Thursday, 27 April 2017

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

It’s possible to take a ramble around large towns in Iceland and still feel like you are in the countryside. The two main cities in Iceland are Reykjavík and Akureyri, and both towns have many wonderful nature walks in close proximity to their busy downtown areas.

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

Reykjavík

A stroll around lake Tjörnin is quite popular among locals at weekends, especially in the summer time. While embracing the beautiful scenery and architecture surrounding lake Tjörnin, you can stop and feed the many friendly ducks and swans that swim alongside you on your journey. You can then continue until you reach Hljómskálagarðurinn park, where you will see sculptures and statues, and the well-favoured Hljómskálinn building which is a rehearsal space for many Icelandic classical musicians. If the weather is nice and you are with small children, you can avail of the playground and barbeque area in Hljómsjálagarðurinn.

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

Öskjuhlíð is a wooded hill that takes you up to Perlan (The Pearl). During your walk, you will certainly see the bunkers built by the British army during the Second World War. Afterwards it’s nice to finish your journey with a swim at the geothermal beach Nauthólsvík.

A lengthy walk to Grótta is necessary if you are up for a great view and a bit of exercise, taking you right up to the lighthouse at Seltjarnarnes. It is a bit far from downtown, but worth the effort(and then again, you can always go by bike!). Starting your walk in Vesturbær, you can then set off along the path on the seafront; this trail is full of surprises and it's also a great vantage point to view Icelandic birds.

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

Akureyri

The botanic garden (Lystigardurinn) is a splendid nature spot to wander around in the summer time. We recommend you stop for a coffee in the garden’s cafe and relax in the pleasant atmosphere while surrounded by the many varieties of plants and flowers. The walk back to the city centre is a rather delightful experience.

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

After a pleasurable hike up Brynja glacier and back down again, we suggest you continue to explore the old town of Akureyri. While there, you will discover charming Centennaires houses in excellent condition, the Museum of Akureyri, and also Friðbjarnahúsa where there is a permanent exhibition of old toys. If you saunter onwards to the lake, you’ll experience a breathtaking view of the mountains on the other side of the fjord.

There’s a wonderful walk along the sea from the port (behind the cultural centre Hof ) to the airport (or vice-versa) where you can appreciate the view of Eyjafjörður. You can also take a stroll along the river Glera (the starting path is right next to the shopping centre).

Reykjavik and Akureyri: urban walks in the Iceland’s largest cities

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

There are several things you need to keep in mind if you are planning to camp or spend the night in the outdoors and not in a campsite. In November 2015, a new law approved by the Ministry of Environment got into effect marking out the areas where it is possible to camp and spend the night in Iceland.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

From this date on, it is illegal to stay overnight in tent trailers, RV, motorhomes, vans, campers or any motor vehicle outside camping areas designated for such purpose. The same banning applies to urban areas unless the owner of the land has given his/her express permission.

Otherwise, this new law establishes the following rules for camping:

Where can I camp?

- You are allowed to camp in a traditional tent for just one night on non-farmed land found along state highways in habited areas. This will be permitted as long as there are no camping sites nearby and the owner of the land has not restricted or prohibited access. You can find such signs at the driveway gates and paths adjacent to the property.

- It is permitted to camp in a traditional tent on private or national land along state highways in uninhabited areas

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

- Camping in a traditional tent is allowed in areas outside state highways, whether on private or national property, unless indicated otherwise by signs around the area.

When should I ask for permission to the owner of the land or place where I plan to camp in?

- If you intend to camp in areas close to towns or farms.
- If you intend to camp for more than one night.
- If you intend to set more than three tents even if it is for just one night.
- If the land where you intend to set your tent is farmed.
- If you intend to use store trailers, caravans, motor homes, vans, campers or any motor vehicle outside of an urban area or campsites.

Is there any specific place where I cannot camp in or stay the night in Iceland?

Landowners may restrict or prohibit camping in their lands if there is a significant risk of harming the environment such as mossy area, land with fragile vegetation or where breeding bird colonies may dwell, for example.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

In addition, the owner of the land can prepare a specific camping area on his property where he can lead travelers to, the owner is entitled to charge a fee for this service. Similarly, if there is a campsite in the vicinity, the landowner can direct the travelers to that area which is already destined to camping activities.

