Frequently Asked Questions
+ Helpful Answers
CALL 112 for any EMERGENCY in Iceland.
Northern Light Inn is a family run boutique hotel with 42 warm and spacious rooms, free high speed wifi, and Max’s Restaurant serving delicious local foods.
Guest’s spaces include a relaxing living room with cozy areas and a grand fireplace, an Honesty Bar open 24/7 with beverages and snacks, and a Galaxy Tower with 360º panoramic views — a great place to see the Auroras or midnight sun.
The NLI Wellness Center includes a Wellness Spa with 3 saunas and chill spaces, 2 Aurora Floats, Fitness Room with core gear (free for all guests) and Body Kindness treatments.
NLI offers complimentary scheduled shuttles to the Blue Lagoon and free make-your-own-waffles every afternoon.
Swimming in nearby Blue Lagoon, mountain biking, horse riding, hiking, cruising the area in electric cars, and body kindness in the Wellness Center.
An 18 hole golf course in the lava is just 5 minutes from the Blue Lagoon, in nearby Grindavik.
(The site is in Icelandic: contact us to schedule a TeeTime.)
Iceland’s best day trips and excursions can be booked with TourDesk Direct that picks-up and drops-off at the hotel.
It’s really a “hot” location surrounded by a vast geothermal lava flows covered in moss: rugged, lunar, dramatic, and very photogenic. The moss changes color everyday, camouflaging elves, exotic flowers, lichen and wild berries.
Svartsengi, the clean geothermal power staton next door, provides hot water and electricity to the Blue Lagoon and NLI. The lagoon’s thermal waters are created by distilling supercharged brine, heated by earth’s magma. Geothermal energy steams out the ground around us as the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates separate.
What does ARCTIC mean?
The word arctic means "bear" in ancient Greek.
It refers to the constellations of the Great Bear and Little Bear, which you can find in the night sky near the North Star. The North Star, currently Polaris, in the Alpha Ursae Minoris, or Little Bear Constellation, is also known as the Lode Star or Pole Star, and is part of the Little Dipper, 431 light years away.
What is the ARCTIC Circle?
A concept. The Arctic Circle is a circle of latitude drawn by mapmakers at 66° 33'44" north (depending on the earth's wobble).
The Arctic Circle is moving north at an average rate of 15m per year.
It’s the northernmost point where you can still see the sun, if you were looking south, on the shortest day of the year, December 21, winter solstice. The same place where the sun does not set even on the longest day of the year, June 21, summer solstice. It’s the farthest south you can be where the sun remains visible for 24 hours.
Where is the ARCTIC Region?
The Arctic Region is the area where the average temperature is below 10º C during the warmest month of the year, July.
The Arctic Region and Circle are related but not the same, as illustrated in the CIA map below. The curvy red line is the Arctic Region and the Arctic Circle is the geometric dotted blue line.
The Northern Light Inn is on the southwestern Reykjanes Peninsula of Iceland, still part of the North Temperate Zone, which extends south to the Tropic Of Cancer.
(The Tropic of Cancer at 23.5º N is the farthest north that the sun can appear directly overhead, as well as the title of Henry Miller's novel. The sun never appears directly overhead in Iceland, but arcs around.)
Icelanders say the Arctic Circle runs through the middle of priest's bed on Grimsey Island, north of Akureyri.
Are there wild ANIMALS in Iceland?
The arctic fox is the only native wild land animal.
Reindeer were imported to the east fjords during the 19th C. and roam freely there.
There are many types of birds, especially migratory, and our falcons are legendary.
We do not have any polar bears, but occasionally they float across the Arctic Ocean from Greenland on ice flows. Hungry, angry and dangerous when the get here, they meet their demise.
We have seal colonies, especially in the north. Walruses show up rarely.
23 species of whales swim around Iceland, including the largest mammal on earth, the Blue Whale.
Hvalreki is Icelandic for "beached whale", which is idiomatic for windfall profits, winning goods or something of very good luck.
You can see the Aurora Borealis from our front door, the Galaxy Tower, on the patio, almost anywhere around the hotel, and even sometimes from your room.
From the end of August until mid April, when there is night. Space weather conditions permitting.
For unknown reasons, auroras can be extra special during the weeks before and after fall and spring equinoxes.
