Monday, 30 January 2017

A trip from Isafjörður to Hólmavík - Enjoy the Westfjords!

Some Icelandic holidays lead to the Westfjords. You don't have to figure out how to drive this route; there's just one road that goes from Isafjörður to Hólmavík. You'll be stunned and amazed; here are some ideas that might inspire you on your trip.

A trip from Isafjörður to Hólmavík - Enjoy the Westfjords!

Isafjörður is the capital of the Westfjords and has nearly 2600 inhabitants. It's a charming town, with shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels. The old town is made up of many wooden houses dating back to the nineteenth century, and it's lovely to walk its streets. If you're keen on history or fishing, you'll enjoy a visit to the Maritime Museum where you'll be informed about how the fishing industry has contributed to the prosperity of Isafjörður town. The old hospital is now a cultural center that offers various exhibitions throughout the year; daily afternoon visits are possible. The city also offers many opportunities for walking and hiking. Try the interesting ten-kilometer walk from the old road Ísafjörður to Bolungarvík, if your driving you go through the mountain tunnel.

A trip from Isafjörður to Hólmavík - Enjoy the Westfjords!

Bolungarvík is a small village with a very similar fishing harbor as Isajörður and houses a natural history museum. In the natural history museum, you can see a stuffed polar bear that ventured into this part of Iceland a few years ago. The coffee shop at Einarshúsið (Einar's house) Guesthouse is the only one in the village. Located in this beautiful historic home, the very friendly owner never fails to show items related to seafaring he keeps in his basement, including the steering wheel from the famous ship Pourquoi Pas, which ran aground in Iceland in 1936, found by a local man a few years ago.

On the other side of the fjord, you'll discover the small village Suðureyri, which doesn't look like there's much to it, but do check out the public pool that fantastically sits near the mountains and the sea. Walk through the village until the end of the road and see the fjords end and its spectacular scenery.

A trip from Isafjörður to Hólmavík - Enjoy the Westfjords!

Starting again from Isafjörður to Hólmavík, and a stop at The Arctic Fox Centre in Súðavík is well worth a visit. Volunteers working at the center are enthusiastic and educated, teaching visitors a lot about these soft furry animals. The center keeps two young polar foxes in a small park outside that you will find both interesting and entertaining!

Halfway between the two towns, is a twelve-kilometer trail that leads you to the green paradise (or white in winter) Heydalur, a mini holiday centre in Iceland. Rooms, restaurant, hot springs and many animals (including a parrot that greets you in Icelandic) makes Heydalur a comfortable refuge for a few nights. A little further along is the Reykjanes pool that is as pleasing as the Saltverk salt produced in the same place.

A trip from Isafjörður to Hólmavík - Enjoy the Westfjords!

Along the road, you'll be able to admire a colony of seals that are often basking on the rocks along the shorelines in the Westfjords; it's good to have binoculars with to admire them. A kilometer away, the historic farm Litlibær offers visitors, coffee, and a waffle for only a thousand crowns.

Hólmavík is the starting point (or return) for travelers who visit the Westfjords, especially those who go hiking in Hornstrandir. The activities are numerous, and the pool and the museum of witchcraft are very popular amongst visitors.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Sunday, 29 January 2017

7 days in North Iceland - A week-long route you will enjoy!

Day 1 - If you arrive at Iceland's national airport Keflavík early daytime, you can catch a domestic flight from Reykjavik to Akureyri. Once in Akureyri, we recommend you visit many places: the town center, Listagilið, the arts district of Akureyri, Akureyri Church, and then try the Botanical Gardens, Listagarðurinn, where you can admire many varieties of plants and flowers. A dip in the city public swimming pool is a pleasant experience!

7 days in North Iceland - A week-long route you will enjoy!

Days 2 and 3 - The next day, we recommend you take the road east to Myvatn. Halfway on your journey, stop and admire the magnificent waterfall Godafoss, then, continue until Skútustaðir, your first stop around Lake Myvatn, where you can admire the pseudo-craters. A few kilometers further along you'll reach the green paradise Höfði, and, on the opposite side, you can admire and walk across the peninsula Kalfaströnd, which is also an ideal place for bird watching. Dimmuborgir is the next stop, and probably one of the most impressive attractions; volcanic formations transformed into sculptures and you can walk through lava fields dating back over 2300 years ago. A few kilometers north you will discover the crater Hverfjall or Hverfell, where a path will lead you to the crater's top; the view is spectacular. You can enjoy a swim in the Jardbodin Lagoon. Eat and spend the night in the area, then visit the site of bubbling-Hverir Namafjall Krafla and take a leisurely hike around the crater.

