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Well, it looks like I'm going to Iceland this summer with some friends. Turns out the flight from Denmark to Iceland is ridiculously cheap, so yay!

I was wondering if any of my Icelandic followers have some tips. Like, should I always speak English or is it okay to try Danish without coming off as a dick? People are telling me mixed things about how the Icelandic people feel about Danes, so better to be safe than sorry on that one.

Other than that, any good places to go? Things to try or eat?

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YouShallCry Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I recommend you speak English most of the time. Most Icelandic people speak a bit of danish, but English is more popular, unless you're talking to some of the older people, they might understand neither.
dittadulla Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You won't sound like a dick if you speak danish, but most Icelanders would respond more to english nonetheless. We just know it better. Go to the blue lagoon, visit the Perla (a building on a hill near the center of Reykjavik, the view from the top is awesome!), the Hallgrímskirkja (the tall church in downtown Reykjavík), just a stroll through the center, look around in the Harpa (concert hall). The golden circle of course!

Icelanders like to make a lot of jokes about how they dislike Danes, but truth is that they really don't mind them. Just ask whoever you talk to if they speak danish, otherwise english is a safe bet in most cases!
Thory-Wory Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2015  Student General Artist
Born and raised in a coastal village outside of Reykjavik, and I've lived all over the country. I can tell you that English is definitely the choice that will get you the best results when it comes to people actually understanding you, but danish is taught in schools here, and I'm fluent. Most people will make a genuine effort to converse with you in danish, and you definitely won't come across as a dick.

The perceived rivalry between Denmark and Iceland is honestly just pretend; like the rivalry between Norwegian people and Swedes. A Norwegian guy can say he hates the Swedish, but he doesn't really mean it, he's just playing around. It's a playful sort of friction between two nations with a lot of history with one another. Most people here are very polite and will not make judgments on you based on whether you try to speak danish to them.  
EtherealValentine Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I hope you have fun!!!
ThorsVision Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
born and raised in the heart of reykjavík, feel free to drop me a line if you need true insider tips for the central area. :) also an avid traveler of my wonderful island, so can provide some good tips/advice regarding that as well.
Eir Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2015  Hobbyist
Although we DO learn danish, as it's mandatory, almost no one speaks it unless they've lived/studied in Denmark.
Almost everyone and their grandma does speak English, so stick with that.

The Reykjavik Grapevine is the best source of info on what's happening in town.
Check out:

The "golden circle" is a classic: Geyser, Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir (the national park)
Would also recommend seeing the westfjords if you can manage a car out of town :3
Am, myself planning to tour Iceland this summer ^^
Religion0 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
I don't know how the Icelandic feel, but I know in many former French colonies you're better off starting with trying their language or English, and shifting to French when you find you can't understand each other in either than starting with French.
Arsci Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015   Photographer
Danish has been losing popularity here lately (you owe us more points in Eurovision than Austria owes Germany btw) so preferably English since most of the population speaks it. There are alot of things to try here but the best way to start off your trip is to visit good ol' Skólavörðustígur, the road facing the front of Hallgrímskirkju…
There should be a couple of buildings offering tourist guides there and more than enough of restaurants/cafés. If you wanna enjoy the most of the 24/7 day cycle then head over to Akureyri and enjoy yourself.
ChalithraDeVir Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Student Filmographer
for the most parts, Icelanders understand both. in theory. if English doesn't work try Danish. in my experience, people tend to be good in one, shitty in the other. I for one understand Danish a little, and can speak even less. my English is excellent however.

Most people I know will make fun of Danes, but it's all in good humour. I honestly don't think any Icelanders today bare any ill will to Danes.

places to go are fairly well documented, I suggest picking up a copy of the Grapevine when you land, they publish in English and I do find they are the best at keeping track of what's happening in and around Reykjavík.

I don't know if there are any delicacies in Iceland that you can't find in Denmark. there are places that sell specifically food for foreigners but they are probably really expensive.

