Saturday, 28 February 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
January 2015

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Husavik is a town on the eastern shores of The Skjalfandi Bay.  It is a commercial centre for a large agricultural area and processing of farm produce plays a considerable role in the town’s economy.  Many dairy and meat products processed here are appreciated all over the country.  Fishing and fish processing are also important bases of livelihood.  The fastest growing trade, however, is tourism.


Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Whale Watching

Nestled on the edge of Shaky Bay, the town of Húsavík is globally recognised as one of the best locations in the world from which to watch whales. In fact, there is a higher chance of seeing whales in Húsavík than any other place in Iceland. So, if you’re ever considering where to go whale-watching, our town is without a doubt, second to none.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Whale-watching Tips

• If photographing, you don´t need a huge lens, the whales are so big, a small zoom or even a normal 50mm is often sufficient.
• Don´t worry too much about the cold because you get thick insulated overalls to wear, and at the end of the trip, some companies offer a hot chocolate or if you´re lucky, even a shot of rum.
• Although high winds might prevent you from going out to sea at all, rain is never a bad thing, as you have more chance of seeing a Humpback breach (jump) in this kind of weather.
You can check the weather in advance, but the weather in Iceland is notoriously changeable, so none of the whale-watching companies will be able to tell you for sure if they are offering trips until the day itself.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

• If you get seasick, some of the companies offer medication on bumpy weather days but you can also get it from the local pharmacy, just ask for Postafen or Dramamine.
• Typical whale-watching trips take three to four hours and can be quite tiring, especially if you’re not used to being at sea. So, make sure you give yourself time afterwards to sit in the harbour and take a coffee in Gamli Baukur or eat some fish and chips.
• Don´t try and go looking for whales to eat in Húsavík, when a fair portion of the town’s income comes from watching them, eating them is a little counter-productive.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Húsavík Whale-watching Companies

There are three different companies offering whale-watching trips here in Húsavík. Trips take about 3 hours, and can be taken on the beautiful wooden boats pioneered by North Sailing, the speedy ribbed boats of Gentle Giants or with the singing tour guide of Visit Askja.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

All the companies have very friendly (we recommend you Visit Askja), multilingual guides who are passionate about whales, many of them working for the companies for many many years. The local companies are also active participants in the education and research of the whales.

Húsavíks harbour is a hive of activity in this respect, because as well as the three whale-watching companies that use the docks, there is the Whale Museum and the University of Iceland´s research centre. There are partnerships between these organisations and the whale-watching companies, with many boat trips containing researchers.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Nearby Things to Do and See

1. Horse-riding

At nearby Saltvik, visitors to Húsavík can take advantage of the local horse-riding facilities. With horses chosen according to the rider’s ability and excellent guides to help you on your way, what better way to get out and about and see some of Iceland’s magnificent countryside than sat on a lovely little Icelandic horse.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

2. Ystafell Transportation Museum

From weird, repurposed tanks used to deliver milk, to giant snowmobile buses that look straight off the set of Dune, the Transport Museum at Ystafell has collected and preserved half a century´s worth of vehicles, and set it on display in a wonderfully remote location. Covering an array of automobilia, along with the cars themselves, there´s photographs and information to read about Iceland’s transportation history.

Contact:
464-3133 or 861-1213
sverrir@islandia.is

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

3. Flateyjarskagi Peninsula

Flateyjarskagi is a mountainous peninsula in Northern Iceland located between Akureyri and Húsavík. Practically deserted on the peninsula itself, it´s relative remoteness makes for prime but easily accessible hiking ground.  In the west is Laufás Turf House Museum, whilst in the southwest before you reach Akureyri is an Outsider Art Museum. At the base of Flateyjarskagi is the oldest and second largest forest in Iceland, Vaglaskógur. A popular place for camping, there is a range of tree species and the oldest stone bridge in Iceland.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

4. Eider Falls

The Eider Falls are one of the closest waterfalls to Húsavík. Known in Icelandic as Æðafossar (pronounced eye-tha-foss-ar) they are located about 10 kilometres southwest, in the River Laxá. The Laxá is an extremely rich fishing river running from Lake Mývatn to Skjálfandi Bay, with some of the largest brown trout in the country.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