Usually after dinner.
Prime time is 21:00 ~ 24:00, but it can be earlier or later.
It's not possible to predict the exact hour or location, only the probability of something happening, and possibly where on Earth at that time.
Click here for short term Auroral Forecasts, active only during the aurora season.
BEST Time to Visit Iceland?
Anytime! But if possible, off season.
Is there a guest COMPUTER for printing boarding passes, and checking email?
Yes, in the lobby. High speed wifi is everywhere in the hotel, if you bring your own device.
Is it DARK for 6 months of the year?
Noooohh. Although winter days can be short, it’s never night for 24hrs.
It takes 6 months to go from 20hours of daylight to 20 hours of night. (Summer nights feel brighter than some winter day.)
Every week there is circa 3/4 of an hour difference in the amount of daylight.
The rate of change varies thought the year, faster around the equinoxes, and slower close to the solstices.
Believe it or not, Iceland has 2 hours more daylight on average than Miami or Rio!
DRIVING in Iceland?
The roads are like the people: unpredictably icy, sometimes narrow, but they’ll lead you to great places.
We drive on the right, and most other European rules of the road apply.
Icelandic roads can be unpredictable, slippery and dangerous.
Icelandic roads can be unpredictable, slippery and dangerous. ...
Icelandic roads can be unpredictable, slippery and dangerous. ....
Please repeat this mantra every time you get in a car in Iceland and you will have a great trip :-))
Your lights, or head lamps, MUST be on at all times, by law. And it's really much safer. Drinking and driving is for trolls; please don't. Not even a little sip. Zero is the acceptable limit by law and common sense. Using a cell phone is just as bad, but there are many on the road who still don't get it.
There are so few Icelanders, we tend to drive as if we are the only ones on the road. Beware!
The most useful map is the KORTABOK, and can be found in all good bookstores and better gas stations.
DRIVING to NLI?
NLI is 20 minutes from the international Airport, and 45 from Reykjavik.
The duty free store at Keflavik International Airport is open to all arriving passengers next to the baggage carousel, even very early in the morning, 24/7. To see what is available go to: www.dutyfree.is
It’s a good place to get a prepaid ready-to-go sim card.
Are ELVES, trolls, hidden folk, and fairies living around the inn?
Should I rent a 4x4?
Yes, if you plan to drive F Roads in the highlands, know about fording glacial rivers, then of course, yes.
No. For most of the roads in Iceland, it is really not the best way to go. Gas/petrol is very expensive, and 4x4's guzzle it, as well as being very costly to rent. On normal roads, they are less safe than a front wheel drive economy car in 99% of the driving conditions in Iceland. On paved roads and highways 4x4's do not handle well, and are much more dangerous to you, as well as to others.
Yes. Iceland is the original rough road country, without going off road, which is illegal. Rent a 4x4, if you are sure you need it and have the budget. Iceland remains one of the few countries in Europe with hundreds of kilometers of real roads that can only be driven on with tough 4x4s.
Please use an accurate Icelandic map to see if you will be driving F Roads that need a 4x4.
AND if your car rental company insurance policy allows it. Most do not.
GETTING to NLI
NLI is 20 minutes from the international Airport, and 45 from Reykjavik.
Taxi from KEF International Airport?
Our exclusive Airport Taxis @ Best Prices is a great way, available only when you book directly with us.
That's1/3 lower than normal fares!
BUS From Reykjavik & KEF Airport?
Take the Blue Lagoon Express from BSI bus terminal in Reykjavik: tell the driver you are going to Northern Light Inn. If they can, you will be dropped off at the hotel — or we will come and get you at the Blue Lagoon. Please call us before you leave, if you can.
Bus Departure Times. New bus services to the Blue Lagoon appear all the time, so please google it for your best option.
Other mapping services are ok, but google maps are the most accurate in Iceland.
Great GEOPARK News!
Our surrounding area is at the heart of the UNESCO Reykjanes Geopark because of its extraordinary geological features of international value celebrating the earth's heritage, geo-conservation, and sustainable geo-tourism within local communities.
It's one of the best kept secrets in Iceland: please explore, discover and enjoy the Reykjanes Peninsula!
Yes, NLI is THE HOTSPOT hotel of Iceland.
Where is ICELAND?
