156 episodes

Giving travelers the inside scoop on Icelandic culture, nature, history and language through the eyes of an expat. You'll hear interviews, quirky facts, useful travel advice, and what it is like to live in the land of fire and ice. Additionally, there is a segment of the show dedicated to teaching you an Icelandic word or phrase. Extra resources shared during the episodes can be found at https://allthingsiceland.com.

Jewells Chambers, the host of the podcast, fell in love with Iceland back in 2013 after her first visit. She moved to the country in 2016 and has been on an epic journey ever since.

All Things Iceland Jewells Chambers

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 175 Ratings

Giving travelers the inside scoop on Icelandic culture, nature, history and language through the eyes of an expat. You'll hear interviews, quirky facts, useful travel advice, and what it is like to live in the land of fire and ice. Additionally, there is a segment of the show dedicated to teaching you an Icelandic word or phrase. Extra resources shared during the episodes can be found at https://allthingsiceland.com.

Jewells Chambers, the host of the podcast, fell in love with Iceland back in 2013 after her first visit. She moved to the country in 2016 and has been on an epic journey ever since.

    Can an Eruption of Katla Volcano Impact the World?

    Can an Eruption of Katla Volcano Impact the World?

    I’m delving into a fascinating and kind of scary possibility. Vík í Mýrdal is a small town in South Iceland that has become a popular place for tourists to stop to see the area’s famous black sand beach, to stay the night if they need accommodations, and so on.However, most visitors don’t know about the potential danger that looms over this town of just over 800 residents. Katla volcano, which is about 26 kilometers or 16 miles from the town, poses a threat not only to the town if it erupts but it also could have a larger impact on the world.

    The Lava Show in Vík í Mýrdal and Reykjavík

    Before I jump into that, I’d like to thank The Lava Show for sponsoring this episode. During this incredible experience you can witness actual molten hot lava flow into the showroom where you are sitting. I have been to the show twice, specifically The Lava Show in Vík but they now also have a show in Reykjavík too.While I have been fortunate to see lava from a volcanic eruption a decent amount of times due to the last two eruptions in Iceland,  I was still blown away at how cool it is to see man made lava at the Lava Show. Of course, there is more to this show than just lava. For instance, at the Lava Show in Vík, you get shown a fascinating and informative video about about eruptions along the south coast, including Katla. I don’t want to give too much away but let’s just say that the eruptions in this area, including Eyjafjallajökull and Katla, have definitely made their mark in history.

    Why The Lava Show is Unique

    What‘s even more interesting to me is that the great grandfather of one of the owners of The Lava Show lived in the Vík area during the last eruption of Katla volcano. It is intense what he and his family went through to survive it and they provide insight into that during the show.Along with seeing the glowing orangey red lava flowing, you feel the heat rise in the room and can hear the crackling sounds of the lava as it cools. The presenters of the show safely show everyone different aspects of how the lava performs, such as if you were to add ice to it or how malleable it is when super hot. This is an activity for all ages. For both locations the Lava Show had to make a special furnace that can heat up the rocks high enough to make the lava.For an additional price, you can get the behind the scenes expereince to see the furnace and learn more about Icelandic geology.What is unique about the Lava Show in Vík and the one in Reykjavík is that each show is catered to talk about the volcanoes of the area they are in, including the potential dangers the eruptions in these areas can pose. For those that are unaware, Vík is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Reykjavík.If you want a unique and fun experience in Iceland, I highly recommend checking out the Lava Show in Vík and/or in Reykjavík. I will have a link to the experience in the show notes of this episode at allthingsiceland.com/katla-volcano-eruption

    How Katla Volcano Got Its Name

    The folklore as to how Katla volcano got its name might give you some insight on why people see an eruption of it as one to cause concern. Legend has it that on a monastery in south Iceland lived a housekeeper named Katla. She was described as a bad-tempered woman and there was even a rumor that she was a witch. Apparently, she owned a pair of magical pants or underwear. If someone were to wear these pants they could run as fast as the wind and never get tired.Due to her bad temper many people feared Katla and did their best to stay away from her. Even the head of the monastery was said to keep his distance. There was also a shepherd named Barði that lived on the monastery.

