Saturday, 31 August 2013

Car Rental in Iceland - Compare Iceland car rentals with Iceland24

Greetings!

With public transportation being scarce outside major cities like Reykjavik, 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.


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  
September 20th to September 26th (6 days)
Pick up: Hotel in Keflavík
Drop off: Hotel in Keflavík

Option A - New cars:

HERTZ
Toyota Aygo                               529€
Toyota Rav4                               1096€

REYKJAVÍK CARS
Hyundai i10:                                   276€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:               360€ (free GPS)

EUROPCAR
Volkswagen Polo:                          510€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:              934€

AUTO ICELAND
Hyundai i10:                                    540€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:                1248€

REYKJAVÍK AUTO
Renault Clio:                                  260€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                           380€

BUDGET
Hyundai i10:                                    469€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:               659€

CARS ICELAND
Kia Rio Diesel:                               289€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                           390€


Option B - Old cars:

ICELAND CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                 381,8€
Toyota Rav4:                                553,2€

GEYSIR
Hyundai i10:                                367,8€
Hyundai Tucson 4x4:                  535,2€

REYKJAVÍK CARS 
Hyundai i10:                                   276€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:               360€ 

ROUTE 1 CAR RENTAL
Toyota Yaris:                                370,5€ 
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:             543,2€



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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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.

List of the most popular F-roads

Here is a list of the most popular F-roads in Iceland and average opening times:

F-Road                 Name                                                          Avg. opening date 

F206                      Lakagígar                                                    June 12th
F208                      Fjallabaksleið nyrðri (Landmannalaugar - 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/


OPENING OF MOUNTAIN ROADS

Information on the approximate opening date of the principal mountain roads is given in the table; the map below shows the locations of mountain roads. The first two columns of the table show the earliest and latest opening dates of the roads over the past years. The third column shows the average date of opening during this period. The road may not, in practice, be opened on the projected date, as the question whether a road has become passable is subject to weather conditions and the amount of snow in the highlands. More detailed information on the opening of highland roads can be found in maps issued by the Public Roads Administration and the Environmental and Food Agency during the spring and early summer, and published in the press.



Helga
Iceland24
August 2013

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Useful Icelandic Words and Phrases - Essential Icelandic for Travelers

Icelandic belongs to the Germanic language family, which includes German, English, Dutch and all the Scandinavian languages except Finnish. Most Icelanders speak English, so you'll have no problems if you don't know any Icelandic. However, any attempts to speak the local language will be much appreciated.


Here are some basic Icelandic words and phrases to get you started during your stay in Iceland. For those who are eager to learn even more, check out the University of Iceland’s free online Icelandic course. First let’s start with some pronunciation tips:

a » like a in father
e » like ai in air
i, y » like i in middle
u » like French eux in deux
ö » like German ö in höher or u in murder
æ » sounds like eye, like i in might
ð » like th in the
þ » like th in thing

Useful words and phrases:
(f » female, m » masculine , p » plural)


Where am I? / Hvar er ég?
Welcome / Velkominn (m) Velkomin (f,p)
Hello / Hæ , Halló
How are you? / Hvernig hefur þú það? or Hvað segir þú?
What’s your name? / Hvað heitir þú/þið (p)?
I’m from … / Ég er frá…
Pleased to meet you / Gaman að kynnast þér
Good morning / Góðan daginn
Good night/evening / Gott kvöld
Goodbye / Bless, bæ
Good luck / Gangi þér vel, gangi ykkur vel (p)
Cheers! / Skál! (skaoul)
Have a nice day / Eigðu góðan dag
See ya! / Sjáumst
I don’t understand / Ég skil ekki
Yes /
No / Nei

Greetings in Icelandic


Please speak more slowly / Viltu tala hægar
How do you say …? / Hvernig segir maður…?
How much is this? / Hvað kostar þetta?
Where is…? / Hvar er…?
Excuse me, Sorry / Afsakið, Fyrirgefðu
Thank you / Takk
My pleasure / Mín er ánægjan
Of course / Auðvitað


I love you / Ég elska þig
Where are you going? / Hvert ertu að fara?
Leave me alone! / Láttu mig vera
Help! / Hjálp!
Happy Birthday / Til hamingju með afmælið
What’s your phone number? / Hvað er símanúmerið þitt?
I like you / Ég kann vel við þig, ég fíla þig (slang)
You are cute / Þú ert sæt (f), sætur (m)
Beer! / Bjór!
I am hungover / Ég er þunnur (m), þunn (f)


How much does this cost? / Hvað kostar þetta (mikið)
I would like to buy... / Ég mundi vilja kaupa ...
Do you accept credit cards? / Takið þið við krítarkortum?
Open / Opið
Closed / Lokað

Other Icelandic words, phrases and slang:  

Jæja – Useful during awkward silences. Wraps up a conversation fast.

