Monday, 5 December 2016

What to do in Reykjavik with children

Go to the pool

Swimming pool choices are vast, as there are dozens in Reykjavík. Sundhöllin, the most central pool and the oldest in the city, is unusual because the main pool is inside, but the outside hot water baths give you a stunning view of the city. Laugardalslaug is the largest pool in Reykjavík, with many enjoyable swimming pools, hot pots and water slides on offer. 

What to do in Reykjavik with children

Vesturbæjarlaug is the darling of Iceland's city centre and is close to the ice cream shop called Ísbuð Vesturbæjar - a wonderful treat for the family, to pop in for an ice-cream after the pool. Seltjarnarneslaug amazes the young and old with its saltwater pool. Nauthóslvík is an experience not to miss especially if your stay in Reykjavík is short. This geothermal beach offers you to relax in a hot bath at 38 ° then you can take a dip in the sea if you dare!

Go to the zoo

The Family Park and Zoo in Reykjavík is the perfect outing for a sunny afternoon. Admission is 6 euros for adults, 4.50 euros for children and free under age four.  At the Zoo you will see animals of Iceland i.e. seals, reindeer, arctic foxes, horses, goats, cows, etc., and also some reptiles and exotic animals. The Zoos website shows when employees will feed the animals and visitors are welcome to watch. If you are interested ,see "dagskrá" in Icelandic on their site.

What to do in Reykjavik with children

Later in the park, there are plenty of activities and games for children -some free, others you pay on; like the little train, the carousel and boats sail on the small river. The cafe is between the area with animals and with the games. The park is open daily 10:00 to 17:00 hours in winter and 10:00 to 18:00 hours in the summer.

Go to the museum

The outdoor museum at Árbær is a delight for the whole family. Made up of over twenty buildings that form a central square, a village, and a farm. The museum aims to show the Icelandic way of life at different periods. From 1 June to 31 August, the museum is open daily, from 10:00 am to 17:00 hours. Admission is 1.500 kroner (11 euros) per person and free for children under 18 years. Many off events are held there during the year, such as the days of crafts, the annual exhibition of old vehicles and the Christmas exhibition.

What to do in Reykjavik with children

The exhibition, Whales of Iceland (Icelandic Whales), free for children under seven years old, will delight the young and old, displaying giant models of whales and offer interactive games. Most travellers visit the exhibition before or after a whale watching tour, but perhaps whale watching is a too long for little children (three hours on a boat). A boat trip to see the puffins may be a better choice if you are traveling with small children - experiencing the sea while bird watching, all in an hour or an hour!

The National Museum of Iceland has a section dedicated to  children with old toys, games, and Viking costumes are available for children to try on, who will discover a fun way to experience the history of Iceland.

Coffee House

In the city center, if you wish to take a break and sample one of the cafés of Reykjavik, we recommend The laundromat cafe. It has a delightful play area downstairs that will keep the kids occupied for ages, while you can sit and enjoy your coffee with your children in full view. 

What to do in Reykjavik with children

The Central Library
 A little further around the corner from the Laundromat Cafe is the Central Library, which has a whole section dedicated to children, with books, stuffed animals, paintings ... everything you need to unwind  while your kids indulge themselves.

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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Five winter activities in Iceland

In Iceland, winter lasts from September to April, even though the months September and October are considered autumn, and April springtime. In Autumn and Spring, most roads are snow free and accessible, except on the mountains (prepare yourself for all kinds of weather - this is Iceland after all). Temperatures range from 2 to 10 degrees at this time of the year.

In winter, from November to March, snow and ice cover the island, storms are frequent, and there are also some sunny days. The road conditions are difficult especially in the interior of Iceland, and some secondary roads are inaccessible, and so, we recommend you practice patience and prudence! At this time of year, temperatures range from -10 to +2, and if the wind gets involved, it does seem much colder! In the case of problems or difficulties during your trip, remember the emergency number, 112.

Swimming

Five winter activities in Iceland

A visit to the public pool is not necessarily the first activity you'd think of in winter, but in Iceland, it makes a lot of sense. Iceland is full of beautiful natural spas and hot springs. However, public swimming pools are also a unique experience. In Iceland, almost all swimming pools are outside, cold air and hot water combined are an unusual and surprising mix. There's nothing better than to bask in hot water at 40 degrees when it is snowing outside. The pools open all year round from early morning (weekdays 6:30 am) it gives locals a chance to go for a dip before work. If you don't like swimming, don't worry; the Icelandic public pools are also designed for relaxation and socialising!

