Greinasafni: Icelandic Times
Reykjanes Peninsula
Teeming with bird life, endless lava fields, geothermal wonders, spectacular cliffs and the relentless pounding surf all around its coastline, Reykjanes Peninsula is a magical location with plenty to keep you busy year round. Almost every travel brochure and website about Reykjanes Peninsula includes information about its most famous attraction, the Blue Lagoon - and rightly so, for that is not a place you would want to miss! Nevertheless, this issue of Icelandic Times would like to turn your attention to a few of the Peninsula’s other star attractions...

The Viking World Museum
One of best museums devoted to Viking history in Iceland can be found on the Reykjanes Peninsula at Vikingarheimar or the Viking World Museum in Njarvík. The imposing modern architecture of the building contrasts sharply with the nearby turf farm and the mossy lava fields that surround it. Through the huge glass windows that make up at least half the building, a viking ship is visible from quite a distance, appearing as if frozen in mid-air.
The Íslendingur is an exact replica of the viking vessel Gokstad, found almost completely intact in Norway in 1882, and believed to have been built in 870. Built by the sailor and master shipbuilder, Gunnar Marel Eggertsson from 1994-1996, the Íslendingur sailed the 2,600 miles (4,200 km) from Reykjavik to New York in 2000 in the wake of Leif Eiriksson, who first discovered America. Thus he paid tribute to the 1,000 years of Viking character, culture, and craftsmanship, becoming a huge sensation the world over.
Vikingaheimar is also home to the exhibition The North Atlantic Viking Saga, which was originally shown at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C in the summer of 2000. Both of these immensely popular and interesting exhibits are on permanent display in museum’s main building, Vikinga Aldan, or Viking Wave.

Lighthouses & Shipwrecks
Reykjanes has eleven spectacularly-sited lighthouses along its treacherous coast, including Iceland’s oldest, Reykjanesviti, dating from 1878. Iceland’s highest lighthouse is at Garðskagi, in Garður. Only 5 lighthouses were built in Iceland by the 20th century but by 1954 there were over 100 at strategic points all around the coast of Iceland.  Numerous shipwrecks around Reykjanes have been an tragic fact of life in the history of the peninsula. At Garðskagi, you can read more about these tragic events and there is a map showing shipwreck sites and their dates.
For more information, contact the Icelandic Lighthouse Society at their website:

‘The Happy Sailors’ Day’
Towns across Iceland hold all sorts of events and festivals in summer and among the country’s largest is the Seamen’s Day Festival in Grindavik, held annually over the first weekend in June. The week-long programme of events includes art exhibitions, fairground rides, competitions and live music, culminating in Sjómannadagur - Seamen’s Day. The eclectically varied schedule includes a dog show, helicopter rides, a golf competition, water fights, pillow fights and special offers in local shops and eateries.

Power Plant Earth is an exhibition located in Reykjanesvirkjun, Hafnir, a geothermal power plant located not far from the edge of Reykjanes, the Reykjanes lighthouse and Bridge between two Continents. The exhibition’s most impressive showpiece is a geothermal turbine generating 50 MW of ‘green’ electrical power, enough to keep Reykjavík City running on a good day. For a peek at what awaits you, see:

The Sunset Festival
The Sunset Festival on Garðskagi is truly a festival for the whole family. The festivities are held annually at Garðskagi in the middle of the summer. The facility is ideal for campers with tents, trailer tents, caravans and Winnebagos.
Sunset on Garðskagi presents an awe-inspiring spectacle and the timing of the festival is perfect because then the summer solstice will have passed. The setting sun glitters on the ocean while the inhabitants of Garður and their guests sing and celebrate around the campfire.
For more information about the festival’s date each year as well as the schedule visit the following website:

Ljósanótt - The Night of Lights
As the bright nights of summer give way to the shorter days of autumn, the first Saturday of September sees the staging of  the highly popular Night of Lights, the Reykjanes Festival of Culture and Family. Now a fixed event in Iceland’s cultural calendar, the event, which despite its name, is now staged over four days from Thursday to Sunday. An ever-growing celebration of local culture, last year’s festival included more than 100 separate events and attracted some 30,000 visitors. The Night of Lights offers something for everyone, ranging from art, theatre and music performed by groups and individuals, to a spectacular finale under a blaze of fireworks. Whatever your cultural interests, The Night of Lights has something to offer you, so make a date to come, see and sample this unique event during the first weekend in September.


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