Private Tour - Golden Circle with Glacier Hike

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We run tours on a minimum number of 4 adults. If this is not reached a week prior to departure, the tour will be cancelled and you'll receive a full refund.

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Our private tours are organised around your wants and needs. Please see Private Tours for more information.


South Coast Tour

About the tour


We begin this journey, starting in Reykjavik and travel towards the breathtaking waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. Be sure to watch out the window at the beautiful landscape, seaside and hopefully glimpse the Westman Islands.

At Seljalandsfoss, make your way up the steep staircase to get a unique chance to walk behind a waterfall. Feel the power as the water drops from the famous glacier, Eyjafjallajokull.

Back in the jeep as we drive to Skogafoss. Be sure to catch this waterfall from two views, in front and above. Do you have what it takes to walk the 60 meters of stairs?

We will make our way to Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, located near Vik. Reynisfjara is home to the iconic basalt stacks. This black sand beach is widely popular for photographers and people who wish to enjoy a nice walk on the rocky sand.

Please be aware that these are treacherous waters. High, powerful waves which sometimes flood the beach, can easily carry you out to sea.

We will now continue the journey back to Reykjavik. This is your chance to take in all the sights one last time. Don’t miss the sprawling desert black sands of Skeidarasandur and make sure to look out over the sea to catch a glimpse of the Westman Islands (Vestmannaaeyjar), 15 natural volcano islands and home to about 4,000 people.

You will also notice the famous Eyjafjallajokull which is a volcano completely covered by a glacier ice cap and the site of the 2010 volcanic eruption. While this glacier is one of the smaller one’s in Iceland, it’s summit still has an elevation of 1,651 meters.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the sky, here’s a chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights as we drive back.


Disclaimer:
Northern Lights Iceland is not liable for any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during it’s tours. This also applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes, or any uncontrolled outside force. Northern Lights Iceland reserves the right to cancel, alter or postpone any tour for any reason. Please see our full terms for more details.


FAQ

The most common questions for this tour.

Pickup and drop off occurs within Reykjavik only. Please contact us with any questions about your hotel/guesthouse location and if it is included within our pickup/drop off area.

This tour is scheduled to be 8 to 10 hours, depending on road conditions. This is dependent on weather and/or time spent at each stop.

We recommend dressing in warm, layered clothing so you are able to remove or add clothing if the temperature changes. For your outer layer, please make sure it is both wind and water resistant, though waterproof is best. We recommend wearing comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, sneakers/trainers. Depending on the season, these should also be water resistant or waterproof.

Yes, solo-travellers are able to book this tour. Please note that there is a minimum number of guests needed for this tour to continue. Contact us for further information.

Yes, it is advised you bring along your camera to take photos of the beautiful Icelandic nature. Always protect your camera to prevent any breakage due to rain/waterfalls by keeping it in a protective case. We are not responsible for the breakage of any equipment.

No food is provided on this tour. Guests are allowed to bring with them light snacks and beverages.

Book Now!

We run tours on a minimum number of 4 adults. If this is not reached a week prior to departure, the tour will be cancelled and you'll receive a full refund.

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Our private tours are organised around your wants and needs. Please see Private Tours for more information.


South Coast & Snowmobile Tour

About the tour


We begin this journey, starting in Reykjavik, and head towards the breathtaking glacier, Solheimajokull. After getting dressed in the proper clothing and equipment, we will drive to the base camp where your snowmobile journey begins.

After a safety briefing and short training, you’re ready to go. It’s an exhilarating ride as we make our way along the top of the glacier, riding over glacial rifts and bumps. Be sure to take a moment and snap some wonderful and unforgettable photos.

After the hours snowmobile journey we will make our way back to Reykjavik. On the way back we stop at the breathtaking waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Be sure to watch out the window at the beautiful landscape and seaside.

Our first stop is Skogafoss. Be sure to catch this waterfall from two views, in front and above. Do you have what it takes to walk the 60 meters of stairs?

Back in the jeep we drive to Seljalandsfoss, the last stop before returning to Reykjavik. Here you can make your way up the steep staircase to catch a glimpse of what it looks like behind a waterfall. Feel the power as the water drops from the famous glacier, Eyjafjallajokull.


Disclaimer:
Northern Lights Iceland is not liable for any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during it’s tours. This also applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes, or any uncontrolled outside force. Northern Lights Iceland reserves the right to cancel, alter or postpone any tour for any reason. Please see our full terms for more details.


FAQ

The most common questions for this tour.

Pickup and drop off occurs within Reykjavik only. Please contact us with any questions about your hotel/guesthouse location and if it is included within our pickup/drop off area.

This tour is scheduled to be 8 to 10 hours. This is dependent on weather and/or time spent at each stop.

We recommend dressing in warm, layered clothing for under the overalls provided for snowmobiling. We recommend wearing comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots.

optional: extra set of clothes in case they get wet, muddy or dirty

Please note: those looking to drive the snowmobile must bring a valid driver’s license and be at least 17 years old

Yes, solo-travellers are able to book this tour. Please note that there is a minimum number of guests needed for this tour to continue. Contact us for further information.

You can also drive solo on the snowmobile for an extra fee. Please refer to the information on the booking calendar.

Yes, it is advised you bring along your camera to take photos of the beautiful Icelandic nature. Always protect your camera to prevent any breakage due to rain/waterfalls by keeping it in a protective case. We are not responsible for the breakage of any equipment.

No food is provided on this tour. Guests are allowed to bring with them light snacks and beverages.

You will be supplied with water resistant overalls, helmets, gloves and balaclavas, or ski mask for the snowmobile trip.

If you would like to drive, rather than be a passenger, you must bring a valid drivers license and be at least 17 years old.

Book Now!

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Our private tours are organised around your wants and needs. Please see Private Tours for more information.


2 Day Jokulsarlon & Ice Cave Tour

About the tour


Day One

We begin this journey, starting in Reykjavik and travel along the south coast of Iceland. Be sure to watch out the window at the sprawling desert black sands of Skeidarasandur. Look out over the seaside to catch a glimpse of the Westman Islands (Vestmannaaeyjar) which are about 15 natural volcano islands and home to about 4,000 people.

Our first stop, depending on weather conditions, will be Reynisfjara, the Black Sand Beach. Located nearby the small fishing village of Vik. Reynisfjara is home to the iconic basalt stacks. This black sand beach is widely popular for photographers and people who wish to enjoy a nice walk on the rocky sand. Please be aware that these are treacherous waters. High, powerful waves which sometimes flood the beach, can easily carry you out to sea.

Back into the jeep as we journey to our next stop on the South Coast Tour, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This is a truly magnificent sight and will leave you speechless.

Imagine huge icebergs slowly breaking off the glacier and drifting out to sea, as you stand there surrounded by a dramatic landscape of mountains and snow. As the ice floats out to sea, larger pieces often split or break off making groaning noises. Keep an eye out for wildlife, especially seals playing amongst the ice. It is such a peaceful and tranquil place. You may also recognise this location from movies like James Bond: Die Another Day and Tomb Raider.

A short walk down to the coastline and you will arrive at the Diamond Beach, a length of coastline covered in large and small pieces of beached ice. As the powerful waves come ashore, they start to corrode these diamond shapes and you can watch them slowly drift out to sea. A truly magical sight and they make for some great photo opportunities.

We then drive to our hotel for a good nights rest. Keep an eye on the sky for a glimpse of the Northern Lights!


Day Two

After a hotel breakfast, we will make our way towards Skaftafell Nature Preserve where we will explore the ice cave at Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier which covers nearly 8% of Iceland’s surface. This ice cave, formed by glacier floods centuries ago, will be an adventure you won’t forget.

After your ice cave exploration we will continue the journey back Reykjavik stopping off at the breathtaking waterfalls of Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss. You will also notice Eyjafjallajokull, a volcano completely covered by a glacier ice cap and the site of the 2010 volcanic eruption. While this glacier is one of the smaller one’s in Iceland, it’s summit still has an elevation of 1,651 meters.

At Skogafoss, be sure to catch this waterfall from two views, in front and above. Do you have what it takes to walk the 60 meters of stairs?

Back in the jeep for the drive to Seljalandsfoss, make your way up the steep staircase to catch a glimpse of what it looks like behind a waterfall. Feel the power as the water drops from the famous glacier, Eyjafjallajokull.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the sky, here’s another chance to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights! The tour will drop you off at your hotel/guesthouse in Reykjavik.


Accommodation

Our preferred accommodation partners for this tour are:

  • Fosshotel, Glacier Lagoon
  • Fosshotel, Vatnajokull
  • Gerdi Guesthouse


Disclaimer:
Northern Lights Iceland is not liable for any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during it’s tours. This also applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes, or any uncontrolled outside force. Northern Lights Iceland reserves the right to cancel, alter or postpone any tour for any reason. Please see our full terms for more details.


FAQ

The most common questions for this tour.

Pickup and drop off occurs within Reykjavik only. Please contact us with any questions about your hotel/guesthouse location and if it is included within our pickup/drop off area.

Accommodation depends on the time of the year and what is available. For this tour we will stay at Hotel Gullfoss, or equivalent.

We recommend dressing in warm, layered clothing so you are able to remove or add clothing if the temperature changes. For your outer layer, please make sure it is both wind and water resistant, though waterproof is best. We recommend wearing comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots, sneakers/trainers. Depending on the season, these should also be water resistant or waterproof.

As this is an overnight tour, please bring your overnight clothes. The hotel/guesthouse will provide linens and a towel for showering.

This tour is an overnight tour. This is dependent on weather and/or time spent at each stop.

There is no guarantee for the Northern Lights but if you are traveling during the winter months, and there is a clear sky, there is of course a chance.

Yes, solo-travellers are able to book this tour. Please note that there is a minimum number of guests needed for this tour to continue. Contact us for further information.

Single occupancy hotel rooms are at an added cost, please see the booking calendar.

Yes, it is advised you bring along your camera to take photos of the beautiful Icelandic nature. Always protect your camera to prevent any breakage due to rain/waterfalls by keeping it in a protective case. We are not responsible for the breakage of any equipment.

No food is provided on this tour. Guests are allowed to bring with them light snacks and beverages.

Book Now!

We run tours on a minimum number of 4 adults (regular tours). If this is not reached a week prior to departure, the tour will be cancelled and you'll receive a full refund. Single occupancy charge.