5. Knútsstaðaborg Hollow

Knútsstaðaborg is an accessible hollow chamber inside a rocky outcrop to the west of Húsavík. About 10 square metres in size, brace yourself for the strong smell of sheep´s wool when you step inside, the local livestock keep shelter here in hot sun or bad weather.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Where to eat

Gamli Baukur, (on the waterfront in an old wooden building) ☎ +354 464 2442. They have an excellent selection of fish, soups, and salads. Downstairs is the small restaurant and upstairs a lively, little bar.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Fosshótel Húsavík. ☎ +354 464 1220Has a reasonably priced restaurant/pizzeria.

Naustið, Naustagarður 2 (yellow house by the harbour), ☎ +354 464 1520. Nice and simple seafood restaurant.

Pallurinn, (behind the Gentle Giants ticket centre), ☎ +354 496 1440. An interesting tent restaurant where they grill whole lambs. Very nice food with reasonable prices. Only open during the summer season.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Salka, Garðarsbraut 6 (green house right by the main road.), ☎ +354 464 2551. Restaurant/pizzeria, where it is also possible to taste puffin.

Where to Sleep

Fosshótel Húsavík. Fosshótel Húsavík is a friendly and well-equipped hotel, located in the heart of Húsavík, within walking distance of the harbor.

Húsavík Cape Hotel. Húsavík Cape Hotel is a new 16 room hotel, located at Húsavík Cape, with a fantastic view across the town and Skjálfandi bay.

Húsavík Travel Guide: Whale Watching Capital of Iceland

Kaldbakskot Cottages. Eighteen newly built log cabins, 20-30 square meters in size, with all modern conveniences.

Árból Guesthouse. Árból is a particularly beautiful and pleasant guesthouse located by the stream Búðará in the west corner of the town park. 

Get a free map of Húsavík here.

Johanna, Iceland24
February 2015

Monday, 23 February 2015

Visiting Iceland with children

Iceland is a superb family holiday destination because all the things that make it merely unique and special to you will make it an amazing world of adventure for your kids.

Most of the Iceland holiday highlights mentioned elsewhere on this website are very much suitable for children of all ages; the main exception to that rule being the kicking Reykjavík nightlife scene.

Visiting Iceland with children

As you can see in our article on childhood in Iceland, kids pretty much rule the country and enjoy an amazing level of freedom. But living somewhere and visiting there on holiday are two very different things; so here is a random, unscientifically compiled selection of our highlights for children visiting Iceland:

1. Head up to Perlan in Reykjavík, with its spaceship-like dome and incredible water fountain inside. The kids will especially enjoy the manmade geyser outside and they will be chuffed to discover the obstacle course hidden in the forest.

Visiting Iceland with children

It is more of a collection of old wooden exercise equipment for adults than it is a specially-designed children’s playground. But that doesn’t stop it being a fun diversion. You can walk from Perlan, through the forest and down to Nauthólsvík:

2. Nauthólsvík is Reykjavík’s geothermal beach and it is the perfect place to take kids on a nice day. The water is toasty warm and the sands are golden. There is also an ice cream shop, showers and changing rooms. And talking of beaches, we would highly recommend some beach combing around many of Iceland’s beaches. Children love finding unusual stones, sea glass and odd creatures and plants!

Visiting Iceland with children

3. Skemmtigarðurinn is the name of a company running two ‘theme parks’ near Reykjavík. One is indoors and the other outdoors. This being Iceland, they don’t have any rollercoasters so to speak; but they are both geared up to keeping families entertained. Read more about them here.

Visiting Iceland with children

4. Most towns and villages across the country have children’s playgrounds for residents and visitors alike. But two that particularly stand out for mention here are the hand-built Bjössaróló park in Borgarnes and the high adrenaline family garden, Raggagarður in the Westfjords village of Súðavík.

