The First Day of Summer

Posted on Categories ReykjavikTags

The First Day of Summer will be celebrated on Thursday April 20, it is an annual public holiday in Iceland held on the first Thursday after April 18. In former times Icelanders used the Old Norse calendar which divided the year into only two seasons, winter and summer and that is the reason why the first day of summer is celebrated rather early.

Although the weather in late April is often not very nice, after the long winter Icelanders still celebrate the first day of summer with parades, sporting events and organized entertainment, held in various places around Iceland.

The festivities in the center of Reykjavík will be held at Klambratún, a large park where you’ll find a variety of activities, a playground for children, Frisbee golf court, a basketball court and a beach volleyball court.  Free hot dogs and bike repairing for the children in the neighborhood will be available along with organized entertainment and games of all sorts.  Kjarvalsstaðir, the art museum is located in the park which makes visiting the museum an ideal idea to spice up the day.

Another type of festivities will be taking place in the center and that is a 5 K race through the streets of downtown Reykjavík which has been an integral part of the festivities since 1916.

Enjoy the first day of summer, let‘s hope the weather will be nice!

“Páskaegg” – Not just a chocolate egg

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Icelandic Easter eggs are quite something else and very dear to Icelanders.

Here are a few fun facts about these delicious and tasty eggs…

– Icelandic Easter eggs are made out of sweet Icelandic chocolate, traditionally given to children but also exchanged by adults.

– Like in some other cultures, some parents hide the egg either in the home or outside in the yard for the kids to find.

-They usually have a yellow Easter chick perched on top for obvious reasons but newer variations offer a plastic smurf or other random plastic cartoon figures on top for a more obscure reason.

-They come in variety of sizes from size 2 to a size 10, depending on the size and appetite of the individual you are offering it to. And it is not uncommon that children get more than one egg during Easter.

-The eggs contain a small bag filled with Icelandic candy AND an Icelandic proverb which are derived from Icelandic medieval sagas. Despite the lure of the candy, the proverb is often times the first thing most people look for when they crack their eggs open. Many people collect them and it’s not uncommon that people around you inquire what proverb you got and share theirs. Here are a couple of examples of these quirky proverbs:

“Blindur er bóklaus maður” meaning “Blind is a man without a book” and “Sá má fullvel fasta sem fisk hefur á borði” meaning “He who has thrown fish overboard, may well fast”

Happy Easter!!


Celebrate Easter Icelandic-style

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Icelanders consider Easter a big deal, it´s not only our second biggest holiday after Christmas but it is celebrated with BIG chocolate Easter eggs filled with candy and wise words. Easter is a family oriented holiday and many families use the opportunity of a long five day weekend to travel. There are a number of things to choose from to spend the Easter vacation. For some it’s skiing in the town of Akureyri which is located up north and for others that are more into music Easter is all about the music festival “Aldrei fór ég suður which is a free music festival in Ísafjörður in the Westfjord.  Some just use these days to eat and kick back.

Here are some more fun facts about Icelandic Easter.

Easter eggs – “Páskaegg”…

…are made out of sweet Icelandic chocolate, traditionally given to children but also exchanged by adults. The eggs come in many sizes and are available in different kinds of chocolate, but there’s one part of the Icelandic Easter egg that never changes, each egg contains a small note with a wise Icelandic proverb or a saying.

Easter decorations…

…is something many Icelanders place a huge effort in and that involves decorating their houses for Easter in shades of yellow and green. The decorations are connected with the coming of spring and we tend to associate Lilies to this particular holiday and call them Easter lilies.

Easter party….

Easter is a 5 day weekend which for many Icelanders means extra days to party. Since most bars and clubs close down at midnight the night before Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Wednesday has become the popular party night as bars stay open until until 3 am. The party picks up again at midnight on on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday when bars open up again.

Easter lamb…

After a day spent on gorging on chocolate eggs, what’s better than the savory relief of a delicious Icelandic lamb. Lamb is the Icelandic traditional Easter Sunday dinner and considering the quality of the Icelandic lamb, that’s really no surprise. Although there is no specific Easter lamb dish, a roasted leg of lamb is popular among Icelanders and that is exactly what SKÝ Restaurant & Bar will be offering on it’s Easter menu.

Happy Easter everyone!

Eve Fanfest 2017

Posted on Categories ReykjavikTags

The annual EVE Online Fanfest is set to take place April 6-8 at the Harpa Concert & Conference Hall in downtown Reykjavík, hosted by the game developer CCP.

For an awesome three-day gathering in beautiful Reykjavík, Iceland Eve fans from all over the world gather to socialize, attend presentations, tournaments and take part in various activities connected with gaming. There are parties, an amazing pub crawl, community camaraderie, and the infamous Party at the Top of the World hosting acts such as DJ Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones) and illustrious Permaband, CCP´s in-house rock gods.

We at Centerhotels are once again proudly partnering with CCP and hosting EVE fans from all over the world at our hotels.  The hotels hosting the EVE fans are CenterHotel Plazalocated right downtown, close to all the action and Centerhotel Arnarhvoll that is located across the street from the Fan fest venue.  Arnarhvoll has a beautiful roof top restaurant; SKÝ Restaurant & Bar with that offers views over Harpa where you can sip on an exclusive EVE Online cocktail, while observing the excited and possibly dressed up attendees enter the event across the street. 

The exclusive EVE Online cocktail that we created just for this event will be available at all our hotel bars during the event days.

Have fun at EVE Fanfest 2017!


Design in Reykjavík during DesignMarch

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Fresh, exciting, exotic and not so well known or accessible elsewhere in the world, DesignMarch is Iceland’s most important annual design event. It will take place for the ninth consecutive time on March 23-26, 2017.