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How to spend a period of 24 hours in North Iceland

How to Spend 24 Hours in North Iceland

Iceland has been known to capture the imagination of many people and yet, nobody can explain why it does so. Maybe it is due to the beautiful landscapes or the fun activities that can be done there or it could be a mixture of both. But whatever the reason may be, every year, more and more people are coming to this northern island just to get away from all the noise and stress of the big city. They just want some peace and quiet during the long weekend that they are having. Iceland is not that far away from. If a person is traveling from the East coast of the USA, they can just ride a five-hour flight and land in Iceland in the same day of departure. It is even shorter from London – a person can reach Iceland within 3 hours of departure. This whole trip has been made easy with the help of Iceland Air. While booking for their flights to Iceland, guest can also make the addition of trips and tours to their flight ticket and pay for a whole package. So, as it can be seen, Iceland is quite an interesting location, especially for the people who want to make a quick weekend getaway.

So, let’s say you have one whole day in your hand and you want to explore Iceland. Well, the first thing that you should do is head up to the northern region of Iceland and spend your day there because the northern region is perhaps the most beautiful and interesting region in Iceland. When you reach Iceland, rent a cottage in the Kjarnaskógur woods in Iceland. This place is simply pleasant to be in. This is actually Iceland’s most traversed forest. Here, there is a 2KM long athletic course, tracks for walking, picnic tables, campsite and a children’s park nearby which the adults can also find to be quite enjoyable. The cottages here are something out of a dream – there is a big porch, soft beds, pure ice water flowing from the taps, spectacular views, barbeques, hot tubs and clean fresh highland air.

Husavik

After you have rested in to the cottage, head up to the small town of Húsavík which is on the north coast of Iceland. The main source of income for the town is done by tourism and fishing and the town is heaven for nature lovers. Unfortunately, since you are short on time, you can’t actually experience the beauty of the town to the fullest extent. What you can do is head the timber-framed restaurant called Café Skuld and order some delicious fish soup, coffee and muffins. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by their taste.

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Asbyrgi Canyon

Then,the head to the horseshoe shaped depression part of the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park called Ásbyrgi canyon. It is around 3.5KM in length and 1.1KM wide. The steep side of the canyon is formed by 100mts. High cliffs. It is breathtakingly beautiful and tranquil. You can walk through a woodland of willow and birch trees and come across the small lake of Botnstjorn where you will find ducks swimming across.

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Dettifoss Waterfall

The final stop of your trip should be the waterfall, located in Vatnajökull National Park called the Dettifoss. It is considered to be one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. An interesting fact about this waterfall is that it was featured in the Hollywood science fiction movie Prometheus, which was released in 2012. It can be seen at the beginning of the movie as the landscape on a primeval Earth-like planet. Here’s the thing – when you reach there, you might feel a bit disappointed as it might be a bit too foggy and you might feel that you may not be able to experience this waterfall in all of its glory. From the place where you start, it is around a five minute walk to the waterfall. If it is foggy when you visit, you will experience that it is quite magical to walk the rocky regions in the fog. It is a whole new experience as you jump from one wet rock to another and you can get to hear the sound of water that is coming down 45mts. from the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. When you stand next to the waterfall, you will actually experience the fact that nature is truly powerful, even if you can’t see the actual waterfall due to the fog.

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In the Evening

After all this is done, if you are up for it, then take an evening tour to the northern locales and experience the beauty of the Northern Lights and the northern tour that might accompany it. But, if the weather does not allow you to see the Northern Lights, then, during your return journey back from the Dettifoss waterfall, have an evening tour of the Reykjavik region. Trust me, it is well worth your time and energy. If you are lucky enough, then you might also get to see the Midnight Sun in Iceland during your two-day trip.

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After experiencing the true beauty of Iceland, you might feel sad that your weekend and trip has come to an end and you have to return back to the loud and noisy city and your stressful work. You just want to stay back in Iceland and forget all about your responsibilities that you have in your city life. Well, don’t worry about it. Due to Iceland being in close proximity of the US and London, you can always choose to come back to Iceland when you have a long weekend or when you want to take a vacation and if you plan your vacation period to Iceland correctly, then you might be able to enjoy cool and endless summer days and do summertime activities, in the night, in Iceland due to the Midnight Sun that can be seen during the period of May to August. There are a lot more things to do in Iceland, which are exciting and fun in their own unique ways. It does not matter what you choose to do in Iceland. It is a guarantee that you will enjoy, your choice. Iceland is truly a place of beauty and tranquility.


Golden Circle, Secret Lagoon & Bubble

About the tour


Heading off from Reykjavik, this once in a lifetime tour starts with all the iconic sights of the famous Golden Circle. You will travel in a luxury jeep (6 people max) to the gorgeous Thingvellir National Park. Thingvellir is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and home to the first parliament, mid-Atlantic crest and Silfra fissure. The name Thingvellir means “Parliament Fields” in Icelandic. The general assembly, the Althing, was established here in 930 AD making it one of the oldest parliaments in the world. Thingvellir is also known for its geology and has been a protected area since 1928. You can walk the paths along and between the Eurasian and North-American tectonic plates, exploring nature and take in the beautiful views. Don’t miss Thingvallavatn, Iceland’s largest natural lake.

Next up we drive to the famous Geysir hot springs area. It is located in the geothermal active valley of Haukadalur. Today the most active Geysir is Strokkur, an energetic spouting hot spring which erupts every 6 to 9 minutes. The white column of boiling water forms a beautiful half bubble before spraying up super-heated steaming water.

It can reach a height of 15-30m (60-90 feet). Strokkur (the churn) was formed in an earthquake in 1789. Excuse the smell, it’s the natural boiling sulfur!

Onto the powerful Gullfoss waterfall, this is one of the most popular sights in Iceland. It runs down the river Hvítá in a curved, three-stepped staircase form. It’s a very powerful experience to walk close to the waterfall on the west side as an average of 140 cubic meters of water falls per second (80 in winter).

The falls send moisture up into the air so be prepared to get a little wet. We recommend wearing waterproof clothing here.

From here the tour will stop at a local restaurant where everyone can enjoy dinner before a nice soak in the Secret Lagoon.

Once at the Secret Lagoon (ticket included with tour) you will have ample time to enjoy this unique natural hot spring, the oldest swimming pool in Iceland (made in 1891). The water holds at 38-40 Celsius (100-104 Fahrenheit) all year around. Swim and float around, try to find the hottest part of the lagoon! You can also take a short walk around the lagoon to see the beautiful landscape, original changing hut, the natural geysirs heating the lagoon and the nearby greenhouse.

When you are done relaxing, you will be taken to the Bubble Hotel where you will spend the night in your own clear bubble (2 adults per bubble), surrounded by Icelandic nature, tucked away in a small woodland. Listen to the birds chirp and enjoy the long summer light or stargaze in winter. Lie back and keep an eye out for the magical Northern Lights dancing above your head.

The next morning we will make one stop at a restaurant for you to purchase breakfast on the way back to Reykjavik.


Disclaimer:
Northern Lights Iceland is not liable for any loss, damage, accidents, injuries or sickness during it’s tours. This also applies for any changes in tour schedule due to weather, strikes, or any uncontrolled outside force. Northern Lights Iceland reserves the right to cancel, alter or postpone any tour for any reason. Please see our full terms for more details.


FAQ

The most common questions for this tour.

Pickup and drop off occurs within Reykjavik only. Please contact us with any questions about your hotel/guesthouse location and if it is included within our pickup/drop off area.

This is an overnight tour. Pickup in Reykjavik at 12:00 – 12:30 on day one and drop off in Reykjavik the next morning between 11:00 -11:30.

Time spent at each stop along the Golden Circle will be dependent on guests wishes and the driver’s recommendations. Weather and daylight hours may also affect time spent at each site.

Please bring with you a bathing suit and towel for the Secret Lagoon (you can rent a towel from the lagoon for 500 ISK).

Warm layered clothing for the day tour and preferably a waterproof outer layer. We advice you wear good walking shoes or hiking boots, sneakers/trainers.

Remember your overnight clothes.

Optional: snacks, food, and/or beverages.

There is now a solo-traveler booking fee built in to the calendar.  This is required for all guests booking as 1 person.

Please contact us directly for guidance.

No food is included with this tour.

There is one stop in the evening for you to purchase dinner and a stop the next morning for you to purchase breakfast. You may choose to bring your own food/snacks and beverages, and store them in the self-service kitchen at the Bubble Hotel.

There is a cafe located at both stops on the Golden Circle, and snacks / beverages can be purchased at the Secret Lagoon.

Yes, it is advised you bring your camera to take photos of the beautiful Icelandic nature and the sites we stop at. If you are lucky you may even be able to capture the Northern Lights from your bubble (winter only).

There is no guarantee you will see the Northern Lights. They are highly unpredictable and affected greatly by the weather, cloud coverage and light activity.

Please also know that the Northern Lights season runs from mid-September to mid-April. The sky must be dark to be in with a chance.

Here in Iceland, daylight hours are extremely long in summer with some days of no darkness at all. The wonderful news about staying at the bubbles in summer: more daylight for adventures!

In addition to longer daylight, there is also higher natural activity like birds, and more light means better photographs. If you are a bird enthusiast you will love our summertime in the bubble.

Book Now!

We have a minimum number of 4 adults for the tour to go. You can book below for 2 adults but if the minimum number of 4 will not be reached one week before departure date, we will cancel the tour and refund the money 100% back to your credit card.
There is now a solo-traveler booking fee built in to the calendar. This is required for all guests booking as 1 person.

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Our private tours are organised around your wants and needs. Please see Private Tours for more information.


Northern lights video

Magical Northern Lights Videos

The northern lights in Iceland are truly magical. It should be on everyone´s bucket list to visit Iceland, hunt for the northern lights and also explore all the other wonderful things the island in the north has to offer. Many visitors enjoy taking pictures of the aurora and some even add a northern lights video to their collection. We have gathered a few great videos for you to enjoy and hopefully inspire you to do make your own.

Time Laps Northern Lights and Landscape

This time laps northern lights video shows you more than just the aurora. You see the incredible landscape and scenery the island has to offer. The dancing northern lights look amazing and magical.

Northern Lights In Iceland V3 from O Z Z O Photography on Vimeo.

Aurora Borealis and City Sites

This time laps northern lights video doesn´t only show the magical northern lights, it also shows the light show at Harpan Concert Hall. The lights symbolize the aurora and when you visit Reykjavík city center, don´t forget to pass Harpan!

Dramatic Aurora Borealis. Iceland – Time-Lapse of a Winter Fairytale from Anneliese Possberg on Vimeo.

Incredible Iceland – In Winter and Summer

This video shows Iceland mainly during summer. The northern lights aren´t visible in summer as Iceland has 24 hour daylight then. In the middle of the video you can however see lovely shots of the aurora. Enjoy!

incredible iceland from Greg Kiss on Vimeo.

Elemental Iceland Time Laps

From the middle of this northern lights video you see fantastic time laps shots of the lights. The first minutes you enjoy the pure Icelandic nature so it is easy to recommend you watch it from beginning to end.

Elemental Iceland from Stian Rekdal on Vimeo.

