Nordic Network of Astrobiology

Nordic-Hawai'i Summer School "Water, Ice and the Origin of Life in the Universe", 2-15 July 2012

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The first and third (lectured) parts of the school will be held at Grand Hotel Reykjavik. Lecturers will be accommodated in single rooms at the conference venue, whereas students will be housed in chambers for at the very well-equipped Laugardalur Youth Hostel (10 mins walk) from the venue. In the mid of the course, a 7-days excursion to inner Iceland (Eyjafjallajökull area) will be undertaken.

The second part of the summer schoool will take place at Hvolsvöllur in Southern Iceland. During that part, all participants (lecturers and students) will live at Hotel Hvolsvöllur.

Further information about the venue, the meals and the access are given below.


Check-in (i. e picking up you conference material) is possible at the following dates and times:

However, your rooms might not be ready before 15:00. Luggage storage is available at al hotels though.


Laugardalur Youth Hostel (for students during the first and third part)
The Laugardalur City Hostel is located near a large geothermal swimming pool 15 min by bus (number 14, every 30 minutes during the day) from the city centre and a 10 minutes walk from the lecture venue. The front desk staff is available 24 hours a day (this does not hold for the summer school organisers). Free Wifi in the lobby. Laundry facilities (2 washing machies 2 driers) and luggage storage units are in the cellar. A padlock (around ISK 1000,-) can be bought, but you can also bring your own. There are basic stores available near the hostel for daily needs and toiletries. Linen can be rented (on the cost of the summer school), but you are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag if you wish. The hostel is close to the Laugardalur park with its spa. Rooms are small, so please do not bring your whole household with you.

The front desk is manned between 08:00 to 24:00. Between 00:00 and 08:00 there is a night guard that answers the door bell.

Address: Sundlaugavegur 34, IS-105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone: +354-553-8110
Fax: +354-553-8110
GPS coordinates: 64° 8,793'N, 21° 52,483'W

We have reserved accommodation for participants from the evening of 1 July to the morning of 16 July. For people with very long travels we have also made some reservations for the night from 30 June to 1 July (to avoid to force them to attend the first lectures in a kind of zombie state). These places are however, limited and will be allocated preferably to attendees from outside Europe on a strict first come-first serve basis. If you want to extend your stay beyond the mentioned dates you should contact the hostel directly (see above for phone number and e-mail).

Please note: There are two youth hostels in Reykjavik. Please make sure you arrive at the City Hostel and NOT the downtown hostel. With bus and taxi drivers it is a good idea to refer to the Laugardalur hostel.

Grand Hotel (for lecturers during the first and third part)

Not as posh as the name suggests, but the Grand Hotel is a nice place to stay. The hotel is situated in a quiet area within a short distance from all services, recreation and business centres. All of the hotel 312 rooms are very spacious and equipped with en-suite bathroom with a bath and shower, satellite TV, mini-bar, hair dryer, iron & iron board, coffee & tea making facilities and a safe. Rooms with facilities for disabled persons are also available, and adjoining rooms (walk-through) are available upon request. Room service is available 24 hours a day. Video and teleconferencing rooms are available. Free Wifi in the lobby.

Address: Sigtún 38, IS-105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Phone: +354-514 8000
Fax: +354 514 8030

Hotel Hvolsvöllur (for all participants during the second part)
Hotel Hvolsvöllur is situated in the village with the same name. Lecturers will be housed in single rooms whereas students will live in en-suite double rooms. The hotel offers free wireless. Laundry service is available for ISK 1500,- per bag. Waiting times depend on machine availability and staff workload. Although Hvolsvöllur is small, there are amenities like shops, petrol stations, a geothermal swimming pool, a pharmacy (there is also a medical doctor) a post office and a cafe.
Address: Hlíðarvegur 7, IS-860 Hvolsvöllur, Iceland
Phone: +354-487 8050
Fax: +354-487 8058
E-mail: info@hotelhvolsvö

Lectures and poster session

Lectures during the first and third part of the summer school in Reykjavik will be taking place in the room Háteigur A at Grand Hotel . Poster sessions will be in Gullteigur room on the ground floor of Grand Hotel . Check the Programme page for further infos about the the poster sessions.

To access the Grand Hotel from Laugardalur Youth Hostel leave the hostel through the main exit and turn left on Sundlaugavegur. After 500 m turn left onto Hrisateigur and follow the lane until its end (250m). Carry on straight through a small green area until you reach a larger road (Kringlumyrabraut) at your right after 100m. Follow this road to the left, Grand Hotel is 100m further on your left.

Lectures during the second part at Hotel Hvolsvöllur will be held in one of the lecture rooms at the hotel (adjacent to the dining room>.


Breakfast will be served at the place where you live. Lunches will be at Grand Hotel (Reykjavik) and Hotel Hvolsvöllur in Hvolsvöllur. There are three exceptions:

  • At excursions (Reykjanes Landmannalaugur, Fimmvörduhals and Solheimajökull) packed lunches will be taken with us.

  • On July 7th we will eat lunch at the Gullfoss Cafe on the way to Hvolsvöllur

  • On July 14th lunch will be served at the Dill Restaurant in the Nordic House close to the Askja building

Dinners are served at Grand hotel in Reykjavik and the Hvolsvöllur hotel in Hvolsvöllur. Again, there are some exceptions:

  • On July 1st we will have a buffet dinner for all at the Laugardalur Youth Hostel.

