Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to get from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík

Keflavík International Airport to/from Reykjavík:

Distance: 50 km
Methods of transport: Rental Car, Bus & Taxi

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Going by Rental Car

This is the ideal option if you are looking for a hassle free journey and if public transport isn't your thing. For a very small fee, many of the well-known car rental companies in Iceland will provide a direct pick-up service from the airport. It's worth considering, as even if you're travelling with someone else, it's still cheaper than a bus ticket.

What better way to enjoy your first glimpses of Iceland than zipping along the country side with your own set of wheels. Also, it isn’t a difficult rout, directions are available at any time on map on ja.is.

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Getting from Keflavík - Airport By Bus

There are two main air-link services to choose from: Flybus and Airport Express. Each providing effectively similar services, at a similar price, but with their own respective benefits:

Flybus:

- Provides pick-up for all flights. 
- 500 ISK charge per person for drop-off at hotel or guesthouse. 
- Free Wifi on all buses.

Airport Express

- Bookings must be placed in advance to guarantee a seat.
- Drop-off at most hotels and guesthouses in Reykjavík at no extra cost. 
- Wifi not provided.   

From Keflavík to Reykjavík
  
Getting from Keflavík - Airport By Taxi

Here in Reykjavík, the Taxi services are reliable, trustworthy, frequent and run on a meter basis. The usual price is around 15.000 ISK if you are traveling with up to 4 people. 

City Taxi is a small and reliable company, who will get you to where you want to go in a timely and comfortable manner. You'll be in good hands. (There is also no problem if you or a member of your group requires wheelchair access)!

You can usually get a cab without problem directly outside the arrivals area after you land; or, for your own peace of mind, have one booked waiting for you in advance. And now you know who to call!    

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Alternative methods

If you are penniless and a bit adventurous you could try one of the following methods. Hitchhiking is a fairly common practice in Iceland and it's usually quite safe. Just always be sure to be safe and responsible if you are going to hitch. The certainty that you'll get a lift along this route isn't 100%, so you may have to do a little trekking before you get anywhere with it.

The second option, apart from walking (which let's face it, you'd probably struggle with even if you’d enjoy the scenery) is: keeping a look out for friendly, nice people who may have their car at the airport and would be willing to drop you off somewhere along their journey. There are lots of them in Iceland, don't worry. Strike up conversation on the flight or ask someone in the arrivals lounge if they're heading to Reykjavik too. If you don't ask you don't get – and what's the harm in trying, eh? 

How to get from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík
  
Directions

Finding your way to and from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport isn't too much of a challenge, but should you need directions check out map on ja.is.

Safe travels!

Jóhanna, Iceland24
May 2015

Monday, 18 May 2015

Camper Rental in Iceland - Motorhome, caravan, campervan Rental Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Icelandic camper van rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. It is increasingly popular to travel trough the Icelandic nature in the comfort of a camper van or a luxurious caravan. It gives tourists the opportunity to experience Iceland freely without involving too much planning.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland
Even though Iceland has a small population, the island itself is three times bigger than Scotland. Motorhome travel in Iceland is the ideal way to get around, because along the way there are so many well hidden natural gems that just demand a stop off.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Here you can find the youngest and the oldest camper rentals in Iceland and campers of all sizes and prices. Whether you need a ordinary family camper, caravan or a RV you can find it on this page. Below you'll find a list of the top camper rentals in Iceland.

CAMPER VAN PRICE COMPARISON
May 7th to 14th (7 days) - Prices with GPS, CDW Insurance, unlimited km & pick up / drop off

Option A - New Campers:

CAMPERVAN ICELAND * Recommended 
www.campervaniceland.com
Camper Renault Kangoo (2 persons)           701 EUR / 875 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4 persons)              1.330 EUR / 1.660 USD

EUROPCAR
http://www.holdur.is/en
Camper Toyota Hilux (2 persons)               1.834 EUR / 2.519 USD
Camper Motorhome (3-4 persons)              2.343 EUR / 3.218 USD

CAMPER RENTAL ICELAND * Recommended
www.camperrentaliceland.com/
Camper 2 DIESEL  (2 persons)                    715 EUR / 892 USD
Camper 4 DIESEL (4 persons)                     1.360 EUR / 1.696 USD

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Option B - Old camper vans:

MOTORHOME ICELAND
www.motorhomeiceland.com
Camper Nissan Diesel   (2 persons)               881 EUR / 1.075 USD
Camper Renault Trafic  (4 persons                1.468 EUR / 1.825 USD

CARAVAN.IS
www.caravan.is
Camper VW Caddy (2 persons)                   1.040 EUR / 1.297 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4-5 persons)           1.442 EUR / 1.798 USD

LAVA CAMPERS
www.lavacampers.is
Camper Mercedes (2 persons)                      1.201 EUR / 1.649 USD
Camper Ford Transit (4 persons)                  1.540 EUR / 2.115 USD

CAMPERVAN ICELAND 
www.campervaniceland.com
Camper Renault Kangoo (2 persons)            701 EUR / 875 USD
Camper Renault Trafic (4 persons)               1.330 EUR / 1.660 USD

SNAIL
www.snail.is
Camper VW Transporter (2 persons)              1.150 EUR / 1.434 USD
Camper VW Transporter (4 persons)              1.720 EUR / 2.145 USD

