Interview with an Icelander – How to Spend a Perfect Day in Iceland

Would you like some ideas from Icelanders on how to spend your time in Iceland? Icelandic artist Fríða Kristín Gísladóttir describes one perfect day in Iceland for someone who is visiting for the first time.

Fríða recommends waking up at 6 in order to be at a pool by 6.30 for the hot tub and “a swim with the stars, the rain or however the weather is…just enjoy it, be happy.” She feels that so many pools in Iceland are great so she recommends going to the nearest one. Fríða finds that the people that come early in the morning are very interesting, and that the same group of people may have been meeting at the pool for 20 to 30 years, always at the same time.


After that, she recommends heading over to  one of Reykjavík’s book stores. She suggests that you enjoy coffee and breakfast with beautiful books at either Eymundsson, Iða or Penninn. After a long breakfast, she suggests having a walk around Reykjavik.


If you are in the mood for a little culture, Fríða invites you to visit her at the gallery ART67 on Laugavegur 67 on Thursdays from 12 to 4.  ART67 is run by a group of 13 Icelandic women who are all artists from the Reykjavík area.


Next, Fríða recommends that you have lunch at GLÓ on Laugavegur (on the corner of Klappastígur). She describes this as a restaurant serving healthy food with many organic ingredients. There are raw food, vegetarian, and also options with meat.



After lunch Fríða suggests you enjoy the creativity of the Icelanders and do some shopping. She proposes you start by walking on Skólavörðustígur and then you can visit Hallgrímskirkja (the church) on the way where you can go up to the tower and enjoy the view. After that,Fríða suggests that you take a nap before dinner. If you like lobster, Fríða recommends the restaurant Við Tjörrnina  and then after dinner she thinks the perfect finish to the evening would be a concert at Harpa.

Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre in Reykjavik

Who is Fríða?

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Fríða Kristín Gísladóttir was born in Reykjavík on July 15, 1959. When she was 9, she moved with her family to Seljarnarnes to a house by the sea with an amazing view of Snæfellsjökull and Reykjavík. It is around this time in her life that she started to draw and create things, often finding inspiration in nature. When she was 15, she won a competition to decorate a huge wall (200 by 5 meters) of a fishing factory called Isbjörninn in Seltjarnarnes. It was such a large piece that Fríða spent the whole summer painting it and once she had finished it, it became the largest outdoor painting in Iceland at that point in time.

Fríða studied art at the Mynd og Handíðaskóli Íslands for one year, after which she left for Malaga, Spain to study fashion design. She lived in Spain for seventeen years where she worked as a model and later in styling and art direction for magazines. In 1997, Fríða returned to Iceland and started to study oil painting. She didn’t need very much instruction as she instinctively connected with the medium.

She finds painting to be meditational for her. It brings her great peace and connects her to nature, for which she is incredibly grateful in Iceland. She finds that she has such a strong connection to nature that it provides endless inspiration for her. When she paints, she sometimes like it is a dance “with the energy of the moment.” Lately she has found that faces have started to appear in her abstract landscape paintings and she believes that these are possible “beings of nature that want to come through.” Fríða is very passionate about bringing joy,wellness and happiness through her paintings.

Here are some of her paintings:

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Malverk 002




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