    • 26 min
    Expensive Mistakes to Avoid in Iceland

    Expensive Mistakes to Avoid in Iceland

    In this post/podcast episode, I’m sharing some common expensive mistakes that many travelers in Iceland make unknowingly. If you’ve already planned a trip here, then you’re well aware that traveling to and around Iceland can quickly drain money from your bank account.While it’s true that the country is quite expensive, your experience doesn’t have to break the bank. In a future episode, I plan to share a trip budget breakdown, so make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss out on that.All of these will definitely save you money, #3 includes an innovative way to save money that many tourists will find handy.

    5 Expensive Mistakes Tourists Make in Iceland

    1. Not Buying Alcohol Before Leaving Keflavík International Airport

    Before you even leave Keflavík airport, it‘s highly recommended that you stock up on alcohol at duty free. Of course, this only applies to those that drink. The reason for this is that alcohol in Iceland is heavily taxed. The higher the alcohol percentage content, the higher the tax.Prices in duty free for alcohol (i.e. beer, wine, and spirits) can be upwards of 30% less expensive than in the state owned stores. Please note that vínbúðins or the state-owned alcohol stores are the only places where you can buy spirits. A law passed this year allows for breweries in Iceland to finally sell directly to customers.Yes, you can for sure buy individual drinks at bars but just know that those will be expensive too. One way to decrease the cost is to catch a happy hour. I’m putting together my favorite happy hour places and will definitely be sharing those in the near future.

    2. Taking a Taxi From the Airport

    The next expensive mistake is taking a taxi from the airport. Most visitors are not aware that Uber, Lyft or any type of ride sharing program legally exist in Iceland. The taxis have a monopoly, and a ride can be costly. Because the airport is about a 40 – 45 minute drive from Reykjavík will be a little over $123.That is the price for up to 4 people. If you split it among 4 people, the price is not that bad. However, if there is only one or two people, the price is just ridiculously high. Alternatively, you can take a bus transfer from the airport, like Flybus for around $23 a person.

    3. Not Being Properly Dressed for Icelandic Weather

    Not being properly dressed for Icelandic weather can result in you feeling cold, wet, and all around miserable. This can literally put a damper on your vacation. While many people think they have packed well enough, it’s common for a decent amount to still feel cold when they are here. This might lead a person to shell out hundreds of dollars to buy a warmer coat or parka in Iceland.The good news is that I have a little hack for you if you ever find yourself in Iceland and you need extra layers, but you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on clothes. I partnered with IcelandCover for this episode because their business is based around an ingenious idea.They are a company that rents out warm, waterproof, and windproof parkas, boots, and pants. I personally tested out the parka and boots by going behind waterfalls that would typically soak through a regular coat. I stomped in puddles with the boots, and I even went northern lights hunting with the parka. It's a bonus to add that the clothes and boots are vegan-friendly.It was important to make sure the clothes could adequately protect me from the wind, rain, and chilly air. I’m happy to say that the boots and coat held up well.

    Where to Find IcelandCover in Reykjavík

    IcelandCover conveniently has a location in the center of downtown Reykjavík on the famous shopping street Laugavegu...

    • 22 min
    Meg Matich – American Poet & Translator Based in Reykjavík, Iceland

    Meg Matich – American Poet & Translator Based in Reykjavík, Iceland

    Meg Matich is a poet and translator in Reykjavik. She earned her Master’s of Fine Arts from Columbia University and has received support for her work from the Banff Centre, PEN America, and the Fulbright Commission, and she is a frequent collaborator with Reykjavik UNESCO and a friend of UNESCO Lviv. Meg is the author of the poetry chapbook COLD (2022 Eulalia Books).

    Among other projects, Meg has collaborated with poet Magnús Sigurðsson on an anthology of Icelandic poetry, translated a book of essays in honor of former President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, and translated the 2021 novel Magma. Meg is one of a few immigrants in the Icelandic Writers’ Union and considers that membership quintessential to her life in Iceland.

    Meg's Most Recent Book She Translated

    If you haven't already, I highly recommend listening to the podcast episode I did with the Auður Jónsdóttir, author of Quake.

    Questions I Asked Meg Matich During the Interview

    * You were born and raised in the US, what inspired you to move to Iceland?

    * What has your experience been like living in Iceland?

    * You are poet, which is awesome. Where do you get ideas for your poetry?

    * You have translated many poems, a book of essays in honor of the former president Vigdís Finnbgadóttir, and the book Magma, just to name a few. What is your process when you are translating?

    * You are one of the few immigrants in the Icelandic Writer’s Union. Was it difficult to get into?

    * What advice do you have for people that want to be translators?

    * What advice do you have for people who want to move to another country?