7 days in North Iceland - A week-long route you will enjoy!

From there, make a detour and head east to the intersection that takes you to Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Retrace your steps and join the west shore of the lake; if you like to walk and climb, stop by the Vindbelgjarfjall mountain with a summit that reaches 529 meters high. The first stop is the Museum of birds Sigurgeir (Fuglasafn Sigurgeirs), which is near Ytri-Neslönd. Then join Akureyri again and spend the night.

Days 4 and 5 - These two days will allow you to visit the beautiful peninsula Tröllaskagi. Take the number one road to Reykjavík and turn right on Highway 82 towards Dalvik. Hauganes is a whale watching point, and you can also see whales from Hjalteyri if you're lucky. Hjalteyri, despite its little quiet community appearance, has a vivid artistic life and offers exhibits throughout the year. At Árskógssandur, you can take a boat to Hrísey Island or visit the little factory named Kaldi where they brew local beer. Continuing on your route, you pass Dalvik, which is known as the host town for the fish festival, Fiskidagurinn Mikli. Every year in August, Dalvik hosts about 30 000 people (that's almost 10% of the Icelandic population). Then, Ólafsfjörður welcomes you before you join the charming village Siglufjörður where the two museums of herring and Icelandic traditional music await you. Spend the night in the area.

7 days in North Iceland - A week-long route you will enjoy!

The next day, continuing on your way and then, stop and see the village of Hofsós. It has 200 inhabitants and is best known for the magnificent view from its local swimming pool - we urge you to go and check it out! The road continues to Hólar; a former principal diocese that is today a dynamic village, thanks to its university; one can study aquaculture and marine biology, or equestrian studies or study tourism - outstanding for a village of just 100 inhabitants! Then take Highway 75 leading to Sauðárkrókur, where you can experience the midnight sun during the few days of the summer solstice, or just three hours of daylight in the winter! The Glaumbær museum is worth a visit before you journey to Varmahlíð and return to spend the night in Akureyri.

7 days in North Iceland - A week-long route you will enjoy!

Day 6 - If there's a chance your flight is early the next day, and today you have to reach Iceland's capital, you might as well enjoy exploring Reykajvík. However, if you still have a free day and wish to stay up north, spend the day exploring Akureyri, or take a trip to Grimsey Island; you could even go in the highlands and explore Askja with a guided tour.

Day 7 - Welcome back!

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Siglufjörður - A charming village in Northern Iceland

After an hour's drive along Route 1 and then 76 from Akureyri you will find the charming village of Siglufjörður, nestled between sea and mountain in the Tröllaskagi peninsula in northern Iceland.

Siglufjörður - A charming village in Northern Iceland

The population of the village reached 3000 inhabitants around the 1940s and 1950s and prospered thanks to the fishing industry, especially the herring. Today, the population is 1,200 and fishing is still, along with the growing tourism, a main industry. Access to Siglufjörður, until 1967, was through a small mountain road, accessible only during the summer months. However, in 2010 another road was built that allowed access to Siglufjörður all year round. Infrastructure improvements over the years, including the construction of some impressive tunnels, have allowed Siglufjörður to become less isolated from other towns in the region.

Siglufjörður - A charming village in Northern Iceland

In winter, Siglufjörður is a paradise for those who love nature, snow, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobile excursions. In summer, lovers of hiking will be delighted to walk around this small town, where cultural activities are also numerous. Every summer, the city hosts a folk festival where local and international artists come together to share their passion for music.

Siglufjörður - A charming village in Northern Iceland

The herring museum Síldarminjasafnið, is the largest maritime museum in Iceland, with three separate buildings at its disposal. Inside the museum, you will discover a fish factory accompanied by machines and very well preserved equipment .The museum offers a wealth of information on fishing as well as the industry and history of the region - all you need to know about Siglufjörður is in the herring museum.

