Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Sprengisandur: Route F26 or Sprengisandsleið - Iceland

Route F26 or Sprengisandsleið is a highland gravel road in Iceland, running through the Sprengisandur area between the glaciers Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.With its 200 km, it is the longest of the Icelandic highland roads. Its southern end is at the lake Þórisvatn, to the northeast of the volcano Hekla, and its northern end is the lower part of the valley of the river Skjálfandafljót, to the southwest of lake Mývatn.


Featuring the most desolate terrain found in Iceland, Sprengisandur is the bleak highland desert east between Hofsjökull – the rounded icecap marking Iceland’s geographical centre – and Vatnajökull’s northwestern front.


In earlier times, when people were more superstitious than they are nowadays and believed in ghosts, giants, elves and outlaws, the few who dared use this route rode as fast as possible through and sometimes exhausted their horses. The word for to exhaust in Icelandic is "sprengja", hence the name of the area.


Although providing something of a corridor in Viking times between Iceland’s northeastern settlements and the summer parliament at Þingvellir, crossing Sprengisandur was always a tough journey, the desert flooded in spring with melting snow and ice, yet too dry in summer to provide any grazing for horses. Indeed, most travellers preferred to take much longer coastal roads, and Sprengisandur was eventually abandoned as a route during the thirteenth century.


Traversed today by the F26, which begins northeast of Hekla and runs some 244km to the Ringroad at Goðafoss, the Sprengisandur route remains a challenging one, whose unbridged rivers and stark scenery provide an insight into medieval Iceland’s harsh living conditions. Sprengisandur’s southern gateway is marked by Hekla, north of which is the desolate, icy plateau between Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull.

The enduring image here is of nothingness: the glaciers and mountains that fringe the horizon seem a long way off, and the space in between is filled with mile after mile of grey sand, stones and rocks that have lain untouched for thousands of years.


PLANNING A TRIP

Exploring the Area

Hrauneyjar Highland Center, a year-round highland oasis at the southern terminus of the Sprengisandur Route, has two hotels and restaurants, an information desk, and the last gas station for the next 240km (149 miles). A trail map of the surrounding area is available at reception.

As a base, Hrauneyjar is best for travelers with their own 4WD transport. The Highland Center organizes tours only for groups, and the best local destinations -- such as Veiðivötn lakes, or the lovely Dynkur, a waterfall on the Þjórsá river -- are inaccessible to regular cars.


Veidivötn. Trout fishermen are particularly drawn to this idyllic and peaceful cluster of fifty volcanic crater lakes, located close to Landmannalaugar but accessed through Hrauneyjar on Route F228.


Fishing permits (2,000kr/day/$32/£16) and sleeping-bag accommodation (2,500kr/$40/£20 per person) in four bunk-style cottages are handled by Landmannahellir (tel. 893-8407; www.landmannahellir.is).


Nýidalur. An overnight stay at this remote desert outpost, combined with a day hike east to Vonarskarð pass, makes for a memorable episode along the Sprengisandur Route. Nýidalur is right on Route F26, about 100km (62 miles) from Hrauneyjar and 20km (12 miles) from the northwest corner of Vatnajökull.

Vonarskarð forms a dramatic saddle between Vatnajökull and the small glacier Tungnafellsjökull, and the hiking route skirts some restless geothermal fields. Sudden releases of glacial meltwater can make stream crossings difficult, so speak to the warden before setting out. Those just passing through Nýidalur can still take the short easy hike east to a nearby hill with panoramic views.


By Car

With its rough surfaces and hazardous river fords, Route F26 is only for rugged 4WD vehicles with good clearance. The road's opening date varies, but usually falls at the end of June. The Public Roads Administration (tel. 354-1777; www.vegag.is; May-Oct 8am-4pm; Nov-Apr 8am-5pm) continually monitors road conditions.

It is the longest stretch between the South and the North and is only passable by 4wd vehicles during summer. The obstacles enroute are rivers, which have to be forded and the water can be up to 1 meter or more (specially it's the 1 river crossing 5 km before you reach Nýidalur). For a person that is not an experienced off-road driver, anything smaller than Land Rover/Toyota Land Cruiser is not recommended at all.


They swell when it is warm, the glacial meltwater increases and when it also rains they become dangerous. The scenic beauty makes this route unforgettable.

Warning: Gas is not available on Route F26, and the gas stations at Hrauneyjar and Goðafoss are 240km (149 miles) apart (Unprepared drivers are often seen begging for fuel at Nýidalur).