    * What is your favorite Icelandic word or phrase?

    Meg Matich mentioned meeting Kári Stefánsson, an Icelandic pioneer in human genetics that I interviewed some years ago. Click here to listen to that fascinating interview with him.

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    5 Easy Winter Day Trips From Reykjavík

    5 Easy Winter Day Trips From Reykjavík

    This week I am sharing some fun and easy winter day trips from Reykjavík that you can enjoy during your visit. The days have become noticeably shorter and soon the nights will be very long, which is something that Icelandic winter is known for.

    While it is more than possible to travel the ring road (the road that goes around the whole country) of Iceland during winter, I often find that a decent number of visitors during this season use Reykjavík as their base and are interested in day trips that end up back in the capital.

    These ideas are specifically catered to people who plan to drive themselves with a rental car. I have nothing against tour buses but if you’ve heard my other episodes about renting a car you know that it’s my preferred option and the one I recommend to everything that visits because it provides you the opportunity to explore so many places that tour buses don’t go to.

    How I Made These Winter Day Trips Optimized for Iceland

    I purposefully chose places that don’t include more than 4-5 hours of driving round-trip because, as I mentioned, we have long dark nights during winter and you will have limited hours of daylight. I think it’s good to use as much of the daylight at the sites and drive in the dark to the places and on the way back to town.

    I’m including five-day trips and you can check out the full list of places below. Please note that rental car companies in Iceland do put studded tires on their cars to help with traction on the road during winter if the road is icy.

    Where to Rent Your Car During Winter in Iceland

    Before I jump into the places, I’d like to thank the sponsor of this episode, Go Car Rental Iceland. They are a local Icelandic rental company that has competitive rates, great customer service and a large variety of cars to choose from. If you use my code Iceland10, you can save 10% on your entire booking with them.

    A few of you have reached out to let me know how great of an experience you’ve had with Go Car Rental Iceland after booking with them and using their vehicles. It brings me so joy to hear that because I only like to partner with companies that I have personally used and feel that my audience will also enjoy and/or find helpful. Please feel free to keep tagging me on Instagram or other places in your adventures. It’s fun to see what all of you are up to.

    5 Winter Day Trips from Reykjavik, Iceland

    1. The Iconic Golden Circle

    To kick off this list, I‘m sharing the most iconic route in the country and that is the Golden Circle. At it‘s simplest, the Golden Circle consists of Þingvellir National Park, Geysir Hot Spring, and Gullfoss waterfall. I‘m going to share 12 Pleaces, including the three main attractiios that you can consider visiting on this day trip.

    * Þingvellir National Park

    * Laugarvatn Fontana (spa and place where bread is baked in the ground)

    * The Cave People

    * Efstidalur dairy farm

    * Geysir

    * Gullfoss

    * Friðheimar

    * The Secret Lagoon

    * Faxi waterfall

    * Skálholt

    * Sólheimar Eco Village

    * Kerið crater

    2. South Coast

    Iceland's famous South Coast has so much to see during winter. Below is a fun list of places I think you'll enjoy.

    * Seljalandsfoss waterfall

    * Gljúfrabúi waterfall

    * Skógafoss Waterfall

    * Skógar Museum

    * Kvernfoss waterfall

    * Sólheimajökull glacier

    * Dyrhólaey

    * Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

    * Vík

    * The  Lava Show (in Vík)

    3. Reykjadalur Hot Spring River Hike

    • 58 min
    One of the Most Influential Icelandic Authors of Her Generation – Auður Jónsdóttir

    One of the Most Influential Icelandic Authors of Her Generation – Auður Jónsdóttir

    Auður Jónsdóttir is one of the most accomplished and influential authors writing in Iceland today. Her novels have inspired interest in Iceland, as well as abroad, for their rare blend of incisive frankness and humor. She won the Icelandic Literary Prize for The People in the Basement and the Icelandic Women's Literature Prize for Secretaries to the Spirits. Both novels were nominated for the Nordic Council's Literature Prize.Auður's latest novel, Quake (Stóri skjálfti), became her most successful publication to date and gathered a huge following among Icelandic readers of all ages, strengthening her position as an important writer of her generation.