Breathtake Minutes

This time laps video shows the Northern Lights at the beginning then many beautiful sites throughout Iceland.

RX1CELAND from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

Aurora in Stykkisholmur, Snaelfesness Peninsula, Iceland

Though fleeting, this quick Northern Lights show in Stykkisholmur, part of Snaelfesness Peninsula, is a beautiful display of what the phenomenon can do.

Northern Lights from John Welsh on Vimeo.

Northern Lights Tours

Remember: choose the winter months and stay for at least a week, keep a close eye on the forecast, choose the hunt that suits you best, whether it a self drive or professionally guided tour, and plan your holiday around what Iceland has to offer and look at the northern lights as a bonus. It is a common misunderstanding that the northern lights appear every night throughout the year, but we have years of experience on giving visitors advice on how it is best to plan a northern lights vacation and we would like to share that experience with you!

Tour Options


Famous filming locations in Iceland

Famous Film Locations in Iceland

Iceland is becoming more and more popular in Hollywood. The dramatic landscape and the 24 hour daylight in summer is ideal for shooting films. You can almost find any sort of landscape in Iceland – lava fields, mountains, hot springs, snow, beaches and the list goes on. To name a few movies that have been filmed in Iceland:

1. Thor: The Dark World (2013)

The Nordic god, Thor (or Þór as it is in Icelandic), is well known in Iceland and there are many names, both male and female, that are derived from his name. The movie Thor is a classic story of boy meets girl and boy saves girl. A part of the story takes places in outer space but it was shot by Skógafoss in southern Iceland. Skógafoss is one of many beautiful waterfalls in Iceland and if you feel athletic, you can walk up many steps to get to the top of the waterfall and look down.
Tours that include a visit to Skógafoss are a two day tour of the south coast and the Glacial lagoon , a day tour of the south coast that also includes a visit to Eyjafjallajokull volcano, a day out of the south coast and glacier walk, or a day tour with a volcano show.

2. Oblivion (2013)

Oblivion is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, starring Tom Cruise. It is shot in the north of Iceland and in the highlands. Another major location was on Langjökull glacier. For the northern coast, you can for instance do a self-drive from Akureyri and drive to Hrossaborg. Drive east from Myvatn as the crater is right by the main road. For Langjökull glacier, we recommend a super jeep tour and a snowmobile ride on the glacier. The Pearl tour would be ideal for that.

3. Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

In the movie, the Icelandic landscapes plays a significant role. It takes place in outer space and Iceland has often been used for movies that take place in space because of the amazing landscape. It is worth mentioning that this marks the first time any Star Trek movie is filmed outside the US. It was shot on the south coast at Reynisfjara beach. Tours ideal to check out the Star Trek location include a two day tour of the south coast and the Glacial lagoon , a day tour of the south coast that also includes a visit to Eyjafjallajokull volcano, a day out of the south coast and glacier walk, or a day tour with a volcano show.

4. Noah (2014)

Noah is a liberal interpretation of the old Biblical fable set in a Land Before Time. The movie was filmed in various locations, for instance Hálsanefshellir cave in the south of Iceland. The whole film is shot in Iceland so the landscape plays a large role in the film. The cave is by Reynisfjara beach, where the Star Trek movie was filmed, so you should be able to visit it on one of the south coast tours.

5. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

Unlike all the other films, here Iceland is actually Iceland, not outer space or some other location. In the movie, Ben Stiller plays the character of Walter Mitty who visits Iceland to do exciting things instead of just fantasizing about them. It is filmed in Snæfellsnes and on the south coast. The movie also features Icelandic actors and the band behind the sound track is Icelandic as well (Of Monsters and Men).

Snæfellsnes peninsula is a wonderful place to visit. It is also worth mentioning that in 2008 the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth was filmed at Snæfellsjökull glacier and also the movie Interstellar (2014). We recommend a two day tour to explore the area.

6. Game of Thrones

The famous TV show Game of Thrones was filmed in Iceland. The locations are both on the south-west corner – sites like Thingvellir national park and Hvalfjordur – and on the north coast. The frozen and wintry climates characterizes parts of the series´ mythical lands. The land and scenery was perfect for the filming.

7. James Bond (1985, 2002)

The famous James Bond movie, A View To a Kill (1985), was partly shot in Iceland. The location was The Glacial Lagoon (Jökulsárlón), a wonderful place with floating icebergs. In 2002, the shot a science again at the location and it was for the Bond movie Die Another Day. It is also worth mentioning that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was also partly shot by the lagoon (2001). As it is far away from Reykjavik, a two day tour is highly recommended.

8. Star Wars – The Force Awakens (2015) and Rogue One (2016)

It is no secret that the landscapes of Iceland are perfect for the landscapes of sci-fi worlds. This is why the directors chose multiple locations in Iceland. In The Force Awakens, scenes were filmed in the geothermal areas nearby Lake Viti in North Iceland, Eyjafjallajokull in South Iceland, and on the black volcanic sands of the Myrdalssandur beach. In the second newest Star Wars movie, Rogue One, scenes were filmed at Reynisfjara black sand beach and Krafla volcanic crater near Lake Myvatn.


What if...... in Iceland?

What if?

When planning an holiday, we often need answers to “what if” questions. Here is a fun read about “What if….” questions in relation to Iceland and might even answer a few of your speculations if you are thinking about visiting Iceland! What if…..

…. I would book a trip to Iceland. When should I visit?

That first and foremost depends on what you are after. The midnight sun, the magical northern lights, the crazy nightlife, the unspoiled nature, the geothermal spas or something else? If you are eager to hunt for the northern lights, then you should visit in winter as the aurora aren´t visible in summer! The northern lights season is from September – mid April so anytime during that period is good. Just stay as long as you can as each day increases your chances of seeing the lights. If you are however more into the midnight sun and bright summer nights, May – July is the time for you! You really loose track of time when you are out in the nature on a bright summer night. No need to worry about rushing back to town before dark as it just doesn´t get dark! If you are planning on visit to enjoy the nature, then you can choose the month that suits you to travel. Same goes for the geothermal bathing as the pools are open all year round.

….. I go to Iceland as a solo traveler. Is it safe?

Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world so yes, it is safe. That goes both for men and women as long as you use common sense, like don´t go alone up on a glacier or into an ice cave without a guide! It is always wise to let someone know where you are going and when you will be expected back when you head out to the countryside. Iceland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and everything is very relaxed. For solo travelers, it is a good opportunity to get to know locals. We recommend a private tour or a super jeep tour but if that is off budget, then join one of many bus tours and get to know other travelers.

…. I decide to go there with kids.

Iceland is very child friendly. Both in winter and summer you can find various activities and tours that are family friendly and suitable for children of all ages. It is also easy to find accommodation for families with children and the same goes for restaurants. Kids are always welcome!

…. I won´t find food that fits my special diet

In Reykjavík you can find something for everyone. It doesn´t matter whether you have allergies, are on a special diet or would like to try something special, you will find it in Reykjavik. Most supermarkets have a special section with organic and gluten free products and you can even find other special products like egg-free, soya-free and dairy-free. Most restaurants are flexible when it comes to allergies and special needs and have for instance a vegetarian dish(es) on their menus.

…. no one will understand me as I don´t know a word in Icelandic?

Everyone in Iceland speaks English so no need to worry. Some speak better English than others but you can always manage. Icelanders learn English in school from early age and most movies and TV shows are in English with subtitles. Icelanders are good with languages and many people study other languages in school besides English, like Spanish, Danish, French and German. If you are interested to learn Icelandic, you can look for teaching materials online. Icelandic isn´t as hard as many people think and we are happy to give you your first Icelandic lesson now! Hello (EN), halló (ICE). The word “bye” is pronounced the same in English and Icelandic (Bæ). Milk (EN), mjólk (ICE). Banana (EN), banani (ICE).

….I go on a boat ride and get sea sick?

Whale watching and sea angling is among popular tours in Iceland. Some might tend to get sea sick, especially if the sea is rough. Then the best option is to stay outside in the fresh air, not to sit inside!

….I would like to try be like a local for one day?

Many visitors want to try to have a day or two like a local and get our of the touristic environment. Locals love to go swimming throughout the year and then chat in the hot tubs. They for bike rides and walks, the golf clubs are crowded in summer and many enjoy hiking. For hiking you don´t have to go far away from Reykjavik. Mountain Esja and Úlfarsfell are ideal places for a nice hike. Ice cream is always popular among locals and go to a supermarket after work hours if you want to join the locals in their grocery shopping. On weekends many locals love to go out of the city for a day or two, especially during summer. All the small villages on the south coast are worth visiting. In winter you will find many locals at the mall, Icelanders love shopping!


Best Place to See Northern Lights

Best Places to View Northern Lights

Below you will find information on some great places in Iceland for viewing the northern lights. These are not only great places to see the lights but also feature many activities and natural sights. When planning a trip to Iceland it’s important to research what kind of things you would like to do and the places to see. The northern lights can only be seen in the winter, when it’s completely dark with clear skies. There are many nights where visibility is low so make sure you have other items on your bucket list and take in as much of the country as you can. The northern lights are a natural phenomenon, so a bonus to your trip.

Hotel Rangá – the best place to see Northern Lights

Hotel Rangá is one of the most renowned hotels in Iceland for seeing the northern lights. It was the first hotel in the country to offer a northern lights wakeup call service to its guests so they could pull their parkas over their pyjamas if the Aurora made an appearance. In addition to their comfortable and luxurious rooms, the location on the south coast is in close proximity to natural wonders like Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, the Reynisfjara black sand beach and basalt columns, and the infamous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Hotel Rangá makes for a great place to see the beautiful dancing northern lights.

Hotel Glymur with its amazing village suites

Hotel Glymur is a friendly hotel with a beautiful village suites. It’s located in majestic Hvalfjörður (“Whale Fjord”) just north-west of Reykjavík, and has breathtaking scenery. It has a lovely relaxed atmosphere and a great restaurant that offers everything a hungry stomach needs. The six village suites are uniquely designed villas, each with an open-concept kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, leather sofas, large screen TV, dining table, amazing art pieces and can cater for 4-6 people. With its remote natural location, it’s a fantastic place to see the northern lights without going too far from the city.

Hotel Gullfoss – next to the famous waterfall

Hotel Gullfoss is located right in the heart of the Golden Circle, next to the amazing and famous Gullfoss (“Golden Falls”) waterfall. One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland—and even the whole world!—it is stunning to see all year round. When the sun is shining on it, there is often a golden rainbow over it that gives the falls their name. During the winter a stay at the hotel is truly magical, with no urban lights around one can walk out into the darkness, or lounge in a hot tub, and gaze at the starry sky and watch the northern lights dance totally undisturbed. You can even get great photos of the lights dancing over the waterfall, capturing two of Iceland’s most famous sights together.