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Why choose a camper van in Iceland:
  1. It's really cheap. Why spend your money on a expensive hotel and a car when you can use a Camper van or a Motorhome for both?
  2. The weather in Iceland is as predictable as roulette table and therefore you will want to be mobile and ready to move at any given time. We don't recommend you to have to pack your tent in the rain, and then sit wet in your car for the rest of your day.
  3. In Iceland there is a law that allows you park your motor home or camper van anywhere for one night. It´s called the law of survival and it also allows you to eat whatever you can put in your mouth (do not forget). 
  4. In a camper van you can go anywhere, sleep anywhere and do anything you want to do.
  5. There are 3 persons per square kilometer in Iceland. This allows you to basically disappear into the nature in a motor-home, caravan or camper van. 
  6. In Iceland you won't need to reserve a spot at a camp site . You need simply to show up and enjoy it. Camp sites are very modern and have good facilities.
  7. All of Iceland's ring road (road no.1) is asphalt which allows you to drive safely around Iceland in any type of camper van. 
  8. In a camper van in Iceland you won't need to plan your trip. You just follow the good weather and enjoy where it takes you. 
  9. In Iceland there are hardly any trees. Therefore you always have an amazing 360° view from a camper at all times. 
  10. With a Camper van you have a kitchen wher-ever you go. This will save you lot´s of cash. Fast food in Iceland is expensive. 
Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

DRIVING IN ICELAND

Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

Camper rentals in Iceland are a popular choice for travelers looking for the "road trip" experience in Iceland. Renting a camper in Iceland is a great option in Iceland because the country offers unique sites to see in all of its forur corners. 

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

112 Iceland App

The 112 Iceland app can be used for two things, both for added safety on your Iceland trip.

First of all you can call for help by pressing the red Emergency button. Your location will be sent by text message to the 112 response center. Remember that even though your phone shows no signal there is a possibilite that you can send text message.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

The green Check In button is for you to leave your location with us so if something happens we have more information to work with. Only the 5 last locations are stored and we recommend you use this – don’t worry – you are not disturbing anyone – except for our big computer who wants to be disturbed.

Here you can download the app for Android phones, Windows phones and iPhone.

Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland


Camper Iceland - Camper Rental Iceland

We recommend you read:


Peter, Iceland24

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Westfjords - Travel ideas and how to spend 3, 5 or 7 days - Iceland24

The Westfjords region has sometimes been dubbed “the most famous unknown place in Iceland”. Well, throw in the prestigious “European Destination of Excellence” awards and add to that the fact that the Lonely Planet travel guide put the area on its top 10 list of regions in the world to visit in 2011, and you will see that the Westfjords are becoming increasingly famous – or perhaps less unknown.  

Westfjords - Iceland

Lonely Planet, the respected travel guide publisher, placed the Westfjords in its top 10 regions of the world to visit in 2011, saying that the “oddly shaped” peninsula is “as isolated as it is spectacular”. Luckily, “isolated” does not mean inaccessible. With only 7400 inhabitants in the area, each person has around 1,2 km2 of personal space, so there is ample room for any visitors as well.

Although the locals are great, it is, by and large, the nature that attracts visitors. For understandable reasons as well: it is untouched and almost uninhabited. The cliffs and valleys are packed with birds, the uninhabited fjords offer a moment of silence and tranquillity, and the Arctic fox proudly roams the mountains and inlets. The waterfalls are high and the streams pure. The distances are long and the fjords are deep. And then there are places where there are no roads at all.
 
Westfjords - Iceland

The Westfjords are a great place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) during the winter and equally fantastic to experience the midnight sun during the summer. Visiting the Westfjords is surely a different experience. It is Iceland, but yet a different Iceland altogether.

Watertrail

The Westfjords has many hidden gems with plenty of natural or semi- man made pools in remote natural locations. The abundance of hot water and rich history of bathing have created a unique outdoor bathing culture in close relation with nature. Our natural springs are based on geothermal water that flows directly and constantly from the ground. Many visitors stay in the pool around midnight during winter and watch the northern light that are one of a kind, which is an experience people never forget. During the summers we have 24 hours of daylight and our visitors enjoy the romantic of the midnight sun. The Watertrail promotes self-sufficient and independent tourism that respects the natural environment.

See more at www.watertrail.is

Westfjords - Iceland

Food trail

The Westfjords Foodtrail is based on strong cultural background as well as embracing modern food tradition with a local twist. The aim is to promote and increase the visibility of Westfjords‘ top quality food. Innovation is encouraged and special emphasis is put on product development, motivating new techniques in the production, processing and cooking practices of Westfjords local ingredient and related services. Restaurants members in Westfjords Foodtrail ambitiously present each area‘s food specialty and food producers are highly devoted in producing top quality food items originated from the Westfjords. The food is specifically labeled so if you are looking for traditionally smoked products, freshest ingredients of the day or jams made of rhubarb.

See more at www.veislaadvestan.is

Attractions

From the Hornstrandir nature reserve in the norht to Latrabjarg bird cliff in the south, you can find abundance of attractions in the westfjords of Iceland.