Restrictions on Protected Areas or Natural Parks.

Restrictions may apply for camping in certain areas of Iceland. We have created a list you can find here below, in order to inform any traveler planning to visit Iceland:

A) Álafoss: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

B) Blábjörg á Berufjarðarströnd: Camping and overnight stay is not allowed.

C) Bringur í Mosfellsdal: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

D) Dimmuborgir: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

E) Dyrhólaey: Camping and overnight staying only with the permission of the Icelandic Department of the Environment.

F) Fjallabak: Camping and overnight is restricted to marked areas. Hikers can camp along marked trails. Elsewhere, camping or spending the night depends on the express permission of the Icelandic Department of the Environment.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

G) Grabrókargígar í Norðurárdal: Camping and overnight is only permitted with the permission of the Department of Environment of Iceland.

H) Herðubreiðarfriðland: You can camp in marked areas. Elsewhere, permission is required from the Icelandic Department of the Environment.

I) Hverfjall / Hverfell: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

J) Ingólfshöfði: Camping and overnight only with the permission of the Icelandic Department of Environment and local supervisors.

K) Kattarauga: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

L) Kirkjugólf: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

M) Mývatn: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed outside the marked camping areas.

N) Seljahjallagil, Bláhvammur, Þrengslaborgir and surroundings: Camping and overnight stay is not allowed.

O) Skógafoss: Camping and overnight stays not allowed outside the marked camping areas.

P) Skútustaðagígar: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

Q) Snæfellsjökull National Park: Hikers and cyclists must obtain permission from the park rangers. Otherwise camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

R) Ströndin við Stapa og Hellna: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

S) Teigarhorn: Camping and overnight stays are not allowed.

T) Vatnajökull National Park: In the park, visitors should use the campsite for tents, caravans, camper vans, vans, trailer-tent and any motor vehicle.

Outside the designated camping area, you can camp with a traditional tent for one night. However, groups of three or more tents, must ask the park rangers for permission. When camping outside the designated areas, you must be careful not to cause any damage to the environment and to collect all the trash by depositing it into a suitable place.

Camping and overnight stay outside campsites is prohibited in the following areas:

U) In Jökulsárgljúfur: In areas of Askja under special protection.

In the areas of Hoffellssvæði and Heinabergssvæði. In Skaftafellsheiði, Bæjarstaðarskógur and Morsárdalur also.

However, camping is permitted in the Skaftafell mountains at 400 m above sea level and in the area at the mouth of the Kjós river. Travelers must obtain detailed information of the National Park regarding campsites at the interpretation center or by asking the park rangers.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

V) Þingvellir National Park: Camping and overnight stays are not permitted outside the marked camping areas.

Camping sites in Iceland

Here you can find a list of campsites in Iceland that open during the summer time. We recommend you to contact each site via e-mail to know their schedules, facilities and services offered.

On the other hand, and due to the increase of visitors during the winter time, there are a few campsites in Iceland, that in collaboration with the Government, remain open also in winter. These camping spaces are mainly focused on travelers using a camper, van or motor home. We highly recommend you to check if they are open during your dates and what services do they offer to travelers.

It is worth mentioning there is a special camping card with a fixed price for the whole family and it can be used in more than 40 campsites around Iceland. This card also offers fuel discounts.

Can I camp anywhere in Iceland? - Camping in Iceland

For further information, please check the Icelandic Department of the Environment website

Source: Department of Environment of Iceland.

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Rent a car in Iceland: Car Comparison by price in Iceland + Tips for Renting a Car in Iceland

If you’re planning to tour Iceland by car, then Iceland car rentals provide the cheapest and best way to explore the vast island. With public transportation being scarce outside major cities like Reykjavík, renting a car becomes the cheaper and most viable option for tourists to explore the island fully. Though it may seem expensive initially, it is much cheaper and less strenuous than having to purchase a car or travel by bus. With plenty of car rental companies in Iceland at your disposal, you will never fail to get a deal that suits your budget. 

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

The wide array of vehicles available for hire also makes it possible for you to get a car that can take you almost anywhere on the island from SUVs, four wheel cars, luxury cars, 4×4 rental cars and jeeps just to mention a few. In this article, we give you some tips on picking an Iceland car rental provider as well as taking a look at some of the best car rental companies on the island. 

