Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Green Driving Tips in Iceland

You CAN make a difference! 

As stated in our environmental platform, one of our objectives is to reduce emissions from the company´s car fleet. With regular maintaining and service, we keep our vehicles operating at peak efficiency. By following the „green“ driving tips below, you can improve your fuel economy and help us to reduce the negative environmental influence and create a greener future.

Plan routes and consolidate your trips: 

Whether going for a longer vacation or a quick trip, plan out your routes in advance to avoid heavy traffic periods and areas. If rush hour or road construction leads to traffic jams and stop-and-go driving, sometimes, the longer route can consume less fuel than a shorter one. So plan your routes to enable you to bypass congested routes and lead to fewer start-ups and less stop-and-go driving. Try to combine several short trips into one to save fuel and cut down on pollution. Warmed-up engines produce lower emissions.


Lighten your load and reduce drag: 

The more weight a car carries, the lower its fuel economy will be. Only pack what you need for vacations (including emergency items), and remove items that are not needed. Remove unneeded roof boxes, trailers and other items from your vehicle that cause wind resistance. These simple steps can cut significant weight and reduce drag, enabling your car to use less fuel.

Avoid quick starts, reduce your speed and keep the RPMs down: 

A smooth, steady speed improves your fuel economy, saves gasoline and reduces wear and tear on the engine, tires, transmission and brakes. As speed increases, so does drag. So, driving at higher speeds will reduce your fuel economy. Avoid quick starts. Putting the pedal to the metal when the stoplight turns green, increases your vehicle’s RPM level and lowers your fuel efficiency. Staying at or a bit below the speed limit and watching your RPMs can have a big impact on the environment and can lower your fuel cost. For every 15 km per hour you reduce speed, you can improve your fuel economy by 10 – 15%.


Think ahead in traffic: 

Try to anticipate stops and let your vehicle coast down as much as possible. Avoid the increased pollution, wasted gas and wear on your brakes created by accelerating hard and braking hard. Be smart as you navigate your way through traffic. Create space from the car in front of you and look ahead for any potential.

Keep a recommended air pressure in your tires: 

Maintaining recommended tire pressure can improve fuel economy as much as 6 percent. Over time, tires lose air pressure and as the air pressure decreases, rolling resistance increases and that makes your vehicle less fuel efficient. Recommended air pressure for your tires is shown in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Peter
Iceland24
May 2015

Thursday, 21 May 2015

How to get from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík

Keflavík International Airport to/from Reykjavík:

Distance: 50 km
Methods of transport: Rental Car, Bus & Taxi

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Going by Rental Car

This is the ideal option if you are looking for a hassle free journey and if public transport isn't your thing. For a very small fee, many of the well-known car rental companies in Iceland will provide a direct pick-up service from the airport. It's worth considering, as even if you're travelling with someone else, it's still cheaper than a bus ticket.

What better way to enjoy your first glimpses of Iceland than zipping along the country side with your own set of wheels. Also, it isn’t a difficult rout, directions are available at any time on map on ja.is.

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Getting from Keflavík - Airport By Bus

There are two main air-link services to choose from: Flybus and Airport Express. Each providing effectively similar services, at a similar price, but with their own respective benefits:

Flybus:

- Provides pick-up for all flights. 
- 500 ISK charge per person for drop-off at hotel or guesthouse. 
- Free Wifi on all buses.

Airport Express

- Bookings must be placed in advance to guarantee a seat.
- Drop-off at most hotels and guesthouses in Reykjavík at no extra cost. 
- Wifi not provided.   

From Keflavík to Reykjavík
  
Getting from Keflavík - Airport By Taxi

Here in Reykjavík, the Taxi services are reliable, trustworthy, frequent and run on a meter basis. The usual price is around 15.000 ISK if you are traveling with up to 4 people. 

City Taxi is a small and reliable company, who will get you to where you want to go in a timely and comfortable manner. You'll be in good hands. (There is also no problem if you or a member of your group requires wheelchair access)!

You can usually get a cab without problem directly outside the arrivals area after you land; or, for your own peace of mind, have one booked waiting for you in advance. And now you know who to call!    

From Keflavík to Reykjavík

Alternative methods

If you are penniless and a bit adventurous you could try one of the following methods. Hitchhiking is a fairly common practice in Iceland and it's usually quite safe. Just always be sure to be safe and responsible if you are going to hitch. The certainty that you'll get a lift along this route isn't 100%, so you may have to do a little trekking before you get anywhere with it.

