Wednesday, 24 May 2017

When do mountain roads open? - F-Roads in Iceland

Iceland is such a beautiful country full of hidden pearls and quite perfect to go around by car. You can discover beautiful villages, the burning and remote areas of the north and the icy and cold glaciers of the southeast. But not all of these places are easy to get to, some of them are only reachable by mountain roads that have certain opening schedules, so you may be asking yourself When do mountain roads open?

When do mountain roads open? - Travel to Iceland

It is important to know what a mountain road is and where they are located. Iceland is divided into several different regions, one of them is known as hálendið or “The Highlands”. This area covers most of the island’s interior and it is full of glaciers, rugged mountains and hot springs surrounded by crazy rock formations. It is situated at 400-500 meters above the sea level and it is basically a volcanic inhabited area.

Roads crossing this area are known as “mountain roads”. You can differentiate them from other roads by their name “F-roads”. Any sign showing an F + number would be a mountain road. ex. F735. To drive through an F-road, a 4x4 vehicle is required. Sometimes even having a 4x4 is not enough, an experienced driver and a local expert is more than advisable as well, as some of these roads require river fording and risky driving. That is why asking When do mountain roads open? is important as conditions may affect your driving experience.

When do mountain roads open? - Travel to Iceland

When do mountain roads open?

In this article we are providing information on approximate opening dates of F-roads in the Highlands. Have a look at the table above (source: road.is), which collects the opening dates of the previous years.

On what factors does their opening depend?

F-roads can be crossed only during the Icelandic summer season, which in the Highlands it only lasts one month. The climate in this area is very unstable and it is changing constantly, snow usually covers these roads until the very begging of the summer. Answering the question of When do mountain roads open? is not as easy as it may seems as opening times highly depends on whether conditions that vary greatly from year to year.

When do mountain roads open? - Travel to Iceland

The fact that the Icelandic Public Roads administration has authorized the opening of an F-road; it does not mean that it is now as easy to drive as any non f-road. After ice melting, the surface may remain wet and slippery and caution is still required. Some roads will not be opened at all if the traffic in the area is not secure and the weather conditions do not allow it.

For those who are renting a vehicle, it is important to check with your rental company if their vehicles are allowed to go through F-roads. Bear in mind not many insurances companies cover damages for getting the underside of the vehicle wet due to river crossing or any other “hazardous” driving behaviors. To avoid any unpleasant situation, we recommend you in this When do mountain roads open? article to always read through the Terms and conditions of your rental agreement.

When do mountain roads open? - Travel to Iceland

How do I know which mountain roads are open? Keep yourself updated!

Do not underestimate nature forces, please be wary and always check the road and weather conditions before starting getting on your way. You can do so by checking:

http://www.road.is
http://en.vedur.is/

If you want to enjoy the wildest side of nature of Iceland please remember, it is better to be safe than sorry!

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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

This is the Part Two of the trip. Don't miss the Part One! Click here.

From Hvammstangi, you can go around the peninsula Vatnsnes and visit the beautiful Hvitserkur rocks; we recommend you stay the night!

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

Now you have gone two-thirds of the way between the Icelandic capital Reykjavík and Akureyri. Blönduós is on your way along road number one. Blönduós is a small town in the Bay of Húnaflói that lives mainly from agriculture, the fishing industry, and tourism. There you will find all the services you need - shops, a hospital, a sports and cultural center, a swimming pool, a camping site, a hotel, cafes and restaurants and even a golf course. Travelers can also discover a craft museum, a textile museum and an exhibition that will teach you everything about Arctic ice and glaciers

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

The city itself is near the glacial river, Bland originating from the glacier Hofsjökull and you can take a trip to the Bay of Húnaflói. Overlooking the town, you can also see the amazing architecture of the Church in Blönduós, which resembles a volcano crater. The church, designed by Maggi Jónsson, is open daily for tours, from mid-June to mid-August.

Blönduós and its surrounding area are fantastic for anglers since they have the best rivers for trout and salmon fishing. We advise you to get the proper information about what type of fishing permit you require in Blönduós because for some rich, popular rivers; the prices are astronomical. See this website for more information.

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

About twenty kilometers from Blönduós on Route 715 in the Víðidalur Valley is the Kolugljúfur canyon and the waterfall Kolufoss that accompanies it. In such a beautiful area, we recommend to enjoy the best view, stand on the bridge that crosses the river Víðidalsá. This river is rich in salmon and attracts anglers from around the world.

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

Further along, the road number one is the city of Kolugljúfur in the fjord Skagafjörður, a frequent stop for those who want a bite to eat or to stretch their legs. Kolugljúfur is the last town before Akureyri, and you will find some particular shops, a petrol station, a post office, and of course a public swimming pool. If you want to take a walk, the way to the highest point of the hill Reykjarhóll is fun, and it's one of the few times trees will surround you in Iceland. The tourist office will direct you if you want to go sightseeing in the area, and activities are numerous from hiking to horseback riding. The region is known for rafting, and central Bakkaflöt further in the valley, will delight the young and the old; you can also spend the night.