Hæ, hvað segirðu? – Hi, how are you? or What’s up? When you run into someone.

Sko, þú veist – Well, you know (pretty useless filler words but people say them a lot in conversations)  Að djamma – To party

Djammið – This word sums up: going out, meeting people, drinking, partying, clubbing, dancing and so forth.

Þetta reddast! – A typical Icelandic phrase, used in dire situations when things are looking less than great. It means: Everything will be OK! Usually preceded or followed by “já, já” as in yup!


Rúnturinn - Loosely translated: The Roundabout. When people drive around a certain part of the city in a predetermined circle, checking out people and places. Popular among those not who are not old enough to drink or get into clubs.

Borg óttans – The city of fear AKA Reykjavík

Ein með öllu – One with everything: is what you ask for when you order a hot dog in Iceland. This will include ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw and crispy fried onions. Yum!

Namm! – Yum!

Trúnó – The act of drinking and consequently sharing your deepest secrets and sacred feelings with a chosen someone during a night out. We’ve all done it. And yes, it was special.  

For more information or questions about specific Icelandic words and/or phrases please use the comment section.


Check this mp3 file and practice what you have learn with this article ;)

You can also check this funny useful phrases with Auður Ösp:


Peter, Iceland24
August 2013

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Most Popular Icelandic-Language Films - History of Icelandic Cinema

The premiere of Land and Sons in January 1980 heralded the genesis of regular film production in Iceland. However, the history of Icelandic cinema goes back much further. Movies were shown in Iceland for the first time in 1903, with actual production beginning the following year. Iceland has remained attractive to visiting filmmakers ever since. The oldest preserved film is a three-minute documentary by the Dane Alfred Lind, dating from 1906, and in 1919 Gunnar Sommerfeldt directed his adaptation of the Icelandic author Gunnar Gunnarsson's The Story of the Borg Family (1920), the first feature film to be shot in Iceland.


Though few and far between, there were a number of Icelandic filmmakers working prior to 1980. Perhaps chief amongst them was Loftur Gudmundsson, whose short farce The Adventures of Jon and Gvendur (1923) is the first altogether Icelandic fiction film. His subsequent Between Mountain and Shore (1949) has the distinction of being the first official Icelandic feature film.


During the 1970s a group of freshly graduated film directors returned home to Iceland after completing their film studies in Europe. Initially they worked primarily for Icelandic television (RUV, 1966), though that changed when the Icelandic Film Fund was established in 1978. The following year saw the production of three entirely Icelandic films, and in January 1980 the first of them, Ágúst Gudmundsson's Land and Sons, had its premiere. Since then Iceland has produced a variety of feature films, most of which have found distribution in numerous international territories. In the 1980s critics and audiences took particular notice of Hrafn Gunnlaugsson's viking films, beginning with the high-energy Berlin festival premiere of When the Raven Flies.


In the 1990s it was the bitter-sweet and tragicomic films of Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, who's Children of Nature (1991) made the final five for foreign films in that year's Academy Awards. The nomination served notice not only on his career, but in Iceland as a nation possessed of a strong and talented film culture. A much wider range of films began to reach international audiences, and the fledgling industry forged strong working relationships with financing and co-production partners all over the world. By the end of the decade Icelandic film was further enforced by a new film law, leading to increased subsidy (raising the average from three to six feature films a year in the new millennium), and in 2003 by the foundation of the Icelandic Film Centre, which replaced the former Icelandic Film Fund.
Icelandic cinema can be principally defined by its diversity, yet the contrast between traditional and modern Iceland, the past and present, has been a central theme throughout its history. The tendency in the new millennium, however, has been to portray modern urban life without that nostalgic longing for a distant past which characterized many earlier films. This development is largely a result of the growing number of directors, who now have a historical film tradition they can play up against. And the new century can boast of a wonderful range of great films, including strong titles from new directors such as Baltasar Kormákur (101 Reykjavik, Jar City, The Deep), Dagur Kári (Noi the Albino), Ragnar Bragason (Children, Parents), Rúnar Rúnarsson (Volcano) and Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurdsson (Either Way). There has also been a wealth of successful short films and documentaries in the recent years. Truly, the variety in Icelandic cinema has never been more pronounced, which only serves to reinforce the growing interest and acknowledgement it has attained, in Iceland and abroad.