Sidenote: alcohol is sold in store specifically for that and they are called "ÁTVR" or "Ríkið" ("ÁTVR" stands for "Áfengis og Tóbaks Verslun Ríkisins" and "Ríkið" is just the last part, "Ríkisins") and they are usually open between ten in the morning and five in the afternoon.
Vexillo Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
you are so lucky,
I will also travel to Iceland 
I  Heart  Flag of Iceland 

MadameChampagne Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Check out the Norse altar there too.
KingGustav Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Student General Artist
Ooh, yeah! It's not completed yet, though. But that would be kinda neat to check out.
MadameChampagne Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Considering I'm a Norse pagan myself, it's a big deal.
KingGustav Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Student General Artist
I'm not, but it's still pretty awesome :)
MadameChampagne Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Well, for me it's a big deal because Iceland is now acknowledging Paganism as a legitimate religion. I've always found it interesting that Scandinavians were more accepting of those views.
KingGustav Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Student General Artist
It's for two primary reasons; well, one, really. The primary faith that the Nordics (and I) have- Lutheranism- is historically much more accepting of other faith bases than, say, other Christian traditions (except for a weird moment where Luther went off on Anabaptists and Jews, but most modern-day Lutherans have shunned those ideas). Also, Christianity didn't come into the North until quite late in the game, so the polytheistic culture carried (and still does carry) a lot of weight with the public. And it's truly awesome. Religious tolerance extends to more than just monotheistic faiths.
MadameChampagne Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
True. In my circle, we say "namaste" to each other as we go our widdershins. This means "I respect the divine in you" (Rough translation, of course.)
Siunra Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Well, if you want to learn more about Iceland, I highly recommend that you read the Iceland Review. It’s wonderful.
Feurdelis Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
Speak with whatever you feel comfortable with, be yourself. :D (Big Grin) 
FarTooManyIdeas Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015   General Artist
I'd start off speaking English, to make them more comfortable and so that you may be better understood. The Icelandic people I've met in Denmark have not understood Danish completely. Let them decide if they want to try out their Danish on you. :D
Insulin-chan Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You've got to check out a good bookshop and grab some troll books by Brian Pilkington! Also, go to a swimming pool! Do not put your hair into the blue lagoon and make sure to put a LOT of conditioner in it if you accidentally do! If you want to hang with some locals you can give me a call :)
Lifrarpylsa Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015
The south of the island is particularly beautiful in summer. Unfortunately a lot of development is being done around beautiful places to make them more "tourist friendly" (observation platforms over waterfalls, snack shops where people leave rubbish everywhere, etc.). I'd encourage you to try and avoid contributing to tourist traps that are actively altering the landscape to try and attract more people.
IceCreamHime Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
so sad... :c
FocusSjonni Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
If I could like a comment, I would like yours :I
random-rainbow-eater Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Student
We don't dislike Danes :) but i can promise  that if you start speaking danish people wont really understand you , maybe one and one but English is fine :) hope you have a good time , Iceland is cold but beautiful.
NekonaHisaki Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy crud, I'm going to Iceland myself this summer!  I will be doing geologic field work with my college. I guess if you see a short, fat chick with a bunch of dirty, bedraggled American geology students say hello. :3
makoshark04 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Speaking of dick, there is museum dedicated to such thing in Iceland:
WannabeBoxer Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Go to the Reðasafnið *snickers*
stsveins Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
Well most Icelanders learned Danish in middle school so if you want to speak danish to anyone just try, people may or may not understand you.

As for how Icelanders feel about Danish, I wouldn't worry about it, we are very proud of our country so just compliment it and you'll do fine.

As for food, I'd reccomend Skyr with berries and cream, and dried fish with butter both are pretty good.  You can try shark and brennivín if you like, although it may be  a bit..well it's up to you.

If you would like to taste our old fashion cousin I'd reccomend Slátur with mashed potatoes.

