Sunday, 26 March 2017

20 Hiking trails in the Highlands! Kerlingarfjöll

The series of volcanic mountains known as the Kerlingarfjöll get their name after a rock which is said to be a troll woman who turned to stone when exposed to daylight.

20 Hiking trails in the Highlands! Kerlingarfjöll

Kerlingarfjöll, located in the highlands of Iceland between the glaciers Langjokull and Hofsjökull, is accessible from the road F35, also known as Kjölur. The size of the Kerlingarfjöll area is about 100 km2 with mountains that range between 1,100 and 1,500 meters high. The mountains rise above many calderas, which were once active between 70,000 and 300,000 years ago.

This mass of mountains are rich in contrasts, blending picturesque valleys, glaciers, and geothermal activity together and then meeting around the top of Loðmundur the highest peak, west of Snækollur and Fannborg in the mid-east of Iceland. The Kerlingarfjöll are known for their many hiking opportunities, including those leading to the hot springs of Hveradalir Valley, located in the heart of the massif. For centuries, while Kjölur was the connection between the north and south of the Iceland, the Kerlingarfjöll were rarely explored. Today, any vehicle can go there (when the road opens in the summer season), and when there you will find a visitors centre and a working telephone network.

20 Hiking trails in the Highlands! Kerlingarfjöll

The tourist centre of Kerlingarfjöll offers many accommodation possibilities to stay in the area, be it camping, dormitories with sleeping bags, a private room with bathroom or cottages for a family or group. There is also a restaurant on site, and a small grocery store to stock up on food for your journey. However, if you are planning several days of hiking, make sure you bring enough supplies. There are about twenty Kerlingarfjöll hiking trails, from one kilometer long up to fifty, and only eight of them marked. You can buy detailed maps in Icelandic bookstores, or on site. The most popular hike is probably the climb to the summit of Snækollur (which is moderately easy); it takes around two hours to reach the top.

20 Hiking trails in the Highlands! Kerlingarfjöll

If your budget is limited, we suggest you bring your sleeping bag, and under all circumstances, bring your swimsuit! Diving into a hot spring in the middle of nowhere is one of the greatest pleasures in Iceland, even though you’ll probably share that experience with other travelers - the price of Iceland’s fame.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

What to do in Iceland - Diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing...?

Kayaking

If you are an experienced kayaker, you can cross most rivers in Iceland and even venture out to sea. Some stunts, including that of Faxi in southern Iceland, is known to be a favorite place for kayakers. If you prefer to use a professional service (and you should at least be one yourself), the agencies the Arctic Adventures in Reykjavík, the Travelling Viking in Akureyri and Skagafjordur all offer few hours aboard a kayak.

What to do in Iceland - Diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing...?

Surfing

Of course, Iceland is certainly not the country that springs to mind when talking about surfing. Although, not part of Icelandic culture, surfing has become increasingly popular here and is readily available for beginners. Icelandic surfers tend not to share information publicly about the best places to surf, even though everyone knows that the Reykjanes peninsula is a famous spot for surfing.

Rafting

In Iceland, it is possible to go rafting on the river Hvita in the south and the river Jökulsá in the north. The guides (who often come from Nepal, because it 's hard to find specialists rafting in Iceland) take you on the icy rivers of Iceland where fun and adventure is guaranteed!

What to do in Iceland - Diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing...?

Snorkelling

Fault Silfra in Thingvellir National Park is a popular destination for diving enthusiasts every season of the year. Many companies are offering excursions even if the Silfra water is very cold (about 2 degrees), the equipment available will keep you "warm".

Diving

Iceland also offers scuba diving for more experienced divers and leads you back into the fault Silfra on the site of Thingvellir, where the Icelandic parliament was created in the year 930. The depth of the water is from 20 to 40 meters, and the water clarity promises an unprecedented spectacle.
Note: All diving agencies require a PADI certificate, and also, remember to give your diving suit measurements when booking.

What to do in Iceland - Diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing...?

Whale watching, puffins, and seals

Iceland is the perfect destination for watching puffins, seals, and whales. Summer is the best season to observe these animals; from April to September for whales, from May to October for seals, and from mid-May to mid-August for puffins. You can go on boat trips to see these three animals, but be aware that if it is the season, you will surely see some puffins if you go whale watching. Even if you are not particularly a fan of these animals, just to sail the seas around Iceland is worth it! Agencies all over the Island offer to take you by boat.

Fishing in river, lake or sea

Fishing is a popular pastime in Iceland, and you can obtain a license to go fishing in most lakes and rivers in the country.

If you prefer, you can ask a local agency to take you fishing with professionals. With any luck, you will have the opportunity to eat the fish you caught for lunch!

What to do in Iceland - Diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing...?

Pool and hot springs

We are unable to talk about Icelandic water without mentioning hot water pools, even if the topic deserves an article all on its own. You will find on the internet all the pools and hot springs of Iceland.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Tips in Landmannalaugar hiking - In the Highlands of Iceland

Landmannalaugar is a pearl in the highlands of Iceland, situated in the nature reserve Fjallabak. Located at the edge of the Laugahraun lava field, which was formed during a volcanic eruption around the year 1477.

Tips in Landmannalaugar hiking - In the Highlands of Iceland

Landmannalaugar is known for its beautiful landscape, geothermal hot springs and hiking trails - the surrounding nature is breathtaking. The most popular trails include a two-hour walk through the Laugahraun lava field to Mount Brennisteinsalda, a one, and a half-hour climb up Mount Bláhnjúkur, and a hike to the Ljotipollur crater lake that takes about four hours. Landmannalaugar is also the starting point of many larger hikes; a hike from Landmannalaugar to Þórsmörk (5 days), to Hellismannaleið that leads to the volcano Hekla (4 days), and then crossing the desert plateau at Sprengisandur.

At the heart of Landmannalaugar in the summer season, you'll find a camping site, and a hut run by the Icelandic Touring Association that can accommodate 110 people, in dormitories with showers and toilets. There is a "Mountain Supermarket", a converted school bus, which serves as a cafe and a small food store, you'll find their prices rather high. There's an agency that offers horseback riding tours.

Tips in Landmannalaugar hiking - In the Highlands of Iceland

Mid / late June to mid-September you can drive from the Icelandic capital, Reykjavik, to Skaftafell or Myvatn (in July) to get to Landmannalaugar and stay a few hours or a few days. You can choose to join a guided tour where you learn a lot about the region and once there, you will be giving some free time to walk around, or you can soak in the hot springs at Landmannalaugar. See www.landmannalaugartours.com for more information.

You can check road conditions yourself at www.road.is. The roads are open from mid-June to mid-September, although this can vary. Although a classic car might do the trick if you take Route 208 from Hrauneyar, north, we highly recommend you go there with a 4x4 because the road may be chaotic. If you go in a classic vehicle, you will need to park a little before the site because there is a small river to cross before reaching Landmannalaugar. The other two options don´t leave you with a choice but to go with a 4x4; you can take the road south F208, F225 or from the west, near the Hekla volcano.

Tips in Landmannalaugar hiking - In the Highlands of Iceland

From October to May, the site is inaccessible to independent travellers, because snow is already present, but most travel agencies will take you there in their modified vehicles. The area is uninhabited and surrounded by snow, in the tour vehicle, you will feel like you are in another world. You can even spend the night in the shelter at Landmannalaugar. Be prepared to experience solitude and adventure ... and we hope you see the northern lights as you've never seen them before!

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Monday, 6 March 2017

Volcanoes, waterfalls and delighful museums in Borgarnes

Borgarfjörður is located in the west fjords of Iceland and is home to the nearby town Borgarnes. Borgarnes has 2,000 inhabitants and is located 75 kilometers from Reykjavik, and has lots of fantastic activities on offer for visitors, especially in the summertime.

Volcanoes, waterfalls and delighful museums in Borgarnes

For a delicious hearty breakfast, the bakery Geirabakarí is the ideal place to eat. For some after breakfast exercise, you can take a walk in Skallagrímsgarður Park, go hiking in Einkunnir or climb the mountain Hafnarfjall. For a more relaxing activity, you can visit the exhibition of birds and photography at the Museum of Borgarfjörður or swim and chill out in Borganes swimming pool and hotpot. For a fun-filled day for the kids take them to the Bjössaróló playground or the center of puppets Brúðuheimar!

Volcanoes, waterfalls and delighful museums in Borgarnes

We highly recommend a visit to the Borgarnes colonization museum that offers two permanent exhibitions: one on the saga of Egill and the other on colonization, based on two books, "The Icelandic Book" and "The Book of Colonization." The exhibition tells us about the discovery of Iceland, the arrival of the Norwegian Vikings and the establishment of the first parliament in the world, Althingi. This beautiful museum includes a great coffee shop that serves local products and home-made foods.

Most of the Icelandic sagas take place in the west of Iceland, including the saga of Egill, which tells the story of Egill Skallagrímsson, who was a poet and a fighter, and the son of one of the first Norwegian settlers. Borg á Myrum is the farm (and the church) where Egill Skallagrímsson spent part of his life: it is located just north of Borgarnes on Route 54. On the farm site, you can admire the sculpture "Sonatorrek" (the irreparable loss of a son, according to the poem Egill Skallagrímsson) of Ásmundur Sveinsson. The poem tells how the poet lost both his sons; Gunnar died of fever and Böðvarr in a storm.

Volcanoes, waterfalls and delighful museums in Borgarnes

If you wish to continue a historical and literary journey, Reykholt will put us in the shoes of the Icelandic writer from the thirteenth century Snorri. The Snorrastofa Cultural Center is full of information about the writer and his work. Near Reykholt, don´t miss Europe's most powerful hot water source Deildartunguhver. At Hvanneyri, east of Borgarnes, the agricultural museum presents the history and culture of agriculture in Iceland, especially in the last two decades. The Agricultural University of Iceland is in Hvanneyri.

Just north of Bifröst in Norðurárdalur, there are two small craters: Grábrók and Grábrókarfell that form a beautiful walking trail. An easier access walk is the Glanni waterfall near Bifröst with a lovely view.

Volcanoes, waterfalls and delighful museums in Borgarnes

Located in a narrow valley between the fjord and the Hvalfjörður Reykholtsdalur Valley, Skorradalur Valley and Lake Skorravatn there is a beautiful forested area, something rare in Iceland. At the lake, you will also see the Skarðsheiði volcano (1041 meters). On the way between Borgarnes and Húsafell, you can see the magnificent waterfalls Hraunfoss and Barnafoss. Also, Húsafell, caves, and lava Surtshellir Víðgelmir are worth a visit.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The amazing waterfalls in Þjórsárdalur - South Iceland

Þjórsárdalur (Thjorsardalur) valley in the south of Iceland lies along the river Þjórsá, between the mountains Burfell in the east and Skriðufell in the west, about 140 kilometers from Reykjavík. From Selfoss, take Route 30 towards Flúðir, then take Highway 32 toward Árnes and Þjórsárdalur. The road caters for classic vehicles during the summer months but the track is quite chaotic and full of holes and pebbles, and so, a 4x4 vehicle proves to be a more suitable choice and is much safer. From May to September, it's possible to camp in Þjórsárdalur for a little over 1,000 kroner per person; camping takes place in the middle of a small forest (forests are rare in Iceland).

The amazing waterfalls in Þjórsárdalur - South Iceland

There are only two farms Ásólfsstaðir and Skriðufell in the valley. In the region, you can see the ruins of twenty abandoned farms, which were evacuated when the volcano Hekla erupted in the twelfth century. The Icelandic conservation department was responsible for replanting vegetation in the valley, and today it’s a beautiful place. A pretty birch forest near the valley grows around the two farms mentioned above.

The amazing waterfalls in Þjórsárdalur - South Iceland

Þjórsárdalur is home to scenic places like Gjáin and Kjóaflöt, where you can enjoy a dense and lush vegetation. Don't miss visiting the historical farmhouse, Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng (64 ° 19 ° 7.12.N 49.13.W). The farm was once covered by ash from the volcano Hekla during an eruption in 1104 and was later extracted from the ground in 1939, moved ten kilometers from its original place and then converted into a museum. Near this historical farmhouse is Hjálparfoss waterfall, located in one of the volcano Hekla's lava fields. Nearly five kilometers south of Hjálparfoss you can admire Þjófafoss and Háifoss and Tangafoss in the east.