East of Greenland, west of Norway, north of Ireland and Scotland, just below the Arctic Circle, in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, riding a very active volcanic oceanic ridge formed by the separating North American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
And right under the strongest global concentration of Northern Lights, The Green Belt, or Aurora Borealis annulus, or Aurora Oval.
Is Iceland covered in ICE?
No, that's Greenland.
Iceland is green most of the year, while Greenland is as icy as you would imagine Iceland to be, but melting faster than Trump can tweet.
The name switch is a Viking outlaw's semiotic hustle - Eric the Red, aka the 1st New World Spin Doctor, parsed a humongous ice sheet into a green land. At the time of settlement, there was global warming— between 800 ~ 1200 is now called the "Warm Middle Ages".
It is easy to understand that when the the original explorers, settlers and farmers of the Viking age came here, sailing northwest from the Faroe Islands, they first saw a mass of ice glistening above the sea's horizon, Vatnajokull Glacier, the largest in Europe.
Eric the Red was exiled, for having bonked one too many men, and he sailed South West, discovering a endless green coastline extending over around massive fjords of southern Kalaallit Nunaat. With marketing finesse, he called it Greenland.
We do have our share of great glaciers, including the magnificent Vatnajökulsþjóðgarður National Park (Just rolls off your tongue? = Water Glacier National Park). It spans Iceland from the south coast all the way through to the north coast. It‘s one of Europe’s largest national parks and one of Iceland’s best destinations.
What is the best source for unusual INFORMATION about Iceland?
For example: How many words for the devil are there in Icelandic?
When is northern light most INSTAGRAMMABLE?
The northern light in Iceland is very special all year. It’s sparkling clear, contrasty, with intense crisp colors, unlike any other place on earth because of the minimal amount of particles in our clean air. Although winter months have short days, the hours of winter light are beautiful, and twilight lasts for hours, not minutes.
Photographically, March, April, September, October are magic months of Northern Light.
Do you like KIDS?
Yes, of all ages!
What LANGUAGE do Icelanders speak?
Icelandic is almost Old Norse, the language of the Viking Age, and one of the root languages of English.
Most Icelanders speak English fluently, and often a third European language.
How old is the LAVA?
The Holocene Svartahraun lava field surrounding the Northern Light Inn dates from 1226, part of the Reykjanes Volcano that formed the peninsula. The oldest lava in Iceland is estimated to be 14 million years old, and the newest is Holuhraun fissure, the flowed recently from Bardarbunga volcano. Very post Jurassic.
Where does the LAVA come from?
“Molten rock below the surface of the Earth that rises in volcanic vents is known as magma, but after it erupts from a volcano it is called lava”.
Literature, or LAXNESS
Literature in Iceland is Laxness. Yes, there are many wonderful authors, and Icelandic crime fiction is on a roll, but everyone’s point of reference is Laxness.
When our fine Icelandic weather is acting up, it's great time to start reading Halldor Laxness – extraordinary work which will enlighten every visitor. If you are new to Iceland’s Nobel laureate, get ready for an incredible literary experience. REALLY Serious Reading. Even when it’s comic. Sit up and READ, poignant, bitting humor, a writer's writer of sublime craft.
LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION
Northern Light Inn is located just before the geothermal Blue Lagoon, in the heart of Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark.
We provide free scheduled shuttles to / from the lagoon. The Blue Lagoon requires reservations — we will gladly book for you.
Who was MAX?
Max was our golden retriever loved by all. He passed away March 2013.
max loved good food and all the guests, so the restaurant is named after him.
NLI is 20 minute from the Iceland’s International Airport, Keflavik - KEF, and 45 to Reykjavik.
What is Icelandic MONEY?
Icelandic Krona is the national currency. Kr is its sign, and ISK its code.
There is no need for cash. Visa and Mastercards can be used everywhere, even for popcorn at the movies. There’s an ATM machine and bank just after customs in the International Airport arrival area, and ATMs everywhere in Iceland.
Some think that ISK is short for Intergalactic Space Currency, or Interstellar Kredit, but only if you are a playing the Icelandic game Eve Online. Iceland is the second smallest country to have its own currency and monetary policy (Seychelles is the smallest).
