Monday, 17 November 2014

Enjoy Reykjavík’s Kolaportið Weekend Market

Lopapeysa is a souvenir that perfectly represents Iceland. It is a traditional sweater made out of intricate and distinct pattern. These handmade sweaters were created using sheep’s wool, which explains why they are amazingly warm. However, these sweaters may be quite expensive, reaching even more than 30,000 ISK in local stores along Laugavegur Street, the main shopping destination in Reykjavík.

Enjoy Reykjavík’s Kolaportið Weekend Market

In order to get a cheaper, yet same high-quality option, try visiting the Kolaportið weekend market. What is very interesting about this place is that it gives off the traditional feel of Iceland. The people that gather here come from all sorts of backgrounds, buying and selling things. Everybody who visits this market is in for a good deal. It is very charming, with a twist of a little weirdness as well.

Enjoy Reykjavík’s Kolaportið Weekend Market

Even though there are a lot of things that are worth buying in this market, such as used books, knick knacks, vintage shoes and clothes, local delicacies and even DVDs, the best offers are the ones on Iopapeysas. In this market, you can find a good deal for half the price, at 15,000 ISK. You may also decide to purchase other items such as mittens, woollen hats, and scarves.

Visit all the stalls and try on different options until you eventually find your fit. You may also attempt to negotiate, but most of the prices are fixed and are already hugely discounted, compared to the bigger stores.

Enjoy Reykjavík’s Kolaportið Weekend Market

The Kolaportið weekend market is an indoor location which is usually open during the weekend. The store hours are between 11:00 – 17:00, and they are occasionally open during public holidays. Most of the vendors do not receive cash. However, there is an ATM inside the market. You may not get a tax on your purchase, but because of the savings that you got, the tax does not really matter. Plus, you can also go and get yourself a good lunch at the fish stalls in the area.

Enjoy Reykjavík’s Kolaportið Weekend Market

Therefore, if you are searching for an activity to do on a boring weekend afternoon, head to Kolaportið weekend market and enjoy a shopping spree.

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2014 Iceland24, November 2014

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

You don’t tend to think of Scandinavian countries as being the most romantic in the world, usually because you have layer on clothing as opposed to taking it off. Iceland falls into that category, and seems even less romantic when you take the local cuisine into account, not to mention the weird accent and fashion choices of the locals.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

You need to be able to look beyond all that, though, to see that the stunning vistas carved by Mother Nature’s loving hand are indeed the perfect setting for a romantic holiday. There are plenty of things for young, and the not so young, lovers to do, and a great selection of honeymoon hotels in Iceland. Here are just a few perfect hotel destinations.

Elf Guesthouse - North Iceland

This is a great little guesthouse that is owned and operated by an elderly couple. It is only a couple of km from the town center of Akureyri, but you feel as though you are in an enchanted place, as the guesthouse is located in a small forest and right beside a large stone that is the home of a friendly Elf.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

You really do feel as though you are away from it all, as the only other house nearby is that of the couple that owns the Elf Guesthouse. Karl, the owner of the property, says that he was told by the previous owner that if he bought the land, he could do whatever he wanted, as long as the stone belonging to the elf remained undisturbed.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

Karl promised that would be the case, and he has made good on said promise. The stone is highlighted by the beautiful garden that surrounds it, helping create a romantic paradise for all who visit. If you want to stay at the guesthouse, you will only be able to do so as a couple. You can book your spot by contacting Karl.

Hotel Ranga – South Iceland

Hotel Ranga is considered to be one of the “Great Hotels of the World,” and a quick glimpse into any of their 51 rooms and suites make it obvious why it has that label. The laundry list of amenities in each of the rooms is amazing enough, but the views outside the window are even more breathtaking. It doesn’t matter whether you get a view of the riverside or Mt. Helka, both are awesome.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

You can also choose to feel as though you are in another part of the world by choosing one of the suites in the “World Pavilion” that are themed to be like other nations. Lay back in your Jacuzzi and imagine that you are doing so in Antarctica, and all without leaving Iceland.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

Mjóeyri – East Iceland

When you visit Mjóeyri, you can choose to stay in the guesthouse or go for a cottage, which is a little more private and romantic. Situated on the Mjóeyri peninsula and a little ways outside the village of Eskijordur, this hotel offers views and a level of tranquility that is simply impossible to find anywhere else in the world.

The Most Romantic Honeymoon Hotels in Iceland

If you are looking to do a little Icelandic exploring, Mjóeyri is the perfect place to rest up between the many outdoor adventures that await just outside the front doors of this beautiful location.

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2014 Iceland24, November 2014

Monday, 10 November 2014

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

Borgarfjörður Eystri is one of the best places to begin a hike in the country of "Víknaslóðir", also known as "The trails of the Inlets". This is a broad trail yet you will have no problem knowing which trail is which.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

We recommend that you spend ten days on the hike. However, if you are just interested in a five-day hike you can always explore the Northern or Southern area. When starting Bakkagerði in Borgarfjörður you will have preparatory assistance to insure that you have a wonderful hike to Víknaslóðir.