Visiting Iceland with children

5. As above, most towns and villages also have swimming pools which are an unrivalled place to relax, play and exercise for people of all ages and eternally popular with families. A few of our favourites for those travelling with children include the biggest pool in Reykjavík at Laugardalur, and the suburban haven with commanding views of the city over in Árbær. Away from the city, your children will love the pools in Akureyri and Neskaupstaður. All of the above have fun things like water slides and toys. For the record, lots of other pools not mentioned here also have excellent slides.

Visiting Iceland with children

6. While at Laugardalur, be sure to explore the park itself. Here you’ll find not only adventurous play opportunities, but also Iceland’s only zoo. Well, we call it a zoo – but you’ll probably consider it more of a farm park than anything else. There are no giraffes or lions; but there are reindeer and seals. It tends to be a real hit with everyone – especially if you get to feed the animals.

Visiting Iceland with children

7. Horse riding is clearly not suitable for young children. However, Iceland’s strong, small and steady breed of horse makes it an ideal place for that first-time equestrian adventure a kid will remember for life. Iceland has lots of riding stables staffed by experienced and enthusiastic experts, so give it some serious consideration.

Visiting Iceland with children

8. As mentioned above, Iceland’s rugged scenery and natural wonders are no less inspiring for children than adults; but you can really go out of your way to blur the lines between reality and fantasy by taking a duck boat tour at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Drifting among icebergs and playful seals in an amphibious boat is a genuine-fake Arctic experience and will be sure to bring the North Pole from books and fairy tales to life in unforgettable fashion.

Visiting Iceland with children

9. On the cheaper front, a visit to central Reykjavík’s Tjörnin pond is a surprisingly rewarding experience for four reasons: feeding the ducks, geese, swans, pigeons, starlings, seagulls and terns is a more intense experience than most places due to their large numbers and tameness. Then you will notice Reykjavík’s modernist city hall and the interesting things inside. The pond is surrounded by pleasant parkland, and finally there is a small adventure playground and climbing net at the far end.

Visiting Iceland with children

10. Finally you’ll be wanting to take a trip out to the capital region municipality of Mosfellsbær. There are many good reasons to do this (including the pool, the Laxness museum, the walking trails and farmers market); but for this article we are only concentrating of the two children’s adventure parks on offer. One is a nature park, and the other is a Viking park. Enjoy!

Visiting Iceland with children

Peter & Berglind Rós
Iceland24 2015

Sunday, 22 February 2015

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Nowhere on earth is the junction between the European and American tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust as clear as on the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest, and at Þingvellir: the plates diverge here by as much as 2 cm per year. But the gap is constantly being filled, as volcanoes have been erupting regularly throughout Iceland’s history.

The boundaries of this area are drawn at the glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon in the East, and fishing and ferry town Thorlakshofn in the West. Towns, villages, places of interest and recreation are mentioned above and below.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The South is both densely and sparsely populated. Between the town Hofn and the river Markarfljot are vast alluvial or outwash plains, lava fields and narrow strips of lowlands, which limit agricultural activities, but the western part contains the largest and fertile agricultural area of the country and a few townships.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The landscapes of the lowland and highland areas contain many of the most interesting and beautiful spots of the country. The southern central highlands boast of the largest glaciers, most active and largest volcanoes and eruptive fissures, rhyolite intrusions and hyaloclastite mountains. There are many very active geothermal areas in the mountains and lowlands between the middle of the area all the way to the western boundaries.  One of the two main seismic areas of the country streches from Mt Hekla across town Hveragerdi to the end of the southwest peninsula Reykjanes.