CAR COMPARISON BY PRICE
July 11th to July 19th - 2017 (8 days)

Option A - New cars:

CARS ICELAND                      BEST COMPANY 2017 (1st place)
Kia Rio Diesel:                            652€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                       999€
*prices with all insurances included

HERTZ
Toyota Aygo:                                956€
Toyota Rav4:                               1.903€

REYKJAVÍK AUTO                     BEST COMPANY 2017 (3rd place)
Renault Clio:                                539€
Dacia Duster 4x4:                        917€

EUROPCAR
Hyundai i10:                                 962€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:             1.671€

REYKJAVÍK CARS                    BEST COMPANY 2017 (2nd place)
Hyundai i10:                                  528€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:              1.008€ 

AVIS
Hyundai i10:                                  719€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4:              1.206€


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Option B - Old cars:

CARS REYKJAVÍK                     
Toyota Yaris                                 460€
Toyota Rav4 4x4                          890€

SS CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                  650€
Toyota Rav4 4x4:                         1.143€

REYKJAVÍK CARS (they also rent old models)
Hyundai i10:                                490€
Suzuki Jimny 4x4:                      990€

SADCARS
Toyota Yaris                                 750€
Toyota Rav4 4x4                          1.323€

ICELAND CAR RENTAL
Hyundai i10:                                871€
Toyota Rav4                               1.658€

GEYSIR
Hyundai i20:                                854€
Hyundai Tucson:                        1.430€

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Renting a car is really the best and only way to see the country so be sure to factor it into your budget. We went there thinking we would just take a bus to other areas -wrong. The only buses that exists outside the capital city of Reykjavik are tour buses. So technically you can take a bus but you will pay for it because it will be part of an organized tours and it will add up fast. If you are traveling with another person a car is the cheapest way to see the country. Plus, driving in Iceland is very easy and there isn’t much traffic.

7 TIPS FOR RENTING A CAR IN ICELAND

Renting a car in Iceland may not be the cheapest way to explore Iceland (it’s tough to beat hitch hiking) but it doesn’t have to blow your budget. With public transportation being non-existent outside of the larger cities, like Reykjavik, renting a car gives you the freedom at a fraction of the cost when compared to the sightseeing tours sold at tourist information centers.

Below are seven ways to save money on your Iceland car rental:

Don’t buy it: You don’t need theft insurance for the vehicle. According to our agent, car thefts in Iceland are rare and he actually told us not to bother with any of the additional insurance (yes, they have insurance for ash from the volcano) either, so we didn’t. 

Go online: The best deals can be found online for Iceland car rentals. By booking online, you will find a better deal than renting directly from a tourist center in Iceland. Some online companies even offer discounts if you book online therefore you will be able to save a lot by booking online. There are a variety of car rental companies on the island so take your time and visit their websites, compare prices, and look at their packages and whether or not they offer discounts for booking online. By doing this, you will be able to get a good deal at a pocket friendly price. 

Pick up at Keflavik International Airport: Because the airport is located about an hour from Reykjavik, you will have to spend €15 – €20 each way to get to and from the airport. So, you might as well just rent your car from the airport and roll your shuttle bus fees into the car rental. 


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Get to know your vehicle: The longer you keep the rental car the cheaper it becomes.

Petrol Blues: When considering renting a car be sure to factor in the cost of gas. In Europe, petrol is sold by the liter not the gallon; therefore, expect to pay about $5 per gallon. 

Choose Your Rental Dates Wisely: Sept. 1 in Iceland signals the beginning of the low season, which runs until May 31. Renting a car in Iceland becomes even cheaper during that time. And by cheaper I mean €35/day vs. €85/day – it’s a HUGE price difference. 

Consider your budget: Look for a car rental company that falls within your budget. Remember you do not have to spend a fortune on car rental therefore try to get a car rental service that will leave you with some cash to spend on the road.


Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

DRIVING IN ICELAND

Driving Conditions in Iceland are in many ways unusual and often quite unlike what foreign drivers are accustomed to. It is therefore very important to find out how to drive in this country. We know that the landscapes are beautiful, which naturally draws the driver’s attention away from the road. But in order to reach your destination safely, you must keep your full attention on driving.