Hope this helps.
timsplosion Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Pretty much anywhere in Europe's pretty good at the moment. The Euro was rattled by the whole Greece thing, so moving from pounds to Euros makes for cheap holidays right now. :)
Paigeb123 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2015
I go to Iceland every year during the summer (my bf is Icelandic). With language over there it depends on which part your going really. If you wanna play it safe ofc speak English all the time until you bump into someone Danish.  xD
My bf comes from a little island of Iceland called Vestmannaeyjar and i'm telling you it a must place to spend the day! 
If your an animal lover like me then i'm guarantying that you'll see plenty of sea birds such as puffins and albatross, seals, and whales such pod of orcas, (Last year i saw a Sperm whale).
Also the views there are to die for seriously with the new ash land from the previous eruption of the volcano its like walking from the shire to mordor sorry for the lotr reference but its true!
Hope you enjoy Iceland though my favorite place in the world never get bored going every year! People are friendly and plenty of sight seeing to do 
(P.s if you want a laugh go to the penis museum (i did was in stitches at the end)
djgaijin Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015
Don't step on any demons!
viragrrl Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
English is probably best, most people don't enderstand the danish super well :) if you have time I suggest you go up north, I think the northern coast and Mývatn are some of the prettiest places in iceland, especially Eyjafjörður, Hljóðaklettar and Ásbyrgi. but if you can't go north, Þingvellir down south is a must! super short distance from Reykjavik, and one of the natural wonders of iceland.
Bitchy-Cakes Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
speak English 
English is better understood than Danish (and most of us Icelandic teens/kids hate Danish cos we need to study it and not many kids enjoy studying it)

personally I'm a small town girl in Iceland so I can't help about places I'm just like a Tourist in this "city" and in like all the big towns 
but if you do find a place then you should totally try the Icelandic dish "kjötsúpa" straight translation would be meat soup ^^; 
Limro Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
... I recall this: and this:… .

You should go check it out :)
Hikamimay Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, I'm not from Iceland but I went there last summer :meow:
If I can give you any tip then it's to take a warm jacket with you. Especialy when the wind blows it can be really cold ^^;
Since we did a tour around the island I didn't saw much of the towns but the capital and Akureyri were pretty nice. And you should really see some of the beautiful waterfalls and landscapes :)
For the food: I don't remember how it's called but there is a milk based product that mixed with some fruit compote gives a very tasty breakfast :D
gruuvvi Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Oh my god, I hope you'll have a great time! And I'm sure you will, Iceland is absolutely beautiful and everyone is so nice. Oh, I want to go there again...
Maedelin Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Hi Humon. :)

I was fortunate enough to visit Iceland in 2013 (I live in the US), and when I tried to speak Icelandic (I brushed up on a few phrases) most of the people there were willing to talk to me in English.  I have to be honest, everyone I spoke to (and I wandered around Reykjavik a goodly amount) had better skills and grammar with English than I did.  I am certain they'll be fine if you speak English.

I hope this helps!
Maedelin Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
And you know what?  Iceland is beautiful.  Just so freakin' beautiful.   I went in November and kind of fell in love with the whole country.
Beautifully-Demonic Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
We "dislike" Danes the same way that English people "dislike" Welsh people. As in not at all, but your accent is cute and your language is absolutely ridiculous. Stop being so adorable

My tip is: DON'T stay the entire time in Reykjavík!!! Places like Húsvík and Akureyri need your tourism as well, not to mention that Húsavík has the best whale watching trips and I live in Akureyri, so I could stalk you (please, please come here)(plz?)

Aside from that, just enjoy yourself and do the usual touristy things. They're really quite fun.
J-Tap Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice! I live in Iceland. ^^
A lot of people here can understand some Danish, but it's mainly the older folks (over 40, generally).
I've never gotten the impression that people here dislike Danes, so I highly doubt you'll get any trouble for speaking Danish.
Though, mostly the whole country speaks English more fluently than Danish, I'd assume. Wouldn't hurt to try both, though.

You could go see Gullfoss (gorgeous waterfall), glaciers (Vatnajökull, for example), hot springs (especially the Blue Lagoon). Then it can always be nice just to stroll around down-town, feed the ducks, geese and swans at Tjörnin (a prominent lake in the capital's central). I'd also suggest going hiking on Esjan.

Oh, and then there's the phallological museum. ;D

Should definitely try our hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu (pretty popular hot dog stand in central Reykjavík) and cured shark. ;) Maybe some rams' balls...
oaoMMH Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
The hot dogs in Reykjavik are to DIE for!

Uhhhm. While I was there, I spoke English because it was so unlikely  that I would find anyone who spoke Japanese or Finnish. But it was easier than I expected. You could TRY Danish in the capital, but it would probably just ease your way to speak English. I'm sure they'll appreciate that you speak any language other than English.
djeinus Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You'd probably be better off with English in general.
BabakoSen Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Good places to go (or places I'd want to see, anyway): Bruarfoss (…), Gullfoss, Godafoss, Kirkjufell, and Haukadalur.
BabakoSen Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
LUCKY! Iceland hogs all the beautiful scenery, I swear.
Jeimii-chan719 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Student Writer
that sounds fun, I have to visit the Nordic area sometime in the future. the closest i've been to Iceland was that Simpsons episode when Carl goes back to his adopted parents in Iceland, lol.
HarryPlover123 Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm Icelandic.
You wouldn't come of as a dick for speaking danish except if you were rude about it, like refusing to switch to English if asked or some such. Y'know the generic don't be rude stuff. 
People under 40 will almost always understand English better, but people older than that will almost always understand danish better.
I recommend going to Þingvellir, it´s where Alþingi was held in the old days. I also recommend Vestmanna eyjar (Westman's Islands), there was an volcanic eruption there, that the townspeople(?) pretty much just stopped by themselves. (Google it, it´s called Heimaeyja-gos )
GammaWolfman Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
FocusSjonni Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Regarding food: I don't know a lot of restaurants down town, but I think a lot of them are pretty decent. Hamborgarafabrikan is a really nice (my favourite) burgerplace. And since I've only seen it pop up twice before, I'll emphasize on this next restaurant - BÆJARINS BEZTU - Go there. Please. I beg you. It is THE BEST hot dog(/lambdog) restaurant here (and everywhere else >:3).
As for supermarkets/grocery stores: 10/11, is expensive and somehow still alive (don't know why it's not out of business). As someone also said, Krónan and Bónus are cheaper but they don't perhaps have the best quality and/or variety of products. Hagkaup, for example is more expensive than Krónan and Bónus but not by much. Hagkaup also often receives their products faster (usually) and fresher than the other two would.

Tip: If you want candy, or candy in a bag of your own choosing; Go to Hagkaup on a Saturday, they have 50% off every Saturday. (Some Hagkaup stores are open 24/7, so if you wait on a Friday until it's midnight you'll still get the discount).

As for stuff to do: If you want to go anywhere, get a rental car, if not, get a map and bus tickets. Taxi's here are a joke. Expensive joke.
So what I recommend doing, something I've not seen anyone here suggest, is go mountain hiking! :D Since you know, living in Denmark, you maybe won't get these chances so often? If you're in the capital area, then the best option is probably Esjan. It's closest to the capital and is fairly easy for beginners (If you make it to the top, it gives you a really neat view of Reykjavík!). Even if you don't make it to the top, it's still a very beautiful mountain and a fun place to stroll through. It's really overlooked by people in the capital area since it's sort of the background of Reykjavík. It's nearly always visible and so it's become like daily bread for them. People often forget to appreciate it's beauty :/).
Blue lagoon is expensive, yes (as is everything here(mostly)), but it may be a once in a lifetime thing. So I would allow myself to go there if I were you.

One more thing. MUSIC! Don't need to buy it if you don't want it, but maybe listen to some Icelandic tunes while you're here: I made a little list for you to getch'yahh rolling :D
Other than that, I hope you enjoy your visit. May the weather gods smile upon you!
HelsinkiAngels Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Speak English, but don't be too shy if some people try to speak to you in Danish after learning where you are from. I think most of what you may encounter may simply be a little bit of teasing banter, and you should not take it to heart. Quite a few people secretly like Denmark ;) Also, take note: The further you get from Reykjavik, the more likely you are to encounter the odd soul who does not speak English. Usually the elderly or isolated farmers will tend towards Icelandic only, but they are still very friendly.

You should certainly hit Reykjavik, if you're looking to interact with the people, but here's the thing: the real Iceland is outside the "city". The country is all about nature, and you'll find the most memorable experiences when you venture away from the tourist shops and things. Because I am shamelessly happy for you to come see this land, I will also include an urgent prompt to visit North Iceland, in Eyjafjordur. It is home to Akureyri, the "Capital of the North".

A lot of people in Reykjavik might tell you that the north is full of country bumpkins, and not worth your time. I beg to differ; if you are curious and adventurous enough, and willing to take a little time to observe nature, there is a lifetime's worth of things to see up here. Beyond Eyjafjordur and Akureyri, there is Lake Myvatn, with its own (much better and sort of cleaner) geothermal baths, and some really cool volcanic pools and vents. There are also the waterfalls Dettifoss and Goðafoss - the first being the most powerful falls in Iceland, and the second taking its name from an interesting story in Iceland's history. Lots of the small towns hold bird sanctuaries and wildlife themes, and you might also be able to worm your way into staying in a country home, provided you meet the right people. Again on the tourist side, we also hold whale watching stuff up here, and it tends to be a little less crowded than Reykjavik.

Still, if you're unwilling to board the bus north for 7.500kr, and want to stay in the south, I might suggest the coast, near Vik. The whole coast is filled with fantastic sights, and has a ridiculous number of waterfalls all over the place to see. The more touristy Golden Circle stuff can be done by yourself or on a bus, if you like. The tour follows a route where you can see Þingvellir - the continental divide, and old meeting place of the Icelandic Alþing - and also Gullfoss and the Geyser area.

Foodwise, the usual Icelandic meal consists of lamb and potatoes, but as other people have said, you could try being adventurous and go for the shark and the Brennivin. I like both, personally, but it really does depend on individual taste. I would say that the shark smells much nastier than it tastes. You are welcome to try whale, but you should keep in mind that it is mostly a food for tourists these days. I do not know about the puffin. Try it and see, I suppose.

Best recommendations in terms of treats? See if you can get yourself an arctic tern egg and boil it. The flavor is quite different from a chicken egg. People have said to shop at Bonus for cheaper food, and I agree, as most supplies there are super-cheap compared to most other places. Do not let this deter you from trying restaurant food, though. You will also find numerous hot dog stands and stores, and I urge you to try an Icelandic hot dog. You might also, doubtless, see lots of really expensive pizza.

God, what else... yeah, I see museum recommendations below. If you have a student card, I think it is a little bit cheaper to enter museums. You are also not allowed to leave Iceland without seeing the Phallological Museum. Take your camera, pictures are allowed. The guy who runs it is kind of a stern-faced fellow, but under no circumstances are you to run away from this museum :P For normal museums, Reykjavik is filled with them. I do not know the specifics of their locations and contents, but you can ask almost any person for help and information.

On saturdays and now sundays, Reykjavik holds a flea market near the docks, to the left of the Harpa building, inside a rather large sort of warehouse. I think it is open from 10AM but cannot remember when it closes. It's Iceland's only flea market, and it's a lot of fun to go there. It's also a good place to buy the shark and different kinds of fish, dried and otherwise.

Nightlife in Reykjavik is average on weekdays, but on weekends, shit kind of goes crazy. All these sort of shy Icelanders go from quiet and polite to complete party animals. I think the best bar is actually a gay bar called Kiki's, just off Laugavegur, the main shopping street. I say this because people are pretty party-happy and welcoming there, but you can definitely go to lots of other bars around town. The further away you get from Laugavegur, the more interesting the bars get.

Now, be advised: Even in the summer, Iceland kind of gets wild once you go out of the city, so remember not to wander off anywhere unless you are seriously prepared beforehand. Under no circumstances should you enter any part of the Interior/Highlands without a proper vehicle and gear. Most other places are alright; roads have gotten way better in the past 30 years, booming-like, so it's a lot easier for tourists to get around now. Still, the joke goes that if you don't like the weather in Iceland, you wait five minutes. It's very true. Weather can be very unpredictable, and change very suddenly here. It's given me a couple of good adventures now. This is not to scare you off anything - just stay safe, and listen to the locals.

Okay? Okay. If you're curious about anything else, PM me or something and I can give you the skinny on most stuff around Iceland. I am an aspiring tour guide, but mostly I just can't shut up about Iceland, and am happy to share everything I have discovered and come to know in this country. It is of the greatest importance that you have a shitload of fun while you are in Iceland, and I hope you do enjoy your time here! :)
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