Must do and see in South Iceland

1. Thingvellir National Park

Þingvellir (Icelandic "Þing": parliament, "vellir": plains) is a place in the southwest of Iceland near the peninsula of Reykjanes and the Hengill volcanic area.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

It is famous for two reasons:

a) As one of the most important places in Icelandic history. In the year 930 the Alþingi, one of the oldest parliamentary institutions of the world, was founded. The Alþingi met yearly, where the Lawspeaker recited the law to all of the gathered people and decided disputes as well. In the year 999 or 1000 the Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði made Christianity the official religion of Iceland. After the conversion it is said that, upon returning from the Alþingi, Þorgeir then threw his statues of the old Norse gods into the waterfall that is now named Goðafoss ("Waterfall of the Gods"). At this historical place, the independence of the Republic of Iceland was proclaimed on June 17, 1944.

b) As a national park (since 1928) because of the special tectonic and volcanic environment. The continental drift can be clearly seen in the cracks or faults which are traversing the region, the biggest one, Almannagjá, being a veritable canyon. This causes also the often measurable earthquakes in the area. Þingvellir is situated on the northern shore of Þingvallavatn, the biggest lake of Iceland. The river Öxará traverses the national park and is forming a waterfall at the Almannagjá, called Öxaráfoss Together with the waterfall Gullfoss and the geysirs of Haukadalur, Þingvellir is part of the most famous sights of Iceland, the Golden Circle.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritag Site

Thingvellir, 50 km (31 miles) to the east of Reykjavík, is the national shrine of Iceland. Icelands most historic site, and one of its most beautiful places, it is also part of The Golden Circle tour. The oldest existing parliament in the world first met here in AD930. The Alþing met here every year to enact laws, including the law passed in AD1000 to introduce Christianity into the island. It has always been the focal point for the country, and whenever a major event is to be celebrated, thousands of people come here. At the celebration of the 1,100th anniversary of the first settlement in 1974, more than 60,000 people packed into Thingvellir.

Nearby Lögberg is the cliff overlooking the place where the Alþing (assembly) met, and speakers stood to address the gatherings from this point. Nearby is Drekkingarhylur (The Drowning Pool), where mothers of illegitimate children were drowned. It is sited in the river Öxará in Almannagjá, a lava gorge, which with the Öxarárfoss waterfall, is an impressive sight.

Peningagjá (The Money Chasm) is a deep fissure filled with crystal clear spring water; people throw coins into it from the bridge that lies across. The coins give off strange reflections as they drop through the water, it is said that if you can follow the coin all the way down until it comes to rest on the bottom, your wish will come true. Scubadiving and snorkeling in wet suits is becoming increasingly popular here.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The lake is part of the Þingvellir National Park. The volcanic origin of the islands in the lake is clearly visible. The fissures around it - the famous Almannagjá is the biggest of them - indicate that here the tectonic plates of Europe and The Americas are in a conflict. In this lake, the large quantity of sulfur and salt, the lake is extremely light and the water seems to be in less weight than other lakes.

2. Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon 

Check our article about Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon

The main lagoon measures about 7 square miles (20 km2) and until 1932 was covered in thick glacial ice. Then the glacier started to retreat, and nowadays more than 300 feet (100 m) of ice breaks away each year to reshape the lagoon and fill it with spectacular icebergs.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The lagoon is open to the sea and so contains a mixture of salt and freshwater, giving it a unique blue-green color. There are hundreds of seals here in the winter and the lagoon supports many species of fish including krill, herring, trout and, occasionally, salmon.

3. Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss is actually two separate waterfalls, the upper one has a drop of 11 metres and the lower one 21 metres. The rock of the river bed was formed during an interglacial period.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Water flows over Gullfoss at an average rate of 109 cubic metres per second. The heaviest floods have recorded a flow of 2000 cubic metres per second. During the summer the flow is 130 cubic metres per second, which would take only 3 seconds to fill this building. People were eager to exploit the power potential of Gullfoss and many plans for hydroelectric developments on the river Hvítá have been proposed.

Check the article call "Iceland's favorite Waterfalls"

4. The great Geysir

One of the greatest natural attractions of Iceland and part of the famous "Golden Circle Tour", The Great Geysir, or Stori-Geysir, has been dormant since 1916 when it suddenly ceased to spout. It came to life only once in 1935, and as quickly went back to sleep. Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tons of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located. What is known is that it spouted regularly every third hour or so up to the beginning of the 19th century and thereafter progressively at much longer intervals until it completely stopped in 1916. Whether its silence is eternal or temporary no one knows. When it was alive and shooting, it could thunderously blast a spectacular jet of superheated water and steam into the air as high as 60 to 80 meters according to different sources. Its opening is 18 meters wide and its chamber 20 meters deep.