The northern lights

Five winter activities in Iceland

To view the Northern Lights on a winter's night is a must! To see the aurora borealis, it must be dark, the sky clear and solar activity intense. To find out where the sky is clear you can check out the  Icelandic weather report on the website. To see if solar activity is enough to view the Northern Lights, the same site shows forecasts for the coming week, but we recommend you don't rely on these reports for more than a few hours because there can be a sudden weather change. You can get in your car and go Northern Lights hunting at night, or hire the services of a tour agency that will guide you to the right place.

To ski

Five winter activities in Iceland

Iceland has dozens of ski slopes stretching out to all four corners of the country.  The best-known slopes for downhill skiing are at Bláfjöll near Reykjavík,  Hlíðarfjall in Akureyri North of Iceland. You can also ski in Isafjörður in the west and most of Northern parts of Iceland and the East.

Enjoy the city

Five winter activities in Iceland

Many events take place in the Icelandic capital in wintertime which is especially great for helping one forget about the long dark winter days.  Enjoy the many festivals in Reykjavík i.e. Iceland Airwaves, the Dark Music Days, the Reykjavík Winter Lights Festival, the Food and Fun Design March, and so on! Visit museums and spend a lot of time at the cafe, and you'll soon become a real Reykjavíkingur! Egilsstadir is also a festival to celebrate the winter, Days of Darkness, and Akureyri is a lot of events related to skiing and surfing throughout the winter.

... Or the countryside!

Five winter activities in Iceland


Think outside the box, and go to the Icelandic highlands with a guide! Winter is a magical and mysterious season, why not experience it in a place away from the world? Wild and incredible destinations in winter are numerous (should I say everywhere)? Landmannalaugar, for example, is a pearl of the highlands of Iceland, situated in the nature reserve Fjallabak. Located at the extremity of Laugahraun lava field formed during a volcanic eruption in 1477, this place is known for its beautiful scenery and geothermal sources. In summer it is a popular place for tourism but in winter, fewer people go to the highlands (only authorised agencies have the right and the technical means to venture there).

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Skagafjörður and Sauðárkrókur

Skagafjörður is a fjord and bay in the north of Iceland, about 40 kilometers long and fifteen kilometers wide, located west of the peninsula Tröllaskagi. The entire region has 4,500 inhabitants, and it is one of the most prosperous places for agriculture in Iceland; mainly sheep and cattle farming, even though the bay is very well known for its horse breeding –you could say that it is the only municipality in Iceland where you find more horses than men. 

Skagafjörður and Sauðárkrókur

This is the perfect place to stay with local families and learn about the lifestyle of  today´s Icelandic farmers. Many young people come from abroad to stay for a few months and get experience working on an Icelandic farm.

Whether you enjoy rafting on the glacial rivers, spectating the magical northern lights, horse riding amongst breathtaking landscapes, relaxing in hot springs or going by helicopter to the top of the Tröllaskagi mountains and skiing, Skagafjörður offers a variety of activities for every season. 

Skagafjörður and Sauðárkrókur

Skagafjörður is also an area rich in history and many historic sites can be visited. Horse riding and rafting on the Jökulsá glacial river are two of most typical and unforgettable activities the region has to offer. If you are planning a trip, the website of the town is full of great holiday ideas and activities to suit a wide range of tastes.

There are currently more than 4,400 people living in the region, with the majority living in the town of Sauðárkrókur. Since the late nineteenth century the town has gradually grown to become a prosperous place where agriculture, fisheries, tourism and services unite to serve the 2,600 residents who live there and the thousands of visitors who come each year. 

In Sauðárkrókur you will find everything you need including supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses, museums, sports amenities, a hospital and a pool.

Skagafjörður and Sauðárkrókur

The museum of popular culture, Minjahúsið, which is also where you can find the tourist office, consists of four studios ,each providing some history and images from the city‘s past. The area is also one of the few places in Iceland where there have been sightings of polar bears. 

Since 1874, going to the theater is a popular activity in Sauðárkrókur, and locals gather regularly to attend performances, plays, dances or other cultural events related to this art. Sæluvika (Happy week) in Skagafjörður is a nationally regarded arts and culture festival with lots of history and tradition. Sæluvika occurs at the end of April /beginning of May, and the people of Skagafjörður offer a huge amount of cultural activities over the whole week. It is a good way to learn about Icelandic culture in a fun and entertaining way.

Skagafjörður and Sauðárkrókur


For breathtaking views of Sauðárkrókur and the Skagafjörður fjord, you can go to Nafir which are huge rocks that overlook the city. East of Sauðárkrókur, you will find the beach Borgarsandur that spans almost four kilometers, and to the south, on the shores of lakesand Áshildarholtsvatn and Miklavatn, you can admire the hundreds of birds that inhabit the area in summer.

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