Hiking

This part of the Interior offers a great variety of possibilities for short or long hikes. In most cases it depends on the individual traveller to decide which hillock or mountain is the best vantage point, or how far to go into the wilderness.

Long hikes require good planning, preparations, and physical fitness. The psychology has to be considered as well.


Sometimes the vast, barren landscapes, and the solitude overwhelme hikers, who are travelling alone and do not meet a soul for days on end.

By Bus

Reykjavík Excursions (tel. 562-1011; www.re.is) connects Landmannalaugar and lake Mývatn via the Sprengisandur Route from July 1 to August 24.

Departures from Mývatn are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30am, and departures from Landmannalaugar are Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, also at 8:30am.

The full one-way trip lasts 10 hours and costs 8,000kr ($128/£64), with stops at Hrauneyjar, Nýidalur, and Skútustaðir, plus sightseeing breaks at the Aldeyjarfoss and Goðafoss waterfalls.

Passengers taking the bus from Mývatn to Landmannalaugar must wait until the following day for connections to Reykjavík and elsewhere.


Where to sleep

Hotel Highland (Rte. 26, Hrauneyjar, In the area). Tel. +354 487-7750.

Walking into this high-end hotel and restaurant is a surreal transition from the wild and remote landscape outside. The Highland was a farm accommodation as recently as 2005, and some rooms are still transitioning design-wise, but you won't suffer for sheets with an insufficient thread count.

- Hrauneyjar Highland Center (Rte. 26, Hrauneyjar, In the area). Tel. +354 487-7782.

This hotel is adjoined to Hrauneyjar's gas station and information desk, and the Reykjavík Excursions bus through Sprengisandur stops here. The rooms are spartan but comfortable, and, if you've just come through the desert interior, the whole place is Shangri-La. Confusingly, 17 of the rooms -- which share a guest kitchen -- and the four apartments are located next to Hotel Highland but classified with the Highland Center.


Visitor Information

No specific tourist information office is assigned to the Sprengisandur Route, but regional offices in Hveragerði, Varmahlíð, Akureyri, and Mývatn can provide help.


The Hrauneyjar Highland Center (tel. 487-7782; www.hrauneyjar.is) is a useful resource, and the warden at Nýidalur (tel. 854-1194; July-Aug) -- while not responsible for helping non-guests -- is usually happy to answer questions.

Johanna & Sindri, Iceland24
April 2015

Sunday, 19 April 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. 

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

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


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

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. 


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

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.


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

-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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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/

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

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2015 Iceland24

Friday, 17 April 2015

Fishing in Iceland

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is home to some of the best Atlantic salmon and game fishing in the world. In 2008 it had its best salmon fishing season for many years.

Fishing in Iceland

With crystal-clear, well-managed rivers and breathtaking scenery, it is no surprise that for generations, anglers have come to (and subsequently fallen in love with) Iceland. Fishing for salmon, sea trout, trout and Arctic char under the midnight sun is an experience no angler will ever forget.

Fishing in Iceland

The island landscape varies from barren lava fields and glacial plateaus to verdant farmland and provides a wealth of non-fishing activites for the family to enjoy whilst you fish.

Fishing in Iceland

Iceland is only a three hour flight from the UK and five hours from the East Coast of America with several airlines providing plenty of options.

About Icelandic rivers  

HISTORY

People have been fishing for salmon in Iceland since the Dark Ages. In those days most of the fishing was done by dragnets, but no one can say for sure whether rod and line was used also.

In the late 1800s the landed gentry of the UK started to arrive and fish for salmon, primarily in the south and west areas of the island. A few even purchased the riparian rights to the fishing.

Fishing in Iceland

This traffic petered out after the Great War and did not reach the same numbers until the 1960s when Iceland again became a mecca for anglers, this time from America and now more recently from Europe.

CLEAR WATERS

One of the beauties of fishing in Iceland is the clarity of the water. Many rivers run gin-clear and on many of the smaller streams it is possible to perch on the bank and watch salmon in their environment.

Fishing in Iceland

This not only allows the angler to get a better understanding of where salmon lie and why, but also gives anglers fishing in a group an opportunity to try "sight" fishing for salmon where a partner on the bank can direct the angler as to where and when to cast his fly. A popular method of doing this is to skate riffle hitched flies and micro-tubes across the surface and watch the salmon follow and take this fly in an explosion of water.

RIVER TYPES

Whilst most of the rivers in Iceland hold naturally occuring salmon a few such as the East and West Ranga are supplemented by a smolt rearing and release programme. These programmes have turned some of the minor salmon rivers into rivers to be reckoned with. The East and West Ranga for instance accounted for over 21,000 salmon in the 2008 season.

Fishing in Iceland

BOOKINGS

Fishing in Iceland is either sold as 'whole day' permits or the permits are sold using the term 'afternoon to noon' (sometimes called 'noon to noon', but meaning the same).

Fishing in Iceland

With 'whole day' permits, fishing simply starts in the morning of the first day purchased and terminates in the evening of the last day purchased. However, with 'afternoon to noon' permits the fishing starts in the afternoon of the first day purchased and terminates at 12:00 noon on the day after the last day purchased.

Information about the fishing

Fishpal is able to provide salmon beats and trout fishing enabling an increasing number of people to enjoy this wonderful sport.

Fishing in Iceland

You can read about each river, see its current fishing availability and book fishing permits online or by telephone.

Check in this website: http://www.fishpal.com

Johanna, Iceland24
April 2015

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hiking routes in Skaftafell National Park Iceland

Following are suggestions for a few of the more popular hiking routes in Skaftafell. Whenever possible the suggestion is a circular route. Please note that these are only suggestions; in most cases it is possible to use alternative paths, return the same way, do a reverse circle etc. Also note that distance and walking times are for reference only.


Hiking maps for Skaftafell are available in visitor centres, information offices and from park rangers. You can also use the ones here on the right; click on each picture for enlarged version.


Skaftafellsjökull (Skaftafell glacier) 
Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 1½ hrs. 
Route difficulty: 1 (easy) 

A paved path goes from Skaftafell Visitor Centre towards Skaftafell glacier. From the end of the paved section a gravel path leads to a point where there is a good view towards this impressive outlet glacier and its roots in Vatnajökull ice cap.

After enjoying the view you should walk back the same gravel path and then take another gravel path on the left which will lead you to Skaftafell Visitor Centre.


Svartifoss ('Black waterfall') 
Distance: 2 km (4 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 2 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 1 (easy) 

After walking 250 meters from the visitor centre through the campsite take you slightly upwards into the mountain heath in Skaftafell (elevation is 140 meters in 1.5 kilometers). From that point the path will take you down into the ravine below the waterfall).


After enjoying the waterfall and its surroundings you should walk up the basalt column steps on the other side of the ravine and follow that path all the way down to the campsite via Lambhagi. When visibility is good It is recommended to do a little extra loop to the viewpoint at Sjónarnípa on the way down.


Kristínartindar ('Kristín's mountain peaks') 
Distance: 16 km 
Walking time: 7 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 3 (difficult) 

The route to Kristínartindar goes from Skaftafell Visitor Centre through the campsite and up into the mountain heath as if you were going to Svartifoss. It is possible to go all the way to Svartifoss and then head on to Sjónarsker, but the shortest way is to cross the river on the walking bridge next to Magnúsarfoss and from there head to Sjónarsker. From Sjónarsker the path goes all the way towards Kristínartindar. When arriving at the foot of Kristínartindar you have two options.

The easy one is to walk the path around the mountain peaks where you will come onto the walking route again. The other option is to walk the path that goes through the rock scree all the way to the top of the mountain. For that hike it is strongly recommended that you have good boots and trekking poles. To go down you return the same way as you came up, with the exception of that when you arrive at the shoulder between the mountain peaks you take the path that goes to the left.

That path will take down towards Gláma where the paths meet again. From Gláma the path takes you down to Sjónarnípa and then onwards to the visitor centre/camp site via Austurbrekkur.


Sjónarnípa (a viewpoint) 
Distance: 3,5 km (6,5 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 2 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging) 

From the camp site walk up towards Svartifoss. Skip the first signpost for Sjónarnípa. After 450 meters another 'Sjónarnípa signpost' appears. Choose that path towards Sjónarnípa. Then continue back towards the camp site via Austurbrekkur. Even better option is to skip the second signpost also and choose the third one which is located right before Svartifoss.


Morsárjökull (Morsá glacier) 
Distance: 10 km (20 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 6 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging) 

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull and the glacial lagoon in front of it. On the return you take the same path towards Grjóthóll and continue across the walking bridge on Morsá river.

You then continue on the trail next to the river all the way down to another walking bridge by Götugil. Walk over the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site.


