Is there an authentic way to visit Iceland?

A respectful visit to one of the gems of the world


Iceland is a very popular destination at the moment.

When I tell people about my firm, Iceland by helgastina, everyone I meet says either that Iceland is one of their dream destinations, or that they have been there and would gladly go again. Very flattering for an Icelander to receive such good feedback.

But should I just recommend everyone to jump on a plane and go to Iceland as soon as possible?

Well that would have been the case some years ago when Iceland was still a bit unknown and people had to be persuaded to go there for a visit. Questions like “Isn´t it just horribly cold?,” “isn´t it very cold?,” “isn´t it too cold?” were the most common ones.

My answer used to be a little briefing on the historic misunderstandings of the names of Greenland and Iceland, or I would explain that it would be ok to be cold in Iceland because of the geothermally heated pools. Or I would calm people down telling them that there is no such thing as bad weather in modern times, only insufficient clothing.


Now when these issues are not stopping people from travelling to my country, another challenge has emerged.

Too many tourists.

It might sound a bit weird from an Iceland Travel Planner to tell you that Iceland has too many tourists, but it is true. And the aim of Iceland by helgastina Travelplanner is to connect people and to ensure that people get a unique experience when travelling to Iceland. Not a standard touristy solution that is supposed to fit everyone. That is so not Iceland in my opinion.

When travelling to Iceland nowadays, you need to know where to go, what to see, who to meet to get the real Iceland, the peace, the power of nature, the hospitality of the people and amazing food, of course.

That is why my mission is even more clear to me now than ever before since I started this adventure.

Iceland is crowded with tourists, placing massive burdens on the infrastructure, especially at over-touristed sites like the Blue Lagoon. But Iceland does have a lot of space, and there are still many breathtaking and under-touristed sites and experiences to be found.


As a travel planner who specializes in creating adventures off the beaten path, I would be delighted to help to make your visit a respectful one towards the precious nature, history and people of Iceland.

More info and customized offers on


Dining with the Icelanders..but of course..

I am addicted to travel. I love seeing new places, meeting new people and dining different and exotic food.

I have so many memories and tastes that remind me of wonderful events in my life. This is for instance when me and a friend made dinner with our Italian friends in Pisa, a wonderful day with an Austrian family, a New years celebration in Austria, a Brazilian barbecue in Brazil, our kitchen in Klagenfurt, Danish Christmas, learning how to make spanish omelette in Barcelona, Swedish dinner on a wonderful summer night, tasting all kinds of Pakistani food, learning how to make Vietnamese food or Indian chai, dinner evenings with exotic food and friends in Iceland..and I can go on and on and on. These memories are filled with stories, scents, happiness and sorrow, sounds and memories.

When I was younger I was fortunate to live in different countries during my studies. The most amazing people I met on these stays were the locals who invited me to stay with them for some days, or for an evening, having dinner. I am forever thankful to these people for giving me the precious experience of “dining with the locals.”


(A wonderful brunch and a memorable view and company in Thingvellir – Iceland)

Therefore I remember being at people’s houses, helping with preparing dinner, tasting new things and hearing the history of the food, the recipes, sometimes coming from the grandmother or great grandmother of the family. In Austria, Brazil and Portugal, I even received a cooking book from the area so I could try the recipes at home.


(Late midnight dinner in August in the Westfjords – Iceland)

Sometimes interesting stories came to the surface.

In Iceland I heard the story of the woman who always cut the leg of lamb in two before putting it in the oven on a Sunday afternoon.

She never thought about it that much, but when her daughter asked her why she was doing that all these years, she replied “my mom always did and so did my grandma”. The story unfolded when the grandmother revealed the secret.


(A leg of an Icelandic lamb – See more on

When she was young, in the beginning of the 20th century, making dinner in the kitchen with her mom, they used to not have a big enough pot for the lamb leg for it to fit in entirely, so her mum had to cut it  in two.

Many years later when she moved with her children and husband to a new house, with big enough pots, she continued cutting the leg of lamb in two and that is where this tradition in the family began.


(A wonderful dinner view by the lake in Thingvellir – Iceland)

I am sure that for this family the lamb would taste entirely different if not cut in two so I guess they continued the tradition, until this day.  And the lamb would not have been so memorable had they not told me the story first.


(Icelandic blueberries)

When I was working with young people in Iceland many years ago, I used to use the kitchen as a place to get to know people. It is actually my experience that when working together preparing a meal or cleaning up, your boundaries are less in the way of the communication and that allows people to interact in a better and more precious way.


(Icelandic pancakes – sometimes only with sugar, sometimes with jam and cream)

The Icelandic gastronomy is based on fish and lamb mostly with influences from all around the world. The raw material is amazingly fresh and wonderful and the Icelandic vegetables help making the meal something to remember.

Iceland with helgastina is cooperating with Icelanders around Iceland who are excited to receive people from all over the world to inspire..and to be inspired.

I dare you to try the newest product of Iceland by helgastina – Dining with the Icelanders

It is an exciting way to get to know Iceland and Icelanders.

All information about getting a private travel planner can be found on Iceland by helgastina

(Pictures by helgastina and Eyglo Runarsdottir)