-Dynhandi. The Westfjords’ favourite front-page model for decades, and is never short of breathtaking. The biggest and widest part of the waterfall is the one that gets all the attention and the photos, even though there are impressive, albeit smaller, waterfalls further down the river. In fact, one is formed in such a way that the brave can walk behind it, relatively dry. There is a camping place at the site with basic services.
Westfjords - Iceland

-Natural pools. Among the hidden gems of the Westfjords are the natural hot pools that can be found even in most remote places. This might sound like a cliché, but the pools are truly a well kept secret, taken for granted, or even forgotten by locals. An explanation could be that the Westfjords are not generally considered a "hot spot" in Icelandic geology, so the geothermal activity is not as visible as it is in the north or the south of the country. Therefore it is surprising to find that nowhere in Iceland are there more natural bathing pools than in the Westfjords, the reason being that the water is of perfect temperature straight from the ground.

-Bird life and good areas for birdwatching. Here we will make do with a short description of two areas, although they do by no means exhaust the opportunities for birdwatching. Other areas, such as the islands in Breidafjordur, the Reykhólar area, Onundarfjordur and Heydalur and many more, also offer wonderful opportunities for birdwatchers.

Westfjords - Iceland

Látrabjarg and vicinity: The road goes out to the lighthouse at Bjargtangar, the westernmost point of Iceland, and from there to the edge of the Látrabjarg cliff. In thesummer there are scheduled trips between Látrabjarg and the main towns of the Westfjords region.

Westfjords - Iceland

The road goes around Patreksfjordur before turning inland at Orlygshofn and over the heath above Breidavik, and along Latravik out to the end of thepoint. Orlygshofn is an important nesting area for eiders and there are a huge number of waders and sea birds in the bays. There are a large number ofwetland birds in Breidavik, and in Latravik an unusual number of ringed plovers. Snow buntings occur in large numbers on the uplands. Stretching for14 km and rising to 440 m at its highest point, Latrabjarg is the largest bird cliff in Iceland and also the largest by the North Atlantic.

It is thought that as many as a million birds of various kinds nest on the cliffs of Latrabjarg, including all the alcids that nest in Iceland, withthe exception of the little auk. In fact, at the foot of the cliffs is the largest razorbill colony in the world. In addition to the swarm ofguillemots and other alcids, there is a large number of fulmars and kittiwakes. And perhaps most exciting for the traveler, nowhere is the puffineasier to approach or more fun to watch.

-Museum of Jon Sigurdsson. Hrafnseyri in Arnarfjörður is the birthplace of national hero Jón Siguðsson. This spot has become a popular attraction for visitors, with it’s museum dedicated to Sigurðsson’s memory, a remake of his childhood home and the old Hrafnseyri curch.

Visitors from overseas receive a booklet with an introduction to Jón Sigurðsson, free of charge. Light meals (soup and bread) and refreshments are served on the location.

Opening hours: 1. June – 1. September at 10:00 –-20:00 (every day)
Curator: 456-8260 og 845-5518
Burstabær: 896-8107
hrafnseyri@hrafnseyri.is
www.hrafnseyri.is

Westfjords - Iceland

-Hornstrandir. This territory of the Arctic fox has been uninhabited since the 1950s. As isolated as it was then, it attracts the casual half-day visitors and serious gore-tex hikers alike. Its main attractions are three. First, the bird cliffs surrounding the bay of Hornvík, are a magnet of gigantic proportions. On the eastern side of the bay the cliff reaches a height of more than 500 metres, and the birds are teeming. Second, as there are no infrastructure and the tourists few in relation to the sheer size of the area, the sense of remoteness is strong. You can hike days on end without seeing a single person. The nature is pure and the tranquillity unmatched. Third, as the area is a haven for the Arctic fox (think hunting-ban and bird-packed cliffs), the chances of spotting one are high.

Westfjords - Iceland

Most tours, especially day tours, depart from Ísafjörður. Hikers wanting to go on their own can also take boats from Bolungarvík and Norðurfjörður.

-Rauðasandur. Rauðisandur, or (Red Sand), is precisely that: a beach with red sand. Endless red sand. Well, not endless, but 10 km is a lot. The magnificent hues of the sand differ with daylight and weather, and the beach is the biggest pearl in a string of coves with sand ranging in colours from white through yellow through red to black, and in coarseness from very fine to sole-hurting chips of seashells.

Westfjords - Iceland

What to do in Rauðisandur? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. There is a Café but but not much else. There’s just pure sand and unique tranquillity. You might want to step out of the car, get the camera out and start walking. Forget everything. Except maybe getting the perfect shot of the ever-changing hues of yellow, orange and red.

-I Never Went South Rock Festival. Aldrei fór ég suður is a rock festival held in the town of Isafjordur in the Westfjords of Iceland. The entrance is free of charge and all work is pro bono. It is mix of local bands and the biggest names in the Icelandic music scene.

By plane

The quickest way to get to the Westfjords is by air, the flight from Reykjavík taking roughly 40-50 minutes, depending on the destination.

Air Iceland - www.flugfelag.is
Two daily flights to Ísafjörður all year round.
Eagle Air Iceland - www.eagleair.is
Two flights per week from Reykjavik to Gjögur and six flights per week to Bíldudalur.