The second option, apart from walking (which let's face it, you'd probably struggle with even if you’d enjoy the scenery) is: keeping a look out for friendly, nice people who may have their car at the airport and would be willing to drop you off somewhere along their journey. There are lots of them in Iceland, don't worry. Strike up conversation on the flight or ask someone in the arrivals lounge if they're heading to Reykjavik too. If you don't ask you don't get – and what's the harm in trying, eh? 

How to get from Keflavík International Airport to Reykjavík
  
Directions

Finding your way to and from Reykjavik or Keflavik Airport isn't too much of a challenge, but should you need directions check out map on ja.is.

Safe travels!

Jóhanna, Iceland24
May 2015

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Westfjords - Travel ideas and how to spend 3, 5 or 7 days - Iceland24

The Westfjords region has sometimes been dubbed “the most famous unknown place in Iceland”. Well, throw in the prestigious “European Destination of Excellence” awards and add to that the fact that the Lonely Planet travel guide put the area on its top 10 list of regions in the world to visit in 2011, and you will see that the Westfjords are becoming increasingly famous – or perhaps less unknown.  

Westfjords - Iceland

Lonely Planet, the respected travel guide publisher, placed the Westfjords in its top 10 regions of the world to visit in 2011, saying that the “oddly shaped” peninsula is “as isolated as it is spectacular”. Luckily, “isolated” does not mean inaccessible. With only 7400 inhabitants in the area, each person has around 1,2 km2 of personal space, so there is ample room for any visitors as well.

Although the locals are great, it is, by and large, the nature that attracts visitors. For understandable reasons as well: it is untouched and almost uninhabited. The cliffs and valleys are packed with birds, the uninhabited fjords offer a moment of silence and tranquillity, and the Arctic fox proudly roams the mountains and inlets. The waterfalls are high and the streams pure. The distances are long and the fjords are deep. And then there are places where there are no roads at all.
 
Westfjords - Iceland

The Westfjords are a great place to watch the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) during the winter and equally fantastic to experience the midnight sun during the summer. Visiting the Westfjords is surely a different experience. It is Iceland, but yet a different Iceland altogether.

Watertrail

The Westfjords has many hidden gems with plenty of natural or semi- man made pools in remote natural locations. The abundance of hot water and rich history of bathing have created a unique outdoor bathing culture in close relation with nature. Our natural springs are based on geothermal water that flows directly and constantly from the ground. Many visitors stay in the pool around midnight during winter and watch the northern light that are one of a kind, which is an experience people never forget. During the summers we have 24 hours of daylight and our visitors enjoy the romantic of the midnight sun. The Watertrail promotes self-sufficient and independent tourism that respects the natural environment.

See more at www.watertrail.is

Westfjords - Iceland

Food trail

The Westfjords Foodtrail is based on strong cultural background as well as embracing modern food tradition with a local twist. The aim is to promote and increase the visibility of Westfjords‘ top quality food. Innovation is encouraged and special emphasis is put on product development, motivating new techniques in the production, processing and cooking practices of Westfjords local ingredient and related services. Restaurants members in Westfjords Foodtrail ambitiously present each area‘s food specialty and food producers are highly devoted in producing top quality food items originated from the Westfjords. The food is specifically labeled so if you are looking for traditionally smoked products, freshest ingredients of the day or jams made of rhubarb.

See more at www.veislaadvestan.is

Attractions

From the Hornstrandir nature reserve in the norht to Latrabjarg bird cliff in the south, you can find abundance of attractions in the westfjords of Iceland.

-Dynhandi. The Westfjords’ favourite front-page model for decades, and is never short of breathtaking. The biggest and widest part of the waterfall is the one that gets all the attention and the photos, even though there are impressive, albeit smaller, waterfalls further down the river. In fact, one is formed in such a way that the brave can walk behind it, relatively dry. There is a camping place at the site with basic services.
Westfjords - Iceland

-Natural pools. Among the hidden gems of the Westfjords are the natural hot pools that can be found even in most remote places. This might sound like a cliché, but the pools are truly a well kept secret, taken for granted, or even forgotten by locals. An explanation could be that the Westfjords are not generally considered a "hot spot" in Icelandic geology, so the geothermal activity is not as visible as it is in the north or the south of the country. Therefore it is surprising to find that nowhere in Iceland are there more natural bathing pools than in the Westfjords, the reason being that the water is of perfect temperature straight from the ground.

-Bird life and good areas for birdwatching. Here we will make do with a short description of two areas, although they do by no means exhaust the opportunities for birdwatching. Other areas, such as the islands in Breidafjordur, the Reykhólar area, Onundarfjordur and Heydalur and many more, also offer wonderful opportunities for birdwatchers.