Bæjarstaðarskógur ('Farmstead woods') 
Distance: 7,2 km (15 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 5 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging) 

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull. From Grjóthóll continue across the walking bridge over Morsá river and straight on the marked path that leads to the woods in Baejarstaðarskógur.

The path continues through the woods and past two beautiful ravines that are worth a closer look. After passing the ravines it is relatively easy to walk across the sands back towards Skaftafell. There is no marked path on this route but aim for the lower end of the Skaftafellsheiði mountain heath and you should arrive at the walking bridge by Götugil. Walk over the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site. If you are not comfortable with crossing the unmarked sands you can return the same way as you came.


Kjós ('Dell') 
Distance: 12 km (24 km round-trip) 
Walking time: 8 hrs. 
Route difficulty: 2 (challenging) 

The route goes from the camp site in Skaftafell across the mountain heath to Grjóthóll in Morsárdalur. A marked path goes from Grjóthóll towards Morsárjökull. From Grjóthóll continue across the walking bridge over Morsá river and straight on the marked path that leads to the woods in Baejarstaðarskógur. Then instead of walking into the woods you should turn right and walk on the gravel bank of Kjósarlaekur.

Please note that there is no proper path or way marking. Continue until you arrive in Kjós. The same route will take you back towards Grjóthóll but instead of crossing the bridge you should continue on the trail next to the river all the way down to another walking bridge by Götugil. Cross the bridge on follow the marked path that leads to the camp site.


Getting there

By car: Road 1 goes from Reykjavík to Skaftafell (326 km). Road 998 (2 km) leads up to the visitor centre in Skaftafell. Road 1 continues to the east from Skaftafell. The distance to Höfn is 136 km and the distance to the Glacial Lagoon is 56 km.

By bus: A scheduled bus goes between Reykjavík and Höfn via Skaftafell. For further information check this website: www.straeto.is


Restaurants / food stores 

A cafeteria is operated in Skaftafell during the summer. It offers hot soups, sandwiches, cakes and coffee, along with some basic dairy products, bread, biscuits and fruits, to mention some.

A restaurant can be found in Freysnes which is 5 km to the east from Skaftafell (opposite Hotel Skaftafell). It is operated all year round and also has a small-scale food store. A larger grocery store is in Kirkjubæjarklaustur (70 km to west) and yet another one in Höfn (136 km to east).

Accommodation 

Information on accommodation near Skaftafell can be found on the website of the regional tourism organisation.


Skaftafell campground

The campground in Skaftafell is in full service from 1 May to 30 September. Guests are permitted to camp outside the service season but must take notice of limited services. Guests should contact the service desk at the visitor centre prior to camping.

Late arrivers should make contact first thing in the morning. Vatnajökull National Park does not offer any equipment rental.

Tel: +354 4708300
 e-mail: skaftafell@vjp.is


Source: Vatnajökull National Park
Iceland24, April 2015

Friday, 10 April 2015

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring

Spring in Iceland is like spring in much of Europe and North America. Teasing warm days are interspersed with frigid wintry ones as the temperatures slowly rise. March sees the most precipitation, which then tapers off until fall.

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring

Lows range from 1-7°C with highs from 3-10°C (a wild swing from about 30°F to 50°F). Because of these large fluctuations in weather, it can be difficult to cover all your bases when packing for a trip to Iceland in spring.

If you’re coming earlier in the season, expect temps on the colder, wetter end, while if you visit closer to summer you’ll find warmer, drier days. The best way to be prepared for anything is…well, to be prepared for anything. Bring layers so you can dress according to the weather on a given day.

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring

For outdoor activities, you’ll need thermal long-underwear (a shirt and pants), a layer of fleece on top, and then waterproof pants and jacket. Earlier in the season, you’ll need a scarf, hat and gloves (which are also worth bringing closer to summer if you come from a warmer climate), and several wool sweaters.

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring

Sturdy, waterproof boots will prove invaluable, as will a bathing suit (which may surprise you) as public pools in Iceland are heated and open all year round.
What to Wear in Iceland in Spring
In Reykjavik, you’ll find locals sporting anything from  jeans with boots to short, summery dresses with open-toed heels. On weekend nights, men can generally be found in slacks and a sport coat or dark jeans and a nice shirt. Most Reykjavik clubs have free coat check services, so don’t worry about wearing your heavy coat to the bar. And do not forget an umbrella.

What to Wear in Iceland in Spring

March is one of the rainiest months of the year in Iceland, and if you visit in spring you’re sure to experiences at least a few showers.

Source: whygoiceland
Iceland24, April 2015