-The speed limit in populated areas is usually 50 km/hr.
-The speed limit is often 60 km/hr on thruways, but in residential areas it is usually only 30 km/hr.
-The main rule in rural areas is that gravel roads have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, and paved roads 90 km/hr.
-Signs indicate if other speed limits apply.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

HIGHLAND DRIVING

Driving in the Icelandic highland is quite different from driving in the lowland. The conditions can change fast due to weather, rain and even sometimes snow. Therefore roads can be closed and rivers can be too big to cross. Before you start your travel you should get information about the area as well as leave your travel plan with someone who can check up on you if needed.

You can make your travel plan here:

-Start by checking if the area you are going to visit is open
-Get as much information about the area as you can
-Information centers, rangers and hut wardens can help you get the information needed
-Are you sure that you have the experience and knowledge needed to go the highland?
-If you are driving be on a 4x4 jeep, other cars will only get you into trouble
-If you are no sure how to cross a river skip it or wait for the next car to assist you over

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

ILLEGAL OFF-ROAD DRIVING

When the fact that the country lies right below the Arctic Circle is taken into consideration, along with the fact that the growing season is short, it is apparent that the environment can take many years, decades or even centuries to recover. For example, many people don't realise that by uprooting or driving on moss, damage is caused that can take at least a decade or, more likely, some hundreds of years to mend – and we're not even talking about the highlands where the summer is much shorter.

Whilst travelling around the country, the highest respect for the Icelandic environment must be shown. It's good to remember to take nothing besides photographs and leave nothing behind except footprints.

-Check out the road map and see where the roads and trails are.
-Get information about the appropriate routes at visitor centres, and from rangers or staff.
-Find out in advance when mountain roads are likely to be open, along with other related information, at visitor centres or here.

While on your trip around the country you’ll quickly see that in many places, road ruts and paths have formed from other people. Often they are closed off with nothing more than a row of small rocks. Don’t be caught in the pitfall of following those paths; only stay on roads and marked trails. Instead, think about the damage off-road driving has caused, take photos and educate friends and acquaintances. See how long such damage takes to heal. Notice that ruts don’t just look ugly; they draw in water and thereby cause even further damage, leading to erosion of soil and vegetation. Walk around a short distance or turn around if you can’t go any farther by driving. That’s the only right thing do. Besides, you can easily expect a sky-high fine or prison term for offences.

We should all set a good example. Together we share the responsibility of ensuring that everyone gets the chance of enjoying a pristine natural environment for years to come.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

CROSSING A RIVER

One thing is for sure when you go hiking in Iceland and that’s that you’ll not get far without coming to the first stream. Usually they’re little brooks, which are good to get a fresh drink from. On the other hand, they can be large rivers and you will need to wade them, in which case you should bear some things in mind:

-Rivers often have less volume earlier in the day, so organising hiking trips accordingly is not a bad idea.
-Look around for suitable locations to ford. Be aware that places that are good for crossing with jeeps are seldom good for crossing on foot.
-Look for meanders in the river which are places where there is loose gravel and sand and the current dies down as the river expands.
-Meanders are usually the best location you’ll find for fording a river though the river may be wider there.
-Preferably wade the river with two or three other people at a time by clasping arms together at the elbows.
-Loosen any straps on backpacks and be sure not to have anything tied tight that could complicate things if you or someone else might fall.
-It’s best to have special wading shoes as it is not wise to cross barefoot - this can increase the likelihood of a fall.
-Before fording, it’s smart to decide on a spot farther down the river where everyone will go to if someone might unfortunately fall.
-If you fall, roll onto your back, keep your feet in front of you and trudge to the place - or near to it - that was previously decided upon.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

When planning your hiking trip get information about rivers, if they are possible to cross on foot and then what time is best and etc. Never cross a river unless you are 100% sure of how to do it and feel safe doing it.

Helpful Tips on 4x4 Driving in Iceland

If you have plans to visit Iceland's country side then you should also pick a 4x4 vehicle since you will most likely be driving on some gravel roads. And should you go off the beaten path to visit the Iceland highland then you are sure to encounter some F-roads that are only driveble by larger 4x4.

Iceland gravel roads. All major roads in Iceland are paved. But keep in mind that of 13.000 km total roads in Iceland only about 5.000 is paved with asfalt.