Westfjords - Iceland

Látrabjarg and vicinity: The road goes out to the lighthouse at Bjargtangar, the westernmost point of Iceland, and from there to the edge of the Látrabjarg cliff. In thesummer there are scheduled trips between Látrabjarg and the main towns of the Westfjords region.

Westfjords - Iceland

The road goes around Patreksfjordur before turning inland at Orlygshofn and over the heath above Breidavik, and along Latravik out to the end of thepoint. Orlygshofn is an important nesting area for eiders and there are a huge number of waders and sea birds in the bays. There are a large number ofwetland birds in Breidavik, and in Latravik an unusual number of ringed plovers. Snow buntings occur in large numbers on the uplands. Stretching for14 km and rising to 440 m at its highest point, Latrabjarg is the largest bird cliff in Iceland and also the largest by the North Atlantic.

It is thought that as many as a million birds of various kinds nest on the cliffs of Latrabjarg, including all the alcids that nest in Iceland, withthe exception of the little auk. In fact, at the foot of the cliffs is the largest razorbill colony in the world. In addition to the swarm ofguillemots and other alcids, there is a large number of fulmars and kittiwakes. And perhaps most exciting for the traveler, nowhere is the puffineasier to approach or more fun to watch.

-Museum of Jon Sigurdsson. Hrafnseyri in Arnarfjörður is the birthplace of national hero Jón Siguðsson. This spot has become a popular attraction for visitors, with it’s museum dedicated to Sigurðsson’s memory, a remake of his childhood home and the old Hrafnseyri curch.

Visitors from overseas receive a booklet with an introduction to Jón Sigurðsson, free of charge. Light meals (soup and bread) and refreshments are served on the location.

Opening hours: 1. June – 1. September at 10:00 –-20:00 (every day)
Curator: 456-8260 og 845-5518
Burstabær: 896-8107
hrafnseyri@hrafnseyri.is
www.hrafnseyri.is

Westfjords - Iceland

-Hornstrandir. This territory of the Arctic fox has been uninhabited since the 1950s. As isolated as it was then, it attracts the casual half-day visitors and serious gore-tex hikers alike. Its main attractions are three. First, the bird cliffs surrounding the bay of Hornvík, are a magnet of gigantic proportions. On the eastern side of the bay the cliff reaches a height of more than 500 metres, and the birds are teeming. Second, as there are no infrastructure and the tourists few in relation to the sheer size of the area, the sense of remoteness is strong. You can hike days on end without seeing a single person. The nature is pure and the tranquillity unmatched. Third, as the area is a haven for the Arctic fox (think hunting-ban and bird-packed cliffs), the chances of spotting one are high.

Westfjords - Iceland

Most tours, especially day tours, depart from Ísafjörður. Hikers wanting to go on their own can also take boats from Bolungarvík and Norðurfjörður.

-Rauðasandur. Rauðisandur, or (Red Sand), is precisely that: a beach with red sand. Endless red sand. Well, not endless, but 10 km is a lot. The magnificent hues of the sand differ with daylight and weather, and the beach is the biggest pearl in a string of coves with sand ranging in colours from white through yellow through red to black, and in coarseness from very fine to sole-hurting chips of seashells.

Westfjords - Iceland

What to do in Rauðisandur? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. There is a Café but but not much else. There’s just pure sand and unique tranquillity. You might want to step out of the car, get the camera out and start walking. Forget everything. Except maybe getting the perfect shot of the ever-changing hues of yellow, orange and red.

-I Never Went South Rock Festival. Aldrei fór ég suður is a rock festival held in the town of Isafjordur in the Westfjords of Iceland. The entrance is free of charge and all work is pro bono. It is mix of local bands and the biggest names in the Icelandic music scene.

By plane

The quickest way to get to the Westfjords is by air, the flight from Reykjavík taking roughly 40-50 minutes, depending on the destination.

Air Iceland - www.flugfelag.is
Two daily flights to Ísafjörður all year round.
Eagle Air Iceland - www.eagleair.is
Two flights per week from Reykjavik to Gjögur and six flights per week to Bíldudalur.

