The Best Attractions in West Iceland

What are the most famous and exciting natural attractions found in Iceland’s western region? What are its most beloved waterfalls, towns and features? Read on to find out all there is to know about the best attractions in West Iceland.

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How to Escape your Kidnapper’s Basement | Do’s and Don’ts

Have you found yourself involuntarily held in a stranger’s basement or cellar? Are your chains and shackles becoming a bore? Have you finally decided it time to leave the confines of your cell and reconnect with friends and loved ones? Then read on for our tips and tricks to escaping your kidnapper’s basement!

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Do Scream yourself silly

Probably the most immediate reaction you’ll have—save for the pain sensors scrambling across your body—is an instinct to scream yourself hoarse. This is, ultimately, a waste of time and will simply serve to irritate the person who has captured you. Instead, try to mentally list all of the horror movies you’ve seen in a pathetic, but ironic attempt at indifference to your situation.

 Do Fall for your captor

Don’t be shy; your kidnapper is keeping you in the basement for a reason. Sure, it could be that they despise you and everything you stand for… or, quite the opposite, that they are dangerously obsessed with you. If so, score! Granted, falling in love with a gnarly-faced redneck might seem difficult at first, but wait patiently for the onset of Stockholm Syndrome and that scarred jawline will quickly look chiseled and masculine. Congratulations on your love match.

 Don’t Pray

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Obviously the most pointless of suggestions, but worth a go when all is lost. What’s that? “But Jesus put me in this situation in the first place!” you cry through a muffled gag. Well, yes, but you know as well as all of us the sins committed while you were free. Perhaps this is an ethereal form of justice. If not, well, we guess you’re not one of the Chosen.

Do Accept your fate

You have shelter over your head, don’t you? You’re being fed, if only out of a dog bowl. Complaining will get you nowhere, so best settle in, behave, and maybe the offender upstairs will purchase you a portable television.

Don’t Attack your kidnapper

An impossible dream, like a career in acting, but worthy of fantasizing about nonetheless. Of course, if you are shackled to the wall or physically weaker than your opponent, this will more than likely end in a smack or, slightly worse, with the removal of one of your extremities. You could always try insulting the beast with words, but he may end up forcing sticks and stones down your throat. If that’s a risk you’re willing to take, all power to you.

The Best Horror Monsters in Icelandic Folklore

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What are some of the most infamous monsters, ghosts and ghouls found in Icelandic folklore? What can you do to protect yourself, and where can you learn more about the darker side of Norse mythology? Read on to find out all there is to know about the best horror monsters in Icelandic folklore! 

Oral traditions focused on the supernatural have permeated Icelandic culture since settlers arrived in 970 A.D. As a relic from Norway, Iceland’s lore quickly became intermingled with ghosts, witches and may others paranormal superstition. 

Check out How to Escape Your Kidnapper’s Basement | Do’s & Don’ts.

With its dark and smoky mountains, crystal clear lakes and vast, barren lava fields, it’s no surprise that this unique culture became steeped in mysticism. 

Huldufólk

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The Huldufólk, otherwise known as Iceland’s “Hidden People”, are a race of malevolent elves that live across this island’s volcanic landscapes. 

Despite their similar appearance and behaviour to humans, they are thought to live in a different dimension. This is one of the reasons why Icelandic parents warn their children of throwing rocks, lest they hit an unwary Huldufólk on the head. 

Superstition regarding the Huldufólk exists to this day. Only recently, a road in Kopavogur needed to be diverted around a particularly obtuse rock due to the local’s fears the construction would damage the Hidden People’s habitat, angering them greatly. 

Of course, the Icelandic Road Administration denies this… but then, they wouldn’t want to annoy the Huldufólk now, would they? 

Gryla and Leppaludi

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Gryla, a fearsome trolless, lives with her pathetic husband, Leppaludi, at Dimmuborgir, an impressive fortress of natural volcanic rock located nearby to Lake Myvatn, in Iceland’s northeast. 

As the mother of the Yule Lads—Iceland twelve, mischievous ‘Santa Clauses’—Gryla has long held a fearsome reputation in the local culture. One story claims Gryla, attired as a disfigured beggar, moves from town to town begging parents for their disobedient children. A terrifying omen, no doubt, but certainly an excellent parental threat should your kids start acting out in Hallgrimskirkja. 

The Yule Cat

This gigantic and demonic feline prowls the snowy countryside around Christmas time, ever on the hunt for children unfortunate enough not to receive an item of clothing as a present. Because of this fear, it should come as no surprise that socks, scarves and gloves are a common gift come December 25th. 

Last year, the City of Reykjavik erected an enormous Yule Cat sculpture downtown, only minutes from the famous Harpa Concert Hall and Concert Museum. Granted, some locals weren’t happy as to the expense spared on erecting the artwork, so you can expect this creepy kitty to make an appearance at Laekjartorg for Christmases to come. 

Nykur

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If you are looking to learn more about Iceland’s darker side, be sure to visit the Westfjords Museum of. To discover more of Iceland’s fascinating history, make sure to stop by The Settlement Centre in the idyllic town of Akranes, home to Frostbiter Film Festival. 

In Celtic folklore, a similar creature is better known as a Kelpie. These two creatures share several unsettling qualities; both are shape-shifters, both lurk around bodies of water, luring unsuspecting passers-by with the promise of a ride. 

If you see a Nykur during your time in the land of ice and fire, make sure to keep away from this wet and dangerous monster. Otherwise, it’ll drag you into the water’s depths, bringing with it your sure but untimely demise. 

Leatherface

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Okay, so the terrifying, cannibalistic villain from 1974’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by the disturbing antics of American murderer, Ed Gein, rather than the pages of Icelandic folklore. But did you know that behind that mask of human skin, so instantly recognisable today as Leatherface was Icelandic actor Gunnar Hansen? 

Gunnar spent the first five years of his life in Iceland before moving to the US but ultimately went on to star in many cult classics, including Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre.