Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

Having a health issue while in Iceland? Do not panic, here's how to find help if you suddenly need to see a doctor or find medicine in Iceland. Iceland has a modern medical system and has medical centres and hospitals that are similar to other European countries.

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

Pharmacies (apótek in Icelandic) are generally open from 10 am to 6 pm on weekdays, from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and public holidays. In the Icelandic capital, two pharmacies remain open until midnight: Lyfja Lágmúla and Lyfja Smáratorgi. In more isolated areas, there is often no pharmacy, or they open very limited hours so if you depend on certain medications do make sure and get it before you go on a trip.

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

Medication for headaches or other pain are sold without problems in all pharmacies, but for other types of medication you will need a prescription. For this, you must go to a doctor's office, or Heilsugæsla, where you will see a doctor. You need an appointment between 8 am and 3 pm, then from 3 pm you can go to the doctor's office spontaneously and wait for your turn to see a doctor. There is also a telephone hotline every morning if you wish to talk privately with a doctor. The wait can be long but once on the line with the doctor they will take the time to listen to you.

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

If you have an accident or need immediate medical attention, go to the hospital emergency room. The country's two main hospitals are located in Reykjavik and Akureyri. In case of emergency, you can also call 112 who will tell you the procedure. For the less severe cases you can call 1770 to speak with a nurse who can also tell you the location of the nearest medical centre or clinic.

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

If you have Form E-111 or the European Health Insurance Card, you will not have to pay any medical costs, but some of the care costs may still be your responsibility. Please check before leaving to find out what kind of benefits will be covered by your insurance.

Need a doctor in Iceland? A pharmacy? - Tips for Iceland!

If you are in the hospital and do not speak any Icelandic, you should be able to ask the staff to find an interpreter who speaks English. This can be a little more complicated in the smaller cities but do ask as they will try to accommodate you.

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

Akureyri, Mývatn, Dimmuborgir and Dettifoss or Jökulsárlón, Gullfoss, Skaftafell and Vík? It's not easy to decide between visiting the north or the south of the island. This is a growing issue for travellers to Iceland. It is difficult to answer, because it depends very much on your tastes and your desires. However, we have tried to compile some information that will help you make your choice!

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

The south has a beautiful diversity of landscapes. Waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches and glaciers. You can see much of the beauty that Iceland has to offer by confining yourself to the south coast. All year round, it is possible to visit southern Iceland and enjoy many activities, such as horseback riding, hiking on a glacier or a snowmobile tour.

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

In the north, the road is long to reach Mývatn, but it is really the must-see when you head north. From here you can easily visit the other incredible sites of northern Iceland, such as Dettifoss or Ásbyrgi. For skiing, whale watching or tranquility, the north is ideal!

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

The road number one to Höfn is very accessible, even in winter, and it is rare that this road is blocked. In the north, snow is more abundant and it is common for some stretches of road to close for a few hours a day or for longer periods. It may be wise to travel to the northern city of Akureyri by plane, and tour from there.

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

Most visitors prefer the south as it is more diverse and more accessible. Visitors can enjoy the Golden Circle, its geysers and its national park, the black sand of Vík and the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls all year round. It is therefore rare to find yourself alone at these sites, even in the winter.

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

Less frequented, but with more dramatic landscapes, the north of Iceland will show you another facet of the country. Tourism is booming but most of the sites are rarely frequented outside the high season in July and August. If you seek tranquility and solitude it is to the north you must go!

Iceland: North or South? - Where to go in Iceland?

If you have enough time on the island, you can also decide to tour and visit both the north and south. This is obviously the best compromise possible if you are torn between the two but if you are only staying a few days in Iceland, we strongly advise you to pick a region and explore it, rather than trying to see everything without having time to enjoy it. Iceland is a relatively small country, but you will find that the climatic and road conditions will not allow you to drive very quickly during your trip. You will often stop on the way, to admire the landscape around you.

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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

During the summer months, near the polar circle, the sun does not set. This time of year, which is called "Midnight Sun" or "Polar Day", is a special time that locals and visitors enjoy.