Westfjords - Iceland

By car

Reykjavík to Ísafjörður, 455 km, paved road:
Reykjavík - Hvalfjörður (tunnel) - Borgarnes - Brattabrekka (road 60) - Svínadalur - Arnkötludalur (road 61) - Steingrímsfjarðarheiði - Ísafjarðardjúp - Ísafjörður

Reykjavík to Þingeyri, 408 km total, 271 km of paved road:
  Reykjavík - Hvalfjörður (tunnel) - Borgarnes - Brattabrekka (road 60) - Svínadalur - Barðastrandarsýsla (road 60) - Dynjandisheiði - Hrafnseyrarheiði - Þingeyri

By bus

A public bus service runs between Reykjavík and Ísafjörður six days per week in June, July and August, along two different routes:

A- Reykjavik-Stykkisholmur-Brjanslækur (with ferry Baldur)-Isafjordur. Connection to Patreksfjordur and Latrabjarg.
B- Reykjavik-Hólmavík-Ísafjörður. Busses drive in both directions along these routes, so it is easy to combine them to make a full Westfjords Circle.

Connection to the Akureyri bus is in Hreðavatnsskáli

By boat

The car ferry Baldur operates between Stykkishólmur and Brjánslækur.

From June to August there are daily departures from Stykkishólmur. Visit www.seatours.is for more information.
Westfjords - Iceland

More information

The Official Tourist Brochure and the Official Map. Click to open PDF file.
http://www.westfjords.is/media/PDF/Westfjords_Official_2012.pdf

More information about Birds in Westfjords
http://www.nave.is/Isafjordur_fuglaskod_b..pdf

Travel Ideas

How to spend 3 days

This is a recommendation of a three-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car.

Day 1
If you stayed in Stykkishólmur, wake up early to get the ferry Baldur across the fjord. If you slept in Reykjavík, wake up a little bit earlier (however early you wake up, the sun will be up before you, plus, you beat the traffic). You are on the other side around noon, ready to drive to Látrabjarg cliffs. Stay near Látrabjarg or in Patreksfjörður/Tálknafjörður/Bíldudalur village.

Day 2
Wake up early, a long day waits. Today, drive with as many stops as possible to Ísafjörður, where you’ll stay the night. One obligatory stop is waterfall Dynjandi. Others include the maritime trail in Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík (see chapter on History).

Westfjords - Iceland 

Day 3
Wake up early (starting to discern a pattern?). Drive in and out of innumerable fjords to Hólmavík. There, visit The Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft. From there, drive further south and continue your journey around Iceland.

How to spend 5 days

This is a recommendation of a five-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car.

Day 1
Start the day somewhere in West Iceland or even Reykjavík. Driving through region Dalir, stop at Reykhólar. Stay at or near Látrabjarg.

Day 2
In the morning, check out Látrabjarg cliffs and Rauðisandur. Now change direction and head towards Ísafjörður, stopping at least at Dynjandi waterfall. Stay in Ísafjörður.

Westfjords - Iceland 

Day 3
Today, pick from the smorgasbord of tours available in the Ísafjörður area. Tours to bird island Vigur and day tours to Hornstrandir nature reserve are the ones to check out first. Stay another night in Ísafjörður.

Day 4
Before heading south, finish up your checklist of things to do around Ísafjörður. One might check out the two important museums. Sleep in Heydalur or Reykjanes or near Hólmavík.

Day 5
In the morning, dive into centuries past when sorcery was common, and witches were burned for allegedly casting spells on their neighbours at Holmavik’s Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft. After lunch; head down south to continue your tour around the island.

How to spend 7 days

This is a recommendation of a seven-day tour around the Westfjords. It is intended as a part of a tour around Iceland, and assumes you are touring clockwise around the island in a car. We keep the description short for each day not wanting to repeat what is said in other parts of this brochure.

Day 1
The ferry Baldur goes from Stykkishólmur in the morning with destination Brjánslækur. When the ferry stops in island Flatey, hop off but leave the car keys on board. Cars are useless in the island, so the ferry staff will park your car at Brjánslækur. You have six hours in Flatey to wander around this movie set of charming old-style houses. Stay the night in Flókalundur.

Day 2
Drive to Látrabjarg cliffs. You have enough time to walk along the edge, take it slow and enjoy. Also, check out Rauðisandur and museum Hnjótur. Stay on either side of fjord Patreksfjörður or nearby in villages Tálknafjörður and Bíldudalur.

Day 3
Counting Patreksfjörður, and the end point, Ísafjörður, today’s itinerary can include up to 6 villages (Tálknafjörður, Bíldudalur, Þingeyri, Flateyri), although visiting some of them requires a short detour from the main road. On the way, be sure to stop at Dynjandi waterfall and, if time allows, Hrafnseyri museum, reopened year 2011 to celebrate the birth of an important leader of the movement of independence, Jón Sigurðsson.

Westfjords - Iceland

Day 4
In the Ísafjörður area, wide arrays of day tours are available. Most prominently, there are tours to bird island Vigur and Hornstrandir nature reserve, but others might be more interested in kayaking, or a day of postcard writing. Stay another night in Ísafjörður.