Great hot tubs for Northern Lights viewing

With less than 100 inhabitants, Drangsnes is the ultimate spot for seclusion and solitude for viewing the lights. You can lay in the seaside hot tubs waiting for the auroras to show up over the tiny fishing village, indulge your inner nature-lover by exploring the surrounding area, and go mingle with the locals at the Malarhorn café. When the northern lights do come out here, there isn’t anything or anyone to disturb your enjoyment.


Where To See The Northern Lights

Where Can We See The Northern lights?

This is understandably one of the most common question people ask when they are looking for information about the Aurora. Naturally it’s important to find out where it’s possible to see the Northern Lights before you start making detailed travel plans.

When Is The Best Time To See The Aurora?

The Northern Lights season starts every year in September and is until mid-April. There isn’t one particular month better than the other, the lights are hard to predict or plan for and the weather can prove challenging. That said, if you have a clear sky and can see the stars then you might be in for a good viewing.

One of the most important factors is the length of your stay as each day increases your chances of seeing the beautiful lights. We usually advise people to stay here for at least 4 days as the lights are often active for 2 – 3 days and then low for 4 – 5 days.

Iceland is an ideal place to hunt for the Northern Lights. In order to get the best viewing, go outside the city and away from the artificial lights. Often you don’t have to go far, just away from the lights as they often hinder you from seeing the Aurora Borealis.

Self-Drive v Guided Tour

Another common question we often get is whether we recommend a self-drive, guided tours from Reykjavík or a combination of both.

The main advantage of booking a tour is that your guide knows the forecast and has access to much more information so there’s a good chance of spotting the Northern Lights. If the forecast isn’t looking good by 6pm, they send a cancelation message and you’ll have another chance the following night. They provide the transport and know the roads so take you to the right spots.

In the winter, roads conditions can be icy and not ideal, so we don’t advise self-driving unless drivers are familiar with snowy and icy roads.

Road more on Driving In Iceland.

It is common for people to opt for both, tours and self-drive. It all depends on what each person is comfortable with. We recommend that you spend a few nights out in the countryside if you stay in Iceland for more than 5 days. You don’t need to go far out the city to be in with a chance to see the dancing Aurora. If the sky is clear of clouds then head down to Grotto and wait patiently.

If you have a car, drive out of the city and away from the light pollution to areas like Grotta, Mosfellsbaer, Seltjarnarnes and Perlan, where you can easily park.

Further afield, head to Thingvellir National Park near the Golden Circle to be surrounded by nature for a vast open sky ready for the nights display. Threngsli, Seljavallalaug Pool, Vík, Eldborgahraun, Djúpavík, Látrabjarg in the Westfjords, Ásbyrgi Canyon, Hvammsfjordur, Jokulsarlon, East fjords, Hvitserkur, Siglufjordur, Reynisvatn, Öskjuhlid, Borgarholt in Kopavogur and Kirkjufell.

Understanding The Northern Lights Forecast

There are a few things you need to consider when you take a look at the forecast. Firstly, look for the white areas on the map, these show clear sky (so a low cloud coverage). Secondly, in the top right corner you will see a scale which shows numbers and indicates to a moderate, active or high performance of the Northern Lights. Finally, the weather in Iceland changes constantly so it’s important to check the forecast regularly during your stay, especially if you are doing a self-drive so see where to drive to.

When you go on a bus or superjeep tour, the drivers know where to hunt for the lights each night. Also keep in mind that even though the forecast says low, go outside and hunt for the lights if the sky is clear, they tend to show up without any notice.

The Northern Lights Forecast


How To Plan Your Trip To Iceland Around The Weather

Remember, this is Iceland

Iceland is a beautiful place to visit and many people who do take away memories that will last a lifetime, however many first time travellers to this picturesque country wonder how to plan their trip to Iceland around the weather. Here are a few tips that might help.

Located on the Arctic Circle

Iceland is close to the arctic circle so no matter what time of year you travel, you can expect cooler or just cold weather. Traveling in the late spring and early summer is probably going to give you the best opportunity to really take in the country. During the late fall and winter months, the weather can make many roads difficult or impossible to travel. Like anywhere in the world, there’s no guaranteeing what the weather’s going to be like on any given day or even hour.

So, the first thing you need to do is remember why you’ve chosen to visit Iceland instead of a tropical Island that would almost guarantee you endless days of sunshine.

Icelands weather is unpredictability. While you can watch weather forecasts and try to plan your trip based on those sunnier forecasts, forecasts are simply educated guesses as to what the weather’s going to do. No one, regardless of how many instruments they have at their disposable can accurately predict the weather. The simple truth is, while you can plan your visit to Iceland for the warmer months, you really can’t plan it around the weather. So rather than trying to plan that Icelandic adventure around the weather, why not plan to enjoy it regardless of weather.

Come prepared to take this beautiful country in, layer up and enjoy.

Pack For Any Type of Weather

When traveling to Iceland you need to remember that the day can start out warm but may turn cold and rainy within a very short period of time. It’s important to pack the right clothes for any type of weather. Here’s a checklist for items to pack

• Swimwear – despite Icelands chillier all-year-round weather, swimwear is something you are going to want to pack as most hotels have their own indoor or outdoor pools, fed by a hot spring. Relaxing in one of these pools is going to be something you aren’t going to want to miss.

• Dark Jeans and Smart Top – If you plan on visiting a club or bar while in Iceland, packing a pair of dark jeans and smart top is a must. This is standard for a casual night out.

• A ‘Nicer’ Outfit – Icelanders don’t tend to dress up but eating out in one of Icelands smarter restaurants is a good excuse to wear one of your nicer outfits. You’ll still need to wrap up warm though.

• Layers – Pack clothes that are easy to layer for your different activities and trips in Iceland. Start with a good base layer that provides warmth, a cotton or polyester blend shirt and long trousers. Then make sure you include a pull over / sweater or two, a jacket made from a waterproof material and good hiking or walking boots.

• Hat, Scarf, Gloves – In addition to packing clothes you can mix n match, and layer, you also want to include a warm hat, scarf and gloves.

Focus on the Adventure

If you pack the right clothing for all possible weather conditions then you can spend your time in Iceland focusing on your adventures rather worrying about the weather. People come to Iceland to experience nature in all its raw beauty, and to meet and get to know a little about the people who call this country home.

Traveling through Iceland, you will see some beautiful sights, can do exciting activities, try new foods and have some of the best adventures of your life. When you focus on these adventures you will discover that some of your best memories of this country will centre around those grey rainy and windy days. Hopefully you’ll be warmed by the excitement of being lowered into an empty volcano, seeing whales off the bow of a ship, or simply enjoying some good old Icelandic hospitality.

Guided Tours vs. Self-Driving

In the end its not so much a matter of planning your trip to Iceland around the weather than embracing Iceland, including the weather. Be prepared to experience an adventure of a lifetime in one of the most beautiful and sparely populated places on earth.


Is A 4x4 Vehicle Essential In Iceland?

Importance of 4X4 Vehicles

Providing recommendations about touring Iceland is at times hard, as the suggestions you offer are totally determined by the person you are offering them to. The response is determined by what you are used to driving, where you plan to drive to and your experience in different weather conditions. Keep in mind that it’s usually more expensive to rent a 4WD and you don’t always need to have one, i.e if you are looking to be a little adventurous and expect your vehicle to cross river terrain, then hiring a Skoda Octavia wont cut it. However for those self driving the Golden Circle, Reykjavik and the South Coast, then something like a Skoda Octavia would be fine.

In the winter, you’ll need winter tires which are typically provided by all car hire companies on their vehicles. These will help you drive on slush, snow, ice.

Below are a number of exceptions and some factors to take into account:

Highlands in Iceland

First and foremost, many of the highlands in Iceland are only accessible by 4×4 jeeps (4WD is not essentially sufficient) and huge penalties can be imposed if you drive a standard rental vehicle inside these regions.

The same goes for off road driving, this is strictly prohibited. Normally, the roads on the highlands have F road marks. Please note that Kjolur is included even though it’s not an F road. If you intend to visit those regions or on roads that are F marked, we recommend going with a local expert.

Summer v Winter Driving

During summer you can drive the ring road around Iceland without a 4×4. During winter, due to the weather and snow storms, a 4×4 can prove very useful especially if you are not confident in driving on snowy roads.

This mainly applies to the Westfjords, the North as well as East. However, many of the roads near Reykjavik are sustained well (for instance, the South Coast, Golden Circle and Snaefellsnes Peninsula) and only close when there is excessively bad weather. When it is this bad, you should avoid driving no matter what type of vehicle you have.

The climate in Iceland is unpredictable so this will play a part in your planning and driving. In winter, you might expect snow but not see any or snow might even fall in April. It’s not possible to predict the weather so please be prepared for this.

Here’s some point to take into account:

  • 4WD cars are slightly larger and offer a little more comfort
  • The weather here can totally differ from what you are accustomed to
  • It is vital to rent a car in good condition with great tires
  • A GPS system is also useful
  • Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you start your journey


How To Plan A Northern Lights Vacation

How to Plan a Northern Lights Vacation

It’s a common misunderstanding that the northern lights appear every night throughout the year. We have years of experience in giving visitors advice on how to best plan a northern lights vacation, and we would like to share that experience with you.

4 Tips for a Northern Lights Vacation

1. Timing

When you are planning a northern lights holiday, the timing is of course crucial. The northern lights can appear every month of the year but you need darkness in order to see them. For examples, even if the forecast shows active lights in July, you won’t see anything due to the 24 hour daylight. May – August are off season due to daylight.

The northern lights season starts at the beginning of September and ends mid April. In late August, when the days have started to get shorter, late at night you could get lucky and see the lights. The length of your stay is also vital as the lights often appear for 2-3 days and then there can be nothing for some days. We always recommend 4-5 days increase your chances.

2. Plan for Winter

We always recommend visitors to plan their visit to Iceland as a nice winter holiday with loads of tours and activities. Enjoy all the wonderful things the country has to offer. Whether you choose a tour or to self drive, you will have an amazing time in the pure and unspoiled nature, the views and the sites.

The northern lights are a bonus and we recommend you think of them that way. Keep in mind the hours of daylight you will have during your stay. The months with the fewest hours of daylight are December and January but this gives you longer in darkness to hunt for the lights.

3. Check the Forecast

Keep a close eye on the northern lights forecast. You need to look for white or light green patches, area where there is little to no cloud coverage. There is a scale on the top right, the number here should be 3 (moderate) or higher. However, it’s always worth having a look at the sky, especially if it’s clear and you can see the stars. See the stars and you have a good chance if the lights are going to show.

4. Plan Self-Drive Tours

Some people opt to self drive and hunt for the northern lights. Keep in mind that the road conditions in Iceland during winter can be difficult and dangerous, especially out in the countryside; slippery roads, snow and even blizzards.

