible, as was the case during the Icelandic financial crash of 2008. Despite the economic insecurity and hardships of winter, the northern city of Akureyri was determined not to lose a positive spirit, and…

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In Iceland, a Letter sent to a farm with hand-drawn map instead of address gets there anyway!

We are in Iceland, and even if this is a country considered as a beautiful travel destination, it hasn’t lost its small village charm: in fact here a letter with a hand-drawn map in place of a written-out address was sended to a farm in Hvammseit, West Iceland. And the curious fact is that the letter that was successfully delivered to the correct address! This incredible feat of postal service consisted of an envelope labeled with the country, city name, and the line “A horse farm with an Icelandic/Danish couple…

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10# The dark side of Christmas: In Iceland, Gryla is the most renowned figures associated with Christmas.

If in Iceland there is a well-known museum of witchcraft, you probably do not know yet these bizarre characters related to the Icelandic Christmas tradition. A few days ago, I introduced you to Krampus, Santa’s horned helpers, but they are not the only characters who create a Christmas “a few” different to the one we are all used to. The Icelandic Christmas period is an interesting mix of religious practice and traditional folklore, and as many countries do, people celebrates mostly with good food and gifts to loved ones. But…

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Strandagaldur: the macabre museum of sorcery in Iceland. Another world…

Iceland, in the seventeenth century, was certainly not the place more appropriate to lead a pleasant existence: natural disasters and difficult climate, constant pirate raids, a notable economic disparity between the different social classes are only some examples of the life at the time. Only the wealthiest citizens could afford to live in stone buildings, while the peasants lived a very hard life. As is often the case in such situations where hope was scarce and education even more so, many of the people turned to witchcraft as a last…

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Pylsur: Icelanders make a very, very good hot-dog!

Here we are: Compared to more intimidating Icelandic specialties, for example sour rams’ testicles or fermented shark, the three-meat Icelandic hot dog, named pylsur, is a more appetizing national dish, and it’s also said to be absolutely delicious. This hotdog features a variety of meats (lamb, pork, and beef), two kinds of onions (crispy-fried and raw) and a selection of condiments, including ketchup sweetened with apples and special sauce known as remolaði. The latter sauce is the Icelandic version to France’s remoulade, a mayonnaise-based condiment made with pickles, vinegar, and…

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