The Folk Music Center is located in Madame House where the Rev. Bjarni Þorsteinsson lived from 1888 to 1898. The Reverend Bjarni Þorsteinsson (1861-1938) was primarily a folk music collector. He was also a talented musician and composed many songs that are still sung in Iceland. He began collecting folk songs from 1880 and then published a song book (Íslensk Þjóðlög) with the support of the Carlsberg Foundation in Denmark. The book has hundreds of folk songs, coming from various parts of the country. In July 2006, for the 100th anniversary of the Bjarni book, the Folk Music Center was officially inaugurated. Bjarni worked in Siglufjörður all his life. In addition to being the priest of the city, he was an active politician and is still considered by many people as the "father of Siglufjörður". In the center, visitors can see video recordings of people of all ages chanting , singing and playing folk instruments like langspil. This small museum is very charming.

Siglufjörður - A charming village in Northern Iceland

In town you will find some guesthouses, a few shops, two cafes and restaurants near the harbor. It is possible to visit the family brewery of Segull 67, the entrance fee is 2,000 Kronur (15 euros).

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Tourism in Iceland is growing rapidly. Tips to handle it!

I recently read an opinion of a traveller on a forum, who did not like Iceland as he/she found it too expensive, crowded with tourists and the locals to be unpleasant. What do you think?

Too many tourists?

So yes, okay, there are a lot of tourists in Iceland ... in recent years, the popularity of the island has exploded and beautiful Iceland is now swarmed with tourists from all over the world. However, it seems to me that most of the travellers go to the most popular places, and thus expose themselves to meeting other travellers who, like them, marvel at what they have heard so much about.

Tourism in Iceland is growing rapidly. Tips to handle it!

I recently had two friends come to visit me and we had a little tour in the north of Iceland. There were many people in Mývatn; however, just fifty kilometres away, along the coast by the Highway 85, there was no one. Of course, there are no geysers or incredible sites on this route, but there is still an abundance of scenic beauty and Icelandic culture to experience. I lived in Paris, but never went to the Louvre and never climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower. But I have really experienced the city by immersing myself in the culture. In Iceland, I have used the same approach by seeing, feeling, doing and embracing the wonders of the country with an open mind.

Tourism in Iceland is growing rapidly. Tips to handle it!

I appreciate the monotonous and dramatic landscapes and taking trips on the small winding roads ... not only the volcanoes and the geysers! It is certain that if you only visit Jökulsárlón or Þingvellir, you will be disappointed ... There are dozens of beautiful places in Iceland that are off the beaten track and are completely secluded.

Iceland is a beautiful country, and it cannot be argued that some have more rights to enjoy it than others. If you want to travel and enjoy Iceland without crowds of tourists, organise it yourself: choose a season and plan your itinerary to make the most of it.

Tourism in Iceland is growing rapidly. Tips to handle it!

Too expensive?

So yes, Iceland is expensive. Cheap flights have made travelling to Iceland more possible, however, many visitors are not prepared for the high costs of living, once they arrive ... To avoid spending too much, you must be well prepared, make reservations well in advance and do your research. It is a good idea to have a little margin in your budget. Being adventurous and opting to camp and prepare your own meals is not only cost effective but a great way to experience Iceland too. Find out more about the cost of living in Iceland. If you know what to expect, the (bad) surprises will be less!

Tourism in Iceland is growing rapidly. Tips to handle it!

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

You can follow the first part 1/2 here.

Day 5

Named after Saint Patrick, the spiritual guide of Örlygur Hrappson, who settled first in the area Fjord Patreksfjörður that today has about 700 inhabitants. South of the fjord, you can admire the highest mountain in the west fjords, Kalbakur (998 meters). You can rent a bike, take fishing trip by boat, or just walk to admire the many birds in the region: white-tailed eagles, razorbills, guillemots, and gannets are numerous. Puffins are also present, and Látrabjarg is not far away: it's a rock 14 kilometres long and up to 440 meters high where thousands of birds nest every summer. Rauðasandur beach is also a charming place and is the only white sand beach in Iceland (the rest are black). You can spend the night in Bíldudalur, located 230 kilometers from your starting point, Reykhólar.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

Day 6

The next fjord, Arnarfjörður, houses a museum that tells the story of sea creatures who are said to live in the area. Arnarfjörður is one of the most beautiful of the western fjords with its varied landscapes and towering mountains, and the place is above all known for hosting the waterfall Dynjandi, so majestic and impressive from a height of 100 meters. In the surrounding area, you can visit the small villages of Þingeyri and Flateyri in the Fjord Dýrafjörður, where you can learn more about the history of the region and visit several museums, including the Museum of Anything. You can then join Isafjörður, the capital of the west fjords approximately 170 kilometers away.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