Trip Report between Reykjavik and Akureyri. Iceland on the road!

Soon you will meet the neck of Öxnadalsheiði (take caution when traveling there in winter). Half an hour before arriving at Akureyri, stop by the pleasantly warm bath at Þelamörk. A little over 400 kilometers have led you to the northern capital of Akureyri, where many surprises await you.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

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

MOTORHOMELAND
www.motorhomeland.com
Camper 2 DIESEL  (2 persons)                    735 EUR / 923 USD
Camper 4 DIESEL (4 persons)                     1.390 EUR / 1.726 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

CAMPERS REYKJAVÍK
www.campersreykjavik.com
Camper NV200 Diesel (2 persons)                  989 EUR / 1.108 USD
Camper Trafic High Roof (4 persons)             1.330 EUR / 1.491 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). You always need permission of the land owner (in most cases the next farmer). The best thing to avoid the problem is to use campsites.
  4. In a camper van you can go 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

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

There are dozens of guided walks in Reykjavik. Even though it is easy to explore the city on your own, a walk with a local guide can be a great experience! Here are some of our favourite walks.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik Music Walk

The "Reykjavik Music" promenade is a guided tour that will help you (re) discover the pop and rock scene of the Icelandic capital; during the hour and a half tour, you will be taken to venues where Icelandic musicians like to play or meet. The visit is led by the Icelandic journalist and specialist Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen. It commences at 11:30 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (or only on Wednesdays in winter) at the Harpa Convention Centre and Music Hall. The tour is free, but tips are appreciated.

More information here.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

Haunted Reykjavik

This one-and-a-half-hour spooky tour will take you to Reykjavik’s most famous haunted sites, where you will learn about Icelandic folklore and the ghosts that can be found in the Icelandic capital. Historian Óli Kári Ólason will guide you on this tour that covers around 2.5 kilometres. The tour is only available from June to September and you can find your guide at 8 pm every day (except on Friday) in front of "Restaurant Reykjavik", opposite the tourist office on the corner of Aðalstræti and Vesturgata.

You can have some more info here.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

City sightseeing running tour

If you would like to do some sightseeing, whilst also keeping fit, you can take part in a city running tour with a guide. The tour takes place every Friday morning at 8 am (weather permitting) and lasts for an hour or an hour and a half. You will discover the most interesting and scenic places of the Icelandic capital. Your guide will also give you tips on places to visit, restaurants to try and shops not to be missed! Hotel pick-ups can be arranged.

Click for more info here.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

I heart RKV tour

Audur's blog, I ♥ RKV, is a great source for anyone looking for information about the capital, or Iceland in general. You can find unique and interesting tours and activities on the websites, led by very enthusiastic guides that aim to make you love their home city and country, as much as they do.

More info here.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

City walk & Walk the Crash

The famous two-hour walking tour focuses on the history of Iceland, the evolution of Reykjavik as a town and Icelandic culture in general, laid out in an informative and comic way by English speaking Icelanders with history majors. This tour has no fixed price, instead it runs on the great Free Walking Tour model, where the participant decides what to pay at the end of the tour.

Top 5 guided tours in Reykjavik - What to do in Reykjavik

Th financial history tour takes you through the causes and consequences of the collapse of the banking system in 2008. Magnús, an economic historian and expert in Icelandic financial history, will show you some of the sights of the “financial miracle” of Iceland and the bank crash of 2008-9. Learn how and why Reykjavik aspired to become a global financial centre, why the banks collapsed and why Iceland put bankers behind bars! This tours costs 3500ISK and runs 1-2 times per week during winter, private tours can also be requested.

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

7 Social rules for your visit to Iceland

On entering a person's home in Iceland, you must always remove your shoes and leave them in the hallway. This rule applies to some public buildings i.e. medical centres, hospitals, schools; most will provide blue plastic shoe covers on entering the building. This respectable habit links to the weather; leaving your shoes on inside the house means you put snow and mud/sand in the house. There is one exception, and that is when you are wearing fancy shoes to a house party, the host may allow you to leave your shoes on - always ask first to make sure!

7 Social rules for your visit to Iceland

In Iceland people always shower naked with soap at the local swimming pool before entering the pool area. Icelanders are quite strict about personal hygiene and so taking a shower without swimwear is quite natural and commonplace at pools in Iceland. The men and women's shower rooms are separate, and for anyone feeling uncomfortable about getting naked in a public place, there is usually a shower with a curtain in most pools.

7 Social rules for your visit to Iceland

When meeting and greeting people for the first time in Iceland, shake their hand and address them by their first name. Icelanders use their father's first name as their surname and so for example, if you encounter Ragnar Þórsson (son of Ragnar Þór) do not address him using "Mr Þórsson," just say "Ragnar" even if Ragnar is a priest, a teacher or a doctor.

At the end of a meal or snack in an Icelandic person home, it is customary to thank the host saying "takk fyrir mig" (literally, "thank you for me"). If you meet that person the next day or a few days later, it is polite to thank them again saying "takk fyrir siðast" (literally meaning "thank you for the last time").

7 Social rules for your visit to Iceland

Iceland is an egalitarian and individualistic society, and ethics and unwritten rules between the sexes are not the same as in other parts of Europe, for example, do not expect a man to hold the door open for you ladies, or to pay the whole bill at a restaurant after a romantic evening out.

Icelanders are a nation of workers, and they appreciate conversations with visitors around work and occupation. There could be a possible misunderstanding if you speak positively about your unemployed status or early retirement. As for most Icelanders, they wish to work for as many years as they can in the hope of exceeding retirement age.

7 Social rules for your visit to Iceland

The family is very important in Iceland, and having children young is not a problem neither is changing partners during your lifetime. Stepfamilies are common and accepted in Icelandic society, with the whole extended family working well together and treating the stepchildren as their own. It’s rare that an Icelandic woman has her first child after 30 years of age. If you are a man or woman, and you don’t wish to have children, it will come as a surprise to your Icelandic contacts and friends.

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Sunday, 14 May 2017

What to do between Reykjavík and Akureyri? Travel Guide

Just a twenty minutes drive from Reykjavik city center; Mosfellsbær is a charming little town that offers beautiful walks and hikes. Mosfellsbær is also the place where the group Sigur Rós have their famous recording studio, Sundlaugin; an old swimming pool that the band converted into a studio in 1999. Since 2008, the studio is open to all those musicians who wish to record music album.

What to do between Reykjavík and Akureyri? Travel Guide

When in Mosfellsbær you can also visit Gljúfrasteinn, the home of writer Halldór Laxness; who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1955, his work has been published in over 43 languages. The house is still the same since the Laxness family lived there. In summer, tours take place from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m., then 10:00 to 4:00 p.m during the week in winter. . However, if you travel in a group, you can arrange a visit by appointment. A visit to Gljúfrasteinn costs 800Kr.

Just after Mosfellsbær is Mount Esja (you’ve probably seen it from Harpa, Reykjavik) is a chain of popular mountains for hikers and climbers. There are several marked hiking trails; the best-known trails are Þverfellshorn and Kerhólakambur leading you up the mountain 780 and 851 meters high.

What to do between Reykjavík and Akureyri? Travel Guide

Continuing on your way to the northwest, you can make a detour of several kilometers and see the town of Akranes, home to 6650 people. The cultural centre and museum Garðar are well-worth a visit if you are interested in the Icelandic way of life from the nineteenth and twentieth century. If you prefer more leisure activities, or you have children with you, a trip to the pool Jaðarsbakki or to the Garðalundur recreational park will be enjoyed by everyone. Akranes is famous for its two lighthouses that can be seen near the port; very impressive viewing points especially for photographers, and it is possible to visit a photography exhibition at the largest lighthouse.

What to do between Reykjavík and Akureyri? Travel Guide

Located 75 kilometers from Reykjavik, Borgarnes has 2,000 inhabitants and offers many activities for those who visit, especially in the summer season. For a delicious and hearty breakfast try out the bakery Geirabakarí. For some exercise, you can walk in the Skallagrímsgarður Park, go hiking in Einkunnir or climb the mountain Hafnarfjall. You can also visit the bird exhibition and see photography at the Borgarfjörður museum or go for a swim or relax in the hotpot at the public Borgarnes swimming pool. If you wish to occupy younger children in a fun way, you can visit the Bjössaróló playground or visit the puppets centre Brúðuheimar. The Borgarnes colonization museum offers two permanent exhibitions: based on two books, one on the saga of Egill, "The Icelandic Book" and the other on colonization, "The Book of colonization."

What to do between Reykjavík and Akureyri? Travel Guide

Following on further north, just after Bifröst at the edge of the number one road, you will find a small car park that will take you to the Grabrok crater; the walk to the crater takes less than half an hour and when you get there you can enjoy the magnificent view of the surrounding landscape. Further along, a detour of several kilometers takes you into the village Hvammstangi. 580 people live there today, living mainly from fishing and tourism; visit the local museum to learn more about the history of Hvammstangi. Hvammstangi is best known for hosting the largest textile factory in Iceland, Kidka, and is also renowned for the seals that often run along its coastline. You can visit the seal museum that provides in-depth information about this mammal, or you can take a seal watching boat trip.

To be continued in Part II...

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