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

The Polar Day lasts longer and longer as one moves closer to the North Pole. The more you go north in summer, the more you will enjoy the polar day. On the summer solstice day (around June 21), at the northernmost point of Iceland, you can enjoy 24 hours of sunshine on the island of Grímsey. Grímsey is a small Icelandic island of about 5 km2 which is located 41 kilometres north of Iceland. The island is growing in popularity because the Arctic Circle crosses it, and it is the only place in Iceland where you can experience the "true" Midnight Sun, that is, above the horizon for 24 hours.

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

However, at latitudes below the Arctic Circle, as is the case elsewhere in Iceland, another phenomenon occurs around the summer solstice. At night, the Sun, although lying down, does not descend sufficiently below the horizon to allow the night to become completely black. Therefore the night never appears during the summer months in Iceland.


In Reykjavík, for example, the sun descends below the horizon around midnight and returns around 3 am. From mid-May to mid-August, daylight is constantly present; Ideal for enjoying the sights any time of the day and making new discoveries! This phenomenon of "sleepless nights" exists in all Nordic countries except Denmark.

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

Some people find it difficult to sleep, although all hotels and guest houses have heavy curtains. Take a small cloth mask in your luggage if you are travelling in the summer. This will help you if the outside brightness prevents you from sleeping.

Many travel agencies offer evening excursions to enjoy the clarity of summer, the Golden Circle, a sleigh ride, a horse-riding tour, a snowmobile tour and many other alternatives are available to you to enjoy the Icelandic polar day!

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

Everyone knows that Iceland is a paradise for photographers, whether professional or amateur. Waterfalls, deserts, geysers, volcanoes, flora and fauna and Icelandic life are all subjects that you will have the opportunity to photograph. For lovers of photography, the Midnight Sun offers magnificent opportunities to take pictures of beauty. If the weather is with you, the polar day will offer you landscapes with beautiful bright colors and pastels.

24 hours of daylight! - Midnight Sun in Iceland

The most extraordinary thing about the Midnight Sun is that you can go absolutely anywhere without having to worry about the darkness because it never appears. What a pleasure to drive on a trail in the middle of Iceland in the middle of the night, hike at two in the morning, enjoy the scenery at any time of the day and night! And what could be more enjoyable than enjoying so much light, when we know that night will come again (too soon)?

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Monday, 13 November 2017

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

Icelanders love to ski, and it shows: the island has 75 kilometres of alpine ski runs spread over ten resorts. 42 lifts carry skiers up mountains, to up to 1000 meters above sea level.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

Near the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík, the ski resort of Bláfjöll (the blue mountains) is the largest in the country, and is very popular with travelers. The resort has eleven ski lifts, and the larger ski runs are very well lit at night. You can rent your skis on site or sign up for a lesson at the ski school. Opening hours are on their website, and a bus connects the city centre to the ski resort when it is open.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

The other resorts in southern Iceland are Skálafell (45 minutes from Reykjavík), which has three ski lifts, and the one on the Snæfellsjökull glacier, which has a 450-meter lift. To access the glacier, it is essential to go through the agency Snowcat which manages and operates this station.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

The north has the most numerous ski areas: Hliðarfjall in Akureyri (4 ski lifts), Böggvisstaðafjall in Dalvík (2 lifts), Tindaöxl in Ólafsfjörður (1 lift), Siglufjörður (2 lifts), Sauðarkrókur (Up to 1200 meters) and Húsavik (1 ski lift) -Húsavík is particularly well equipped for skiing at night, and for cross-country skiing. You can also do "heli-skiing" with the company Arctic Heli Skiing, which takes you up the Tröllaskagi mountains by helicopter, and lets you reach the bottom of the ski mountains.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

The seven resorts in northern Iceland are well equipped and properly illuminated to ski in (almost) all weather. You can get the 5x5 ski pass which gives you access to 5 resorts in northern Iceland for 5 days (valid for Akureyri, Dalvík, Ólafsfjörður, Siglufjörður and Sauðarkrókur). The pass for an adult costs 120 euros, and 45 euros for a young person under 18 years of age. It is not necessary to get it in advance, you can buy it when you arrive.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

In the East of Iceland, Stafdalur, between Egilsstaðir and Seyðisfjörður, provides a one kilometre lift and the possibility of skiing at night. You can also go to Oddskarð in the region of Fjarðarbyggð; With 3 ski lifts that can carry up to 2000 people per hour, cross-country ski trails, a cafeteria and a guesthouse for 40 people, it is the largest resort in the east. Oddskarð lies between Reyðarfjörður and Neskaupstaður.