Icelandic music is like a spectacular iceberg with Björk dancing on the top, with an unimaginable quantity of substance floating in the fjords around and below the surface. Music is extremely important in the cultural life Icelanders, and there are many music festivals during the year. Here’s a link to explore.
One of the best places to discover insiders' tracks is at 12 Tonar on Skolavordustigur 15 - the street leading to/from the big church in Reykjavik. You can listen before you buy without pressure, enjoy a complimentary espresso, and all purchases are VAT TAX Refundable. Be sure to listen to Jóhann Jóhansson if you having discovered him already.
Where can I see PUFFINS?
Puffins can be seen along the coast during migratory season, from May to mid August.
The puffin population is tragically in a steep decline. Now one knows what will happen next year.
Where is REYKJAVIK?
The northernmost capital of the world is located in southwest Iceland, on the northeast coast of Reykjanes Peninsula, overlooking Faxafloi Bay and facing Mount Esja, 45 scenic moonscape minutes from the Northern Light Inn.
Trip Advisor guests very kindly rated as one of the "Top 10 Hotels for Romance — Iceland", and lovingly, we will do our best to keep it that way.
Where are shops?
Reykjavik city center, especially on the main street Laugavegur, Skolavordustigur – the street going up to the cathedral – the funky flea market Kolaportid in the harbor's old fish warehouse, and the shops around the main squares. Laugavegur and its surroundings have many stores.
For something Icelandic and contemporary try: Kirsuberjatred off the main square, on Vesturgata 4. Open 10 to 18 weekdays, 11 to 13 Saturdays. (Say: Kirsu-berya-tree. It's easier if you know what it means: cherry tree.)
Kringlan and Smaralind are just malls – like all malls, you must drive to them to see the same branded offerings from home being browsed by Icelanders.
What are SHOPS usual opening hours?
Generally 10:00 to 18:00.
Shops traditionally close Saturday mid afternoon, but it's changing, and many now have longer and even Sunday hours, especially at the mall. Being the land of Independent People, every business and government office keeps its own schedule in Icelandic time.
Does the SUN rise in the east and set in the west in Iceland?
Except during the equinoctial periods of the year, around September 23rd and March 20th. (It varies from year to year.)
The sun’s arc and rises/set locations shift every day: for 6 months it shifts north, then for 6 months it shifts south.
In the winter, it rises SSE and sets SSW, but in the summer it's NNE to NNW.
What is the TELEPHONE country code of Iceland?
+354 is the Icelandic country code. There are no (area) codes in iceland.
How do I call someone in Iceland?
From Europe, dial +354, or 00 354 then the local 7 digit number.
From North America dial +354, or 011 354 then the local 7 digit number.
From your mobile phone, hold the zero down until + appears, then dial 354 and the 7 digit local number.
What TIME / Date is it in Iceland?
See Date & Time for Grindavik, sunrise, sunset and lots or related data for any date in time, anyplace.
Grindavik is the closest village to Northern Light Inn and the Blue Lagoon.
Icelanders have a different sense of time, which you will understand, hopefully, in time. We do not have daylight savings time, because time cannot be saved. Iceland is UTC +0, Coordinated Universal Time [Zulu Time, formerly GMT Greenwich Mean Time. We are geographically almost 2 hours behind GMT, but inexplicably, we chose GMT as our time zone.
VIKING Age Iceland?
Sorry to break the news, but there were never any “Vikings” in Iceland, although it was discovered during the Viking Age by Irish monks and Norse sailors. Iceland’s first settlers were 50% Norse farmers and 50% Celtic slaves (female gene pool is 64% Celtic) who brought and merged their respective cultures.
The history of survival in Iceland has not yet been told with pride, but it’s truly as extraordinary as any Viking Age Saga.
To be a Viking, meant seafaring raiding and trading. During the Viking age, Iceland did not have anything significant to trade, and it was too far from anywhere to use a base for raids or trades. To go Viking one needed a fast seaworthy ship, and if Iceland never had a tree worthy of a shipwright, how could this have possibly been a land of Vikings?
Iceland was settled by pastoral farmers who arrived in knarrs, sturdy cargo ships loaded with family, personal belongings and all the livestock that could fit aboard. Upon arriving, they probably flipped the boat over for shelter, or round tripped for more people and supplies, but certainly not for the global trading viking were renown for.
What is the VOLTAGE in Iceland?