Day 5
In the morning, go through the new tunnel to Bolungarvík and visit Ósvör museum. If the skies are clear, you might even want to venture up to Mt. Bolafjall. After lunch, drive to Heydalur and soak in the natural hot pool up the valley or go for a horseback ride.

Day 6
Today, you will be visiting the most remote settlement in Iceland. Often during the winter, the road there is closed for weeks, even months. Today, Árneshreppur has 50 inhabitants. Stay the night in or near Hólmavík.

Day 7
Once in Hólmavík, nothing compares to a healthy dose of witchcraft in the morning. The Museum of Sorcery provides a memorable insight into nifty tricks to get the much-loathed neighbour sick or lure the cutie at work into a relationship. From there, drive south and continue your journey around Iceland.

Berglind Rós
Iceland24, May 2015

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Travel Report - 12 days itinerary trip in Iceland from Sarah

We will start posting our readers trips on Iceland24. We think it is an important aid for all those who will come in the future to Iceland.

12 days trip around Iceland

Hi there,

We were a family of 4 - 2 adulsts and 2 kids (13 and 11) on our 12 day holiday to Iceland (from July 28th to August 9th).


I started planning the trip back in April / May.

- Flights: WOW airlines, no complaints, nice staff, on time, no comments on 2 checked in (under 20kgs) or 4 hand luggage (each under 10kgs). We had each one piece of hand luggage and the kids some handbags (although they did ask to see them when we checked in),

- Car: Rented with Reykjavík Cars (www.reykjavikcars.com), again no probs. Booked a estate car with a large boot for the luggage, originally a Suzuki Grand Vitara but got a Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4. Around 4,000 km on the clock and we did another 4,000. Had our own insurance (we book one year insurance to cover all of our rentals for the year).

Good service, had to call the first day as there was a leak in the car, they arranged for us to visit a mechanic on the village we were in and fortunately it was nothing. When we returned the car, they inspected it thoroughly and everything was fine.... so very good experience!

- Accommodation: We booked through YHA and stayed in Youth Hostels except for 2 places where they were already sold out in May (Isafjordur and Akureyri). I booked in Gamla Guest House in Isafjourdur (very nice, with a superb breakfast) and Solgardar guesthouse in Akureyri which was also nice and clean (without breakfast). This was the cheapest option. We brought our own sheets (we slept in duvet covers) and towels.

- Clothing: Forget about summer clothes, it is cold and we were wearing a few layers of clothes every day (the adults were on their thermals pretty much the whole trip)

- Pre-booking trips: I prebooked a few trips but other than the ferry cross, I think that you can book everything on the spot allowing you to plan your day as you wish and deciding depending on the weather or your mood which is exactly what we did in the second part of our trip (the galcier walk, the ice lagoon, the visit to the cape) without having to do something because you have already paid for it.


The trip was as follows:

- July 28th: London Gatwick to Reykjavík, pick up the car and drive to Grundafjordur. Stayed at the YH (a small house that was fine) and had dinner at Kaffi 59. Dinner was so so, burguers (kitchen too busy for pizza) and I had some meat that was not that great

- July 29th: Breakfast at the bakery in Stykkisholmur (very nice) and took the Unique Adventure Tour which was very nice (prebooked directly with Icelandic Excursions). Quite amazing the part when they brought the scalops and sea urchins on board and we all ate them...


Then we travel around Snaefellsnels and did all the sights. Dritvik, Djupalon, tried to go up to Snjofell but decided not to as we were worried about the leak in the car (which was nothing), Breidavik, Budavik... had dinner in a N1 grill which ticked the box. Slept at Grundarfjörður. There is a huge lava cave outside Dritvik which we could not visit because we arrived late but looked like an interesting place to visit.


- July 30th: Ferry from Stykki to Brjanslaekur (prebooked with Seatours) and drove to Látrabjarg. While it was nice, please be warned that this is a long drive and we had the opportunity to see bird cliffs with puffins in other parts of Iceland. This ended up being a long day as we had to drive to Isafjordur where we were staying at Gamla Guesthouse. Had dinner in Isafjordur at the fish restaurant in the port.


Dinner was sublime, it is fixed menu with a very nice fish soup, "all you can eat" of freshly cooked fish and you have different types of fish to choose from and side dishes, a heavenly rubarb desert with cream, tea and coffee.... So nice and what a change from the grills!!!! Kids were free so only the adults had to pay 5000ISK (or £30) which was good value for money

- July 31st: We drove to our next destiatination in Broddanes stopping on the way to see the seals in Súðavík, had a swing in Reykjanes geothermal pool and visited the witchcraft museum in Holmavík (which is NOT worthy the visit). The YH at Broddanes is isolated, nice and modern but in the middle of no where. It was good that we had bought some food at Holmavík and cooked dinner.