Víknaslóðir, allows you to see some amazing natural monuments such as Stórurð, while you trek through colorful mountains and see the most magical coastlines.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

Currently, there is approximately 150km of trails, which allows your experience to be one of a kind. You can go for a long hike or a short one, the decision is up to you Hvítserkur, Brúnavík, Dyrfjöll, Urðarhólar, Breiðavík, Loðmundarfjörður are some of the places that we highly recommend that you visit throughout your journey.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

Trekking through Víknaslóðir is a one of a kind experience. You will see colorful mountains that are unique. There are also the black sand beaches and the pinkish orange shades at the mountain ridges.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

While trekking the trails you will find yourself being able to see the isolated coves, fjords, colorful hills, green valleys and more. You will even see the ancient farms and homes that were once busting with joy. Nature is a wonderful thing especially when the reindeer herds appear and exotic birds that are known to the artic.  Then of course, you have to stop and check out all of the colorful flowers.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

If you want to see natural beauty that has not been affected by tourism and a great hiking route make sure you stop by Borgarfjörður. It is one of the isolated areas known as “the central province of elves”. Legend has it that in Álfaborg, the queen, resided here while guarding her realm.

Víknaslóðir Trail - The Land of the Hidden People - East Iceland

Another region to check out is Blábjörg, which is a giant wall that goes into the ocean.

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2014 Iceland24, November 2014

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Caves in Iceland - Caving in Iceland - Lava Tubes & Ice Caves

Because of Iceland’s unique geographical position, it has been graced by some of the world’s most beautiful and exceptional rock formations. Located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, home to an unrivaled level of volcanic activity, tube caves abound—a result of magma activity in the region. With a guide, these tube caves offer year-round tours and exploration.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

Due to Iceland’s climate, certain caves are only available at certain times of the year. The most popular summer cave is Gjábakkahellir Cave, while the most popular winter cave is Leiðarendi Cave. The first is located near Þingvellir, and the second in Bláfjöll.

Tours through these caves are often combined with other activities, the favorites being ATV riding or snorkeling in the area.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

One of the major draws of Iceland’s caves is the ability to actually go into a magma chamber. Few other places in the world provide this same opportunity. This chamber is called the Þríhnúkagígur crater and represents an erupted volcano. Now more than 4000 years old, it is dormant and massive, spanning the space of three basketball courts.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

The hike into the interior of the Þríhnúkagígur crater is about an hour and a 120 meter cable lift descent into the belly of the volcano, letting out into a chamber that could house the Statue of Liberty. What makes this area so special is that most volcanic eruptions cause magma chambers to collapse. This volcano’s eruption did not, preserving a unique natural formation that most find awe-inspiring.

Some of the most popular caves include:

1. Vatnshellir cave – Located on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, this volcano can only be reached by guided tour. A staircase descends to the mouth of a tall, wide passage that lets out into the cave after a short walk. This cave gets very cold, even during the warm months, so coats, hats, and gloves are recommended. The tour itself is about an hour long.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

2. Lofthellir cave – One of the most popular caves in Northern Iceland, this lava cave is also fairly old. It is riddled with incredible ice sculptures and rock formations carved by ancient magma activity. Visit Askja offers guided cave tours at Cave Lofthellir in north Iceland.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

3. Búri cave – On the Reykjanes peninsula, this cave was only added to the list of known caves in 2005. It is, by far, the largest cave in Iceland, measuring ten meters high, ten meters at its widest, and over a kilometer long. The world’s deepest lava pit is housed here as well, descending seventeen meters deeper into the earth. Some explorers are put off by the narrow entrance, but once inside, marvel at the sheer size of the cave and the rock formations and ice sculptures. While the ice is at its best during the winter, this cave is open year round. There is a slight climb required to get to the pit, but it is worth the views.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

4. Thrihnukagigur cave – Another impressive crater, this time housed in Southwest Iceland, this cave is one of the most unique volcano exploring opportunities in the world. 4000 years of dormancy and no recent activity at all makes this a safe, but exhilarating exploration, descending right into the belly of the volcano. Some compare the incredible rock formations and colors to an elaborate palace. This cave also plays home to a giant magma chamber.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

5. Gjábakkahellir cave – This cave is one of the Iceland’s best examples of a magma tube, created as the magma on the surface solidifies as magma continues to travel beneath. The result is a series of beautiful formations and ice sculptures. This cave is about 9000 years old, and is in Thingvellir National Park.

Caves in Iceland - Vatnshellir cave - Lofthellir cave - Búri cave - Thrihnukagigur cave - Gjábakkahellir cave

Caves play an important role not just in geographical studies, but also in an understanding of history and biology. Over the years, caves have played home to both humans and animals, and they have strong ties to Icelandic history. With the range of caves in Iceland, there is no better place for a cave adventure or to see some of the most beautiful and unique natural formations in the world.

Mike, Iceland24
© 2014 Iceland24, November 2014