Day 7

Isafjörður, a small town with 2600 inhabitants, has a lot to offer travellers: golf, hiking, cycling, horse riding, fishing, kayaking and other activities are available during the summer. It's also a lovely little town to stroll around and enjoy the fresh fish offered by restaurants. Continue your journey until Súðavík, twenty kilometers south of Isafjörður, where you can learn about the avalanche of 1995 that "cut" the village in two, and also, the arctic fox visiting the Icelandic research centre The Arctic Fox. Stay overnight in Isafjörður and enjoy what it has to offer.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

Day 8

Continue until Litlibær, 80 kilometers from Isafjörður, visit a small historic house and take a coffee break -with the best view of the whole of Iceland! 150 km further leads you to Hólmavík where you can visit the museum of witchcraft. Along the way you can stop in the Heydalur valley and enjoy a swim in one of the many hot springs in the area.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

Day 9

Return slowly to the south and head to the Reykjanes Peninsula. On the peninsula, there are many sites to visit. Among them, the bubbling hot spring Gunnuhver, the widest in Iceland , Brimketill lava field, the Brennisteinfjöll mountains or the famous Blue Lagoon (remember to book in advance if you are interested!). The distance from Keflavík International Airport is 276 kilometers away.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 2/2)

Day 10

Departure. We hope you had an excellent experience. Please tell us know how it went.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Monday, 23 January 2017

Travelling in Iceland: guided or alone?

This is a question that travelers often ask ... how should I travel in Iceland? Alone or accompanied? Rent a car and go on a solo adventure or depend on a guide and an itinerary? Obviously, this is very individual, and the answer will depend on your interests and how you like to travel. Each of the options has advantages and disadvantages, and here are some ideas to take into account when preparing for your trip to Iceland.

Travelling in Iceland: guided or alone?

Accompanied travel

A trip to Iceland requires lots of planning and preparation, to make the most of your time there, including many reservations. On an organized tour, this is all taken care of for you; You can put your feet up and relax while the tour company takes care of the itinerary. With the growing tourism industry, you can join all kinds of accompanied trips, which suit your personality and desires. On a guided tour, you are sure not to miss stunning views or a hidden waterfall a few meters from the road. Accompanied trips follow a fixed route, but, spontaneous alterations may occur occasionally, depending on the guide, company or factors such as weather conditions. However, when you are traveling in a group, you will be expected to take part in the activities on the trip, whether you like it or not.

Travelling in Iceland: guided or alone?

If you have no experience of Iceland and want to go to the Highlands, it may be useful to go there accompanied by a professional. The same applies if you wish to hike on a glacier or enter an ice cave; For safety reasons we strongly advise you not to venture alone and always use a professional to guide you.

Independent Travel

You can stop where and when you want and spend your days at your own pace ... this is the biggest advantage of traveling independently. Iceland is a country that takes time to uncover and get in to the local culture. However, Iceland is very popular and finding accommodation during the high season can be difficult to find, unless you book months in advance. An independent trip needs to be well planned so that you can enjoy it to the fullest. And do not forget that in Iceland, especially in winter, unforeseen events are common: be prepared to modify your itinerary if necessary.

Travelling in Iceland: guided or alone?

The alternatives

A trip that is partly independent and partly guided can be a benficial way to discover Iceland and make the most of it. Depending on your budget, you can:

- hire a private guide to guide your group around the island.

- join an autotour and enjoy your freedom without the constraints of reservations and schedules.

- make an independent trip but use agency services for certain excursions.

Travelling in Iceland: guided or alone?

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Sunday, 22 January 2017

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report (Part 1/2)

 Day 1

Arrival. Reykjavík is approximately 40 km from Keflavík International Airport. If your flight arrives in Iceland early daytime, in a few hours, you will have time to see the main street, Laugavegur, stroll by the harbour (and why not eat a piece in one of its restaurants or coffee houses), visit Harpa and Hallgrímskirkja church. If you have a little more time, a visit to an Icelandic swimming pool is necessary, even if you have time to go the following day.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report

Day 2

Enjoy breakfast in Reykjavik (Icelandair Marina hotel or Grái kötturinn are good -the breakfast options are not cheap but are delicious with good sized portions!). Then off to the golden circle! The journey leads you to the Thingvellir National Park, where the Icelandic parliament was created around the year 1000 and then you can visit Geysir where you will see geysers and fumaroles on site. After 130 kilometres further along the way, you will arrive at Gullfoss, the golden waterfall. On your return, visit the small crater Kerid located near Highway 35; there's a toll fee of 400 ISK for access. We then advise you to spend the night at Selfoss (70 kilometers), or Borgarnes (190 km).