Most gravel roads are not difficult to drive on or dangerous, you just need to keep special attention while driving and make sure you are not going to fast. These roads are often narrow and many bridges only have one lane. You are also likely to meet some sheeps and Icelandic horses so make sure you are paying attention.

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

List of the most popular F-roads

Here is a list of the most popular F-roads in Iceland and average opening times:
F-RoadNameAvg. opening date
F206 Lakagígar June 12th
F208 Fjallabaksleið nyrðri
(Landmannalaugar and Eldgjá)
June 12th
F225 Landmannaleið, Landmannalaugar June 15th
F35 Kjölur (Hveravellir) June 11th
F26 Sprengisandur June 27th
F88 Askja June 20th
F902 Kverkfjöll June 19th
F52 Uxahryggir June 5th
F550 Kaldidalur June 13th

Driving in snow and difficult weather conditions

Make sure you are always driving according to road and weather conditions. If there is snow and the roads are slippery make sure to take it slow and drive safe. If you are driving outsite of populated areas make sure to find out the conditions of the roads on your route. You should also check out the weather forecast.

Check road conditions in Iceland here:
http://www.vegagerdin.is/english/road-conditions-and-weather/the-entire-country/island1e.html

Check weather forecast here:
http://en.vedur.is

Carpooling in Iceland:
http://samferda.is

Map of Iceland:
http://atlas.lmi.is/kortasja_en/

Car Rental Iceland - Iceland Car Rental - Rent a Car in Iceland

Kolla, Iceland24
© 2017 Iceland24

Sunday, 23 April 2017

The Icelandic Weather: myths and realities

The first image that comes to mind at the mention of Iceland is of a dark country covered in ice and snow all year round. Forget everything that comes to mind when hearing the word “Iceland". Cold, Iceland? Well, actually, not that much!

The Icelandic Weather: myths and realities

In winter, the average temperature in Icelandic is around 0 °C, and the coldest temperature ever recorded in Iceland is -39.7 °C. In the winter from 2014-2015 the weather was appalling and an incredible number of storms were recorded. In the Icelandic capital, Reykjavík the month of February 2015 has been the coldest in seven years, and the month of May the coldest since 1979! However, winter was not that terrible in general to be worth mentioning. There’s a tradition of naming Icelandic winters that have been particularly harsh, ever since 976. Some examples are: winter torments 1620 or the winter of 1313 is called horse fell.

The Icelandic Weather: myths and realities

The summer after the stormy winter of 2014/2015 also broke records; it was not more than two degrees on top of a mountain near Selfoss in July, and temperatures were well sullen throughout Iceland. Summer is still a little warmer. The average summer temperature is 10 ° C and the hottest temperature ever recorded in Iceland was in the east at 30.5 ° C in 1939.

Iceland is a country of wind, and if the temperature is moderate, it still feels like the wind will freeze you from head to toe. Iceland is the second windiest country on the planet. The windiest place in Iceland: Stórhöfði on Westman Islands recorded four windless days this year. The rest of the time, the wind can reach 100km / h. You can test the extremely strong winds by going by bus (leaving your car) you'll be surprised how windy it is! The city of Vík í Mýrdal in the south of Iceland is the place that registers the most rainfall in Iceland with about 2275 millimetres per year; that’s three times more rain fall than in the Icelandic capital and five times more rain fall than Akureyri.

The Icelandic Weather: myths and realities

Apparently the best place for good weather in Iceland is still disputed: sources say Kirkjubæjarklaustur, Skaftafell, Myvatn and the east fjords of Iceland are the country’s sunniest spots. Take Icelandic weather (as most Icelanders say) with this philosophy in mind - "If the weather does not please you, wait five minutes." Those who have already discovered Iceland understand what this saying means.

The Icelandic Weather: myths and realities

Iceland24
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Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Iceland is a country known for its geothermal energy and its natural hot springs. Here are five lagoons that can be enjoyed by locals and visitors!

Blue Lagoon

The most famous lagoon in Iceland, located between Keflavík International Airport and the capital Reykjavík, is the Blue Lagoon. It was formed in 1976, by excess water coming from a neighbouring geothermal plant. In 1981, Icelanders began bathing here because the 38-degree water is rich in sulphur and silica, which has many health benefits, especially for the skin. The lagoon became a commercial enterprise and opened its doors in 1992. Since 2015, it has become essential to book in advance, as it is such a popular tourist destination, but this could change because the hot spring is expanding.

