Thursday, 20 July 2017

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

Arrival - Friday noon

Departure - Monday morning

Friday: Reykjanes Peninsula

On arrival, the wonders of Iceland are already waiting for you near Keflavík International Airport. The Reykjanes Peninsula is a secial place, and it is often referred to as a condensed version of Iceland. The rugged and dramatic landscape is filled with volcanic craters, lava fields, geothermal water and hot springs, as well as countless restaurants, museums, churches, lighthouses and festivals.

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

Among the sites not to be missed are Gunnuhver, Iceland's widest bubbling hot spring, Brennisteinfjöll sulphide mountains, Brimketill lava formation and the bridge that connects the Eurasian and American tectonic plates. Stay in the peninsula overnight, then head to the capital, Reykjavík.

Saturday: Reykjavík

There is a lot to see in the Icelandic capital. The famous Hallgrímskirkja church is at the top of the exclusive street Skolavordustigur. Its organ is beautiful and an absolute must-see - you can also go to the top of the church for a breath-taking view of the city. You can continue your walk to Perlan and Oskjuhlid and if you feel like it, go for a swim in the sea, followed by a hot bath at the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík. Back in the city centre, a visit to the beautiful Harpa is necessary; This building that houses concert halls and events is an architectural gem. Then head to the little lake by the town hall Tjörnin, and meet the local ducks.

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

The weekend flea market, Kolaportið, is fun to browse, with or without buying anything. You can taste the famous Icelandic delicacies, such as shark-fish or dried fish, and walk in the alleys filled with clothes, books and handicrafts. The beautiful peninsula Seltjarnarnes, to the west of the centre of Reykjavík, is worth exploring. The neighbourhood has a very nice swimming pool, including a large pool for swimmers, a small one for children, four Jacuzzis, a sauna, a pool with seawater and a beautiful view of the Icelandic capital and surrounding area, awaits you there.

Stroll down the shopping street Laugavegur, without a doubt this will occupy a substantial amount of your day. If you want to know a little more about the city and discover the best places to visit, according to the locals, you can join a guided tour of the city. There are a few to choose from, some have a fixed price and some are free with an option to donate (you give what you want). Take a walk around the harbour area, and why not join a whale watching tour?

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

To learn more about Icelandic history and culture, many museums are at your disposal. The Árbær museum consists of over twenty buildings that form a central square, a village and farm, and aims to show the Icelandic way of life, throughout the ages. It is the only open-air museum in the capital, but there are dozens of other interesting places to visit.

Sunday: Golden circle

The Golden Circle is Iceland's most popular tourist destination, and includes Þingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the National Park where the Althingi (parliament) was founded in 930 and continued until 1798. The next stop on the tour is the hot spring area of Geysir. this is the first geyser known to Europeans and first that has been written about in a printed source.

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

Geysir does not erupt very often, but his companion Strokkur delights visitors with eruptions every ten minutes or so. Gullfoss, the golden waterfall is certainly the most popular waterfall in Iceland, and is a must see in the south of Iceland. The waterfall is 32 meters high, but the canyon in the vicinity can reach up to 70 meters high. The waterfall is located on the white river Hvítá, which is supplied by the second largest glacier in Iceland, Langjokull. After a busy day of sightseeing, spend the night in the capital or near the airport, if your flight is early the next morning.

3 days in Iceland! What to do? Weekend in Iceland

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Sunday, 16 July 2017

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Kirkjufellsfoss
64 ° 55'33 "N 23 ° 18'44" W

Kirkjufellfoss (church mountain waterfall) is located just outside Grundarfjörður village on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Just across the road is Kirkjufell mountain ( 463 meters height), known for its particular church-like appearance it is easily recognizable, these sights are a must see, along with a series of waterfalls scattered around the area. There's a small carpark close by and a well-maintained path leading to the waterfall. The waterfalls are on private property, but the owner invites visitors to enjoy the scenery.

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Glymur
64 ° 23'27 "N 21 ° 15'5" W

Glymur waterfall, at 196 meters high, is the second-highest waterfall in Iceland. Located at the bottom of Hvalfjörður in a spectacular region in Iceland that is both beautiful and quiet and is often bypassed by people since the tunnel opened under the fjord in 1998, leaving the possibility for travelers to cross the fjord in ten minutes instead of an hour.