- August 1st: We had to drive to Akureyri with 2 activities on the way that I had prebooked thought Saga Travel - seal watching at Hvammstangi and rafting in Skagafjordur. Unfortunately we missed the seal tour (long story but took the wrong turn when we left the YH so we were late for the boat trip) but managed to get it moved to the following day (you can book directly at www.sealwatching.is).

We drove to the rafting place enjoying the scenary and had a good laugh with Artic Rafting. While I booked this with Saga Travel you can book it directly with them. They are a good bunch of young lads that clearly enjoy what they do!!!! Continued our trip to Akureyri, checked in at the guesthouse Solgardar (very nice) and went for dinner to Greifinn. Good hearthy dinner with a 15% discount .....


- August 2nd: We had planned Lake Myvatn for the day but had to drive back to do the seal tour in the morning (the day was gorgeous and the boat trip very pleasant, the crew offered binoculars and hot chocolate with pastries and we even saw humpback whales in the distance) and in the afternoon we went to Goðafoss and Lake Mývatn and did the treks in the South and East of the Lake (including Dimmuborgir). Back to Ajureyri for dinner by the port. Long day!!!


- August 3rd: We had booked the whale watching trip in Husavik in the RIB boat again with Scandivian Travel but you can book directly with Visit Askja. It was by far the worst day of all of our holidays (cold, rainning, bumpy sea....) and although we were given the option for a refund, we decided to take a chance. We saw a few humpback whales and also puffins in one of the islands and despite one of us getting sea sick it was worth the trip.


Then we continue to Asbyrgi and then took 864 down to Lake Myvatn stopping at the various spots. Unfortunately it rained all day and we were wet from the boat trip so we did short stops to see the waterfalls and the canyon. It was gorgeous despite the weather and I cannot imagine how nice it would all had been if the weather had been nicer!!!! Back in Akureyri we had dinner at Bautinn, very nice, hearthy and yummy dinner (main courses are inclusive of unlimited soup, bread and salad !!!!)


- August 4th: Spent the day in Lake Myvatn on our way to Seydisfjorður. Enjoyed all the walks in the area and the kids really liked Hverir. We continued to Egilsstaðir, drove over Route 93, stop by the waterfall Litlanefoss (Hengifoos was too far away and it was far too windy to go all the way up) and continued to Seydisfjordur where we were staying at the YH. Big house, ample rooms (not sure why we got booked in double rooms when they had 4 bedrooms free). Had dinner at the Cultural Center, very nice home made meal and the kdis enjoyed the pizza


- August 5th: Drove towards Hvoll where we were staying. Long drive but beautiful scenery along the Eastfjords. Had breakfast at the bakery in Hofn and did the tour of Jokulsarlon (we booked the zodiac as it takes you well inside the lake towards the glacier and really worth the extra money compared to the amphibious alternative), stopped at the various places along the coast and Skaftafell (nice walk to Svatifoss). The hostel at Hvoll is isolated, in the middle of nowhere but nice!!!! We went for dinner to the closest place 25km away - Systrakaffy. It was ok but it was extremely busy and had to wait an hour for our food


- August 6th: We did a glacier walk in the morning that we booked directly in Skaftafell and then we went to Ingolsfshold. The visit to the cape was one of the highlights of the trip, A - M - A - Z - I- N - G, really enjoyed it, the puffins in the cliffs, the skuas (terrifying), the skeletons of whales beached on the beach.... really great. We drove to Skogar where we were staying at the YH (this one was borderline in terms of cleanliness) and had dinner at Edda hotel as it was the only option. Very nice buffet dinner


- August 7th: We visited Pakgil (very nice and worth the 14km gravel road), Vík, Reynisdragur, Skógafoss and then made our way to Laugarvatn stopping at Gulfoss and Geysir. We detour taking route 32 and 26 and felt it was a bit long although the views of the volcano and the landscape was nice. The YH was nice and we were put in a room with ensuite bathroom which was good.


Went for dinner to Lundin and felt that it was a joke of a place, best to be avoided. We ordered the cod and I doubt we got more than 100 grams of fish without any sides!!! and we tried what the pretentiously called "the world famous chocolate mousse" which was disappointing, at least for us, the mix of watermelon and chocolate mousse does not in our opinion marry well and not worth the £10. All in all scarce and expensive.

If I had known it, we would have gone to the Pizza Factory that looked much more fun and better value for money.....