Alternatively you can opt to take a tour, either a bus tour, super jeep or private tour. A combo tour is a great option to tick a few items off your bucket list.

We recommend the Golden Circle, Secret Lagoon, Bubble Tour.

  • Choose the winter months
  • Stay for 4-5 days
  • Keep a close eye on the Aurora forecast
  • Choose the hunt that suits you best, whether a self drive or tour
  • Plan your holiday around what Iceland has to offer, northern lights are a bonus


Weird and Fun Facts About Iceland

Weird and Fun Facts About Iceland and the Icelandic People

Weirdness is something that everyone possesses yet no one can explain why these behaviors or situations may occur. Iceland is no different! Below you will find our list of the most weird and fun facts about our beautiful country and the wonderful people who live here!

1. Ice Cream All Year

It can be below freezing here in Iceland, but you are sure to find a line at the door of the local ice cream shop! Our favorites here in Reykjavik include:

  • Isbudin Valdis, located in the new hip and trendy area, Grandi
  • Joylato, located by the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church
  • Brynja Is, located slightly outside of the city in Kopavogur.

2. Stay Awake for 24 Hours

In the summertime (June until August) day and night merge into one and it simply does not get dark! This is due to Iceland’s location, meaning when the Earth’s axis tilts- we get longer hours of sun. The Icelandic people use these nights for midnight-sun activities such as late “night” disc-golfing, barbecue’s, hiking and golfing. They even have a International Arctic Open Golf tournament in June.

3. You Can Dine on Unique Local Delicacies

Every country has their own national food or dish, and Iceland is no different. Ask any Icelandic person what the traditional dishes are you will learn of fermented shark, whole sheep head, and sour gelatinized ram’s…testicles. Please remember, this does not mean that the entire population will enjoy consuming these, as you will learn from Icelanders faces when asked about this.

4. Mosquitoes Do Not Exist in Iceland

How often have you woken up in the middle of the night because of mosquitoes? And for some reason they only get bigger as you go from one country to the next. In Iceland mosquitoes do not exist mostly because it is too cold for them to thrive. However, in recent years, partly due to global warming, some bugs have been thriving for a short span in the summer months in some locations in Iceland

5. Iceland Has a Total of 13 Santas

Iceland takes the idea of Santa Claus one step further: 13 Yule Lads and an evil Christmas cat!

  • Stekkjastaur, stiff legs – has long, stiff legs and steals farmers milk
  • Giljagur, gully gawk – hides in the town gullies and steals milk from cowsheds
  • Stufur, stubby – steals the pots and pans and eats leftovers
  • Thorusleikir, spoon licker – steals unwashed spoons and licks them clean
  • Pottaskefill, pot scraper – steals unwashed pots and licks them clean
  • Askasleikir, bowl licker – steals unattended bowls and licks them clean
  • Hurdaskellir, door slammer – slams doors and keeps people awake at night
  • Skyrgamur, skyr gobbler – steals skyr
  • Bjugnakraekir, sausage swiper – hides in the ceiling and steals sausages that are hung for smoking
  • Gluggagaegir, window peeper – peeks through the window
  • Gattathefur, door sniffer – sniffs out where people are baking and then steals cakes and cookies
  • Ketkrokur, meat hook – steals meat with a long hook
  • Kertasnikir, candle beggar – steals candles from children

6. Names in Iceland are Different and Unique

You will come to notice that in Iceland people are called almost exclusively by their first name, since surnames do not exist in the country. Girls are the daughter of their father (for instance Anna Jonsdottir – Anna, daugther of Jon), and boys are the sons of their fathers (for instance, Gunnar Gudmundsson – Gunnar, son of Gudmundur). Women keep their last names when they get married and when looking for someone in the phonebook, you always look under the first name. It is also interesting to know that first names must by pre-approved by the government and any new name must be submitted for consideration.

7. Beer Was Illegal Until 1989

Beer prohibition in Iceland lasted from 1915 until 1.March, 1989! For political reasons, alcohol was generally frowned upon, but beer especially since it reminded Icelanders of the Danes, who owned Iceland until 1944. Nowadays, this day is referred to as Bjordagur (Beer Day) and it is tough to stop the locals from joining in on the celebration.

8. For the Love of Potatoes

When most think of potatoes, the country Ireland may come to mind and sad memories of the potato famine, but because of the chilled weather and short summers, it´s not really that much you can cultivate in Iceland, unless in greenhouses. Potatoes have though been cultivated in Iceland for centuries and people often have a small potato patch in their personal garden. Potatoes can be found on everyone’s plates both during the holidays and normal evenings.

9. Harnassing the Geothermal Water for a Good Soak

Icelanders love their swimming pools and hot tubs. In the evenings after work and on the weekends, you can find Icelanders gathering in the geothermal hot tubs to talk about the weather, politics and whatever comes to mind. It’s normal for strangers to join the conversation and chat for hours. We love our pools so much we have strict bathing rules for before entering. Please follow these rules! Since swimming is such an important aspect of everyday life, children begin swim classes from the age of six to the age of 16.

10. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe

While the rest of the world is lamenting over overpopulation, Iceland just breezes by fairly on its own. With only 300,00 inhabitants its considered the least populated country, however being the least populated has its advantages. For one thing space is not an issue, and because there are few people the beauty of nature is left untouched. So if you want to go for an extreme adventure without crowds of people suffocating you Iceland is the place to go.


Top 44 Fun Things To Do In Iceland

Top 44 Fun Things to do in Iceland

When planning a visit to Iceland, you may wonder what there is to do here so today we are sharing 44 of our top suggestions. There’s something for everyone from family to solo, traditional to modern. We hope you have a wonderful trip.

1. Go for a Swim in the North Atlantic Ocean.

It might seem like a big no no but it’s surprisingly getting more popular for visitors to take a dive on the cold North Atlantic Sea. Icelanders have done this for hundred of years and still do. Over the summertime, the temperature of the Sea is about 12 – 15°C but in winter it can go below zero.

Swimming in the sea isn’t just invigorating and adventurous, some say it strengthens the immune system. One of the main spots to go for a swim is Nautholsvik geothermal beach. They have great facilities here and after a quick dip in the North Atlantic Ocean you can reward yourself by relaxing in the hot tub (check opening hours).

2. Enjoy New Years in Iceland.

If you are looking for a true party over New Years, Iceland is the place to be. Icelanders simply love fireworks around New Years and there aren’t many places in the world that allow fireworks as freely as Iceland does.

Every New Year, Icelanders shoot around 1300 tons of fireworks into the sky to welcome in the New Year. Most of the profit from firework sales goes to the national rescue squad and plays a big part in why Icelanders spend so much money on buying fireworks.

If you are going to get in on the fun then wear safety glasses, avoid wearing flammable clothing and possibly a set of earplugs. The best views across the city are from Perlan and Hallgrimskirkja.

3. Stay Awake for 24 Hours.

In summer, day and night merge into one and it literally doesn’t get dark. The Icelandic summer nights are truly amazing and give you endless opportunities to explore and enjoy being outdoors. All sorts of activities are popular over summer like hiking, hot pools, golfing and more.

4. Walk Between Continents.

The earths crust is composed of 6 large, and several smaller, tectonic plates that drift and cause sea-floor spreading. Two of those plates meet under Iceland; the Eurasian plate and the North American plate. It is very unusual to be able to see rift above sea level but here in Iceland you can walk between them and literally touch both continents.

In Reykjanes, an 18 meter bridge has been built of the rift and you can cross it for free. It’s a great experience to cross the bridge and walk between two continents. If you are interested, you can buy a certificate of proof that you have crossed the bridge at a nearby information centre.

5. Go Horseback Riding

The Icelandic horse is the size of a pony but as strong as a horse. You can find a tour that suits you perfectly from a few hours of horse back riding to a multi day tour. These horses are very well secured by the Icelanders and they prohibit importation of horses. It’s a must for all animal lovers to get to know the Icelandic horse.

6. Watch the Whales

The whales around Iceland surface and shows off their tricks, often coming very close to the boats and you can sometimes spot dolphins jumping too. In summer you can go whale watching both on the north and south coasts of Iceland. Both locations are great for whale watching. In winter, tours only run from the Old harbour of Reykjavik. It’s truly amazing to see these gigantic animals in their natural environment so up close.

7. Visit The Pearl

Perlan is a famous landmark in Reykjavik, you’ll see it’s massive glass dome on the hill. You can go visit the viewing deck at a small charge, visit the shop and enjoy the magnificent view at the restaurant. Perlan now has an Ice Cave exhibition where you can walk through an ice tunnel and you can get the history of Icelands glaciers.

8. Go Fishing!

The fishing industry has been Icelands main industry for centuries and is still a big part of the culture. You can either go on a tour to catch your own fish or go down to the harbour in the morning and offer your help to the fishermen. A freshly caught fish is simply the best, even better if you caught it yourself.

9. Try Diving and Snorkeling

Diving and snorkeling are some of the best things to do in Iceland. Needless to say that there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy such activity. Surprisingly, you can also go surfing in Iceland. The most popular place to go snorkeling is the Silfra at Thingvellir National Park.

10. Check out the View from the Bell Tower

Hallgrimskirkja is the tallest church in Iceland at 244 feet. There is a lift that takes you to the top of the bell tower where you get a magnificent view across the city. The church itself is beautiful and we recommend you pay a visit.

11. Enjoy a Geothermal Bath

You can find many different places in Iceland to bathe in a natural hot water. We recommend Landmannalaugar, the Blue lagoon, Lake Myvatn and the Secret lagoon. To relax in the natural warm water out in nature is definitely a must and should be on your bucket list.

12. Snowmobiling on a Glacier

Get your adrenaline pumping, jump on a snowmobile and tell all your friends you’ve been on a glacier. Most snowmobile rides take place on Langjokull glacier and Myvatnsjokull glacier. There are various tours to choose from and many people like to combine a snowmobiling adventure with the Golden Circle.

13. Get Married in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue lagoon is one of the most popular destinations in Iceland. Its not just beautiful but it’s also a very relaxing and peaceful place with unique surroundings. The warm turquoise blue water is truly beautiful and you’re surrounded with lava fields, it’s very unique.

The lagoon is known for its healing powers for the skin but you can do many other things there, one of which is to get married. Couples who are interested in tying the knot in this unusual location can get assistance from the personnel at the Blue Lagoon.

14. Be a Chef in Natures Kitchen.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to Icelands geothermal energy. Hot springs are used not only for heating homes but are very handy when traveling. You can use them for almost everything from washing laundry to boiling eggs.

Icelanders also use the geothermal heat to bake bread in the hot ground. The dough is placed in a container, such as a milk carton, and buried in the hot ground. This can take a few hours to bake so you can buy a loaf of geothermal bread in places such as Hveragerdi and Myvatnssveit.

15. Get Hot.

Unlike other countries, in Iceland you can stand in the shower as long as you like without worrying too much about the water bill. Due to the islands volcanic activity, the hot water is both plentiful and inexpensive making it perfect for heating homes, greenhouses, melting snow and filling swimming pools and hot tubs. So enjoy it whilst you’re here, take a long hot shower without feeling too guilty.

16. Eat Fermented Shark.

Some of the traditional Icelandic food might seem a bit odd to foreigners. For example, sheeps head, dried fish and fermented shark are some of the specialities. When you visit Iceland it’s almost a must to try fermented shark. It has a strong smell and taste but if you want to make a good impression for the locals, try a bite.

17. Go Lava Caving.

If you are the adventurous type, go lava caving. There are various tours offered and you often don’t need to go far from Reykjavik to find a lava tube. Leidarendi is within 30 minutes drive from the Reykjavik.

18. See the Northern Lights.

The northern lights are a magical phenomenon that everyone should see at least once in a lifetime. Whether you decide to do a tour or a self-drive, the experience seeing the lights dancing above your head will stay with you forever. All sorts of tours are available for aurora hunting: Evening tours, combo tours, bus tours, super jeep tours, multi day tours, floating tours, boat tours…. the list is long so you should find at least one that suits your needs.

19. Go Floating.

Floating is one of the best ways possible to relax. The floating kit enables you to float in the warm Secret Lagoon and let every muscle in your body rest. There are many extra treats on the tours as well, such as hunting for the northern lights in winter.

20. Go Swimming and Relax in the Hot Tubs.

Swimming is a big part of Icelandic culture. It is obligatory for all Icelanders to learn how to swim so you can say we are raised in the pools to a great extent. Most pools are outdoors but the water is always nicely warm so people go for a swim without freezing in winter. The hot tubs are a must after a refreshing swim and an ideal way to blend with the locals.

21. Have a Hot Dog.

It is almost obligatory to have a hot dog when you visit Iceland. The most popular hot dog booth in Reykjavik is opposite Kolaportið flea market, not far from the Old Harbor. As for “ein með öllu” (one with everything) and blend in with the locals by the booth while you enjoy your delicious hot dog. When you are travelling around Iceland you can buy a hot dog almost everywhere so there is no excuse not to have one!

22. Go Inside a Volcano.

Thrihnukagigur Volcano has retired by being an erupting prowess 4,000 years ago, so exploring the magma chamber from the inside is as safe as exploring a museum. But unlike a museum with just parts or relics of a volcano closed in a casket, a tour inside the volanco will take you to the actual inside of a volcano. Something you shouldn´t miss and do at least once in a lifetime!

23. Try Glacier Hiking.

For an adventurous day, try glacier hiking. At Sólheimajökull glacier you can explore the crevasse riddle outlet glacier with amazing ice formations, sinkholes and indented ridges. Some tours even offer you ice climbing as well. Never go glacier hiking on your own though as it simply is too dangerous but with guides and the right equipment you are off to an adventure.

24. See the Puffins.

Puffins are unique and beautiful birds. Over half of the world´s population of the Atlantic puffin roost in Iceland. These birds are unique in many ways, like how they can paddle along the surface of the sea and dive underwater on spotting prey. Half of Icelandic puffins are in the Westmann Island where they both harvested and conserved. Other sites are for instance Hornbjarg and Hornstrandir and on many whale watching tours you see puffins. It is to be noted that puffins aren´t in Iceland during winter. This is one of our favorite things to do in Iceland because the puffins are just great

25. Check out the Imagine Peace Tower

The Imagine Peace Tower stands for joy, wisdom, hope and healing. It is a memorial tower of John Lennon by his wife Yoko Ono. The tower is lighted up from 9th October, which is John Lennon´s birthday, up to 8th December. There are also some additional dates for the tower to be lit up and that includes for instance 31st December. The tower is located in Viðey but you can see the light from a far.

26. Go for a Bike Ride in the Nature

If you want to get the adrenaline pumping and get a real exercise then go biking! There are various tours offered, like in Heiðmörk and Skaftafell, where you can enjoy a great bike ride away from the city lights and noise.

27. Visit the Westman Islands

The Westman islands (Vestmannaeyjar) are located just off the south coast of Iceland. One of the most famous volcanic eruptions in Iceland took place there in 1973. There is a museum about the eruption that you must visit. The largest island is Heimaey but the other islands are uninhabitable. More than 30 bird species nest in their millions in the cliffs, including puffins. Sail around the islands and enjoy the peacefulness and nature the islands have to offer.

28. Try the Icelandic Skyr

Skyr is a dairy product that is very popular in Iceland. You can buy skyr with various flavours, like blueberry and strawberry, but also just plain skyr. It is healthy and something Icelanders have eaten for decades. It is similar to thick yogurt but the taste is unique and delicious. Be like an Icelander and eat skyr!

29. Visit the Arctic Circle on Grímsey Island

Grímsey is a small island about 40 km (25 mi) off the north coast of Iceland and straddling the Arctic Circle. Grímsey is the northernmost inhabited Icelandic territory. The Arctic Circle runs through the island and it is an optimal photo opportunity to take a photo there. You can either fly or take a ferry to the island and spend a day or two.

30. Mount Esja

When you are in Reykjavik you see a beautiful mountain not too far away. This is Esjan, an outdoor paradise. If you want to go for a hike it is an ideal place to so do, either on your own or with a tour. You don´t need to go to the top unless you want to but the view from the hills, and of course the top, is magnificent. Here you can enjoy nature to the fullest and within an hour drive from the capital.

31. The Pond

In Reykjavík´s city center you will see a pond. In summer you can see there different kinds of birds swimming with their newborns. All around the pond you can see various sculptures and artwork and also city hall where you can sit down and have a nice cup of coffee while enjoying the view of the pond. In winter the pond often freezes and then you people either walking across the ice or skating. Try it too, just make sure the ice is really frozen!

32. Enjoy Christmas

Icelanders love Christmas. They decorate their houses, trees and the city center is always very festive. There is a Christmas market in Hafnarfjordur, Christmas shop on the main shopping street in Reykjavik (Laugavegur) and there is always something going on. Don´t forget the Icelandic Santas – they are 13!

33. Attend a Sports Event

Icelanders love sports. In summer football is very popular and in winter it is handball and basketball. If you are a sports fan then you should definitely go to a game and blend in with the locals!

34. Get a City Pass

The City Pass opens doors to many great activities. You can buy one for 1,2 or 3 days. With the City Pass you can visit all the museums in Reykjavik, go swimming, visit the domestic zoo, take the ferry over to Videy island (where the Imagine Peace Tower is located) and much more. Spend time and money wisely and grab a City Pass.

35. Hvalfjörður

The Hvalfjörður Tunnel (Hvalfjarðargöng) is a road tunel under Hvalfjördur fjord and is a part of the ring road. It is 5770 meter longs and reaches a depth of 165 meters below sea level. It shortens the distance from Reykjavík to the western and northern parts of Iceland by 45 km as it takes around an hour to drive the Hvalfjörður fjord itself. The fjord is around 30 km long and 5 km wide. The fjord has a history. During World War II a naval base of the British and American navies could be found there. The name of the fjord is derived from the large number of whales that could be found and caught there. In summer, if you have plenty of extra time, it is a lovely route to drive the fjord itself. Lovely scenery, waterfalls, interesting mixture of volcanic mountains and green vegetation, rivers and unspoiled nature. In winter we recommend the tunnel!

36. Visit Churches

It doesn´t matter whether you are religious or not, visiting the many lovely churches is a wonderful experience. It doesn´t matter whether it is the great Hallgrimskirkja church or a small country church, all of them have their own unique style and history. If you visit the Hallgrimskirkja church, try to be there when they play the massive organ. The sound and the experience is amazing! The small country churches are worth visiting but you can find them all over the country.

37. Check out the Bars and Cafés

If you long for a nice cup of coffee there are various cafés in the city center in Reykjavík. Try also some local delicacies like kleina or vaffla. If you want to have a beer the pub Kaldi is ideal and try out the local beers. If you want something special, the Kex hostel has an extra ordinary bar/restaurant. The possibilities are endless and do not hesitate to try as many as you can find. You will have a nice experience wherever you go and blend with the locals!

38. Botanical Garden

If you are a fan of trees and flowers, you need to check out the Botanical Garden in Laugardalur. In summer it is gorgeous but it is also charming in winter. Small pond, fountain and peaceful with birdlife. You also find Café Flora there, an ideal place to sit down, relax and enjoy a meal.

39. Mývatn Nature Baths

The Blue lagoon is always very popular but not too many know that there is another lagoon on the northern coast by lake Mývatn. The Mývatn nature baths are natural, peaceful and worth visiting if you are traveling in the area.

40. Cultural Night

Every year in August Cultural night is celebrated in Reykjavik. It starts in the morning and eds around midnight with fireworks. Stroll around town and participate in various events – such as the marathon – and enjoy the shows, concerts and all the other sites offering something exciting. In the evening, enjoy the concert in the city center and then the wonderful fireworks just before midnight. This is one of our favorite things to do in Iceland because the fireworks are just great:)

41. Visit the Black Sand Beach in Vík

On the south coast of Iceland you will find many nature gems. One of them is the black sand beach close to Vík, called Reynisfjara. The black sand is crushed lava rock and it also features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns, called Garðar. Out in the sea you will see the beautifully shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The ocean there is very powerful so don´t go too close!! Half way down the beach is a large vaulted cavern, a beautiful site but again, don´t go too close. Otherwise you might end up in the Atlantic Ocean! The area is rich in birdlife and in summer you can spot puffins for instance.

42. Visit the Abandoned Plane.

On Sólheimasandur beach in the south of Iceland you will find something unusual. An epic plane wreck! In 1973 a United States Navy airplane ran out of fuel and was forced to land on the black beach at Sólheimasandur. Thankfully everyone on board survived. Later it turned out that the pilot had simply switched over to the wrong fuel tank. The remains are still at the crash site, on the sand very close to the sea. The scenery is quite amazing and unreal, it is actually like from a science fiction move. A site worth visiting!

43. Visit the Glacial Lagoon

The Glacial lagoon is one of many wonders of nature that you will find in Iceland. The lagoon first appeared in 1934-1935 and has been growing ever since. It is the deepest lake in Iceland, located on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. During summer you can take a boat tour on the lake and sail among the magnificent icebergs. In winter it is a popular location to hunt for the northern lights. The lagoon has been a setting for several Hollywood films, such as James Bond.