Westfjords - Iceland

By car

Reykjavík to Ísafjörður, 455 km, paved road:
Reykjavík - Hvalfjörður (tunnel) - Borgarnes - Brattabrekka (road 60) - Svínadalur - Arnkötludalur (road 61) - Steingrímsfjarðarheiði - Ísafjarðardjúp - Ísafjörður

Reykjavík to Þingeyri, 408 km total, 271 km of paved road:
  Reykjavík - Hvalfjörður (tunnel) - Borgarnes - Brattabrekka (road 60) - Svínadalur - Barðastrandarsýsla (road 60) - Dynjandisheiði - Hrafnseyrarheiði - Þingeyri

By bus

A public bus service runs between Reykjavík and Ísafjörður six days per week in June, July and August, along two different routes:

A- Reykjavik-Stykkisholmur-Brjanslækur (with ferry Baldur)-Isafjordur. Connection to Patreksfjordur and Latrabjarg.
B- Reykjavik-Hólmavík-Ísafjörður. Busses drive in both directions along these routes, so it is easy to combine them to make a full Westfjords Circle.

Connection to the Akureyri bus is in Hreðavatnsskáli

By boat

The car ferry Baldur operates between Stykkishólmur and Brjánslækur.

From June to August there are daily departures from Stykkishólmur. Visit www.seatours.is for more information.
Westfjords - Iceland

More information

The Official Tourist Brochure and the Official Map. Click to open PDF file.
http://www.westfjords.is/media/PDF/Westfjords_Official_2012.pdf

More information about Birds in Westfjords
http://www.nave.is/Isafjordur_fuglaskod_b..pdf

Travel Ideas

How to spend 3 days

This is a recommendation of a three-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car.

Day 1
If you stayed in Stykkishólmur, wake up early to get the ferry Baldur across the fjord. If you slept in Reykjavík, wake up a little bit earlier (however early you wake up, the sun will be up before you, plus, you beat the traffic). You are on the other side around noon, ready to drive to Látrabjarg cliffs. Stay near Látrabjarg or in Patreksfjörður/Tálknafjörður/Bíldudalur village.

Day 2
Wake up early, a long day waits. Today, drive with as many stops as possible to Ísafjörður, where you’ll stay the night. One obligatory stop is waterfall Dynjandi. Others include the maritime trail in Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík (see chapter on History).

Westfjords - Iceland 

Day 3
Wake up early (starting to discern a pattern?). Drive in and out of innumerable fjords to Hólmavík. There, visit The Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft. From there, drive further south and continue your journey around Iceland.

How to spend 5 days

This is a recommendation of a five-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car.

Day 1
Start the day somewhere in West Iceland or even Reykjavík. Driving through region Dalir, stop at Reykhólar. Stay at or near Látrabjarg.

Day 2
In the morning, check out Látrabjarg cliffs and Rauðisandur. Now change direction and head towards Ísafjörður, stopping at least at Dynjandi waterfall. Stay in Ísafjörður.

Westfjords - Iceland 

Day 3
Today, pick from the smorgasbord of tours available in the Ísafjörður area. Tours to bird island Vigur and day tours to Hornstrandir nature reserve are the ones to check out first. Stay another night in Ísafjörður.

Day 4
Before heading south, finish up your checklist of things to do around Ísafjörður. One might check out the two important museums. Sleep in Heydalur or Reykjanes or near Hólmavík.

Day 5
In the morning, dive into centuries past when sorcery was common, and witches were burned for allegedly casting spells on their neighbours at Holmavik’s Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft. After lunch; head down south to continue your tour around the island.

How to spend 7 days

This is a recommendation of a seven-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car. We keep the description short for each day not wanting to repeat what is said in other parts of this brochure.

Day 1
The ferry Baldur goes from Stykkishólmur in the morning with destination Brjánslækur. When the ferry stops in island Flatey, hop off but leave the car keys on board. Cars are useless in the island, so the ferry staff will park your car at Brjánslækur. You have six hours in Flatey to wander around this movie set of charming old-style houses. Stay the night in Flókalundur.

Day 2
Drive to Látrabjarg cliffs. You have enough time to walk along the edge, take it slow and enjoy. Also, check out Rauðisandur and museum Hnjótur. Stay on either side of fjord Patreksfjörður or nearby in villages Tálknafjörður and Bíldudalur.

Day 3
Counting Patreksfjörður, and the end point, Ísafjörður, today’s itinerary can include up to 6 villages (Tálknafjörður, Bíldudalur, Þingeyri, Flateyri), although visiting some of them requires a short detour from the main road. On the way, be sure to stop at Dynjandi waterfall and, if time allows, Hrafnseyri museum, reopened year 2011 to celebrate the birth of an important leader of the movement of independence, Jón Sigurðsson.

Westfjords - Iceland

Day 4
In the Ísafjörður area, wide arrays of day tours are available. Most prominently, there are tours to bird island Vigur and Hornstrandir nature reserve, but others might be more interested in kayaking, or a day of postcard writing. Stay another night in Ísafjörður.

Day 5
In the morning, go through the new tunnel to Bolungarvík and visit Ósvör museum. If the skies are clear, you might even want to venture up to Mt. Bolafjall. After lunch, drive to Heydalur and soak in the natural hot pool up the valley or go for a horseback ride.