- August 8th: The end of the trip approaching. Went to Pingvellir and explored the area albeit it was rainning and windy so not the best day for the visit. Made our way to Reykiavik stopping at various places including the crater in Kerid and the lava tube in Raufarholshellir.


We we were staying at the YH Reykjavik City. Huge place. We had booked a room with ensuite bathroom and ticked the box. Visited the city, cathedral, port, bought some souvenirs,.... and went for dinner to the fish restaurant accross the street from the YH - Lauga as. Superb!!!!

- August 9th: Last day, before we got to the Blue Lagoon, we drove past the Reykjanes peninsula - bridge between two continents (not that easy to find) - spent a couple of hours at the Blue Lagoon and made our way to the airport. I was dreading the return of the car based on all the stories I had heard but it all went very smoothly.


Checked in, filled in the paperwork to get the tax refund, bought some sweets for the office and spent the last ISK and back to London by 8PM

So that was our trip to Iceland.... now planning next year's trip.

---

Thank you very much Sarah!
Peter, Iceland24
May 2015

Monday, 4 May 2015

Cycling in Iceland

If you are planning an adventurous cycling trip, Iceland is unique in many ways. It is safe to travel here if you are properly prepared and you will find Icelanders both helpful and friendly. You can plan your own trip but there are also a few companies that specialize in guided bike tours.

Cycling in Iceland

The weather 

Iceland’s cool, oceanic climate is quite mild for its latitude, thanks to the Gulf stream. The summers are short and the best time to visit is late May to early September. The average daytime temperature around the coast during May to September is 10-12°C (50-55°F). Average daily sunshine in July and August is 5-6 hours and during the summer months the nights are bright, on clear days you have 24 hours of daylight and even the midnight sun near the Arctic Circle.


However, the weather is extremely changeable and unpredictable so you should always be prepared for the unexpected. You can encounter strong sudden winds and even snow in the middle of summer, even if you stick to the main road, so you should always follow the weather forecast and in all cases carry warm clothing with you. Try to keep your plans flexible so you can follow the wind instead of struggling against it. If you must go against the wind, you might consider cycling in the late evening and in the night (in June and July) as the wind usually calms down in the evening. Benefits of this will also be far less motor traffic on the busier roads and the wonders of experiencing sunset and sunrise, but of course less access to most shops and services.


You can get the weather forecast by telephone: +354 902 0600 or just by asking the locals, Icelanders follow the weather forecast almost religiously. At altitudes in the interior highlands the temperatures are of course lower. Check out the weather forecast at the Icelandic Meteorological Office www.en.vedur.is or www.m.en.vedur.is/m for mobile phones.

The roads 

A rather large portion of Iceland’s road system is made up of gravel roads, especially those with less traffic. Those with some kind of asphalt can be found on the website of the Road Administration www.vegagerdin.is/vegakerfid/ slitlog where gray and red are asphalt, yellow gravel.


The main highway around Iceland, Route 1, circles Iceland in around 1400 kilometers. Once you get away from the South-West part the traffic becomes less but it is fast and the roads get narrower, especially once you get off Route 1. On the gravel roads you may encounter long stretches with potholes, “washboards” or loose sand but far less traffic.

Cyclists are allowed in all tunnels except the one under Hvalfjörður fjord. The Road Administration has a website www.vegagerdin.is/english with maps showing current road conditions including the interior highlands and weather conditions on certain mountain roads etc.


The interior highlands 

The mountain roads across the interior highlands are usually closed until late May or even as late as July, depending on the road and the weather conditions in spring. The Road Administration has information on mountain roads and when they open in the summers at www.vegagerdin.is.


The highland roads are all rough gravel/dirt roads of various qualities from packed mud to washboards, loose gravel and even sand which may be impossible to bicycle when it has been dry for some period. Many rivers must be crossed on fords and can become dangerous in much rain and in case of glacier rivers, in much heat. You may therefore have to wait until late night or early morning to cross some glacier rivers during the summer. Mountain bikes with fat studded tires for good tracking and comfort and low gear ratios to help climbing steep hills are recommended.


Accommodation 

Various huts can be found in the highlands, and can be found on most detailed maps. They may (quite likely) be full and need to be booked well in advance. In the lowlands, guesthouses and hotels can be found but accommodation is not guaranteed so a tent is recommended as an option.


In general travellers are allowed to put up their tents everywhere except in cultivated land, too close to residential buildings and especially protected areas. It is still a common courtesy to ask farmers for permission before camping on their land.