Skiing in Iceland. Where to ski? The best guide!

When?

In Northern Iceland, snow is generally present from November to May, and from January to April in Southern Iceland. However, the snow conditions vary from year to year and from region to region, so it is good to get informed shortly before your departure.

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

Gásir

Every year in July, Gásir gathers a crowd of people who come to enjoy the atmosphere of this medieval festival. Located about ten kilometers north of Akureyri, the site is very picturesque and is located by the sea. In the Middle Ages, it was the most important place to exchange goods and travel.

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

Today, the festival recreates this medieval world for a few days. Merchants, craftsmen and warriors gather there to make old-fashioned objects and sell their crafts. You can also try archery, admire the blacksmiths at work or taste Icelandic specialties, like shark or meat soup.

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

Vikingaheimar

Located in Keflavík, not far from the international airport, the Viking world of "Vikingaheimar" introduces you to the heart of the Viking age. The museum, which opened in 2009, offers five exhibitions on various themes related to Vikings and the history of Iceland. The biggest attraction of the museum is the replica of a ninth century Viking ship, which was manufactured by shipbuilder Gunnar Marel Eggertson. He visited New York on this boat in the year 2000 to celebrate 1000 years since Leifur Eiríksson's journey from Europe to America. Outside the museum, a few animals and small peat houses recall Iceland from the past.

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

From 1 February to 31 October, Vikingaheimar is open daily from 7 am to 6 pm and opens from 10 am to 5 pm from 1 November to 31 January. Also note that the museum closes for the Christmas holidays between 12 December and 7 January. The entrance costs 1500 crowns (12 euros), 1300 crowns (10 euros) for students and it is free for children under 14 years.

The Viking village

Near Höfn, in south-eastern Iceland, a Viking village was established to shoot a film in 2010.

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

Although filming never took place, the village remained ... In exchange for a small contribution to the landowner, you will be able to walk through the scenery that recalls the village of Asterix, Obelix and their Gallic friends.

Viking Festival

The small town of Hafnafjörður, in the suburbs of Reykjavík, organises a Viking Festival every year in June. Viking traditions are an important part of the culture of Hafnafjörður, and the festival is popular with locals and also delights travellers! There is something for every taste: games, gastronomy, astronomy, history, sport, battles, culture, art and theater all feature at the festival.

Are you a Vikings fan? Follow their steps in Iceland!

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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

The arrival at the Landmannalaugar car park immediately gives you an idea of the exceptional contrasts and the explosion of colors that you can admire through the many hikes of the site. Landmannalaugar is one of the best regions of Iceland for enjoying hikes - from very short walks of one hour to treks of several days.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

How to get to this magical site?

F26 then F208 north

This is the easiest road to reach Landmannalaugar, as there are no fjords to cross while travelling it - provided you park a few hundred meters from the campsite. Most vehicles park before it, because it is preceded by a fjord that can be relatively deep and most tourists prefer to avoid crossing (and they are right), bypassing it on foot via a footbridge. Just a hundred meters later, the campsite is the starting point for many hikes, to admire the mountains that dominate the site.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

F225 west

This road is magnificent passing through the west, although it is not as easy as its sister the F208 north. There are some small fjords to cross but it is quite easy to travel through, even for someone not experienced.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

F208 south

This road has many fjords to cross, which can sometimes swell in record time. The track is steep and can be slippery with mud; It takes you more than 800 meters above sea level. Only attempt to travel this route if you are very experienced and if you have a good vehicle.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

With a 4x4 vehicle

Landmannalaugar is not accessible by 2x4 vehicles, and it is advisable to have a 4x4 of sufficient size to reach the site, especially if you take a road other than the F208 north. A small 4x4 can do the trick on a nice day but conditions can change very quickly. With a rental car, know that insurance does not cove you on F roads. You can join a super jeep excursion if you do not have a vehicle fit for purpose and this way you can learn more about the area with a local guide. This option is also available from Árnes, near Selfoss.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

By bus

You can reach Landmannalaugar easily by bus from Reykjavik. Buses go every day from the opening of the slopes, which usually takes place at the end of June. You can also leave from Selfoss, Hella or Leirubakki; This allows you to park your rental car for free and continue the journey in a 4x4 vehicle.

How to get to Landmannalaugar? By bus or by car?

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