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Glymur waterfall is accessible from the carpark Botnsá and then on to a well-marked path. When hiking to the waterfall, it's best to walk along the east side of the river Botnsá. The journey includes crossing the river on a tree trunk if it's in place but not always easy to pass; travelers must be well-equipped for hiking. It takes a good half a day to hike the trail to Glymur.

Hraunfossar
N64 ° 42 '10,076 "W20 ° 58' 39.780"

The Hraunfossar in Borgarfjörður, western Iceland are a series of small waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 metres. Small underground sources of cold water seeped through the lava and created tiny waterfalls and rapids along the river Hvítá. There is a viewpoint that is located near the parking area, offering a beautiful view of Hraunfossar and Hvítá river. In the summer, there is a small cafe near the falls.

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Barnafoss
N64 ° 42 '5.569 "W20 ° 58' 21,630"

Next door and upstream from Hraunfossar is Barnafoss, meaning "waterfall of the children." You will find there the explanation of the name, which comes from a passage from an Icelandic saga. The story goes that the children of the Hraunsás family stayed at home while their parents went to Christmas mass. When their parents returned home after mass, they discovered their children missing, and so, the parents traced their toddlers' footprints in the soil until they disappeared near a small stone bridge over the waterfall. The mother concluded that the children fell into the waterfall and drowned and, so had the stone bridge destroyed to prevent further misfortune to other kids.

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Dynjandi
65.7328 ° N, 23.1998 ° W

Dynjandi is the best known of a series of Waterfalls in the Westfjords of Iceland and is a landscape that reveals the beauty of Icelandic nature. The waterfall series is composed of seven waterfalls, each with a name; the waterfalls flow on a total height of one hundred meters. To access the information board and washrooms that are near the waterfall, you have an easy walk for another ten or fifteen minutes. Several protective panels have been installed to ensure visitors do not trample on the delicate plant life in the region.

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

Word of advice for travelers in love Icelandic waterfalls

Because of growing tourism, 2015 marked an increase of accidents around waterfalls by visitors unaware of safety precautions. Icelandic nature is a wonder, but it is also powerful and sometimes fragile. The sites we listed above are lacking infrastructure. Few paths, few barriers and cascades of several tens of meters high, this means Caution! No barrier by a waterfall is not an invitation to get too near. Take in the fantastic view but don't let the view take you!

5 Amazing waterfalls in the West of Iceland!

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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

Eskifjörður is a small town and port in Eastern Iceland, with 1100 inhabitants and has been a place of trade and exchange since 1789. The locals take great pride in the two mountains overlooking Eskifjörður: Eskja and Hólmatindur; especially their 985 meters high Hólmatindur mountain, and often recommend visitors to hike to its top. To climb Hólmatindur mountain is quite difficult, but once you’ve reached the top you can leave a record of your climbing efforts by signing the guestbook provided. The local hiking association, Ferðafélag Ferðamanna, offer a competition stamp booklet for climbing mountains; after five stamps you’ll receive the title "Conqueror of the mountain.”

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

Eskifjörður is renowned for its rare collection of Icelandic pebbles and rocks in the thousands at Sören and Sigurborg. Take a visit to Randulfssjóhús and learn more about the local fishing trade; the building is still the same since 1890. Another interesting tour of the area is the old Spar mine Helgustaðanáma, one of the most famous Spar mines of its time, and it is a protected site today. To the east of the town, you can reach the mine through a marked path and once there you will learn how the minerals were produced in 17th century Iceland right up until the early twentieth century.

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

At the top of the hill Hólmaháls, one can find the gravesite of the “völva,” a female prophet in Icelandic mythology. The völva is said to have protected the villages Reyðarfjörður and Eskifjörður from outside attacks for centuries. Legend has it that as long as the prophetess’ bones remain intact, her protective role of the land will continue. In the main street of Eskifjörður, you will see a sculpture of Ragnar Kjartansson honouring the missing sailors at sea in the region.