220 volts at 50 Hz, like the rest of Europe and much of the world, except for Great Britain which is 240 (if they are part of Europe depends which side of the channel you are on...).
The US uses 110 volts, Japan 100 volts with 50 and 60 Hz frequencies depending on the region.
Which plugs work?
The wall sockets in the hotel are for standard Schuko European plugs or adaptors that look something like these:
What about my laptop, boom box, hair dryer and shaver?
Check the power supply of your appliance. It is usually written in fine, almost unreadable, letters underneath if it is multi voltage. For example: 110~240V. That means anything from 110v to 240v is OK, everywhere in the world.
If not, then you need a transformer. They come in different sizes, depending on where you are coming from and how much power you device uses.
Icelandic WEATHER, or not…
It’s special and unpredictable. Please click here for short term forecasts.
But really, what is the WEATHER like?
It's always exciting, energizing, dramatic, and very unpredictable.
Icelandic weather is similar to its people... the sun shines when God decides.
If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes, and if it gets worse, jump in the Blue Lagoon.
Is it cold or just WINDY in Iceland?
it’s not as cold as the wind sometimes makes it feel. But sometimes the wind chill factor makes one feel like an extra in an apocalyptic ice age movie. Do not bring or try to use an umbrella in Iceland. Days without wind are unusual.
We are fortunate to have a cool maritime climate, which is not very cold considering how far north we are, thanks to 2 branches of the Gulf Stream enveloping us. The mean annual temperature is about 5º C (41º F), without many highs or lows. It's rising quickly due to global warming and frozen politicians.
For photographers: Sam Abell's axiom 'bad weather makes great pictures' always applies.
Weather Worriers & Warriors
Blingy weather sites and smartphone apps do not show local micro-climates that can be life threatening.
What to Wear, or Not
Warm layers, casual and comfortable, weather-proof clothes. Wool or fleece garments are recommended.
if you are hiking in Iceland, cotton is not safe because it’s dangerously cold when wet.
Always travel with a bathing suit in Iceland.
No matter how bad the weather might be, or precisely because of the bad weather, there is always a geothermal hot pot and heated swimming pool nearby.
Weather proof hiking boots with gripping lug soles at all times is best. Icelandic terrain is very rugged lava: rough, tough and loose. Moss and lichen grow on lava, and both are slippery, especially when wet – which is most of the time.
Leave your Blahniks and Louboutins home —seriously, we have seen people going for glacier walks in heels.
Icelanders, like Japanese, always take off their shoes when entering a home.
The NLI Wellness Center has a Spa, Aurora Floats, Fitness Room, and Body Kindness services.
The Wellness Center is open from 09:00~21:00.
The Fitness Room is free for all NLI guests, and is equipped with 2 AirRuners, a Nordic Track, weights, and core exercise gear.
The Wellness Spa has 3 custom saunas - Dry, Semi, and Steam, a Tranquility Space, beach stone walk, hot & cold showers, and L’Occitane soaps.
The Spa is free for Deluxe Room guests, and has a modest per day fee for guests booked in other room types. its only for hotel guests, 16 and older.
Spa entrance includes a bathrobe, slipper, but please wear your own swim suit. Swim suits are required, and showering before.
Aurora floating has a per float fee.
The wifi or w-lan, is high speed broadband throughout the hotel.
In 1974, the letters X and Z were removed by parliament from the Icelandic alphabet, and legally could only be used if it was already part of someone’s name. Iceland’s first grammar book was written in the 12th century: the necessity and authenticity of Z has been debated ever since. Somewhere along the timeline, X was excommunicated as well.
The Icelandic alphabet does not include C, Q, Z, W.
Ð, ð, Þ, þ, Æ, æ, Ý, ý
Ð, ð, Þ, þ, Æ, æ, Ý, ý are essential letters of the Icelandic alphabet.
(Hopefully your browser will display this letters properly.)
We hope you have enjoyed our site. If you have any tips you would like us to share with other readers, we thank you in advance for emailing them to us!
Any errors and/or omissions will be corrected asap: if something catches your eye, is out of date, or in any way not up to snuff, please email Brooks.
All text, photographs, maps and designs are Copyright © 2019 Brooks Walker for Northern Light Inn, unless linked or stated otherwise.
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