Day 6
Today, you will be visiting the most remote settlement in Iceland. Often during the winter, the road there is closed for weeks, even months. Today, Árneshreppur has 50 inhabitants. Stay the night in or near Hólmavík.

Day 7
Once in Hólmavík, nothing compares to a healthy dose of witchcraft in the morning. The Museum of Sorcery provides a memorable insight into nifty tricks to get the much-loathed neighbour sick or lure the cutie at work into a relationship. From there, drive south and continue your journey around Iceland.

Berglind Rós
Iceland24, May 2015

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Taking advantage of rescheduled public holidays last year, we spent the first 9 days of June driving the Iceland ring road and seeing the many sights en route. A full loop around Route 1 is ~1340 km (830 miles), though with detours we added another 1000 km.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

While the isolated Icelandic interior is generally accessible only by specialist 4x4 vehicles, Route 1 is OK to drive in a 2-wheel drive car. Our Hyundai i20 rental car managed fine, even coping with detours onto bumpy gravel tracks. The state of the roads varies, with many being closed due to snow and ice right through springtime; this useful map shows the current road status.

Day 1: Keflavik to Selfoss via the Golden Circle

The plan for day 1 was to see the popular Golden Circle sights that so many tourists do as a daytrip from Reykjavik. They’re perhaps not best Iceland has to offer, but are accessible and therefore busy in peak season.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

We had booked a private room at the Selfoss Hostelling International, so leaving Gullfoss, we took the 35 south. This however turned out to be a gravel track, and not yet confident in the Micra’s ability to handle unsurfaced roads (it later turned out to be fine), we turned around and took the longer, but tarmaced, 37 down to the ring road into Selfoss.

Selfoss HI was very pleasant with good cooking facilities and a garden with hot tub. Just what we needed.

Day 2: Selfoss to Kirkjubæjarklaustur: Eyjafjallajökull, Skógafoss & Vik

Highway 1 features many marked picnic spots that normally have a point of interest and information signs associated with them. The first of these that we stopped at was Seljalandsfoss waterfall, with a path to walk behind it for some added interest.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

North of the ring road, the now famous Eyjafjallajökull icecap, whose 2010 eruption caused massive disruption to western european air traffic, is visible in the form of glaciers descending down to the flood plains below. The owners of a farm on the plains below the icecap, who lived through the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, have opened a visitor centre with lots of interesting information about the area and a short film chronicling their experience as the skies went black with ash in 2010.

A few minutes drive on from Eyjafjallajökull, through huge expanses of wild lupins, is the Skogafoss waterfall. This is particularly dramatic when viewed from a rather exposed bit of hillside that protrudes in from the side. Rainbows were aplenty.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Slightly west of Vik, the rugged coastline of the Dyrholaey peninsula is home to a huge variety of birdlife and has dramatic views along the cliffs. The black sands here, and most famously in Vik, are made from dark basalt rock, hence their unusual color.

Day 3: Kirkjubæjarklaustur to Vagnsstaðir: Skaftafell, Svartifoss and Jökulsárlón

First stop was the Skaftafell National Park, a great base for hiking up onto the icecap, or shorter walks to Svartifoss and viewpoints over the glaciers. Svartifoss waterfall sits among hexagonal basalt lava columns and is quite an impressive site. A gentle climb further, great views can be had over the Skaftafellsjökull glacier. There is a map of the hiking trails on a board at the National Park visitor center.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

We could no doubt have spent days rather than hours at Skaftafell, but Jökulsárlón iceberg lake was next en-route, and it was definitely worth making some time for. Featuring in two Bond films, plus Tomb Raider and Batman Begins, many people will have seen Jökulsárlón on the big screen without realising it.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

The Jökulsárlón lagoon is formed by a glacier's retreat leaving a lake of melt water with a narrow exit into the sea. Large chunks of ice break off the end of the glacier and float around the lake, while the short river to the sea flows alternately in and out with the state of the tide.

Day 4: Vagnsstaðir to Faskrudsfjordur: Hofn and the Eastern Fjords

Leaving the oft-visited Skaftafell and Jökulsárlón behind, the ring road continues to Hofn, the last town before the isolated Eastern Fjords. We took the opportunity to stock up on food in the Hofn supermarket, then followed the coast along the south-eastern corner of Iceland. Steep mountainsides descend directly into the sea, with the ring road picking its way above the cliffs and past gravel beaches.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Having previously skipped the puffin watching destination of Heimaey, we spotted a poster at the Vagnsstaðir hostel for boat trips to the small, puffin-inhabited, island of Papey from Djupivogur harbour (details here), so planned to arrive there in time for the daily 1pm departure. Timeliness, however, was not our strong point, and it was only midway through a leisurely lunch overlooking the sea that we realised we had left it too late to get to Djupivogur for the trip. There was a biting cold north-Atlantic wind, so perhaps it was a blessing not to be out in a small boat, but puffins were not to feature today after all.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

After the fjord north of Djupivogur, the Highway 1 ring road heads inland and we opted to stick to the coast on the more minor road 96. Winding in and out, along the sides of the fjords, the 96 took us to Faskrudsfjordur. While light on 'attractions', this stretch of coast is certainly dramatic, and still had snow on the mountain tops towering up above the road.