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

Reyðarfjörður town situated in front of Eskifjörður has 1,300 inhabitants and is famous for its skiing and winter sports. The ski center named after the mountain pass Oddskarð is a unique place for skiing. Besides being a place of training for top athletes, Oddskarð remains the playground for the locals who like to spend the long winter skiing, snowboarding, and sledding. From December to April or May (depending on snow conditions) you can enjoy this paradise for skiers, commonly called the Alps of eastern Iceland. For more experienced skiers, a ski lift takes you to almost 900 meters above sea level, where you can take the opportunity to observe the magnificent view of the fjord of Reyðarfjörður. Children also have access to a small ski lift, and a cottage with coffee and hot chocolate will warm you up after an afternoon of skiing.

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

A path from the center of the city of Reyðarfjörður along the river will lead you to the Museum of War; the museum mainly offers information about the occupation of East Iceland during World War II, during which British and American soldiers have stayed in Iceland. If you continue your journey after the museum, you will come to the beautiful little waterfall Búðarárfoss and the lovely Svínadalur Valley. You can also explore the gorges of the Geithúsaá river, or climb the mountain

Iceland in World War II? Visit Reyðarfjörður, in Eastern Iceland

In the summertime, Grænafell is especially worth a visit (especially if you are a botanist) because the diversity of flowers and plant life there are amazing.

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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

At dawn on January 23, 1973, Eldfell volcano on Westmann Islands erupted and cleared the island of a majority of its inhabitants until the eruption ended in July of the same year. This volcanic eruption is crucial to the history of Iceland and has given the island Heimaey a new face; the island's size increased by two square kilometres covering a third of the houses in lava and ash. This little volcano just 200 meters high has not burned out yet. If you go to the Westmann Islands and climb to the top of the volcano, you can immerse your hands in the earth and still feel the heat of the eruption that happened 1973!

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

Þríhnjúkagígur is a 4000-year-old volcano that was made famous in the summer of 2012 when Björn Ólafsson had the brilliant idea to organise excursions inside the volcano. Yes, you read right: you can go into the magma chamber of Þríhnjúkagígur, using a kind of elevator installed for visitors. 120 meters separates the input of your "destination" in the bowels of the volcano ... usually, lava fills the magma chamber of volcanos, blocking access to the heart, but not this time. Þríhnjúkagígur is a unique volcano: one of a kind! Björn Ólafsson, known for his ambitious projects, plans to build a tunnel that makes access easy to the volcano. Þríhnjúkagígur located near the Blue Mountains, near Reykjavík, is also known as a popular skiing destination in winter.

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

Lakí or Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) is an impressive volcanic fissure located near Kirkjubaejarklaustur in Southern Iceland. Accessible only during the summer months, the show Lakagígar offers us is both impressive and beautiful. The volcanic structure links to the Grímsvötn; in 1783, more than 120 craters erupted and caused damage to the Icelandic population, with possible repercussions around the world-especially because of sulphur dioxide that acts as a poison. It estimates that a quarter of Iceland's population at that time died as a result of the eruption.

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

The Eyjafjallajökull is an ice cap covering a volcanic massif on Mýrdalsjökull glacier and has made world news in 2010 when, erupting, she blocked a good portion of air traffic in Europe for several days. The Eyjafjallajokull volcano is inactive but erupts fairly regularly, approximately every 200 years. In 2011, Þorvalseyri farm at the foot of the volcano opened an information centre about Eyjafjallajökull and about daily life alongside a volcano.

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

Grímsvötn is a volcano glacier in Vatnajökull, and among the Icelandic volcanoes, it erupts most often. It last erupted in 2011 and was the largest volcanic eruption in Iceland for fifty years.

If you are interested in volcanoes, Jón Jónsson Frimann has compiled a list of eruptions that took place in Iceland from the year 900: http://www.jonfr.com/volcano/?p=765

Have you ever been inside a volcano? A volcano trip in Iceland!

Check this link out to go to the second part of the article!:)

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Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

The wage system in Iceland is quite complicated. A general minimum wage does not exist. It varies according to the position held, the employee's age and their experience. However, a salary should not be below 260,000 gross ISK per month if you work full time. The average gross salary in Iceland is ISK 415,000, but unless you have a highly qualified position or a lot of experience, you will most likely be at the lowest end of the salary scale.