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report

Day 3

Stop to admire the Basalt columns at Gerduberg, about fifty kilometres from Borgarnes; then go to Arnarstapi on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. Arnarstapi is 120 kilometers from Borgarnes (240 km from Selfoss, if that's where you wish to spend the night) Arnarstapi or Stapi is a small fishing village with a fascinating old trail that runs along the coastline to Hellnar. It is a short walk about half an hour and along the way you can admire the old houses rented to fishermen and the birdlife. Ten kilometres after Hellnar is Djúpalónssandur beach, worth a glance; it is a beautiful pebble beach where you can admire mysterious forms of rocks emerging from the ocean. Continue your road a bit further, and adore the seal colony at Ytri Tunga, or take a guided expedition on the glacier Snæfellsjökull. Spend the night in the area, for example at Búðir hotel or The Freezer Rif hostel.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report

Day 4

Hellissandur and Rif are two small fishing villages that are located two kilometres apart. If travelling to these two villages on foot, you will have the chancellors to see many magnificent birds along the way. Grundarfjörður and Stykkishólmur are also two small towns to visit; the first Grundarfjörður will offers breathtaking views of the church mountain Kirkjufell. Stykkishólmur has a large cultural life, especially in the summertime; visit the Norwegian house, the local museum, the modern church famous in Iceland for its unusual form and the Water Library exhibition. You can spend the night at Reykhólar, about 180 kilometers from Grundarfjörður.

10 days in the West of Iceland - Trip report

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Grenivík. Hiking in northern Iceland

Grenivík is a small fishing village of about 300 inhabitants located in the Eyjafjörður fjord in northern Iceland. Its main activity remains fishing, but the village also has a small pharmaceutical industry. Given its size and geographical location, Grenivík is a quiet and uncrowded village, but the surrounding countryside is well known for its hiking trails. From Grenivík you can reach the Flateyjarskagi Peninsula.

Grenivík. Hiking in northern Iceland

Mountain Kaldbakur, 1173 meters in height, is right next to the village and will delight fans of walking, as there are several paths leading to the top. An easier alternative is the path that leads to Þengilhöfði, a small mountain 260 meters high just south of Grenivík. For more challenging alternatives you can go to the top of the Blámannshattur and Laufáshnjúkur mountains that are in the area. The ancient sites of Fjörðurnar and Látraströnd, a series of fjords in the region, are also good places to walk, and are becoming more and more popular with travellers looking for a bit of peace away from the most popular tourist sites. You can avail of the snow cat services of Kaldbasferðir to go to the top of the Kalbakur mountain, and those of Fjörðungar to walk around Fjörðurnar and Látraströnd.

Grenivík. Hiking in northern Iceland

Near the village of Grenivík, the historic site of Laufás is open to travellers to learn about the Icelandic nineteenth-century lifestyle. Several small peat houses have been preserved and transformed into a museum. Laufás also has a beautiful little Icelandic chapel, built in 1865.

Other activities are available in the region; Pólar Hestar organises horseback excursions from Grýtubakki; You can go fishing in the rivers Fnjóská and Fjarðará in the Hvalvatnsfjörður Fjord. Every year in July, you can attend Grenivíkurgleðin, a series of outdoor concerts. The Museum of Fishing is open every day from the 15th of June to the 15th of August and will introduce you to the history of the region. Jónsabúð, the village shop, serves as a petrol station, café, restaurant and tourist office. Grenivík also has a campsite, a Hleskógar guesthouse and, of course, a municipal swimming pool.

Grenivík. Hiking in northern Iceland

If you arrive from Akureyri, go east and follow Route 1 for about fifteen kilometres and then turn left onto Route 83; Grenivík is about 20 kilometres from this intersection. If you are coming from the east (Mývatn), turn at the junction of roads 1 and 835, about fifteen kilometres after the Goðafoss waterfall.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Tips for travelling on a budget in Iceland

More and more people are booking flights to Iceland due to the attractive prices offered by airlines, however, once they get there they realise that their spending costs are high. Is it possible to travel to Iceland on a small budget?