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Laugarvatn Fontana

Located on the shores of Lake Laugarvatn, in southern Iceland, an hour's drive from Reykjavík, the lagoon of Laugarvatn Fontana will give you a wonderful view of the surrounding area. Popular for hot water baths since 1929, the lagoon opened in 2011 for locals and visitors, and consists of saunas, hot outdoor baths, mineral baths and even a small black sand beach.

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Secret Lagoon

The secret lagoon is located in the small village of Flúðir, where nearly 400 people live, and is right next to the Golden Circle and its attractions. The hot spring is known as the "Gamla laugin" (the old swimming pool) and it was reopened to the public in 2014. It was originally formed in 1891, however, after 1937 the pool was abandoned but the hot water continued to flow there. The secret lagoon is the perfect compromise between natural spring and municipal swimming pool - the atmosphere is very special.

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Lagoon in Mývatn

This lagoon, in Northern Iceland, is a fantastic experience – situated in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings of Mývatn. It’s very popular in summer but rather quiet in winter (except in December when the yule lads bathe here). The temperatures of the hot spring oscillate between 36 and 40 degrees. Opened in 2004, The lagoon’s water is rich in minerals, particularly sulphur, beneficial for skin problems and asthma.

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Sjóböð Húsavík (2018)

The construction of a new spa is underway in the small northern town of Húsavík, already known for its whale watching tours. The spa will be called "Sjóböð" (sea bath) and will be filled with sea water. It is going to consist of a 1000 m2 swimming area and a spa hotel with 80 bedrooms.

The 5 best Hot Springs in Iceland - Enjoy the lagoons!

Iceland24
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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Top 6 Original Hotels in Iceland! - Where to stay in Iceland

I understand that when choosing accommodation it comes down to a person’s individual tastes and needs! but still, I've decided to compile a list of the most original and interesting accommodation I've found in Iceland. Some I’ve stayed at, and others, well! I wish to get the chance to stay at, sometime soon!

The Freezer Hostel is described as a "Theater-hostel-residence" and is located in the small village Ri in Snaefellsnes. The unorthodox hostel serves as three things: a local theatre, accommodation for guests and offers artist residencies. This property is a former fish factory, large enough to accommodate a combination of tourism and culture, resulting in a surprisingly original vibe for guests.

Top 6 Original Hotels in Iceland! - Where to stay in Iceland

The Berunes Hostel makes you travel through time, back to Iceland in early 1900. This Hostel is a converted farmhouse in Berufjörður in the east of Iceland and is located 40 kilometres from the small town of Djúpivogur. Out here the nature surrounding Berunes is astounding, making you feel at the end of the earth.

Spend a few days of winter at Skálanes Mountain Lodge (about twenty kilometres from Seyðisfjörður). The peace and tranquillity found here is soothing for the soul. To get there, you must contact the lodge owners who have the proper vehicles to drive there( after 17 km you will find it quite a rough track). At this time of year, the place is deserted and you will feel very relaxed androgen close to nature. After a day outside in the powerful surrounding nature, you will find the house comfortable and warm when you return and there is also a sauna and a hotpot on offer if you need extra warming up. Skálanes is highly recommended if you like skiing, mountain hikes and if you simply wish to escape the world ... for a brief moment.

Top 6 Original Hotels in Iceland! - Where to stay in Iceland

Sólheimar in the south of Iceland has two guesthouses that accommodate 33 visitors, with access to a pool and hot pot. Sólheimar is an eco-village with a residential community of 100 people. While there, you can enjoy all that Sólheimar has on offer i.e. the local organic coffee house and you can purchase organic and local products from the local shop (including crafts made by the residents). In the summertime, Sólheimar's timetable is buzzing with cultural and musical events.

The guesthouse 1x6 Keflavík was designed by a local artist who used driftwood from Icelandic beaches to build the beds, the furniture, and the walls. This highly original guesthouse near Keflavík also offers a hot pot in the garden, where travellers are welcome to go in and relax.