Day 5: Eastern Fjords to Lake Mývatn: Seyðisfjörður, Borgafjordur-Eystri & Dettifoss

Leaving Fáskrúðsfjörður, we took the new tunnel northeast to avoid the apparently sketchy coast road, and continued on to the town of Egilsstaðir. The rain was intermittent and the cloud low, but we had plenty of time to take a couple of detours before heading east to our destination for the day of Lake Mývatn.

Access to Dettifoss on the road east of the river, no. 864, was drivable in our 2-wheel-drive rental car, albeit with 30km of constant bumping around. We had read that the road further west, no. 862, is suitable only for 4x4 vehicles and is extremely bumpy, but I now note that Wikipedia says that a tarmac road has opened along that route. We had decided not to visit the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park north of Dettifoss because of the poor weather, but it's worth investigating the road quality in advance if planning to drive there in a 2-wheel-drive car.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

First of the geothermal sights in the Mývatn area that we visited was Krafla, Iceland's first geothermal power station. It's possible to drive through the middle of the site and visit the craters nearby. It was extremely foggy as we arrived and the jet engine-like roar of steam vents dotted around the site added a very surreal air to the place. We came back the following day when it was much clearer to take the photo below.

Day 6: Lake Myvatn to Akureyri: Hverfjall, Grjotagja, Dimmuborgir

We started with Hverfjall, a large tephra (volcanic gravel and ash) crater, now extinct. The short walk to the crater rim gives good views across Lake Myvatn and the middle of the crater itself.

Nearby, the Grjotagja caves contain hot pools in which people used to bathe. This is now not advised, since, while the surface temperature might be moderate, it can be scalding hot beneath. The pools are within a large fissure that runs along this part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. It's a dramatic sight and shows how powerful tectonic forces can be.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

South of the Hverfjall crater, the unusual rock formations at Dimmuborgir ("Dark Forts") are another volcanic phenomenon. As vast quantities of lava from volcanoes to the south flowed down over the Myvatn area, the molten rock super-heated the marshy ground beneath, resulting in high pressure steam beneath the cooling lava. The steam escaped explosively through the hardened crust on top of the lava, leaving sharp, erratic shapes in the rock.

A few kilometers further east of Myvatn, Námaskarð is an area of boiling mud pools and steam vents (fumaroles). Marked paths navigate through the geothermal ground.

Day 7: Akureryi to Hrútafjörður via Dalvik Whale Watching

Our main activity for today was to be whale watching at Dalvik. We had spotted a leaflet in the hostel for a whale watching and fishing trip with Arctic Sea Tours of Dalvík, and booked on for the afternoon. They were considerably cheaper than trips from the more well known Husavik, though the whale watching conditions differ very little.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Leaving Dalvik, we had a 2 hour drive west to the Sæberg hostel, an old farm house overlooking the sea at Hrútafjörður. A walk on the beach was called for, despite the bitterly cold wind, to appreciate the beginnings of sunset.

Day 8: Hrútafjörður to Reykjavik via Víðgelmir Lava Tube

The guide book mentioned some interesting caves in the Hallmundarhraun lava field, about 30km east of the ring road from Varmaland. Information was a little thin on the ground, but we set off along the gravel road 523 following a signpost to Víðgelmir. As we neared the point where road 518 turns around at the top of the valley towards Husafell, a sign for "lava cave 2km" caught our eye, and we found an information board about the Víðgelmir Lava Tube. A short walk took us to a section of the lava tube where the roof has collapsed, allowing access into it.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Lava tubes are formed when the surface of a lava flow cools and sets, while the hotter, more liquid, lava below continues to flow away leaving a void beneath. The Víðgelmir tube is about 1.5km long, though access is restricted by an iron gate somewhere along its length to prevent damage to the delicate lava formations within. Equipped with head torches, we were happy to explore the first 100m only.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Surtshellir, a larger lava cave in the same lava field, is further up the valley along the road F578. However, this road isn't suitable for 2-wheel drive cars and not wishing to destroy the Micra, we didn't explore further. The sign warning off rental car drivers must be a result of the locals tiring of rescuing stranded tourists!

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Arriving in Reykjavik late afternoon, we had a wander down the main shopping street of Laugavegur. The numerous coffee shops were mostly closed, so we opted for beer then dinner instead. Delicious cod and langoustine ravioli were had at the pleasantly informal restaurant/bar Vegamot. Our exploration of the legendary Reykjavik nightlife extended only as far as a few more drinks; going out clubbing seemed like an exhausting prospect!

Day 9: Reykjavik and Keflavik: Coffee and Puffins

Suitably caffeinated, we walked up to Hallgrímskirkja, the striking church visible from all of central Reykjavik. The architecture may not be to our taste, with imposing concrete columns mimicking the basalt structures that occur naturally around Iceland, but the view from the top of the tower was excellent. Reykjavik's brightly coloured rooftops make for a vibrant scene, with the bay and mountains beyond a stunning backdrop.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Since our previous puffin watching attempts hadn't worked out, our last opportunity was to take a boat trip to Lundey, a small island in the bay. Wise to the steady flow of tourists, the puffins at Lundey take flight as the boat approaches, or dive beneath the water and disappear, unlike quieter spots around Iceland. Close-up photos were definitely not possible, but it was impressive to see their sheer numbers nesting all over the low island.