The answer is mixed. Yes, we can travel to Iceland "cheaply", but it involves a lot of organisation and flexibility - if you want to participate in excursions, go to the highlands, hike on a glacier, fly over a volcano and stay in a hotel, your trip will end up being expensive. There is no secret, it is not possible to see and do everything on a tight budget, but with planning, you can still see and do quite a lot.

Tips for travelling on a budget in Iceland

The popularity of Iceland has led many airlines to offer direct flights, and more and more low-cost carriers are available: Wow air from Europe and North America, EasyJet or Transavia (subsidiary Air France). By booking in advance, you can find very good deals. The Icelandic airline, Icelandair, also has occasional flash deals where you can book a round trip to Iceland for less than 250 euros.

Tips for travelling on a budget in Iceland

On-site car rental is a good way to travel -this is certainly not cheap, but it gives you a flexibility that you will not get with public transport; for example, car rental may suit families or groups more as they will spend more on bus fares collectively to travel from place to place. Moreover, domestic flights are incredibly expensive. If you are travelling alone, consider getting a bus passport, or try to find fellow travellers to rent a car together. The carpooling website samferda.is can also be a good idea.

Tips for travelling on a budget in Iceland

Accommodation is certainly expensive in Iceland. Travel out of the high tourist season (June-August) to get lower prices, use airbnb, save a few euro by staying in a guesthouse with shared bathroom facilities, camp if you are travelling in the summer time, or try Couchsurfing - even though this is difficult in Iceland. The hostels have fairly reasonable prices but it is imperative to book several months in advance if you go in the summer.

Forget the traditional restaurants and opt to eat out in a cafe where you can avail of various lunch offers. Expect to pay around 15 euros for soup or salad. Eating out is an expensive element of travelling in Iceland. If it is possible to prepare your own food, do it and you will save a lot of money.

Tips for travelling on a budget in Iceland

Going on tours can be difficult if your budget is tight, even if some agencies have quite competitive prices. But do not worry - Iceland is full of wonders, whether your wallet is empty or full.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Monday, 16 January 2017

5 days in Eastern Iceland - Trip Report

Day 1 - Take a domestic flight to Egilsstaðir, the capital town of the east. After settling in to your chosen accommodation, Visit the small town centre and check if the Sláturhúsið cultural centre is having an exhibition or an event that day. Treat yourself to a dip at the municipal swimming pool and soak up the Icelandic atmosphere - it will immediately put you in a good mood for the rest of your stay!

5 days in Eastern Iceland - Trip Report

Day 2 - The next day, take a trip to Djúpivogur, make a short detour to admire the cascade of Hengifoss and monastic ruins of Skriðuklaustur. Continue until Stöðvarfjörður, a small village at the foot of the mountain Hellufjall, which is 850 meters high. Formerly an important place for fishing, the town has been converted into a haven for travellers and artists - a fish factory of 2800 square meters has been transformed into a cultural and artistic centre. The area around the valley of Jafnadalur is perfect for walking. Fáskrúðsfjörður is a small town with 700 inhabitants and very strong historical links to France. French sailors represented a part of the Fáskrúðsfjörður society in the 20th century and this heritage is still visible today. To the east of the town, several waterfalls hide along the road; the most popular is certainly Gilsárfoss because you can walk behind the waterfall. The walk along the Gilsá River takes about a quarter of an hour.

5 days in Eastern Iceland - Trip Report

Day 3 - Head to Reyðarfjörður, a village known for its skiing and winter sports. There is a path you can take from the centre of the village, that follows the river, which will take you to the War Museum; It mainly traces the occupation of eastern Iceland during the Second World War. If you continue your journey after the museum you will come to the beautiful little waterfall Búðarárfoss and pretty Svínadalur Valley. You can also explore the gorges of the Geithúsaá river, or climb the mountain of Grænafell. The village of Eskifjörður is known for its rare collection of pebbles and large rocks of Iceland, which you can visit at Sören and Sigurborg. Another interesting visit of the region is the former spar mine Helgustaðanáma, one of the best known in the world at the time and now a protected site. Neskaupstaður in Nordfjordur, is the largest town of the area, with about 1500 inhabitants. It was built around the old farm "Nes" which was the home to Erik the red. Neskaupstaður is also sadly known for its avalanches, which killed twelve people in 1974. Today you can visit the structures that are supposed to prevent any avalanches from causing harm or damage. These structures are located at the top of the town, where you can also enjoy a spectacular view of the fjord.

5 days in Eastern Iceland - Trip Report

Day 4 - Gerpir, gets its name from the 661 meters high mountain, which is the oldest in Iceland. It is a real paradise for hikers, kayak enthusiasts and nature lovers, we advise you to spend the day there and discover its natural treasures. The association Ferðafélag Fjarðamanna has made great efforts to create marked trails in the region. You can find a detailed map of the walks and hikes available in Gerpir at the tourist offices and shops in the area.

5 days in Eastern Iceland - Trip Report

Day 5 - The small village of Brekkuþorp, more commonly known as Mjóifjörður, has about 30 inhabitants. You can admire the magnificent waterfalls of Klifbrekkufossar and visit Mjoeyri Beach, which is known for being the last place of execution in Iceland. At the end of the Mjóifjörður Fjord you will find the most eastern point of the country, Dalantagi. The view from the end of the world is breath-taking, with two lighthouses within visibility. The oldest is made of basalt and was built in 1895; The second one dates back to 1908 and is still in operation today. Well known for its charming wooden houses, Seyðisfjörður Is especially popular for its bustling artistic activity. The Skaftfell Visual Arts Centre offers year-round exhibitions and events.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Vatnsnes Peninsula - Seals in the north of Iceland

Located about 200 km from Reykjavik, Vatnsnes is a peninsula in northern Iceland, home to Iceland's largest seal colony. The main town of the peninsula, Hvammstangi, which has a population of 600 inhabitants, is located six kilometers from the main road (Route 1), and in addition to an obligatory visit to the seal center, you can enjoy one of the restaurants, a stay at a guesthouses, a visit to a store or the pool. The Seal Center is open from 9 am to 7 pm from June to August, from 9 am to 4 pm in May and September and from 10 am to 3 pm the rest of the year. The entrance fee is 950 kronur (about 7 euros).

The Vatnsnes Peninsula - Seals in the north of Iceland

Route 711 goes around the peninsula along the coast, but it's almost entirely a track road, with only a small part of it paved. The peninsula is surrounded by the bay of Húnaflói, also know as the "bay of the bears" because several polar bears have come ashore here in the past. The main viewpoints of Vatnsnes are Borgarvirki, Hvítserkur, Illugastaðir and Kolugljúfur, a very scenic canyon with beautiful waterfalls.

The Vatnsnes Peninsula - Seals in the north of Iceland

Borgarvirki is a volcanic plug that was used as a fortress in the Sagas; Located at 177 meters in height, it dominates the region. Stairs lead to the top of this natural fortress, but the road is full of pebbles and slippery - though, if you reach the summit, a magnificent view awaits you.

Hvitserkur is a basalt formation 15 meters high, which has two holes at its base and resembles a dragon drinking water. Legend has it that Hvítserkur is a petrified troll. There is a small car park and picnic area at Ósar, where you can leave your vehicle and go by foot on the walking path to reach Hvítserkur. If you would like to view it from the top, there is a path available from the beach, in the summertime watch out for the Arctic tern, as there are many of these birds in the area at this time.

The Vatnsnes Peninsula - Seals in the north of Iceland

The best viewpoints for observing seals are Hindisvík, Ósar, Svalbarð, Illugastaðir and Hvítserkur. The best time to observe seals is two hours after low tide, and the chances of seeing them are especially high if the weather is mild. Every year in July, you can participate with some of the Illugastaðir locals, in the counting of seals. It is also a nice place for a coffee and something to eat.

The Vatnsnes Peninsula - Seals in the north of Iceland

The old farm of Geitafell is also worth seeing on the peninsula; today it is a small museum located in the middle of nowhere, with a tower worthy of a castle, which you can visit from May to September.

Iceland24 
© All rights reserved

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Summer in Iceland. Travelling tips

WHEN?

Summer is a wonderful season in Iceland with 24 hour daylight from June until August. Many Icelanders use blackout curtains in this period in order to sleep, but for some it's just a matter of getting use to it. There is something gratifying about going to bed when it is still light -however, many travelers like to use eye masks. The season is short and in September, summer is over, although you may still get some beautiful days, if you´re lucky.

Summer in Iceland. Travelling tips

HOW?

Like the rest of the year, the weather can be unpredictable, and change very often. Average temperatures are around 10 degrees and rarely exceed 20 degrees. In some places, especially in the highlands, it can be very cold, even in summer; it´s a good idea to carry a good coat, gloves and hat in your suitcase,just to be on the safe side. Take light and comfortable clothing that you can put on and remove easily; it makes sense in the unreliable Icelandic weather to dress like an "onion" with several layers.