Most Popular Icelandic-Language Films

1. Djúpið (2012)
(Director: Baltasar Kormákur)

Based on actual events, a fisherman tries to survive in the freezing ocean after his boat capsizes off the south coast of Iceland.


2. 101 Reykjavík (2000)
(Director: Baltasar Kormákur)

Thirty-year-old Hlynur still lives with his mother and spends his days drinking, watching porn and surfing the net while living off unemployment checks. A girl is interested in him, but he stands back from commitment. His mother's Spanish flamenco teacher, Lola, moves in with them for Christmas. 

On New Year's Eve, while his mother is away, Hlynur finds out Lola is a lesbian, but also ends up having sex with her. He soon finds out he and his mother are sharing more than a house. Eventually he must find out where he fits into the puzzle, and how to live life less selfishly.


3. Mýrin (2006)
(Director: Baltasar Kormákur)

A murder opens up a bleak trail of long buried secrets and small town corruption for a worn out police detective and his squad.



4. Hetjur Valhallar - Þór (2011)
(Director:  Toby Genkel and Óskar Jónasson)

An over confident teen with a magical weapon and a handful of imperfect gods join forces against an evil queen and her army of giants


5. Svartur á leik (2012)
(Director: Óskar Thór Axelsson)

After being reacquainted with a childhood friend Stebbi joins the drug trade world in order to pay off his debt. Inspired by actual events.


6. Reykjavík Rotterdam (2008)
(Director: Óskar Jónasson)

Like a fish on a dry land, Kristofer is stuck in a dull everyday routine, working as a security guard. He was fired from the freight ship on which he worked when he was caught smuggling alcohol. Faced with money problems, he is tempted to accept the help of his friend, Steingrimur, who manages to pull some strings to get his old job back. He decides to take his chances one last time on a tour to Rotterdam.


7. Hafið (2002)
(Director: Baltasar Kormákur)

A rich father in a fisher village plans to take on the project of writing his life story. But first he has to take on his own family, and everybody wants something...


8. Astrópía (2007)
(Director: Gunnar B. Gudmundsson)

When Hildur - a beautiful high society girl and a regular guest in the national celebrity press - finds out that her boyfriend Jolli is about to go into jail, she realizes she has to learn to stand on her own two feet. Hildur possessing no skills or any practical experience tries to find work but without success. She's about to give up when by pure coincidence she lands a job selling role playing books and accessories at the local fantasy-shop Astropia. From that moment her life transforms.

At Astropia Hildur is introduced to a group of nerds who give her a new outlook on life. Among them are Dagur a translator of romantic fiction, Scat a rapper who makes his nerdlyness look cool, the comic and video clerks Floki and Pesi, the violent tomboy Beta and an eight year old whizkid Snorri. Gradually unlikely friendships are formed and Hildur enters the fantasy world of role playing where she struts around in a skimpy outfit slaying Orcs and Goblins and the world of adventure starts blending into her real life. Her old boyfriend Jolli, determined to get Hildur and his old lifestyle back, breaks out of jail and kidnaps Hildur. Hildur's ragtag group of friends are not about to let her go without a fight.

In the end it really is up to Hildur and her newfound self-confidence and independence to break free from Jolli's shackles once and for all.


9. Englar alheimsins (2000)
(Director: Friðrik Þór Friðriksson)

Páll is an artistic and sensitive young man. Getting dumped by his girlfriend, Dagny, triggers his descent into madness. We follow him on his way to inevitable doom; at home with his parents who finally can't cope, and in the mental institution, Kleppur.


10. Frost (2012)
(Director: Reynir Lyngdal)

A young couple, physiologist Agla and filmmaker Gunnar wake up at a glacier camp to find the camp mysteriously abandoned and their co-workers gone. When searching for the lost team they realize they're up against an unknown deadly force.


11. Jóhannes (2009)
(Director: Þorsteinn Gunnar Bjarnason)

Jóhannes a middle aged art teacher leads a dull life until he meets a young and very beautiful woman by accident. Meeting her starts a series of hilarious events where Johannes sinks deeper and deeper into trouble. All attempts to correct a heap of misunderstandings only leads to new disasters. Johannes, the lead role, is played by Icelandic comedy icon Laddi that has entertained Icelanders for over 40 years.


12. Sódóma Reykjavík (1992)
(Director: Óskar Jónasson)

Since his mother wants to watch TV, Axel, a young auto-mechanic, must recover her remote control, accidentally taken by his punk sister Maja. During his quest, he becomes involved in the conflict between Moli, the liquor smuggler, and Aggi, a night club owner who wants to be Iceland's first mafia boss


Iceland 24, August 2013
Birgir Thor Møller