  • On July 5th we will have a Viking dinner after the excursion at Fjörukráin restaurant

  • On July 6th dinner will be served at Cafe Flora in the Botanical Garden

  • On July 7th we will have a dinner at the Saga Centre restaurant

  • in Hvolsvöllur(opposite Hvolsvöllur hotel)

  • On July 13th we will eat dinner at the Kjót og Kunst Restaurant restaurant in Hveragerdi on the way back from Hvolsvöllur

  • On July 14th dinner will be served at the Dill Restaurant in the Nordic House close to the Askja building

  • The farewell dinner at July 15th will be at Perlan Restaurant in Reykjavik


Access by air
This is far the most convenient and (due to advantageous flight prices) most economical way to reach Iceland. Travelling by boat is only reasonable if you come with your own vehicle and would like to stay for a holiday before/after the summer school.

Reykjavik has two different airports: The City Airport (airport code: RVK) close to the Centre is only for domestic flights and flights to Greenland. Almost all international flights arrive at the Leifur Eiriksson International Airport at Keflavik (about 40 km southwest of Reykjavik at the Reykjanes peninsula, airport code: KEF). Many direct flights arrive there daily from Europe and America. Check one of the search engines like momondo or Skyscanner for cheap flights.

Transfer from Keflavik airport to accommodation
After arrival of most flights, flight buses depart from Keflavik airport to the city centre. For timetables and further informations follow this link. Travel time is 50-75 minutes to hotels and guesthouses in Reykjavik. You can actually buy transportation directly to your accommodation by Flybus (costs ISK 3500,- one way), so there is no need to take a (quite expensive) taxi. However, if you are a party of 3 persons, a taxi might be an alternative. Flybus only transports passengers to their hotels/accommodation if you buy a more expensive Flybus+ ticket (ISK 3500). Sometimes, however, you will have to change buses at the central station BSI to do so. Summer school participants who will live at Laugardalur youth Hostel should inform the driver about the full name of the hostel(since they are 2 in Reykjavik). The simple ticket only will get you to BSI central bus station. If you want a relaxing dip in the Blue Lagoon after your flight: Flybus offers several tours per day from Keflavik airport to Reykjavik City Centre that include a stop-over in the spa. If you have a very early return  flight from Keflavik or a late arrival in Iceland, you might wish to stay at an airport Hotel. Motel Alex offers cheap dormitory and comfortable room or (very nice) camping hut accommodation including free transfer to and from Keflavik airport. Other airport hotels can be found here.

Access by car

From Reykjavik Keflavik International Airport (REK) follow direction to Reykjavik. Follow Reykjanesbraut road and drive through Hafnarfjordur and Kopavogur untill you arrive in Reykjavik and turn to left at Miklabraut road. Then you turn to right to to on Kringlumyrabraut road, cross one traffic light and you can see Grand Hotel Reykjavik right ahead of you.

From other places in Iceland follow directions to Reykjavik Center. You will emerge on Miklabraut road. Then you turn to right to to on Kringlumyrabraut road, cross one traffic light and you can see Grand Hotel Reykjavik right ahead of you.

There is no cost for parking for guest vehicles.

Directions to Hotel Hvolsvöllur: Participants attending the whole summer school will be transported by bus between Reykjavik and Hvolsvöllur and do not need to worry about this. Lecturers coming to Hvolsvöllur late should take the Flybus from Keflavik airport to BSI central bus station at Reykjavik. This transfer takes about 45 minutes. There are buses from BSI (sometimes called Umferðarmiðstöð) at 08:30, 16:00 and 17:00. Travel time to Hvolsvöllur from there is about 2 hours. Schedules may change until summer, so please check for details under the Sterna and Reykjavik excursions websites.

Travel time from Reykjavik to Hvolsvöllur is only 2 hours. The bus arrives at Hvolsvöllur at the petrol station. Walk on the highway 50m further (east) and turn left into Hlíðarvegur. Walk on this road for 150 m, the hotel is on the left (Hlíðarvegur 7-11).

Access by boat
Smiryl line offers ferries from Hirtshals (Denmark) via the Faroe Islands to Seydisfjördur (East Iceland). Eimskip also carries passengers to Iceland from different European ports (albeit primarily being a goods transport company). As said, taking the ferry only pays if you take your own/car for a holiday to Iceland. Stopovers at the Faroe Islands may be possible.

Travelling in Iceland on your own

In Reykjavik and surroundings
Schedules, line maps and other facts about public transport in Reykjavik and the surrounding cities can be obtained from the website of the website of the Strætó company, which runs these services. Daily and longer tickets can be bought at the Laugardalur Youth Hostel. Information about hotels and other accommodation in Reykjavik can be found here. Since we will visit Iceland in the main tourist season, early booking of accommodation is very advisable.

Around Iceland

The trips necessary for the excursions will be booked by the summer school organisers and paid by the event sponsors. If you travel on your own before or after the summer school: Air Iceland offers domestic flights to various Icelandic destinations from Reykjavik City Airport. Reykjavik Excursions offers round trips (with possibilities for stopovers) as wall as day excursions. Other Tour operators and schedules can be found here. For further information contact the  Icelandic Tourist Board.

Please note: Since the programme of the summer school is quite tight, there will be little room for touristic activities during course time. People who want to engage in sightseeing and other holiday pursuits should allow some time before or after the summer school.

Contact: Wolf D. Geppert, Fysikum, Stockholm University, Roslagstullsbacken 21, SE-10691 Stockholm, Sweden, phone: +46 8 5537 8649, email: