Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður town is situated in a fjord with the same name, in the east of Iceland. Founded by Norwegian fishermen in 1895, this little town is noted for its Norwegian-style wooden houses that are homes to 700 inhabitants, who survive mainly on fishing and tourism. Seyðisfjörður is also the main ferry port to and from Denmark.

Seyðisfjörður is renowned for its numerous beautiful waterfalls, that follow the Fjarðará river, and can be admired when coming from Egilsstaðir via route 93.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is especially popular for its growing artist community. The Skaftfell centre of visual arts offers exhibitions, art discussions and artist residencies to those who wish to stay throughout the year.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

The LungA festival, which takes place every year in July, brings together artists from all over Iceland and the world, and celebrates creativity through performances, shows and concerts.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

The LungA festival began in 2000, and in 2010 a school with the same name was established in order to promote personal development in various artistic activities. The school program consists of 12 weeks of artistic discovery and teaching. If you have an artistic streak, there are plenty of opportunities to stay long-term or short-term in Seyðisfjörður.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

Seyðisfjörður is also known for its clever installation piece Tvísöngur, by Berlin artist Lukas Kühne, which can be seen twenty minutes walking distance from the Brimberg fish factory. Tvísöngur is a collection of five large stone domes that pays tribute to Iceland's unique musical tradition of five-tone harmonies. Once inside visitors can experience each dome as a musical instrument, because when the wind blows through a dome, it creates a sound, each dome resonating a different tone that makes up a five tone harmony.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

A visit to the town would feel incomplete without seeing Bláa Kirkjan, the little blue church in Seyðisfjörður. In addition to being picturesque and charming, the church is also known for the Blue Church Summer Concert Series (started 1998), when the town's folk organise a concert in the church every Wednesday evening from around July 1st - August 12th, all genres of music can be heard i.e. blues, folk, jazz and classical music, in a warm and relaxing atmosphere.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

Art is not the only attraction in Seyðisfjörður. Depending on the season, one can choose from many outdoor activities i.e. fishing, diving, paragliding, skiing, golfing, kayaking and hiking. If you wish to do something inside, you can visit the technical museum or the Fjardasel power plant.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

The Skálanes nature reserve is found just twenty kilometers from Seyðisfjörður and is owned and managed by Ólafur Pétursson and his family, working alongside a variety of staff from the local community and abroad. The people at Skálanes are working towards making the nature reserve more sustainable through agriculture and also manufacture quilts, brew beer and make honey.

A visit to Seyðisfjörður

Joanne, Iceland24

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

With summer approaching, it's good to know what you can do on one of those stormy days when you find yourself stuck indoors in a small town or village in Iceland.

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

It is possible to go outside and brave the wind and cold to soak in a nearby hot pot - the complete list of pools and natural hot springs in Iceland is on this site http://www.sundlaug.is along with any other necessary information you’ll need i.e. price lists and opening times. Nothing brings more security while embracing a winter storm in full swing, than a nice serene bath in a 40-degree hot pot - outdoors!

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

If you're in the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík you can rent a DVD from the video store on Klapparstigur. We recommend the two Icelandic movies Djúpið, and Á klödum Eldfjall klaka, both are very good choices for a cosy night in (that’s if you haven’t seen them already). You can also try out the local independent cinema Bío Paradís on Hverfisgata; there you can see a wide selection of Icelandic and international films. Or if you prefer to hear some Icelandic music, the excellent music store 12 Tonar provides headphones for anyone wishing to check out what's on sale - this is a lovely time spent listening to the vibes of local bands like Sigur Rós and Múm.

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

Read! The chain bookstore Eymundsson stays open until 22 hours on weekdays and allows customers to peruse through books and magazines (a lot of books are in English) while enjoying a cup of coffee or hot chocolate from their store’s coffee shop. Each town and village have a good public library and a huge selection of English books. If you have the chance to stay with a host, you can borrow a good book for sure because most Icelanders keep shelves filled with interesting books to get them through the long winter evenings.

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

Knit! Why not learn to knit a lopapeysa? You will find wool sold in specific stores and some supermarkets. You can find knitting instructions in English on the Internet.

Finally, if you're planning to outstay the winter weather in Iceland, here's a list of things to do to prepare you for the Icelandic culture: Watch videos of Viltu LAERA íslensku on the internet for initiation into the  Icelandic language. They are simple videos and very well done. Cook an Icelandic specialty. We found very good recipes on the internet to make a skyrterta (skyr tart, kind of "cheesecake") or jólakaka (Christmas cake). Read (or reread) that good Icelandic thriller that you have stored away in your personal library.

A Survival Guide for Iceland’s Stormiest Days

Joanne, Iceland24
May 2016

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Three hikes in Skaftafell National Park

Skaftafell, in the southern region of Iceland, is known for its beautiful landscape and its hiking. Before 2008, Skaftafell was an individual national park but has since been annexed by the Vatnajökull National Park.  The park founded in 1967, now includes a campground with shower and sanitary facilities and has an information centre for hikers. The possibilities for hikes in this area are numerous; we decided to share three walks with you.

Three hikes in Skaftafell National Park

Blue path (easy): Svartifoss - Sjónarsker - Salt
5.5 km return - Estimated walking time: 2 hours.

The well-marked hiking path starts at the information centre at Skaftafell (Skaftafellstofa). After the camp, the trail climbs to the right. Follow the tags until you arrive in front of the magnificent waterfall Svartifoss. Nicknamed the Black waterfall, Svartifoss is known for the dark lava columns surrounding it, similar to the lava columns at Reynisdrangar near Vik. Then, walk over the bridge, go down into the ravine and climb the other side. You continue your way until Sjónarnípa, from there you can admire the glacier -the view is fabulous. To return to the starting point, head to the house made of peat named Salt, in the Lambhagi locality, where up until the early twentieth century farmers were guarding their sheep and lambs. After Lambhagi, you are almost back to the information point.

Three hikes in Skaftafell National Park

Red Road (Middle): Kjos
29.8 km return - Estimated walking time: 8-10 hours.

Start at the information point of Skaftafell (Skaftafellstofa) and head to Sjónarnípa, then to Morsárdalur, an icy valley Skaftafellsheiði. After crossing the bridge over the river MORSA, the marked path leads you to the small birch forest Bæjarstaðarskógur. Near the woods is a small natural hot bath for two. When you get to the sign in the woods, turn right. There is no marked path to Kjos, and we recommend you obtain a detailed map for this hike. Kjos is a beautiful canyon. On the way back, retrace your steps until Grjóthóll, but instead of crossing the bridge continue following the river until Götugil bridge. Walk along the well-marked path until you reach the information point.

Three hikes in Skaftafell National Park

Black Path (difficult): Kristínartindar
17.9 km return - Estimated walking time: 6-8 hours.

The trail starts at the information centre at Skaftafell, and the first part of the walk is the same as the blue path hike mentioned above, except that you are not going to Svartifoss. You can detour and go through Svartifoss, but the shortest is to cross the river over the bridge near the waterfall Magnúsarfoss and get to the point of Sjónarsker. The path from Sjónarsker then goes up the mountain Kristínartindar. When you reach a junction at the foot of Kristínartindar, turn left following the path through scree and rock, then turn left again to the top of the ridge.You return the same way you came, except that when reaching the ledge you have to go down the left path, which will lead you to the mountain plateau Glama and Sjónarnípa, then onto your starting point.

Three hikes in Skaftafell National Park

Joanne, Iceland24
May 2016

Friday, 6 May 2016

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Many individuals who want to visit Iceland wonder when the ideal time for them to come to this remarkable country is. This is a tricky question to answer, however, because when you can visit depends on your work schedule and other obligations. Therefore, instead of telling you what your ideal time to visit should be, today we are going to discuss what goes on during the various seasons, so you can know what to expect when coming at certain times.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Experiencing Iceland during the spring

Everyone loves spring because the days become longer and the smells seem to be different around every corner. However, spring in Iceland feels as though it only lasts for five minutes but during its short period it is wonderful. Many tourists come to the country during this season because they are able to do more since they miss the high season prices and the crowds. This means traveling is a breeze, the days are long and bright and the weather is decent.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Experiencing Iceland during the summer

Summer in Iceland comes with pros and cons. Many tourists love the days are longer and that they can experience the midnight sun. There is also the pleasant weather and the lush and green scenery. Summer is also a great time to come to the region since the highland roads reopen during this season. However, you have to remember that since summer is popular, there will be many crowds, the prices will be higher, and it can be hard to find accommodations unless you booked those months in advance.

Visiting during the summer is not recommended for those who like to go with the flow. You have to plan to have a good experience during the summer in Iceland. Iceland is not a deserted place unless you were planning to go to Langanes. However, if you do not want to come when it is colder, be prepared to have to share your experienced with many others, which could be a way to meet new friends.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Experiencing Iceland during autumn

Iceland is a great place to visit during the autumn because the skies are golden, the trees are colorful, and the darkness can be rather cozy. In addition, if you love experiencing crazy storms from indoors Iceland can offer you that too. When tourists come, they enjoy lower prices and fewer crowds, when compared to the summer months. However, the downside is that the weather can change in a split second, which means your travel plans could have to be changed at any time. However, if you follow the weather advice for travelling everything should be fine. We recommend definitely checking out Þingvellir if you decide to come during this season.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Experiencing Iceland during Winter

If you are someone who loves lights, you are sure to love the Northern Lights, which probably inspired your Iceland trip from the beginning. Iceland can offer you the Northern Lights and fresh snow. Then, of course, there is Christmas, which means tons of Christmas lights, mulled wine and Christmas beers.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Many people might not like traveling to Iceland during the winter months because they fear they will become stranded somewhere because of the weather. This would be okay for those who have a lot of time yet for those who have a short time to explore Iceland due to work obligations, your boss may not be happy to hear about a delayed flight countries away. If you are able to come experience Iceland during the winter, it is highly recommended.

Best Time to Visit Iceland

Conclusion

As you can see from the different breakdowns of the seasons, Iceland can be a great place to visit during any time of the year. However, before deciding which season you want to come for a visit, make sure you do background research to be aware of the events and tours that will be available. This way you can make sure, you are able to do the things that you had your heart set on. Additionally, keep your budget in mind as well as how long of a period that you have available to explore the country.

Now that you have read this article, seeing when the ideal time to visit Iceland is for you should be easier for you to determine.

Kolla, Iceland24.
© 2016 Iceland24

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Lush fjords, haunting volcanic peaks, dramatic sea cliffs, sweeping golden beaches and lava flows make up the landscape of the 100km long Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

It has been named Iceland in Miniature, because many national sights can be found in the area, including the Snæfellsjökull volcano, regarded as one of the symbols of Iceland. With its height of 1446 m, it is the highest mountain on the peninsula and has a glacier at its peak.

Top Places we recommend to visit in Snæfellsnes Peninsula

1. Gerduberg basalt columns

An impressive wall of beautiful basalt columns, forming geometric patterns in the cliffs. Location: 46 km from Borgarnes on the way to Snaefellsnes peninsula (Road nº54).

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

2. Arnarstapi

Arnarstapi or Stapi is a small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell between Hellnar village and Breiðavík farms on the southern side of Snæfellsnes, Iceland. Arnarstapi was an important trading post in the past and had a much bigger population than it has now.

A very interesting old path follows the coastline where you can see old lending places of fishermen, lots of birds, like the kittiwake, the Arctic tern and the fulmar and pass through a lavafield. If you take a guided tour, you will also hear a ghost story.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Arnarstapi is the best place to organize an advent to the glacial crown. Snowmobile tours on the glacier are run by Snjófell. Location: on the southern side of Snæfellsnes peninsula, 119 km from Borgarnes (Road nº574)

3. Gatklettur - Arch Rock

Gatklettur is a cliff with a circular arch. Rock Arch shows how distinctive wave action has eroded the rocks into arches and beautifurl swirled patterns.There is great birdlife around the cliffs and pretty flora surrounding the area. Location: near Arnarstapi, south east of Snaefellsjokull glacier (Road nº574).

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

4. Snæfellsjökull National Park

The park was established on June 28, 2001 and it is one of the most visited parks in Iceland. Considered by many to be the jewel of West Iceland, Snaefellsjokull is the most famous volcano in Iceland.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

It is an active volcano and provided the setting for Jules Vernes famous book Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Many believe the glacier to be one of the seven main energy centres of the earth and its mystique is noticed by many. Undisputedly the main attraction of the National Park.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Excursions onto the glacier are offered from the village Arnarstapi on the southern side. The magnificent view from the top extends to Reykjanes Peninsula on the south side and the West Fjords on the north side as well as over the mountains of Snaefellsnes to the east.

A landmark: can be seen from many places, e.g. Reykjavik, 180 km away (Road nº570).

5. Djupalonssandur & Dritvik

Djupalonssandur is a beautiful pebbled beach, with a series of rocks of mysterious form emerging from the ocean.

It is one of the few areas that lead down to the sea along this coast with its high dramatic cliffs. Watch out for the famous ghosts roaming the place! Location: South of Snaefellsnes glacier, 10 km from the village Hellnar (Road nº574).

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

6. Ytri Tunga

The beach near the abandoned farm of Ytri Tunga is well-known for its seal colony. The seals are friendly and curious and will climb up on the rocks near the sandy beach.Sometimes you have to be patient and wait for them.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The best time to see seals is in June and July. A beautiful, serene cove with a wonderful view of the Snaefellsjokull Glacier. Location: on the southern side of Snaefellsnes peninsula, by road no. 54, 15 km before Hotel Budir.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

7. Vatnshellir Cave

Follow the path of the lava flow in the 8000 years old cave located in Snæfellsjökull National Park.  All guests will be equipped with lights and helmets. Very well accessible for most people. We recommend warm clothing, hiking shoes and gloves.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

During summer, 45 minute guided tours from 10am-6pm, every hour on the hour. In wintertime tours are offered for groups (12+ persons) on an agreement. Price for adults: ISK 2000,-

Further info: vatnshellir@vatnshellir.is  www.vatnshellir.is  +354-665-2818

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

8. Flatey Island

Flatey means "flat island". The old houses, shops and warehouse buildings on Flatey reflect the optimism and development of the period around 1900. In former times, the island was important both as a fishing centre and as the hub of commercial life of the Breidafjordur area. Traders from the Hanseatic League in Germany ran a trading post here.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The first Icelandic trader received a temporary licence in 1589, and in 1777 Flatey received a charter as a town. Flateyjarbok (the Book of Flatey), one of the most important and impressive of the ancient Icelandic saga manuscripts, was preserved on Flatey in the Middle Ages. A photocopy reproduction is on display in the library (the oldest one in Iceland, built in 1864 in the heyday of Flatey's prosperity).

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

The church on Flatey dates from 1926. The frescoes in the apse were painted by Kristjana and Baltasar Samper and are based on the local landscape and traditional occupations. Flatey has been an inspiration to many artists and the film "The Bridegroom" (Brudguminn) by Baltasar Kormákur was filmed on Flatey in 2007.

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Berglind Rós, Iceland24