Summer in Iceland. Travelling tips

WHAT?

Camping, wearing shorts, climbing to the top of a mountain at three in the morning, do as much of the stuff you can‘t do in the winter! Enjoy the midnight sun from the north of Iceland, especially on the island of Grimsey. Walk and hike! Access to The highlands of Iceland is only available in high season, around early July to early September. It is not recommended to cross the highlands by rental car, but you can take a bus or enjoy guided tours.

Summer in Iceland. Travelling tips

Enjoy one of the many art and music festivals that take place around the country. In the summer there are many different festivals and events for everyone to enjoy. Some of the biggest days on the Icelandic event calender are: Marine Day (first weekend in June, all around Iceland), the national Day June 17th, St. John's Day, traders (first weekend August). There are also many festivals like the Secret Solstice (during the solstice in June, Reykjavík), Eistnaflug (Neskaupstaður, early July), Blue north (Ólafsfjörður early July) Folk Festival Siglufjörður (early July), family festival Hrísey (mid-July), Vopnafjörður Festival (late June-early July), steampunk Bíldudalur Festival (late June), Viking festival Gásir (July) Akureyravaka (anniversary of the city of Akureyri last weekend of August ), the feast of fish Dalvik (August), Gay pride and Culture night (Reykjavik, August), and so on ...

Summer in Iceland. Travelling tips

There is also a lot of animal life to appreciate! Puffins are easy to spot around the coastline as they make Iceland their home from May to mid August. Go whale watching in the south or the north of Iceland. Try to spot foxes or polar reindeer .. . Iceland is also a paradise for bird lovers.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved

Monday, 9 January 2017

Hiking in Iceland. The beautiful Thórsmörk

Thórsmörk (or Þórsmörk), a mountain ridge in southern Iceland is a beautiful area where you can thoroughly indulge in Icelandic nature. Enclosed on the south by the Krossá river and the north by the Þrönga and Markafljót rivers, this area is one of the favorite hiking trails in Iceland. The area with its lush vegetation is a nature reserve, and the climate tends to be milder there due to the glaciers surround the mountains. The weather is usually better in Thórsmörk than in the rest of southern Iceland.

Hiking in Iceland. The beautiful Thórsmörk

Thórsmörk offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and the valley offers numerous hiking opportunities. The most popular hikes are well marked, and the information is available about the most suitable hikes for your experience and desires. The administration of the Thórsmörk Reserve has published maps of hiking trails in the area. There's a stroll down the throat of the waterfall Stakkoltsgjá; a few hours walk on the Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull glaciers or a few days hike; there's something for everyone. Two of the greatest hiking trails start from Thórsmörk to Fimmvörðuháls and from Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar.

Hiking in Iceland. The beautiful Thórsmörk

The Fimmvörðuháls hiking trail connects to Thórsmörk Skogar; on this hike of thirty kilometers, you will discover the mountains beyond and the glacier Eyjafjallajökull volcano and volcanic craters formed by the last eruption in 2010. Walking can be tricky because the path is difficult, especially if the weather is acting up.

Hiking in Iceland. The beautiful Thórsmörk

The Laugavegur hiking trail stretches over 55 kilometers and links to Landmannalaugar Þórsmörk. Most hikers can walk this path over 3 to 5 days, starting from Landmannalaugar and finishing at Thórsmörk (the reverse is entirely possible).

From May 1st to October 15th, daily 4x4 buses run from the bus station BSI in Reykjavik to Thórsmörk. If you have a 2WD car, park your car at the N1 station in Hvolsvollur or near the waterfall Seljalandfoss and then take the bus from there to reach Thórsmörk. If you have a 4WD car, you can reach the F249 and drive about 25 kilometers before coming to the car park at the Krossa river, once there you can take the bus near the Volcano Huts. Do not attempt to cross the river with your vehicle!

Hiking in Iceland. The beautiful Thórsmörk

Whenever possible, we recommend you to visit Thórsmörk, Iceland, independently, if you can. However, the highlands of Iceland and the wilderness experiences are unique and can be intimidating! To thoroughly enjoy the Thórsmörk valley and its surroundings, you can join a guided tour led by a local expert you will be shown the Icelandic and your safety is guaranteed, also, the guide will teach you a lot about the history and geology of Iceland.

Iceland24
© All rights reserved