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

Icelanders often have multiple jobs and work long hours. A full-time job represents about 40 hours of work per week. Beyond 171.15 hours per month, your employer must pay you overtime. The hourly system also has an impact on wages; You are paid different rates according to the time of day - or night. From 7 am to 6 pm, the salary is a day salary; From 6 pm to midnight, an evening salary, and from midnight to 7 am, a night salary. If you work on a Saturday, a Sunday or a holiday, the rate also increases; On those days, your employer has to pay you 4 hours minimum work, even if you actually only work two.

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

Your employer cannot make you work more than 13 hours a day, and must give you 5 minutes break per hour if you work more than 5 hours. Rules vary by location, check with your union.

The annual vacation is 24 days, during which you are paid a holiday bonus - 10.17% of your annual salary is paid to you - usually June 1, but some employers pay it into the salary every month. On December 1, you are also entitled to a Christmas bonus of 82,000 ISK (in 2016) if you have worked full time for the same employer in the last twelve months.

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

The role of trade unions

The stettarfélag, or union of workers, is an organization that protects the rights of workers and gives you access to various advantages (renting holiday homes, reducing the price of Icelandic courses, reductions in sports halls, for example) . These "unions" do not have the political and militant role they have in France, and we urge you to subscribe to it. Virtually all people who live and work in Iceland are members of a trade union.

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

If you have worked in Iceland long enough, your union also pays your sick leave or maternity leave if you have gone beyond the days authorized by your employer.

Taxes

The lowest wages pay 37.3% of taxes, directly taken at source, then 39.8% for wages above 527,000 ISK and 46.24% over ISK 836,000. The Icelandic government reimburses each worker 52,000 ISK (in 2016) per month, which is added to the salary.

Wages and working conditions in Iceland - Icelandic jobs

Icelanders are not very fond of contracts, and many people in Iceland work without signing a contract - it does not exempt your employer from being obliged to follow the union's rules, but we still advise you to ask for a contract to make your working conditions clearer. Many young people, foreigners or not, are not paid correctly because they ignore the rules. Go to your union and ask about your rights - they can also see if your salary is what it should be!

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Sunday, 2 July 2017

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

Perfectly positioned between the delightful Snæfellsnes Peninsula and the wild Westfjords, Flatey is located in the Breiðafjörður bay - a paradise for nature lovers and bird lovers alike. There is an abundance of wildlife on the island with dozens of species of birds, including puffins, and also many sheep.

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

When taking the ferry from Stykkishólmur to the western fjords in Brjánslækur, you have the opportunity to stop on the charming little island of Flatey. In winter, there is a population of only 5 inhabitants, but this multiplies in summer with many holiday makers from the locality and beyond.

Most houses on Flatey date from the early 20th century, and are inhabited only in summer. In the 12th century, Flatey became an important monastic center but was later transferred to Helgafell on the peninsula of Snæfellsnes. In the 19th century, Flatey was an important cultural and social center, but social change and lack of work forced the majority of the population to leave the island at the turn of the century.

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

Flatey's book, Flateyjarbók, is one of the most important Icelandic Sagas and has been preserved since the Middle Ages. You can see a reproduction of the Book of Flatey in the island's library, the oldest in Iceland, built in 1864.

On Flatey, there is only one road leading from the port to the "old village", where you can admire the houses of the island - most of them dating from the beginning of the 20th century and beautifully restored and maintained by their owners . Flatey is a small island where few travelers stop to spend the night, but tourism, like everywhere in Iceland, is beginning to grow.

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

A new hotel with a restaurant has recently opened, and there are also two guesthouses and a campsite. Flatey is a tiny island and there are not too many things to see, but there are a few historic sites. The old library and the Flatey church can be visited; The latter was designed by the architect Guðjón Samuelsson and Baltasar Samper (father of the filmmaker Baltasar Kórmakur). Flatey is especially a place where one comes to escape a bit of the world, enjoy the endless days in summer, and the surrounding nature.

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

Or sleep!

* Hotel Flatey

* Guesthouse Læknihús

* Guesthouse and campsite Krákuvör

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

How to get there

All year round, the Baldur ferry operates from Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula or from Brjánslækur in the Westfjords. In summer, it operates twice a day. If you want to go by car in the western fjords and stop at Flatey, it is possible. The ferry staff will make arrangements to take your car to Brjánslækur.

Ferry trip to Flatey Island! From Snæfellsnes to Westfjords

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