One reason for cessation is believed to be the accumulated rocks and foreign objects thrown into it by thousands of tourists throughout the years. Though definitely damaging, this however could not be the only reason for its dormancy. The Great Geysir was among the most notable geysers in the world, such as those in Yellowstone Park, New Zealand and North Iceland. The English word "geyser" is derived from the Icelandic word "geysir" which means gusher. Though the Great Geysir itself is now more or less inactive, the area surrounding it is geothermically very active with many smaller hot springs.

The attraction of the area is now Strokkur (The Churn), another geyser 100 meters south of the Great Geysir, which erupts at regular intervals every 10 minutes or so and its white column of boiling water can reach as high as 30 meters. The whole area is a geothermal park sitting on top of a vast boiling cauldron. Belching sulphurous mud pots of unusual colors, hissing steam vents, hot and cold springs, warm streams, and primitive plants can all be found here.


A short distance away to the west stands the small Laugarfjall Mountain with a panoramic view overlooking the Geysir area. King Christian IX of Denmark visited the area in 1874 and by the foot of the mountain are the rocks where he leaned while his hosts tried to impress and amuse him by boiling eggs in the hot springs. The rocks are now called Konungssteinar ("The King's Stones").

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

5. Eyjafjallajokull Glacier 

Eyjafjallajökull is one of the smaller ice caps of Iceland, situated to the north of Skógar and to the west of Mýrdalsjökull. The ice cap covers the caldera of a volcano with a summit elevation of 1,651 metres (5,417 ft).

It derives its name from the Island Archipelago off the south coast, The Vestman Islands. This mountain massif is actually the result of continuous eruptions during thousands of years and a vast crater on top has probably been active a few times during historic times of this country. The only documented eruptions took place in 920, 1612, which was seen all the way to the northern part of the country, and during the period 1821-23. The latter two eruptions caused at least damage to property by glacier bursts (floods) and ash fall.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The latter caused a three hours’ flood, covering the wide valley floor north of the mountain.  Before and around the turn of the last century, an increased earthquake activity and escaping gasses were watched closely.  This volcano, and many others, is within the most active 50 miles wide zone of the country.

The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period, most recently in 2010.

The icecap on top is the sixth largest of the country, and is relatively easily accessible from the mountain saddle Fimmvorduhals, the farms Seljavellir and Mork, and from the north at Stakkolt and Langanes. Nowadays it is not considered a great deed or too much of an adventure to conquer the glaciers in specially equipped and modified jeeps or other vehicles.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Two aircraft have crashed on the icecap. In 1952 an American rescue plane, with five on board, went down and only one body was found on location. The other four obviously had survived and walked away, not to be found during the next few years. Twelve years later, another body was found and a wedding ring of another. The glacier tongue delivered the remaining three bodies in the summer of 1966.  Scrap and pieces from the plane have been appearing gradually in and by the sides of the glacier.  In 1975, an American couple crashed and lost their lives.

6. The Vatnajókull region

In the magnificent nature of the Vatnajokull Region, everyone can find enjoyable recreation. There are options for adventure trips as well as relaxing trips; for summer as well as winter; for children as well as the elderly and everything in between. Tourists in the Vatnajokull Region can choose from a variety of activities, scenic views, historical sites and points of interest.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

You can choose from a variety of outdoor activities such as golf, bird watching, fishing, horseback riding, boat tours,  kayak tours, mountaineering, trekking, ice climb, glacier walk, kayak tours, boat tours, snowmobile tours, super jeep tours or ATV tours.

Visit the Thorbergur Center of Culture or the Art gallery in Höfn. Take a swim in the geothermal-heated swimming pool in the town of Höfn or relax in the geothermal hot tubs in Hoffell. Here below you can search for options based on type or location.