    Read Quake By Auður Jónsdóttir

    Questions I Asked Auður Jónsdóttir

    * Your grandfather, Halldór Laxness, is one of the most famous Icelanders. For those that are unaware, he won the Noble Prize for literature in 1955. Was he an influence for why you became a writer?* Is a goal for you to also win the Noble Prize, or is it just nice if it happens?* Where do you get the ideas for your book topics?* You are considered one of the most important writers of your generation in Iceland. Why do you think your books resonate so well with generation here?* You worked as an in-house writer for the Reykjavík City Theater, which resulted in a play being adapted from your book, “The People in the Basement”. What was that process like (going from writing novels to writing a play)?* Are there any authors (other than your grandfather), Icelandic or otherwise, that have inspired your writing or you admire?* What, for you, is the most challenging part when it comes to writing a book?* What advice do you have for people who want a career in writing?* What is your favorite Icelandic word or phrase?

    Visit Halldór Laxness' Home in Iceland

    A while back, I did a podcast episode about Auður's grandfather, Halldór Laxness. He was a fascinating person, and as mentioned, the only Icelander to receive a Nobel Prize (so far).If you are interested in visiting his home, Gljúfrasteinn, which is now a museum, check out this link.

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    7 Dangerous Mistakes Tourists Make While Driving in Iceland

    7 Dangerous Mistakes Tourists Make While Driving in Iceland

    Iceland is considered the safest and most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that visitors to the country need to keep in mind when traveling around the country. Unfortunately, there are mistakes made by tourists each year that range from almost causing accidents to ones that end in fatalities.

    This episode is in no way meant to scare anyone who plans to rent a car here regardless of the season. In fact, I highly recommend renting a car. It’s an amazing way to see the country at your own pace and to potentially discover places that you might have missed if you were on a bus tour.

    I have partnered with Go Car Rental Iceland on this episode. We both value informing people about these mistakes so they can not only manage their expectations but also know what to look out for when on the road.

    If you’re planning a trip to Iceland, you can use my code Iceland10 when booking with Go Car Rental Iceland. You'll  save 10% on your entire booking. They are a local Icelandic rental car company based in Reykjavík that have excellent customer service, great rates, unlimited miles on their cars, and a large variety of vehicles to choose from.

    The Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Iceland

    Everything I need to know about renting car, driving, and get around Iceland

    Click Here

    7 Dangerous Mistakes Tourists Make While Driving in Iceland

    1. Stopping in the middle of the road to take photos

    One of the most dangerous mistakes that many tourists make during the summer in Iceland is stopping in the middle of the road to take photos. I know it sounds ridiculous to some people, but it happens a lot here.

    It’s often the case that people are not meaning to block the road but they get so stunned by the views that they legit stop their car to have a look. It can be that they’re staring at horses, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, reindeer or even an arctic fox.

    Instead of immediately looking for a safe place to pull over, they just sit in the middle of a highway. Even worse they often get out of the car with their car still on the road. This has resulted in some accidents and far too many close calls. I totally understand seeing an amazing sight and wanting to stop to see it.

    I also understand that when you stop, it could be that no one is behind you at the time. However, if you are on a highway the possibility that another car or truck will come soon is highly likely. Please do yourself and everyone else a favor and find a safe place to pull over. You might even have to drive a little bit down the road to find an appropriate spot but it’s worth it.

    2. Driving Off-road

    Image by Iceland Magazine

    Next up is driving off-road. This is not the same as pulling over to the side of the road or driving on a gravel road or driving on an F-road in the highlands. I am specifically talking about driving on land where there are no roads. Some places where tourists have done this is on black sand deserts and fields of lava rock covered in moss.

    There are two reasons doing this is dangerous. The first is that the flora in Iceland is fragile. Yes, it grows in an extreme climate but it takes a very long time for things to grow naturally here. There are ecosystems flourishing in these environments that most people are not aware of and driving on them can cause serious damage. In fact, moss in Iceland takes decades to grow back after it has been trampled or driven on.

    The second reason is that you might drive over a hidden rock or hole that causes you to ha...

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
175 Ratings

175 Ratings

Carmie H ME ,

Highly recommend! All the time

I was just recommending this series to a friend (and I’ve recommended it to so many friends) and I only just notified I’ve never submitted a review before. I love this podcast and every episode is wonderful and helpful. Thank you.

TammyLGK ,

Great insight

Heading to Iceland next week and I’ve been binging so many helpful episodes. Not only have I walked away with knowledge, tips and tricks, but my excitement is heightened. Feeling as ready as I can be to enjoy this beautiful and unique destination with more insight into the history and character of the country.

Lolu33 ,

!The Best!

Great info and Host his lovely. I used her code for renting a car and saved a lot of money.
Thank You J.

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