Iceland Road Trip - 9 Days Around Iceland

Perhaps anticipating our return to the UK, we were tempted by posh Icelandic Fish & Chips. Oven roasted 'chips' and various savoury flavours of skyrr yogurt accompany your choice of fresh fish. The fish was superb, though the potatoes were nothing special, and the portion sizes rather mean compared to classic British fish and chips.

With thoughts of home, we picked up the car to complete our Icelandic Loop by returning to Keflavik. It was a sunny evening so we stopped en route to look around the Reykjavik Botanical Gardens, then joined road 41 to finish the journey.


By the time we dropped off the rental car at Keflavik airport, we had covered over 2400 km. Not bad considering Iceland is only ~300 km across. All-in-all, a great trip and highly recommended. We'll be back!

Iceland24, May 2015

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Rent a car in Iceland: Car Comparison by price in Iceland + Tips for Renting a Car in Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Iceland car rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. With public transportation being scarce outside major cities like Reykjavík, renting a car becomes the cheaper and most viable option for tourists to explore the island fully. Though it may seem expensive initially, it is much cheaper and less strenuous than having to purchase a car or travel by bus. With plenty of car rental companies in Iceland at your disposal, you will never fail to get a deal that suits your budget. 

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The wide array of vehicles available for hire also makes it possible for you to get a car that can take you almost anywhere on the island from SUVs, four wheel cars, luxury cars, 4×4 rental cars and jeeps just to mention a few. In this article, we give you some tips on picking an Iceland car rental provider as well as taking a look at some of the best car rental companies on the island. 

CAR COMPARISON BY PRICE
July 7th to July 14th - 2015 (7 days)

Option A - New cars:

HERTZ
Toyota Aygo                              790,96€
Toyota Rav4                              1.573,9€

EUROPCAR
Hyundai i10:                               786,4€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:           1.573,1€

REYKJAVÍK CARS *                  BEST COMPANY JULY 2015 (1st place)
Hyundai i10:                                  498,3€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:               863€ 

AVIS
Hyundai i10:                               718€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:           1.484€

CARS ICELAND                      BEST COMPANY JULY 2015 (2nd place)
Kia Rio Diesel:                            602€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                       922€
*prices with all insurances included


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Option B - Old cars:

REYKJAVÍK CARS (they also rent old models)
Hyundai i10:                              487,8€
Suzuki Jimny 4x4:                     708€

SS CAR-RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                546,8€
Toyota Rav4 4x4:                        1.030€

SADCARS
Toyota Yaris                               616,34€
Toyota Rav4 4x4                        1.240,2€

ICELAND CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                              585,8€
Toyota Rav4                             1064,2€

GEYSIR
Hyundai i20:                              619,8€
Hyundai Tucson:                       900,2€

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Renting a car is really the best and only way to see the country so be sure to factor it into your budget. We went there thinking we would just take a bus to other areas -wrong. The only buses that exists outside the capital city of Reykjavik are tour buses. So technically you can take a bus but you will pay for it because it will be part of an organized tours and it will add up fast. If you are traveling with another person a car is the cheapest way to see the country. Plus, driving in Iceland is very easy and there isn’t much traffic.

7 TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN ICELAND

Renting a car in Iceland may not be the cheapest way to explore Iceland (it’s tough to beat hitch hiking) but it doesn’t have to blow your budget. With public transportation being non-existent outside of the larger cities, like Reykjavik, renting a car gives you the freedom at a fraction of the cost when compared to the sightseeing tours sold at tourist information centers.

Below are seven ways to save money on your Iceland car rental:

Don’t buy it: You don’t need theft insurance for the vehicle. According to our agent, car thefts in Iceland are rare and he actually told us not to bother with any of the additional insurance (yes, they have insurance for ash from the volcano) either, so we didn’t. 

Go online: The best deals can be found online for Iceland car rentals. By booking online, you will find a better deal than renting directly from a tourist center in Iceland. Some online companies even offer discounts if you book online therefore you will be able to save a lot by booking online. There are a variety of car rental companies on the island so take your time and visit their websites, compare prices, and look at their packages and whether or not they offer discounts for booking online. By doing this, you will be able to get a good deal at a pocket friendly price. 

Pick up at Keflavik International Airport: Because the airport is located about an hour from Reykjavik, you will have to spend €15 – €20 each way to get to and from the airport. So, you might as well just rent your car from the airport and roll your shuttle bus fees into the car rental. 


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Get to know your vehicle: The longer you keep the rental car the cheaper it becomes.

Petrol Blues: When considering renting a car be sure to factor in the cost of gas. In Europe, petrol is sold by the liter not the gallon; therefore, expect to pay about $5 per gallon. 

Choose Your Rental Dates Wisely: Sept. 1 in Iceland signals the beginning of the low season, which runs until May 31. Renting a car in Iceland becomes even cheaper during that time. And by cheaper I mean €35/day vs. €85/day – it’s a HUGE price difference. 

Consider your budget: Look for a car rental company that falls within your budget. Remember you do not have to spend a fortune on car rental therefore try to get a car rental service that will leave you with some cash to spend on the road.


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DRIVING IN ICELAND

Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

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HIGHLAND DRIVING

Driving in the Icelandic highland is quite different from driving in the lowland. The conditions can change fast due to weather, rain and even sometimes snow. Therefore roads can be closed and rivers can be too big to cross. Before you start your travel you should get information about the area as well as leave your travel plan with someone who can check up on you if needed.