7. Westman Islands

Westman Islands is one of the best kept secrets in Iceland and you haven't seen Iceland until you have visited Westman Islands. Westman Islands is one of the wonders of nature, surrounded by mountains, islands, volcanoes and seabirds. Westman Islands also has one of the most beautiful and extraordinary 18 hole golf course in the world.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

A common mistake that visitors make when coming to Westman Islands is that they stop for one day. We haven't met a tourist yet that didn't want to stay longer so our advise to you is, spend at least two days and then you might be able to experience all the great things about Westman Islands.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The island is surrounded by rocky mountains, volcano and 14 other small islands which are all in different size and shape. In Westman Island you can find one of the most beautiful and extraordinary golf course in the world, if you like golf you can't let this one pass you by. To enjoy what the island has to offer, we recommend that you take a guided tour around the island and you should take the boat tour, that is truly a spectacular experience where you sail around the islands, into caves, by other small islands/skerries and experience the buzzing birdlife that is in Westman Islands and who knows maybe you will see a flock of killer whales swimming by. Furthermore we recommend that you take a hike :) and walk to Skansinn, Eldfell, Hamar or just walk up the next mountain, you can also rent a scooter if you want to cover more ground.

8. Landmannalaugar

The Landmannalaugar area is a popular tourist destination and hiking hub in Iceland's highlands. The area displays a number of unusual geological elements, like the multicolored rhyolite mountains and expansive lava fields, not far from the service center. The many mountains in the surrounding area display a wide spectrum of colors including pink, brown, green, yellow, blue, purple, black, and white. Two of the most popular mountains among hikers are Bláhnjúkur (meaning "blue peak") and Brennisteinsalda (meaning "sulphur wave").

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Tourists visit the area from June through late September, after which time the road is closed. A mountain lodge, in operation since 1951, can accommodate 78 people and has basic amenities. It is located centrally near natural geothermal hot springs, also popular with tourists.

Check our article about Landmannalaugar

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

9. Climbing Hekla
Trip Difficulty 3 out of 5 possible

Mt. Hekla is undeniably Iceland’s most famous mountain. It is the second most active volcano in Iceland and has erupted frequently in historic times. Last eruption occurred in February 2000. The mountain towers over South Iceland at roughly 1500 meters. The height changes due to movements of the earth crusts and seismic movements. For hundreds of years the mountain was believed to be the gateway to hell and no one dared climbing it. Until, Eggert Ólafsson, a famous Icelandic biologist, decided to throw caution to the wind and succeeded in summiting the mountain in the summer of 1750.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Since then hiking to the top of Mt. Hekla has become a popular route. The terrain is rough lava fields and then ice and snow as we get closer to the peak. It usually takes 3-4 hours to get to the top and there you´ll get your reward. The view from the top of Mt. Hekla is wide and beautiful; you can see all of Fjallabak mountains, up to Vatnajökull glacier (Europe’s biggest glacier) not to mention all the evidence of recent and longstanding volcanic activity.

10. Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey is located at latitude 63° 27 N and longitude 19° 06 W. The Icelandic name ending on -ey might indicate that it is an island, which it is not; its a promontory, reaching out into the ocean. It is thought to have been created during a submarine volcanic eruption approximately 80 thousand years ago.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The eruption, which formed Dyrhólaey and the pillars around it (originally parts of it), presumably took place in the same way as other submarine and subglacial eruptions. In the beginning, a major tephra eruption took place and later, when the crater reached the surface of the sea, the lava started to flow and thus ensured its existence. Dyrhólaey is a promontory reaching out into the ocean on the south coast of Iceland. It is the southernmost part of the country and is around 120 m high. Off Dyrhólaey, there are rock pillars, that are unique natural formations.

The roaring Atlantic and its foamy waves wash the black sands at the foot of Dyrhólaey. From there you can enjoy the sight of the varied and fantastic scenery of the Mýrdalur valley, fresh green fields and pastures. Above them, moors and tuff mountains of different shapes, and the mountains of the highland pastures, high and awesome, cut by deep ravines and gorges. Behind them, the white glacier reaches a height of almost 1450 m.