Top 6 Original Hotels in Iceland! - Where to stay in Iceland

Finally, Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, offers highly original rooms, some with double bunk beds if you are traveling as a group or as a family of four. The interior design is quite modern, with a few little retro and quirky touches. In the small library, you can peruse through the beautifully photographed books about Iceland. In addition to your stay, I recommend the delicious breakfast in the morning time, it costs extra, but is well worth the spend.

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Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: tour or independent?

The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon that fills the night sky with almost supernatural colours. For people in polar latitudes, these are frequent events, but for many others, this is a rare sight. Iceland is an ideal place to observe the Aurora Borealis, sightings are possible from the end of August to April.

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: tour or independent?

Tours to see the Aurora Borealis:

The pros:

You benefit from the knowledge of a certified guide, who knows a lot about the Northern Lights and the local area, and he gives you anecdotes and stories that make the experience interesting and playful.

You do not have to worry about anything, the guides and the driver are there to chase the lights for you. They lead you to the areas where the chances of seeing the auroras are most favourable.

Often, your guide also gives some helpful photography tips, for successful photos of the Northern Lights.

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: tour or independent?

If you do not get to see Aurora Borealis on your tour, most companies will offer you a second (free) tour the following evening.

There are very nice excursions that combine several activities, such as aurora borealis and sled dog trips, aurora borealis by boat, or aurora borealis and snow mobile ride. It is a good idea to link two activities!

The cons:

With the growing popularity of Iceland in the winter, some companies use enormous buses to chase the aurora. With 80 people by your side, the show can be much less magical ... Make sure that the company you choose organizes excursions on a smaller scale.

Sometimes it is nice to be surprised by the Aurora Borealis randomly, as opposed to chasing around for them with a group, on a time schedule with a price tag.

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: tour or independent?

Independently seeing the Aurora Borealis:

If you decide to look for the Aurora Borealis independently, learn about the conditions that affect your chances of seeing them: cloud cover and solar activity. Finally, be aware that the aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon, we can never be sure when they will decide to make an appearance.

How to choose?

If you are travelling within the country, especially in the winter, try your luck and keep an eye out for the Aurora Borealis. You may see them by surprise on your journey. If you are only visiting for a couple of nights, and are staying mainly in the capital area, then it may be worthwhile to join an Aurora Borealis excursion.

Aurora Borealis in Iceland: tour or independent?

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Sunday, 9 April 2017

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

Iceland has quickly become a popular touristic destination and this tendency continues to grow, and with good reason, as the country has plenty to offer all year long. From the breathtaking Auroras Borealis better known as Northern Lights, frosty waterfalls and white landscapes one could only find in a beautiful winter postcard, to the glowing green moss that contrasts with jet black volcanic mountains and glaciers arising in these landscapes during the endless- light- days of the summer.

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

With this sudden increase in the touristic demand, availability of flights options was also arising in the same level; covering the needs of those travelers who search to get around at an affordable price.

This is basically the reason why we decided to write this guide. We intend to show the entire offer of direct flights to Iceland from the U.S. There are companies that have been operating in the country for many years like Icelandair. It has already earned a reputation within the aviation industry. There are other companies such Wow Air and Delta Airlines that are now adding Iceland as a new destination attracted by the new found popularity of this country.

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

How far in advance do I need to book a flight ticket to Iceland

Although it is not a fixed rule, prices tend to increase as the date of departure approaches. On the other hand, due to the growing popularity of Iceland as a touristic destination, tickets usually get sold quickly. This also happens to car rental in Iceland. We have already dealt with this issue before.

So if you are planning to travel to Iceland between June and September and you would like to get cheap flights, it is highly advisable to book your tickets between January and February. After that period, prices go up or tickets simply get sold out. In case your trip is between March and June, the cheapest flight offers to Iceland will be found between November and January. And if you travel between October and New Year’s Eve, we recommend you to book it at least three or four months in advance.

As a general rule we recommend purchasing your flight tickets 4-6 months in advance depending on the departure date and time.

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

Airlines with direct flights U.S. - Iceland on a regular basis.

- WOW air (Boston, New York, Washington – all year long; Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, San Francisco – until October).

- Icelandair (Boston, Atlanta, Buffalo, Burlington, Charlotte, Columbus, Dallas/Ft Worth, Fairbanks, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers – all year long).

- Delta Airlines (Minneapolis/St Paul, New York – all year long).

