Introducing Valur, the key person at Your Friend in Reykjavik. His name translates to “Falcon”, and he oversees the operations as the manager and lead guide of the company. Valur completed his education at the Icelandic Tourist Guide School and is an active Icelandic Tourist Guide Association member. Originally from the Westman Islands in southern Iceland, he relocated to Reykjavik at age 20. Despite spending recent years in England, he manages the company with assistance from a team in Reykjavik.

Valur loves good food and beer and knows all the best places to eat and drink in Reykjavik. He is also an accomplished musician and has toured all over Iceland. He loves to travel and experience new things, whether trying fresh foods or meeting new people.

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

Would you change anything about Iceland if you could? 

I would love Iceland to become a part of the EU and stop using the smallest currency in the world.

What is your favourite place in Iceland? 

I can’t choose between Ásbyrgi, Þingvellir National Park and The Westman Islands. These three places are magical.

Ásbyrgi, along with Dettifoss and Mývatn Lake, is a part of the so-called Diamond Circle in North Iceland. It is a glacial canyon and forest located about 38 km (28 mi) east of Húsavík. The canyon is horseshoe-shaped, and the story goes that Óðinn’s horse, Sleipnir, stepped down when they were travelling.

The canyon is a part of Vatnajökull Glacier National Park and is about 3.5 km long and over 1 km wide. In the middle of the canyon is a small island, about 25 metres high, called Eyjan or the Island. It is a popular hiking point as it gives excellent views.

What is your favorite traditional food? 

Icelandic kjötsúpa (meat soup) takes the top spot, but flatkökur is also a favourite. 

The Icelandic lamb soup, known as Kjötsúpa, is renowned for its healing properties and is part of the Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour. It cures colds, flu, hangovers, winter blues, and even heartbreak. This delicious soup warms from the inside out and reminds us of life’s simple pleasures. It’s not an exaggeration; it really does make everything better.

So what’s in this magical soup? Well, lamb, of course – Iceland has more sheep than people! The soup also includes mixed winter vegetables, dried herbs, and sometimes rice. Ingredients can be added or skipped according to one’s liking. If one travels around Iceland and tries the lamb soup at different places, it’s noticeable that it always tastes quite different. This reflects the Icelandic character; Icelanders are unruly and sing to their own tune. Check out the recipe blog post if you want to make the soup.

Flatkökur came to Iceland with the settlers and were originally only made with rye flour and water. Today, the recipe includes a blend of rye flour and whole wheat or exclusively whole wheat, occasionally enriched with oatmeal and baking powder. Some variations even incorporate sugar into the dough. Check out our recipe blog post with three recipes to make it home!

But what is your favourite national drink? 

Jólaöl.

Blending Icelandic malt and appelsín has been a stable tradition on Icelandic festival tables for almost 70 years. Nowadays, premixed cans of either malt and appelsín or Jólaöl / Páskaöl (Christmas ale and Easter ale) can be bought before Christmas and Easter. The latter drink combines hvítöl (white ale) and appelsín.

Hvítöl is a dark, low-alcohol ale with an alcohol content below 2.5%, originally from Denmark.

Both drinks can be bought separately, and mixing them yourself is an option. However, there is no standard ratio of malt or hvítöl and appelsín. The proportion varies from person to person and can be a topic of heated discussion. People also strongly disagree on whether appelsín or malt should be poured first.

What is the best thing about Reykjavik? 

All distances are short, and you can get everything you want. A Metropolitan Small Town. 

But what is best about Iceland? 

The nature and the clean water.

What is your favourite Icelandic music? 

An honourable mention goes to the band and my friends in the rock band Dimma, but if I have to choose an artist, Bubbi Morthens has to get his place.

It’s still worth mentioning Sigurrós, a great and unique band!

What is your favourite restaurant? 

It’s hard to choose, but the Sea Baron comes to mind because of the great food and collaboration for Your Friend in Reykjavik’s Food Lovers Tour.

What Icelandic food is most often eaten at home? 

Icelandic Meat Soup, recently made at home, about 20 litres of meat soup in two large pots.

What is your favourite candy? 

Chocolate-covered licorice, like Draumur!

Icelanders have a unique love for chocolate-covered liquorice, which almost led to an international conflict when Danish chocolatier Johan Bülow claimed to have invented it. Icelanders were outraged that someone from their former colonial power tried to claim their cultural heritage. The situation escalated to the point where the Icelandic President had to make a statement regarding the issue. But all is well that ends well, and Johan Bülow admitted that he did, indeed, not invent it and actually tasted it first in Iceland. 

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