DesignMarch offers a unique chance to see and experience Icelandic design, spiced with a handful of the most interesting international names.

From fashion to furniture, architecture to food design, the festival showcases the best of the local design scene alongside exciting international names.

For four days, Reykjavík plays host to dozens of openings, exhibitions, workshops and other events. There are over 100 events-exhibitions, workshops, seminars and parties spread across the city. Usually, these fairs are only open for professionals, but we Icelanders like to have fun, so everybody joins in.

This year Centerhotels is participating in DesignMarch by partnering with ANGAN, a sustainable handcrafted skincare brand from Iceland who will be showcasing their products at the beautiful Ísafold Spa which is located at CenterHotel Þingholt.  For further information about the event see here

For more information on DesignMarch, log on to DesignMarch

Both sides of the Pond in Reykjavík

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

Tjörnin or the pond in Reykjavík city center is always picturesque whether it‘s summer or winter and it‘s always nice to take a stroll around the pond and explore its surroundings.

There‘s lots of bird life around the pond and five types of ducks nest and lay their eggs there and you can also see swans, eider ducks and the arctic tern.

It is quite popular for families to visit the pond to feed the ducks and during the winter time when the pond freezes people get together and skate on the pond.

The large building at the corner of the pond is City Hall built in 1992. The ground floor is open to visitors every day of the week and there‘s a 70 mraised relief map of Iceland that is interesting to examine.

On the other side of the pond is the Hljómskálagarður park, where you can see various sculptures and statues as well as a circular building called Hljómskálinn which the park is named after. This was the first building in Reykjavík especially erected for musical purposes and to this day school brass bands rehearse there.

Enjoy your walk around the Tjörnin – the city pond!

Bun Day

Posted on Categories News FeedTags

Many people don‘t like Mondays but Monday next, February 27, is surely an exception since it‘s Bun Day and if you have a sweet tooth you‘re going to love it.

The tradition of eating choux pastry buns filled with jam and whipped cream, topped with chocolate glaze came to Iceland from Norway and Denmark and marks the start of Lent.

The weekend before Bun Day bakeries and grocery stores start selling buns and many locals will bake their own buns and invite their families and friends over for a treat. These days you can get all kinds of exotic buns with a variety of different fillings and toppings, making it hard to choose which ones to sample.

Before Bun Day it‘s quite common that children in kindergarten make sticks decorated with colorful paper strips that they use to spank their parents and say bolla, bolla, which means bun, bun  and then their parents have to give them some sweet buns.

You will be able to taste these sugary and sweet buns at our restaurant Jörgensen Kitchen & Bar on Monday since we’ll be offering complimentary buns with all dishes served during lunch hour.   So if you’re in the mood for some sugar and sweets come join us at Jörgensen.

And the last but not least – Have a nice Bun Day!

And the Beat Goes On

Posted on Categories News FeedTags

Music lovers can certainly rejoice this week as the Sónar music festival takes place in Harpa concert hall February 16-18.

Many of the most popular Icelandic musicians and DJs are playing at the festival, for example Gus Gus, FM Belfast, Aron Can and Emmsjé Gauti. Some famous foreign bands will also make an appearance such as Fatboy Slim and De La Soul.

The festival will take place at Harpa Concert Hall in three different concert halls and a part of the underground car park that will be transformed into a night club where local and international DJs will keep the party going until 3 am.

Harpa Concert Hall is located right opposite CenterHotel Arnarhvoll and SKÝ Restaurant & Bar and therefore ideal to stop by at SKÝ to enjoy seeing Harpa concert hall from the top floor restaurant for a drink or two before or after the concert.

So join the party, enjoy the music and dance.

For more information and tickets click here

Love is all around us at CenterHotels

Posted on Categories News FeedTags

Love and romance will be our main focus at our restaurants on Valentines day and therefore an ideal venue for all your lovebirds out there that would like to enjoy each others company in a cozy atmosphere with tasty food and wine.

Our chefs at Ísafold Restaurant have put together a delicious 5 course meal that they’ve tailored made for this romantic day of the year.  The food at Isafold is locally sourced made from quality ingredients and the restaurant itself is beautifully designed – perfect for romantic evenings.

At SKÝ Restaurant & Bar our chef’s have put together a tasty three course dinner with a dash of romance hence you’ll find there delicious food, cozy atmosphere an the most spectacular view over Faxaflói bay and down town Reykjavík.

Love will be all around Jörgensen Kitchen & Bar as well since the Jörgensen chef’s will be giving the first 14 tables that book at table on Valentines day complimentary licorice cremé brulée á la Jörgensen.

And so – romance, love, happiness and excellent food is what you may expect when visiting our restaurant during Valentines day.


Running beneath the Northern Lights

Posted on Categories IcelandTags

How about having a bit of fun while getting good and refreshing exercise in the cold Reykjavík winter air during your visit in the capital? Who knows, you might even become lucky enough to see the Northern Lights while running? How can you top that? On Saturday, February 4th at 7 pm you will have a chance to do all that when the Winter Fun Run takes place.
The Fun Run starts at Harpa concert hall and meanders around the city stopping at several fun stations such as Hallgrímskirkja church, Reykjavik Art Museum and the City Hall. At each station there will be music and lights to entertain and dazzle the runners and of course those who prefer to enjoy the run slowly and walk through it.
The Northern Lights Fun Run is a part of the Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival and the Reykjavík International Games. Everyone can take part or watch and cheer on the participants. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday in the city.

To join the run or to get a bit more information about it please click here.