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Best of Reykjavik June 13-20

  • A family of Vikings at the Viking Festival in Hafnarfjörður. Photo/

  • Staged Viking battles are among the activities at the Viking Festival each year. Photo/

  • Children at play, all decked out in their Viking gear. Photo/

This is the Reykjavík section of Best of Iceland This Week, the only Icelandic guide of its kind. New every week.


The Viking Festival
At Fjörukráin in the town of Hafnarfjörður, just outside of Reykjavik (en-route to Keflavik Airport) the annual Viking Festival takes place starting Friday June 13th and lasting until Tuesday June 17th.
The Festival is being held for the eighteenth time and all things Viking will be celebrated: history, arts and crafts, archery, music, you name it. If Vikings did it – you’ll experience it at the Viking Festival. … except for the murders and pillaging. The Festival is built around a positive showcase of the Viking heritage. A number of people from across the world will attend the Festival in their Viking-gear and demonstrate friendly-fights when you least expect it. Vessels from far-away countries will come to the Hafnarfjörður Port and traders can conduct their business. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to really experience Icelandic ancestry. 

This is how I do
The Icelandic Graphic Designer, Hjalti Karlsson, is opening an exhibit at the Museum of Design and Applied Art on Saturday at 3pm GMT. Hjalti received the ‘Torsten och Wanja Söderberg Prize’ in November of last year, being only the second Icelander to have ever received the prestigious award. The exhibit will showcase Hjalti’s work dating back to 1992, the year he graduated from graphic design, but it also includes works that he specifically designed for this exhibit in Iceland. A documentary on Hjalti that was filmed last year will also be available for viewing. Hjalti owns and manages the design firm, KarlssonWilker in New York and his client list includes MTV, Wolf-Gordon, Time Magazine, Guggenheim, MoMA, and others. For more information on the exhibit, click here.

Four days. Nine Concerts.
The Harpa Music and Conference Hall is worth a visit, and especially between June 13th-16th during Reykjavik Midsummer Music. Artisic Director is none other than Icelandic piano protégé, Vikingur Heiðar Ólafsson. For only ISK12,000 you can get a pass to every concert at the event, but this will be the third time the festival is being held. Back in 2012 the festival was awarded ‘Event of the Year’, by the Icelandic Music Awards. And for those who are uncertain of its quality (unreasonably so, we may add), there’s always a chance to stop by Harpa, check out the tiny little shed placed outside the magnificent hall, and eves-drop on musicians practicing.

Iceland celebrates 70-years of Independence
Back in 1944, Icelanders got tired of being under Danish rule and requested to become an Independent Nation. The Danish King granted Icelanders their wish, and on June 17th, 70 years ago, the nation gathered at Thingvellir National Park to celebrate its independence.
Celebratory activities are scheduled across the country, Reykjavik included. Just before 10am GMT, church bells in Reykjavik are rung at the same time, and at 11:10am GMT a large ceremony takes place at Austurvöllur (in front of Parliament). One of the ‘most Icelandic’ sort of speak things that happens at the ceremony is when a woman, known as Fjallkonan (e. Lady of the Mountain), speaks from the balcony at Parliament. Every year, since 1947, a woman from Icelandic society is chosen to be Fjallkonan, and every year it’s a big secret as to who has been chosen for the role.
A schedule of events is available online, and everyone and anyone should be able to find something to their liking; be it Circus lessons, participating in a parade, or enjoying a variety of musical events under the (hopefully) clear sky.

Butterfly Friday
Icelanders are quite creative and artistic – those descriptions apply to more people than just Björk and Sigur Rós. That being said, don’t be surprised to find a number of people and art groups walking around the city center this Friday between noon and 2pm GMT. Groups from Hitt Húsið and other independent live performance groups will be scattered around the city sharing their art. Stop by and watch, enjoy, and soak up some artistic talent – even if it’s outside the box.

Run, lady, run
On June 14th the annual Women’s Run takes place across Iceland, this year marking the run’s 25th Anniversary. Aside from taking place in 90 locations across Iceland, the Icelandic Women’s Run will also take place in 15 other countries where Icelanders are living or holidaying – it’s that popular. If you want to participate, it’s easy. All you have to do is buy a t-shirt. For the fifth year in a row, you can now participate in the Women’s Run at Viðey Island, just outside of Reykjavik. The Viðey Ferry leaves from the harbor in Reykjavik to Viðey Island at 10am GMT and the run starts at 10:30 on the island with a choice of a 3km ‘fun run’ or a 7km run. Oh, and despite the name, men are of course allowed to participate. 

World Cup Fever: Reykjavik is no exception
We get it. You’re in Iceland and you don’t want to be cooped up in your hotel room watching the World Cup and missing out on the Cultural Experiences of Iceland. But you’re torn. You’d like to watch some of the World Cup. You’re in luck, friend. At least six public spaces in Reykjavik, and the greater Reykjavik Area, are broadcasting the World Cup: live from Brazil. You can enjoy the world's greatest soccer matches among (the world's greatest?) Icelandic fans. IcelandMag, for all your World Cup needs.

Cozy Sundays at KEX
For an afternoon of music and good food, look no further. KEX Hostel at the heart of Reykjavik will host a series of ‘cozy Sundays’ this summer starting this Sunday, June 15th. A live performance of mesmerizing improvisational music by Sagitaria Raga starts at 2pm GMT, two hours after the kitchen opens up with a deliciously special Sunday menu. 

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