The amazing waterfalls in Þjórsárdalur - South Iceland

From Stöng, you can walk about a half hour to get to Gjáin, a beautiful place full of rivers, waterfalls, and plants that form a fabulous landscape. You can also go by car from the farm Stöng to Gjáin, but walking is easy and enjoyable. If you go late August, you can pick Icelandic blueberries -a delightful treat! North of Gjáin you can admire the waterfall Gjárfoss, and many other waterfalls in the area, such as Háifoss.

There is also a hot spring in the middle of Þjórsárdalur (N64 ° 09 650 W19 ° 48.715). You can also get close to Hekla volcano, probably the best-known volcano and most active in Iceland. Located in the northeast of the small town of Hella. Hekla erupts about every ten years since 1970, but its last eruption was in 2000.

The amazing waterfalls in Þjórsárdalur - South Iceland

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Souvenirs from Iceland - What to bring home?

Buying souvenirs is not necessary when visiting other countries, but it is always nice to bring a little something back home from your trips as a reminder of the good time you spent abroad. Here’s a list of practical souvenir ideas that will leave you with fond memories of your trip in Iceland.

Souvenirs from Iceland - What to bring home?

Expensive Souvenirs

The traditional Icelandic sweater ‘lopapeysa’ is not cheap but is very Icelandic! For smaller budgets, a hat, gloves, or a scarf made from Icelandic wool will do the trick. You can buy knitwear directly from outlets such as Álafoss Varma. For your friends, that like to knit you can bring them home Icelandic wool to knit themselves a lopapeysa.

Icelandic beauty products and brands are numerous: Blue Lagoon, Sóley, Purity herbs, Sola, and Annarosa.

An old map of Iceland is a beautiful gift that you can buy in all Geysir shops. You might get lucky and find an old map of Iceland in the flea market.

Icelandic books of photographs are a splendid gift. Any book by Ragnar Axelsson is incredibly beautiful to the eye and the heart, but we also like Spessi, Sigurgeir Sigurjónsson.

Souvenirs from Iceland - What to bring home?

Useful Souvenirs

A t-shirt is an unusual but useful gift! You can find t-shirts in all the souvenir shops, including the Dogma store on Laugavegur in Reykjavík.

Iceland's salt! I have a soft spot for the staff at Norðursalt located on the west fjords of Iceland, but there are other salt products available in Iceland i.e. Saltverk or flavored salts in the bookstore Eymundsson.

Inspirational Souvenirs

Icelandic music: the choice is vast, between the well-known bands like Of Monsters and Men, Björk, Sigur Rós or for the less known musicians such as Mugison, Minor Reflection, Samaris or Seabear. Check out 12 Tónar in Reykjavik it is quite an experience.

Souvenirs from Iceland - What to bring home?

Some Icelandic literature! The classics: the sagas, Halldór Laxness. For a good detective story: Arnaldur Indridason, Arni Þórarinsson, Ólafur Haukur Simonarson. For beautiful novels: Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir, Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir. For wacky novels or books: Jón Gnarr, Sjón.

Handicrafts or Icelandic art! You will find a craft store or art gallery on almost every street corner in every town in Iceland.

Cool Souvenirs

Skyr is a type of yogurt traditional to Iceland and is a rare commodity in other countries around the world, even though the success of the product abroad pushes the company to export more and more. So why not bring a pot of skyr home for your friends to try?… It’s tasty!

Souvenirs from Iceland - What to bring home?

Icelanders love sweets; there are dozens of pure Icelandic candy. Chocolate filled with licorice, chocolate raisins, jelly sweets, you'll be spoiled for choice! I strongly recommend the delicious chocolate Omnom, with the beautiful graphics on the wrappers!

In Eymundsson bookstores cafes, you'll find the Drifa brand fridge-magnets displaying impressive slogans and graphics.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved