Some people call Reykjavík the Paris of the North. And just like Paris, Reykjavík is the city of love. It’s the perfect destination for lovebirds. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might be interested in the ins and outs of Icelandic romance. First titbit: Valentine’s Day isn’t traditionally celebrated in Iceland.
Bóndadagur and Konudagur
No Valentine’s Day? That’s no fun. Actually, this doesn’t mean we don’t have special days dedicated to our loved ones, in fact, we have two instead of one! Konudagur and Bóndadagur (Woman’s Day and Husband’s Day) are Iceland’s way of celebrating love but they’re different from Valentine’s Day in one crucial way. Instead of celebrating the love between two individuals, they focus on celebrating the individuals in love.
Especially Konudagur is becoming increasingly competitive with Valentine’s Day, since it usually lands within a week or two of it on the calendar. Now, you should already have celebrated Husband’s Day back in January, but you still have a chance to switch your romantic celebrations to the second Sunday after Feb. 14th this year. You will find special Konudagur deals everywhere in the city!
– Iceland is a popular honeymoon destination, and with good reason. Just imagine yourself all cuddled up inside, under a blanket in a fancy hotel on the border of the Arctic Circle. For instance, Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, located in the old harbour of Reykjavík. Whale watching tours depart on a stone’s throw away, and you don’t even have to leave your hotel to go to cocktail bar Slippbarinn.
– Do you feel like going to a hotel outside of town? Then head to Hotel Búðir, just a two-hour drive north west of Reykjavík. It’s located at one of the most beautiful places of Iceland. The charming hotel has a romantic wooden church next to it, making it the perfect wedding location. And all of this set in a dramatic landscape. All rooms have amazing views – over a glacier, the sea, or a lava field.
– Beaches are always romantic. In Iceland you will not find a tropical beach, but there is a geothermally heated beach! It’s called Nauthólsvík and it’s equipped with changing rooms, toilets, showers, a small shop and a hot tub. Particularly the hot tub, with a view over the ocean, makes this a lovely spot to visit on Valentine’s Day.
– Icelanders love their summerhouses. These are wooden cottages, situated in the middle of nowhere, next to beautiful mountains and lakes. They have a small kitchen, bathroom, proper heating and usually a hot tub. Perfect for a short winter break. You can go for hikes in the surroundings or just relax in the hot tub with candles and a glass of wine.
– What is more romantic than kissing under the northern lights? The dark February month is a good time for spotting them. Sometimes you can see them from the city, but it’s also nice to go for a short drive to the lighthouse Grótta. With the city lights behind you, you will have the best conditions for northern lights viewing.
Grillmarkaðurinn is a fashionable restaurant located on Lækjargata. Foodies will love this place, because of the beautiful presentation of their dishes and the custom grill that heats up to 1200 °C. They cook with local ingredients and buy most of their produce straight from the farm. Highly recommended for anniversary dinners.
Fiskfélagið is a fancy restaurant offering Nordic fusion. Located in the cellar of a historic building, the vibe is classy and romantic at the same time. The crowd-pleasing four-course “Around Iceland” menu introduces you to the best Iceland has to offer.
– Apotek restaurant
Apotek is a cocktail bar and casual-smart restaurant located on Austurstræti. They offer a mix of Icelandic and European cuisine. Most of their dishes are designed to share and enjoy together, making it the perfect place to visit with your partner.
– For men: Most guys would be delighted to get some Þorri beers (beers brewed to celebrate the old Norse month Þorri). You could also go for Icelandic schnapps, like Himbrimi gin made with Icelandic water, the seeds of the angelica flower, and the flowers of arctic thyme. For non-drinkers, try lava salt or a CD from an Icelandic band.
– For women: If you want to get a little more creative than flowers and chocolate, try getting her jewellery, designed in Iceland (like Orr), a hand-knitted Icelandic lopapeysa (woollen sweater), or skin care products with Icelandic herbs or seaweed. A fun surprise!