To the west the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago is clearly visible, when visibility is good, and also the mountains Eyjafjöll and the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Not far off the coast to the west of Dyrhólaey is the Kamburinn, much further out and more to the west is the stack Máfadrangur, where the Gannet colonized a few decades ago.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

To the south of the promontory is the stack Lundadrangur with a sizable cave, into which you can go by boat, when the weather is nice and the ocean is calm. To the east is the sheer stack Háidrangur (56 m), which the daredevil Eldeyjar-Hjalti was the first human to climb in 1893, as far as we know. The southernmost part of Dyrhólaey reaching into the sea is called Tóin, and there is the famous opening, which gives it its name Portland in English.. The surroundings are all amazingly beautiful and ever-changing from different viewpoints. A very rich birdlife can be enjoyed, and inquisitive seals are seldom far away.

Few places in the country offer better opportunities for enthusiastic birdwatchers than Dyrhólaey. The various species of seabirds are most prominent in the promontory itself, and not least in the stacks. On some days the rock walls of the promontory and the stacks are almost covered with seabirds.

11. Katla Geopark

Katla Geopark includes geological features of global significance. Over 150 volcanic eruptions have been recorded in the area since the 9th century. The eruptions created the landscape and influenced where people settled. Through the centuries, man and nature have affected the region’s history. The area is constantly changing due to the volcanic activity.

A geopark is defined as a territory, which includes a particular geological heritage and a sustainable territorial development strategy to promote development. It must have clearly defined boundaries and sufficient surface area for true territorial economic development.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The Geopark covers about 9% of Iceland, 9542 km2, and follows the borders of three municipalities, Skaftárhreppur, Mýrdalshreppur and Rangárþing eystra. About 2700 people live within the Geopark. GeologyIceland lies astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where tectonic plates move apart from each other, causing a rift zone.  A mantle plume exists below the country, centred beneath Vatnajökull ice cap. In South Iceland the interaction of the rift zone and the mantle plume results in complex and diverse volcanic activity. Volcanic activity and its widespread effect on the area’s nature and landscape make Katla Geopark very special.

The Geopark is in the most volcanically active area of Iceland, and the volcanic systems at Eyjafjallajökull, Katla, and Grímsvötn are particularly active. The region is characterised by central volcanoes, eruptive craters and fissures, rootless cones, lava fields, table mountains (tuyas), and hyaloclastite ridges which trend SW-NE, like the rift zone.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

Ice caps are prominent in the landscape, topping the highest volcanoes. Outlet glaciers and glacial rivers flow from them and glacial landforms, e.g. moraines and ice-dammed lakes, occur in the area. Large floods, usually glacier outbursts associated with subglacial eruptions, have formed outwash plains in the lowlands. The oldest bedrock in the area is about 2.5 million years old, and can be found at the base of Lómagnúpur, an old sea-cliff (671 m). Other interesting features in the Geopark are fossil-bearing xenoliths, and tephra layers which are useful for dating (tephrochronology).

12. Skaftafell National Park

The second national park, Skaftafell, established in 1967 (400-500 square kilometres), contains some of the most precious natural pearls of  the country. The rugged landscapes, mountains and glaciers, the flora and the fauna have a magnetic influence on the visitors.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

In 1984, it was increased in area (1736 square kilometres) including a considerable part of Glacier Vatnajokull. In November 2004 the area of the park was still increased to 4,807 square kilometres.  It now comprises the Laki Area as well as about half of Euorpe's largest icecap, Vatnajokull. There are no roads in the park, but a network of trails offers the opportunity for differently extended hikes. The camping grounds are large but it is difficult to hammer the tent pegs into the gravel surface. Among the services rendered in the park are toilets, washing machines, a restaurant, a small shop and a very interesting Visitors Centre.

South Iceland complete Travel Guide

The park wardens offer regular guided walking tours and daily bus tours tours from the park to the volcanic Laki area and Jokulsarlon as well as the daily schedule. A comprehensive brochure with maps and  hiking trails is available at the Visitors' Centre. The distance from the capital is about 340 km.

Guðrún, February 2015
Iceland24