You can make your travel plan here:

-Start by checking if the area you are going to visit is open
-Get as much information about the area as you can
-Information centers, rangers and hut wardens can help you get the information needed
-Are you sure that you have the experience and knowledge needed to go the highland?
-If you are driving be on a 4x4 jeep, other cars will only get you into trouble
-If you are no sure how to cross a river skip it or wait for the next car to assist you over

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

ILLEGAL OFF-ROAD DRIVING

When the fact that the country lies right below the Arctic Circle is taken into consideration, along with the fact that the growing season is short, it is apparent that the environment can take many years, decades or even centuries to recover. For example, many people don't realise that by uprooting or driving on moss, damage is caused that can take at least a decade or, more likely, some hundreds of years to mend – and we're not even talking about the highlands where the summer is much shorter.

Whilst travelling around the country, the highest respect for the Icelandic environment must be shown. It's good to remember to take nothing besides photographs and leave nothing behind except footprints.

-Check out the road map and see where the roads and trails are.
-Get information about the appropriate routes at visitor centres, and from rangers or staff.
-Find out in advance when mountain roads are likely to be open, along with other related information, at visitor centres or here.

While on your trip around the country you’ll quickly see that in many places, road ruts and paths have formed from other people. Often they are closed off with nothing more than a row of small rocks. Don’t be caught in the pitfall of following those paths; only stay on roads and marked trails. Instead, think about the damage off-road driving has caused, take photos and educate friends and acquaintances. See how long such damage takes to heal. Notice that ruts don’t just look ugly; they draw in water and thereby cause even further damage, leading to erosion of soil and vegetation. Walk around a short distance or turn around if you can’t go any farther by driving. That’s the only right thing do. Besides, you can easily expect a sky-high fine or prison term for offences.

We should all set a good example. Together we share the responsibility of ensuring that everyone gets the chance of enjoying a pristine natural environment for years to come.

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CROSSING A RIVER

One thing is for sure when you go hiking in Iceland and that’s that you’ll not get far without coming to the first stream. Usually they’re little brooks, which are good to get a fresh drink from. On the other hand, they can be large rivers and you will need to wade them, in which case you should bear some things in mind:

-Rivers often have less volume earlier in the day, so organising hiking trips accordingly is not a bad idea.
-Look around for suitable locations to ford. Be aware that places that are good for crossing with jeeps are seldom good for crossing on foot.
-Look for meanders in the river which are places where there is loose gravel and sand and the current dies down as the river expands.
-Meanders are usually the best location you’ll find for fording a river though the river may be wider there.
-Preferably wade the river with two or three other people at a time by clasping arms together at the elbows.
-Loosen any straps on backpacks and be sure not to have anything tied tight that could complicate things if you or someone else might fall.
-It’s best to have special wading shoes as it is not wise to cross barefoot - this can increase the likelihood of a fall.
-Before fording, it’s smart to decide on a spot farther down the river where everyone will go to if someone might unfortunately fall.
-If you fall, roll onto your back, keep your feet in front of you and trudge to the place - or near to it - that was previously decided upon.

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When planning your hiking trip get information about rivers, if they are possible to cross on foot and then what time is best and etc. Never cross a river unless you are 100% sure of how to do it and feel safe doing it.

Helpful Tips on 4x4 Driving in Iceland

If you have plans to visit Iceland's country side then you should also pick a 4x4 vehicle since you will most likely be driving on some gravel roads. And should you go off the beaten path to visit the Iceland highland then you are sure to encounter some F-roads that are only driveble by larger 4x4.

Iceland gravel roadsAll major roads in Iceland are paved. But keep in mind that of 13.000 km total roads in Iceland only about 5.000 is paved with asfalt.

Most gravel roads are not difficult to drive on or dangerous, you just need to keep special attention while driving and make sure you are not going to fast. These roads are often narrow and many bridges only have one lane. You are also likely to meet some sheeps and Icelandic horses so make sure you are paying attention.

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List of the most popular F-roads

Here is a list of the most popular F-roads in Iceland and average opening times:
F-RoadNameAvg. opening date
F206 Lakagígar June 12th
F208 Fjallabaksleið nyrðri
(Landmannalaugar and Eldgjá)
June 12th
F225 Landmannaleið, Landmannalaugar June 15th
F35 Kjölur (Hveravellir) June 11th
F26 Sprengisandur June 27th
F88 Askja June 20th
F902 Kverkfjöll June 19th
F52 Uxahryggir June 5th
F550 Kaldidalur June 13th

Driving in snow and difficult weather conditions

Make sure you are always driving according to road and weather conditions. If there is snow and the roads are slippery make sure to take it slow and drive safe. If you are driving outsite of populated areas make sure to find out the conditions of the roads on your route. You should also check out the weather forecast.

Check road conditions in Iceland here:
http://www.vegagerdin.is/english/road-conditions-and-weather/the-entire-country/island1e.html

Check weather forecast here:
http://en.vedur.is

Carpooling in Iceland:
http://samferda.is

Map of Iceland:
http://atlas.lmi.is/kortasja_en/

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Kolla, Iceland24
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