Stopover in Iceland

 Some flight companies offer the option to stopover in Iceland for up to 7 nights when you fly from the U.S. to Europe, without any additional airfare. That allows you to visit and explore our beautiful country. Take advantage of it!

Important things to bear in mind while booking your flight tickets to Iceland.

Finally, I would like to list the things that should be taken into account when booking your flights to Iceland.

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

- Always remember to carry the essentials stuff for your trip in your hand luggage so that in case the rest of your suitcases get lost, you will not be left high and dry. Wear as many layers of warm clothing as you can, or keep it in your hand luggage so in case your checked baggage gets lost it would not affect your trip that much if you need to wait a few days to get it back,

- There are companies that offer a continuous bus shuttle service throughout the year, from the airport to the city center. The bus takes around 40 minutes to reach Reykjavik’s bus station. It also offers service to and from the main hotels in the city. These are companies such as Reykjavik Sightseeing, Flybus and Airport Express.

Cheap flights to Iceland from the U.S. Tips to travel to Iceland

- There is no need to exchange currency for the trip, as credit cards are accepted all over the country,

- If you visit Iceland in the summer, be prepared for long hours of daylight. The majority of hotels and guesthouses will have blackout curtains, but if you are planning to camp or are a light sleeper, don’t forget your eye mask!

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

What to do with 1000 crowns (8 €) in Iceland?

Drink

Icelanders are fond of coffee, and you'll find all the towns have charming little cafes with hot drinks and pastries on offer. A classic coffee costs about 300 crowns and the price doubles for a latte or cappuccino.

What to do with 1000 crowns (8 €) in Iceland?

Happy Hour provides a list of the bars, their times and prices in Reykjavík where you can enjoy a "happy hour". Outside the capital, you won't have any trouble finding a beer or a glass of wine for 1000crowns (or less) in a bar or cafe.

Eat

We have already mentioned Ísbúð Vesturbæjar, which offers ice-cream to die for, you can also find many ice-cream shops in Reykjavik and all over Iceland; even on the side of the road, you may come across a van selling ice-cream. Some of the gas stations or grocery stores in Iceland serve ice cream. You can opt for its salty twin, a hot dog, which will cost around 400 crowns. Some cafes offer you the soup of the day for a thousand crowns or less.

What to do with 1000 crowns (8 €) in Iceland?

In the Westfjords, for just 1,000 crowns, you can drink coffee and enjoy a delicious waffle accompanied by cream and jam in the charming historic farm Litlibær. The visit and the view are well worth it!

Go to the pool

Yes, okay, we keep mentioning the local swimming pools, but this is by far the best investment you will make in Iceland. A visit (or many) to the pool is essential when you're in Iceland. The Sundlaug site lists all pools and hot springs in the country. They will show you the best swimming pools in Iceland here.

Take the public bus!

The bus costs 350 crowns on a route in Reykjavik; it's free in Akureyri, Iceland's city bus can lead you to surprising and unknown places, where few travelers set foot. Nothing like taking a random bus and discovering Icelandic life through its windows. In the capital, the bus will bring you to Mount Esjan, the geothermal beach Nauthóslvík or Laugardalur Valley.

What to do with 1000 crowns (8 €) in Iceland?

Go to the museum!

Of course, with a few free museums, it is increasingly difficult to find museums whose entrance is less than a thousand crowns, but it is possible, and rest assured, you will pay a maximum of 1500 ISK for a visit. If you are in Reykjavik, the outdoor museums worth seeing are Árbær (1500 ISK) and the Museum of Photography (free), the National Museum of Iceland (1500 ISK), NYLO (free) and the Nordic House (admission free, fair prices vary). In Akureyri, all downtown art museums are free, including the Museum of Visual Arts and the Art Museum of Akureyri; Akureyri Museum is also an interesting visit and entry costs 1200 crowns.

Buy a souvenir from Iceland

The choice is vast, and you can easily find useful souvenirs at low prices! To bring back home with you, a little taste of Iceland you can buy chocolate, Icelandic candy, salt, Skyr or Icelandic water; these can be found everywhere in Iceland. Magnets, mugs, and keychains are also souvenirs found at reasonable prices. Don't forget to by the typical icelandic jumper, called Lopapeysa.

What to do with 1000 crowns (8 €) in Iceland?

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