Food and drink 

Food can only be purchased in towns and some other highway locations. You will therefore have to bring food for several days when you are crossing the highlands. As Iceland is sparsely populated there may be 100 to 200 km between shops even on the Ring road between Mývatn and Egilsstaðir and Höfn and Skaftafell.


Water can usually be accessed quite easily in the countryside from streams and rivers. However in sand and lava areas water needs to be carried. Never take water from areas where farms or fields are upriver. There you can visit the farms and get tap water. Water from glacier rivers should only be drunk in emergency and preferably filtered. Usually 1 to 2 liters of water carrying capacity is enough.

Based on information from The Icelandic Mountain Bike Club, visit their website for further info: www.fjallahjolaklubburinn.is/index.php/english

Cycling events in Iceland 
www.hjolamot.is

The Blue Lagoon challenge
From Hafnarfjörður to the Blue Lagoon, 65 km.
www.bluelagoonchallenge.com


Jökulmílan
160 km or less around Snæfellsnes.
www.hjolamenn.is - www.jokulmilan.is

WOW Cyclothon
Cycling with a team around Iceland within 72 hours
www.wowcyclothon.com


Tour de Hvolsvöllur
110 km from Reykjavik to Hvolsvollur.
www.hvolsvollur.is

Tour de Ormurinn
65 km cycling around Lögurinn, starting in Hallormsstaðarskógur. www.facebook.com/TourDeOrmurinn

Become a superhero in Iceland
by cross-country skiing, swimming, running and cycling
www.landvaettur.is

Practical hints for Cyclists using Public Transport

- Cyclists bringing their bikes on flights to Iceland should pack them in suitable boxes.
- Due to limited space at the Keflavik air terminal, there are no facilities for assembling or disassembling bikes there.
- The Youth Hostel in Laugardalur offers facilities to assemble and disassemble bikes and will store transport boxes for a reasonable fee. This is also the location of the Reykjavik camping area. The Flybus takes you between the airport and the Youth Hostel. At Keflavik airport, Bilhotel offers storage of transport boxes. Contact them for their fees.
- In most domestic airports you will find some space to work on your bike. Just be considerate and don‘t take up too much space.
- For getting out of Reykjavik, public transport to e.g. Kjalarnes, Akranes, Borgarnes or Hveragerði is a good option. It is cheap and there can be two bikes on each bus if space permits. Transport of bikes in the buses of Strætó bs. is free of charge.
- By starting the trip from Reykjavik on the bus the bicyclist avoids the hectic and traffic-loaded ways leading to and from the Capital area. By taking the bus to Akranes, one bypasses the only tunnel in Iceland that is not passable by bike: the Hvalfjörður tunnel. Leaving the bus in Kjalarnes on the way to the West and cycling the Hvalfjörður fjord is especially pleasant, though. The fjord enjoys fantastic nature and sparse car traffic.
- In Iceland public transport buses are operated by several companies. The map reflects which company operates which routes. The operators have homepages showing the seasonal schedules, prices and other useful info. Apart from Strætó, most collect fees for the transport of bicycles. It is advisable to check beforehand the conditions of the operator you plan to travel with.
- You can get on or off the bus everywhere the main road meets smaller roads on the route in rural areas, just be sure to make clear if you want the bus to stop. In the Capital area and other areas with local buses, they only stop at marked stops.
- For certain, more remote routes, (e.g. 79, 83 or 84), please consult with the service center at tel. 540 2700.
- In rural areas, bikes are put in the luggage compartments of the buses. The number of bikes that can be allowed on any given bus can not be guaranteed, but bikes are usually allowed while there is room for them.
- For all rural buses, you can buy tickets on the bus. When you pay for a single fare in local Strætó in Reykjavik, you must have the excact amount needed, as there is no change.
- Most domestic ferries do charge for the transport of bicycles.

Cycling Iceland Map 2013

Iceland has a lot to offer for those who choose to use a bike to discover the land of fire and ice. This summer a unique map was released where travellers can in one place find practical information, a list of bicycle related services and public transportation.

Download the PDF-version (12 mb)
Cycling Iceland map 2013


Links

A bicycle tour in Iceland
http://userweb.eftel.com/~wheelbuddies/iceland/

Cycling around the world
http://www.cyclingaroundtheworld.nl/iceland/ie_iceland.htm

Cycling in Iceland
http://members.ziggo.nl/erens/icecycle.htm

Iceland by bike
http://blog.eddokloosterman.com/2012/09/iceland-by-bike-pt-1/

Cycling in Iceland
http://www.cycletourer.co.uk/cycletouring/iceland.shtml

Source: Ferdamalastofa
Johanna, Iceland24
May 2015