Born and raised in Reykjavík, Einar is a full-time tour guide with a wealth of knowledge and experience and is Your Friend in Reykjavik. Holding a bachelor’s degree in English and a diploma from the Sigurður Demetz School of Singing, Einar is not just a guide but a seasoned tourism writer and translator.

His diverse interests span history and culture, literature, music, theatre, films, art, folklore, mythology, and travelling. With a passion for sharing the wonders of Reykjavík, Einar is one of the best people to show you around and bring the city’s rich heritage to life.

Let’s Ask Your Friend in Reykjavik a Few Questions!

If you chose just one thing from Iceland, what would you choose?

The water.

Would you change anything about Iceland if you could?

Cliquishness and bad weather!

The saying goes, wait five minutes, and the weather will change. It is true, but there is also no denying that the winters are very dark and can be extreme. Check out our post on what to pack for your travel in Iceland so you can stay warm even in the coldest weather.

What is your favourite place in Iceland?

Landmannalaugar

Þingvellir National Park, Fjörður and Látraströnd on Gjögraskagi, Höfðahverfi, Landmannalaugar and Reykjavík are among my favourite places.  

Iceland has quite a few mesmerizing places to visit. Þingvellir National Park is among the easiest to visit, while Landmannalaugar is only open in the summer. This year will be the first year you must book a parking spot before arriving in Landmannalaugar. This is the first time a booking system is used in this way in a protected area in Iceland. It is a traffic management measure that has been decided upon to reduce congestion and chaos that have occurred daily in the parking lots and access roads to Landmannalaugar in recent summers.

What is your favourite Icelandic food?

Hangikjöt (smoked lamb), ptarmigan, Icelandic pancakes and laufabrauð.

Hangikjöt, ptarmigan and laufabrauð are the most popular food items during Christmas. You will find hangikjöt in the stores all year round (at least as bread topping), but laufabrauð and ptarmigan you will only find before Christmas.

In fact, the ptarmigan is almost completely protected in Iceland due to overhunting, but only a few are allowed to be hunted each year. You’re only allowed to hunt as much as you need for yourself, and you cannot sell it to others.

But what is your favourite Icelandic drink?

Jólaöl (malt og appelsín).

This is among the favourites of many Icelanders and definitely Your Friend in Reykjavik.

The most common non-alcoholic drink you’ll find on the Christmas dinner table in Iceland is a blend of malt and Appelsín. Malt is an alcohol-free ale brewed from malt, though it used to be slightly alcoholic. Appelsín is a popular Icelandic orange soda.

People began mixing malt with other sodas in the early 1940s. Malt was fairly expensive, so blending it with other drinks helped it last longer. Appelsín, as we know it today, wasn’t around back then. However, when Egils Ölgerð started manufacturing Appelsín in 1955, people quickly began mixing it with malt. This combination became so popular that it became a common practice by the early 1960s.

What is the best thing about Reykjavik?

Reykjavik Meet & Greet

This is where I belong, a community where you often run into acquaintances on the street. A vibrant and interesting cultural life. The museums, Bíó Paradís, Nexus, and more.

How about Iceland?

Nature, security, close-knit society, family and friends. The culture and arts.

What is your favourite Icelandic music?

Jórunn Viðar is my favourite Icelandic composer. She was also my grandmother. As for bands and musicians, Bubbi Morthens, Stuðmenn, Þursaflokkurinn, Trúbrot, Todmobile, and HAM are among my favourites.

Stuðmenn (which could be translated as Party Men) has been one of Iceland’s most popular bands for over 50 years. In 1982, Stuðmenn made the film Með allt á hreinu along with the punk band Grýlurnar, directed by Ágúst Guðmundsson. The film was a huge hit, and the album featuring songs from the movie was equally popular. Two years later, the band made the film Hvítir mávar, which had a deeper sense of humour, but it did not achieve the same level of popularity as the first film, even though many of the songs from it became very popular, such as the song ‘Búkalú,’ which remained at the top of the charts for months. The song above is one of the songs from the film.

What is your favourite Icelandic clothing brand? 

Helicopter.

Helicopter is an Icelandic boutique label based in Reykjavík. Its flagship store is located in the trendy Grandi district of Reykjavík Harbour. The designer, Helga Lilja, creates fun and thoughtfully designed pieces with comfortable cuts that are crafted to subtly stand out in a crowd.

What is your favourite restaurant?

There are many good ones, for example, the Fish Market, Austur Indíafjelagið and Sushi Social.  

Check out our list of the best restaurants in Reykjavik here.

What Icelandic food is most often eaten at home?

Icelandic Lamb Soup, haddock, fish stew, skyr.

If you want to try lamb soup and fish stew the Icelandic way but can’t make it to Iceland, don’t worry. We have two blog posts with recipes to guide you through making both dishes at home.

Go here for the lamb soup and here for the fish stew.

What is your favourite candy?

The chocolate Prins Póló, Icelandic liquorice and ice cream.  

Prins Póló isn’t even Icelandic, but it’s become incredibly popular here and has gotten a place on the list of best “Icelandic” sweets.

Introduced in 1955 by Olza in southern Poland, it quickly became a hit locally and in neighbouring countries. The same year, Iceland and Poland made a trade agreement involving fish products, and to find Polish goods that Icelanders liked, wholesaler Ásbjörn Ólafsson secured the mandate for Prins Póló. The product was classified as a biscuit to bypass strict import rules for foreign sweets. At its peak, Icelanders consumed an average of one kilogram of Prins Póló per person annually, which dropped to half a kilogram by 2014.

In Halldór Laxness’ book Under the Glacier, Prins Póló is mockingly described as pumice covered in chocolate. An Icelandic musician also named himself Prins Póló and a song from the 1980s tells of a boy who overate the chocolate.

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