Finding Flatey


Finding Flatey

Time stands still in Breiðafjörður Bay, as Zoë Robert and Áslaug Snorradóttir find out during a trip to the island of Flatey.

Published in the 2013 October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. By Zoë Robert. Photos by Áslaug Snorradóttir.


My phone has only rung twice in the last five weeks,” beams Rannveig Gylfadóttir. “Often there isn’t any reception and there’s no internet or TV but I don’t miss anything here. I have to hand-wash my clothes but I enjoy that. I get a real break from everything,” she says of her summers spent on Flatey where she works as a chef at the only hotel on the island, Hotel Flatey.

Island Shangri-La

Arriving on Flatey, you really do get a feeling of time standing still. No cars are allowed onto the island—with the exception of a handful owned by locals—so tractors and wheelbarrows are the transport of choice for carting goods from the ferry Baldur down the island’s single street to the old town area.

The arrival of Baldur—twice daily in each direction during the summer—is the highlight of the day for the island’s small and mostly seasonal community. “We don’t think a lot about the time here. There is only ‘Baldur time,’ when we have to go down to the harbor to meet the ferry and pick up deliveries and guests,” hotel manager Ingibjörg Pétursdóttir says.

Rannveig states that the island’s laid-back atmosphere is a major drawcard for her and her colleagues. “All those courses and books that we buy, about how to live in the moment and all that stuff, we don’t really need that,” she laughs. “I come here to get some real peace and after being on the island, you come back changed. We work a lot but we feel really good.”

You can read the remainder of this article in the October-December issue of Iceland Review – IR 05.13. Five times a year the print edition of Iceland Review & Atlantica brings you a wealth of articles on all aspects of life in Iceland including Páll Stefánsson’s latest images of the country’s majestic landscape. Click here to view a selection of pages from the current issue and here to subscribe.