44. Drive Through the National Park, Thingvellir

Thingvellir National Park is a wonderful place worth visiting. It is very historical and special in so many ways. It is where you can see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that splits Iceland further apart each year. The scenery is one of a kind and it doesn´t matter whether it is in summer, spring, fall or winter. Thingvallavatn lake is breathtaking, the trees, the lava, the waterfalls…. the list is endless. Thingvellir is a site of historical and cultural importance. It is where the Icelandic Parliament was established in 930 and in 2004 Thingvellir became a World Heritage Site. All off road driving is of course prohibited and please show the park and its surroundings full respect.


Finding accommodation in Reykjavík

Finding accommodation in Reykjavík

acommodation

Reykjavík is an ideal place to be located when you come to Iceland and want to explore the country on day tours or on our own with self-drive. You can find all types of accommodation in Reykjavík and the surrounding area, from hostels and hotels to suits and apartments, low-cost to luxury.
It´s often hard to make a decision online, especially when you don´t know the place and surroundings. We are here to help you. We offer a brand new service. You let us know what kind of accommodation you are looking for, we will give you pointers and ideas and arrange the booking. If you have found accommodation online you are interested in, we can visit the place to take pictures and photos to send you, and make all arrangements for booking. The service is free of charge and no payment is made until you are charged for the accommodation you choose. Do not hesitate to contact us for further details or if you have any questions click here. We are here to help you so your visit to Iceland will be a pleasant one!


4 winter days in Iceland - editor's choice

4 Winter Days in Iceland

People visiting Iceland for the first time naturally want to see and do as much as possible during their stay. Often people are only staying for a few days so it might be a bit difficult to do see and do everything on the wishlist but for first timers we have put together an itinerary that might be helpful. Then you just need to come again to visit all the other beautiful sites!

Day One

The Golden Circle is the classical route that everyone takes on their first visit to Iceland. You cover many sites only in one day. The Golden Circle includes the beautiful Gullfoss waterfall, they famous Geysir hot spring area and the peaceful Thingvellir National Park. You can add to that route a visit to the crater lake Kerið. For the Golden Circle you can either do bus tours or super jeep tours with various extra activities. Our personal favorite is the Golden Circle Ultimate with floating and northern lights hunting in the evening. Of course you can also do the route by self-drive but take care, the roads in winter are icy!

Day Two and Three

For the second and third day we choose the south coast and Jökulsarlón glacial lagoon. The south coast is beautiful and has so many lovely sites to visit. To name a few, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss waterfalls, black sand beaches, amazing views and on a clear day you can see the Westman islands. The glacial lagoon is one of a kind and something you shouldn´t miss. During summer you can take boat rides on the lagoon but you can enjoy the lovey lagoon in winter as well. Spending the evening by the lagoon and hunt for the northern lights, it doesn´t get more magical than that! It is also a great experience to spend one night at the countryside and enjoy the pure Icelandic nature.

Day Four

The Reykjanes peninsula is a hidden gem that not too many tourists know about. It is a perfect route for a day tour as it is very close to Reykjavík! You can visit small villages, geothermal areas like Krísuvík, the beautiful Kleifarvatn lake, cross the bridge between two continents and of course soak and relax in the Blue lagoon. The moonlike landscape takes you to another world and the peacefulness is one of kind. You can either do this route on your own (self-drive, but in winter make sure you have a 4×4) or book a bus tour/private tour.


Volcanic eruptions in Iceland

Volcanic eruption in Iceland

The most recent volcanic eruption in Iceland is clearly in Bárðarbunga (started erupting in 2014). Located on the mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland has a high concentration of active volcanoes. In Iceland there are 30 active volcanic systems and 13 of them have erupted since the settlement of Iceland. We have put together a list of a few volcanic eruptions in Iceland.

1. The Westman Islands (1973)

One of the most famous volcanic eruption in Iceland is the one in the Westman Islands in 1973. The eruption came without any signs of warnings. Ash fell over most of the island, around 400 homes were destroyed and lava flow threatened the harbour. It is a blessing that no one was killed. This video will give you the story of the eruption.

 

2. Eyjafjallajökull (2010)

Who doesn´t remember the Eyjafjallajökull eruption? The eruption that everyone was talking about in 2010. Despite of being a relatively small eruption it caused enormous disruption to air travel across northern and western Europe. An ash cloud led to the closure of most the the European airspace in April. In October 2010 the eruption was officially over. Here you can see a good BBC clip about the eruption.

 

3. Grímsvötn eruption (2011)

Grímsvötn is a volcano in the south eastern part of Iceland, in the highlands. Grímsvötn is a basaltic volcano and has the highest eruption frequency of all the volcanoes in Iceland. Most of the eruptions have been subglacial. The last time Grímsvötn erupted was in May 2011.

 

4. Hekla

Hekla is a stratovolcano in the south of Iceland. It is a part of a volcanic ridge. It is one of Iceland´s most active volcano and has erupted more than 20 times since 874. The earliest recorded eruption is in 1104. Eruptions in Hekla are extremely varied and difficult to predict but there is a general correlation – the longer Hekla goes dormant, the larger and more powerful its opening eruption will be! Hekla last erupted in 2000. No one knows when the next Hekla eruption will take place.


The Humble History of Iceland

Humble History of Iceland

When Iceland is mentioned, the first thing that crops up in people’s mind is that it must be covered in ice, as suggested by the name. But, in fact, it is not so. Iceland has beautiful lush green meadows, nice people and a rich history. The country has many volcanoes, out of which very few are active. Iceland is also the home of the famous songwriter-singer, Bjork. Even though it is a small speck of land in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is quite exciting and amazing than people think it to be.

So, how did Iceland come into existence and change into a well-known tourist destination that it is today? Well, let’s have a look at its history.

The Beginning

Iceland is situated at the intersection of two tectonic plates – the American tectonic plate and the Eurasian tectonic plate. Around for 16-18 million years ago, these two tectonic plates started to drift apart, causing a critical volcanic eruption and thus, as a result, Iceland came into existence. In the present age too, Iceland sits on the ‘Iceland Plume’, a volcanic hotspot that causes a mass of earthquakes every year and volcanic eruptions also occurs every other year or so.

The Settlement of the Colonies and Government

During 871 AD, a Norwegian man name Ingólfur Arnarsson committed the act of murder and was thus banished from his homeland. He came to Iceland with two ships and engaged the Nordic people for grabbing this land and won. This resulted in a Norse-Celtic mix of genes in Iceland and most of the present Icelander can trace back their lineage to this time.

Due to the fact, that in the past, Iceland was a country of rebel and escapees, it required a system of government. This won’t lead to the creation of the Althingi, which is the long-standing democratic parliament that, to this day, exists. The region was divided into small areas that had a chieftain, a religious leader and a politician. During the summer, the chieftains of every village would meet and discuss the laws and settle disputes, if any. Every year, the politician would recite one-third of the laws from memory and later, these laws were written down in a book called the Grágás. This book still exists today and contains all the practical laws of Iceland. The parliament is also uninterruptedly functioning to this day, except during the years from 1800 to 1845, when it did not function.

Rise of Christianity in the Country

Up to the 10th century, Iceland’s religion was Ásatrú and worshipped Norse gods like Óðinn, þór and others. When Christianity came into existence and the Christian preachers started teaching their faith, it leads to a confrontation between the two religions. To bring matters to a peace, Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði Þorkelsson was asked to contemplate. For one whole day and one whole night, he lay under a bear skin and when he came out, he ordered the conclusion that Iceland should be a country of Christian religion. It was following the religion of Roman Catholicism until the year 1540, when the region was converted to Lutheran Protestantism. This was met with huge violence and was only settled with the beheading of the Catholic bishop, Jón Arason, in the year 1550.

Submission to Norway: the Rise and Fall of Monopoly and Independence

Up to the year 1262, the chieftains of the Icelandic regions where growing powerful constantly and the whole country was covered in civil wars between the 7 powerful clans. To end the war, the chieftains submitted to the king of Norway, Haakon IV. During the 14th century, Iceland was again split up when the Kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark became one kingdom and it fell under the Danish rule.

During the 1500s, German and English fisherman and traders set up trading posts in Iceland and begin trading with Icelanders. Suddenly, a cross with the prosperity his countrymen was enjoying, Christian IV, the King of Denmark, granted exclusive rights of trading to certain merchants. This was a harmful decision as Danish people could pay as little as they want for Icelandic goods and charge exorbitant prices for their goods. It swallowed Iceland in total poverty by this system of monopoly was done away with in the year 1786.

The rise of Iceland from the dark ages was made possible due to Sheriff Skúli Magnússon. He picked Reykjavik to be the center of Icelandic civilization and modernization. He built several wool workshop buildings around the region and thus, Iceland began to rise out of the dark ages that it was experiencing.

The rise of nationalism, the independence and the enlightenment of Iceland can be attributed to Jón Sigurðsson. The independence movement, led by him, resulted in the Icelandic parliament being an advisory body to the king in 1845. Then, the movement came home to Iceland in the year 1905. In 1918, Iceland gained its sovereignty and gradually, on June 17th, 1944, Iceland gained its independence as Denmark was being invaded by Germany. Incidentally, June 17th is also the date of birth of Jón Sigurðsson.

Role during the World Wars and Entry into the 20th Century

In spite of the progress made in the field of industrialization and urbanization, Iceland was still a bit far behind. Innovations such as electricity, the first trawler and the first car was introduced to Iceland in years from 1900-1910. During the world wars, as Iceland was doing the job of selling products to the allies and returning the American Occupying forces, Iceland was granted an economic boon and the various cultural influences like the television and jazz came to the country. This helped Iceland to come to terms with the 20th century and still, to this day, the people of Iceland are still fascinated by new and foreign technology, culture and materials.

The Crash of the Icelandic Economy in 2008 and Recovery Since Then

The economy of Iceland was always suffering a high inflation from the 1950s. Then, during the 1990s, the commercial banking system of the country was privatized and various laws were passed which eased the opportunity of trading between several countries and Iceland. This led to an incredible growth in the financial aspect of the country, but it was halted in October, 2008. The Icelandic currency, Króna, depreciated by 50% of its value, overnight. This led to people losing their livelihood, their job and their homes.

So, this is the history of Iceland, from its very beginning to the present times. The quickness of the economic recovery of the country has garnered the attention of the international community. The industries of the country are still operational and the level of unemployment in the country is in control. However, the wages and salaries of the countrymen are still quite low and thus, it is a good time for foreigners to visit the country.


Icelandic swimming pools

Icelandic Geothermal Swimming Pools

There is an ancient Icelandic tradition that dates back to the times of the Vikings – bathing outdoors in pools that are heated from the heat coming from the volcanoes in the area. When you visit Iceland it should definitely be on your to-do list to soak and relax in swimming pools and hot water tubs.

Origins of Hot Tubs in Iceland

Every country around the world has their own unique way of relaxing. In the colder regions of the world, the unique way to relax is to keep warm. In Finland, there are the saunas, in Russia it is vodka and in Iceland it is the naturally heated swimming pools.
The beginning of the tradition to keep oneself warm and relaxed in Iceland begins with the hot tubs. Hot tubs have been a part of the Icelandic culture since the Vikings came and settled here. The most famous hot tub of Iceland is the Snorri Sturluson’s pool – the Snorralaug – which located in Reykholt. Even though Snorri was thought to have lived in Iceland from 1178 to 1241, his pool is one of four oldest pools in Iceland that is still in use.
Did you know: Out of the 12,000 summer houses that are located in Iceland, nearly 11,000 of them are fitted with a geothermal heated hot tub. In some parts, nearly half of the houses in the neighborhood have hot tubs outside their homes. And to top this off, every neighborhood has it’s own pool with at least one hot tub.

The Secret Lagoon

The Secret Lagoon in Fluðir is one of Iceland’s oldest swimming pools and is equipped with it’s own geothermal area and a bubbling geysir, giving this pool it’s heat. Enjoy a nice soak while sipping beverages from the cafe in this rocky floored lagoon.

Tours that include the Secret Lagoon:

Reykjadalur

Reykjadalur, a hot spring river, is located close to Reykjavik. You can self-drive there (about 45 minutes) or take a tour. Be ready for a short hike in to the mountains to reach this “steam valley”

Tours that include Reykjadalur:

Seljavallalaug

This natural pool is located on the side of a mountain in South Iceland. Built in 1923, this pool is a delight for the adventurous. After a 10-15 minute hike through the mountains and over a river, you come to a 25 meter long pool with a pipeline of warm water streaming from the mountain above. This water is only maintained once a year, so don’t be too turned off by it’s natural color. There is also a small changing area, but it is without electricity.

Landmannalaugar

This hot spring is located within a popular hiking area, which is both beautiful and multi-colored. Get here by 4X4 jeep in the summer and enjoy a wonderful hike in the area then relax and soak in the naturally warm waters. You can drive here yourself, but it may be easier to take a tour here.

Tours that include Landmannalaugar:

The Blue Lagoon

Tours that include the Blue Lagoon:

Honerable Mention

  • Laugafellslaug, located on private land and can only be accessed with 4X4 super jeep
  • Myvatn Nature Bath, located in the north
  • Grjotagja, located near a camp ground, but only accessible by foot
  • Laugarvatn Fontana, which is only 50 minutes outside of Reykjavik and contains steam rooms, hot springs, a beach and lake
  • Grettislaug, located in the north in Skagarfjordur
  • Laugafellslaug, located in the north
  • Kvika footbath, located near Grotta lighthouse in Seltjarnes

Don’t Forget: Pool Etiquette

  • If the pool/lagoon is located on private property, please do not wander around without asking permission
  • If there is a fee, pay it
  • If there are showers and a locker room you must bath naked before and after the pool


What is the midnight sun of Iceland?

Midnight Sun in Iceland

midnight-sun

What is the Midnight Sun?

A natural phenomenon that occurs during the months of summer in some places in the north of the Arctic Circle or to the south of the Antarctic Circle in which the sun is visible at the local midnight time of a region is known as Midnight Sun. During the period of the summer solstice that approximately on June 21st in the north region and December 22nd in the southern regions, the sun is visible for a period of 24 hours, if the weather is fair. The potential of midnight sun occurring for a number of days increase as the poles are moving further from the Sun. Even though the midnight sun is defined by the polar circles, in reality, the midnight sun can be seen as much as a distance of 90KM outside the polar circle. The exact latitudes that the midnight sun reaches depends on the topography of the region and every year, it varies.

Who Sees the Midnight Sun?

Since there is no permanent area of residence in the southern parts of the Antarctic Circle, there are only a limited number of regions that experience the midnight sun – Yukon, Nunavut and Northwest Territories of Canada, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Finland, Russia and Alaska in the United States. In the northern part of some of the countries mentioned, the sun does not set for a period of 60 days during the summer. In the Svalbard region of Norway, the sun does not set at all from 19th April to 23rd August.

Some regions below the polar circle may experience midnight sun due to refraction of the atmosphere and the sun is a disk and not a point. But, places which exceed one degree below the polar circle does not experience the midnight sun. Iceland is known to experience midnight sun even though most of the region of the located slightly to the south of the Arctic Circle. At the poles, the period of sunlight is a little bit more than six months.

Common Questions

Now, when a person is visiting Iceland during the period of the Midnight Sun, a lot of questions crop up in his or her mind. When does the midnight sun in Iceland happen? For how long does the sunrise or sunset last? In Iceland, what is the time frame during which the midnight sun can be experienced? Is it possible to sleep during the midnight sun?

Summer and Winter in Iceland

During the summertime, in Iceland, the days are quite long. Iceland’s nights are bright from the period of late May to early August. This is quite unfathomable to some people and they have various questions about it. One of the most common questions about Iceland’s midnight sun is that if is it possible to sleep during the period of the midnight sun. The answer to this question is that it is quite possible. Just like a person can sleep with the lights on or in the middle of the day, a person can sleep during the period of the midnight sun. If a person requires complete darkness to sleep, he or she can use curtains to block out the midnight sun. After a period of dark winters, it can be a bit weird to have endless days. But as time goes by, the period of longs days becomes adjusted to the lifestyle of a person and if you want to do some sightseeing then you can do it all night and day long.

On the planet, the further you go north or south, the more the effect of summer and winter solstices that you can feel. The summer solstice in Iceland is the longest day of Iceland’s year and it happens during the 21st of June. In Reykjavik, the suns set after midnight and again rises before 3AM. The days are even longer in Akureyri or Ísafjörður due to fact that it was further north in the country. The winter solstice in Iceland is the shortest day there and it occurs on the 21st of December. This means that in Reykjavik, the sun rises around 11:30AM in the morning and sunset occurs at 3:30PM during the afternoon. The day is even shorter as you go further north in the country. In between this period of time, that the period between the longest and shortest days of the year, the days are either getting shorter or longer. This shortening and longevity can vary between a few seconds to a period of several minutes per day. Twice a year, equinoxes occur on the 21st of March and the 21st of September. During these days, the amount of daylight and darkness are equal in length.

When?

Generally speaking, in Reykjavik, the midnight sun occurs during the period from 16th to 29th June. These are the only days during which the sun sets after midnight in the region. If the consideration is taken into account that the sun will rise a few hours later, at approximately 3:30AM in the morning, it is still quite bright even though the sun wasn’t in the sky yet. These beautiful bright nights occur for up to a period of 3 months. The time frame is one and a half months before the 21st of June and one and a half months after the 21st of June.

An incredible and beautiful picturesque display of the colorful and bright night sky is done due to the slow sunsets and sunrises. These bright skies tend to last for quite a long time and for several hours. When August begins, a few hours of the night can be quite dark, but it is not darker than dusk though. When August is ending and September is beginning, a couple of hours in the night will be quite dark that is pitch black dark. Iceland is truly a place of mystery and beauty and you can enjoy summertime and daytime activities for quite a long time due to the midnight sun. So, if you are interested in going to a place where you can enjoy more hours of the day without it affecting your crazy nightlife, then Iceland is definitely the place to visit. Things that you can do in Iceland even though it is night is that you can play golf or go on a tour of the Golden Circle in Iceland or enjoy the attractions that are there on Route 1 of Iceland.


10 Sights to Visit in Reykjavik

Even though Reykjavik isn’t a very big city, it has a lot to offer and there are many lovely sites to visit. We’ve put together a list of our top ten sites to visit in Reykjavik – but of course there’s much more to see and do in Icelands capital.

1. Hallgrimskirkja Church

One of the most iconic buildings in Reykjavik is Hallgrimskirkja church. You can see it almost wherever you are and it is amongst the highest buildings in Iceland. You can go up the steeple and enjoy the magnificent view over the city and surrounding coastline. The church itself is beautiful and the organ is a work of art.

2. Perlan (The Pearl)

Perlan (The Pearl) stands out for its unique and modern architecture. Up on the fourth level there is a 360 degree viewing platform where you can get the best panoramic views of Reykjavík. When the sun sets, it’s a spectacular spot for the Northern Lights in winter if the forecast is looking good. You can also dine at the Perlan Restaurant and enjoy a view across the whole city. Visit the newly opened Glacier and Ice Cave Exhibition to learn about the Wonders of Iceland.

3. Tjörnin (The Pond)

Tjörnin or The Pond, is located in the city centre of Reykjavik. The birds on the Pond give the city a lively charm. You can take a walk around the Pond to see the sculptures set amongst the park grounds and enjoy the sunset. In winter the pond freezes over and people go ice skating on it. Hot geothermal waters are pumped into a small section of the pond where ducks and swans gathers. It’s ok to feed the duck in winter but please refrain from doing this in the summer time.

4. The Parliament

The Parliament, Althingi was founded at Thingvellir back in 930 up until 1799 when it was discontinued for some decades. Althingi is one of the oldest extant parliamentary institutions in the world. These days

In 1844 Althingi was relocated to the capital city and has be held here in Reykjavik ever since. The role of the Parliament has changed over the years but its main function today is to discuss and pass legislation. With 63 members voted by the public, they are refered to as ‘thingmenn’ which means People of the Althingi or Parliament.

The parliament is located in the heart of Reykjavik, in Austurvollur square. This square is the place to be in the summer time as the sun in shining and people gather on the grass. There are many nice restaurants to dine outside and enjoy the sun. At the centre of the square stands a statue of Jón Sigurðsson, the renowned figure who led Iceland to independence.

5. Harpa Concert Hall

Harpa Concert Hall is one of Reykjavik’s most unique buildings. It was designed by a Danish firm in co-operation with the Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson. Harpa stand at the edge of Reykjaviks Harbour and is Icelands biggest concert hall suitable for a broad range of concerts and cultural events.

The interior and exterior are both stunning but the interior is worth a visit and walk around. There’s a nice café on the ground floor and a restaurant on the top floor. There are guided tours on offer and some great short cinematography shows worth looking into.

In winter the glazed facade is eliminated with a magical light show representing the Northern Lights.

6. The Old Harbour

The old harbour is the first lasting harbour of Reykjavik and an area of great history. On the eastern pier you will find galleries, excellent restaurants, cafés and more. You will also find numerous whale watching companies willing to take you out to sea on unforgettable excursions. The atmosphere at the old harbour is friendly, the sea air is fresh, and there’s plenty of interesting activities to check out such as the Maritime Museum.

7. The Sun Voyager

The Sun Voyager is a beautiful sculpture on the coastline, a short walk from Harpa Concert Hall. The sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason, serves as a reminder of the Icelanders history and heritage when the first Viking settlers sailed to Iceland. Designed as an ode to the sun symbolising freedom, progress, the promise of undiscovered territory and a dream of hope. The Sun Voyager is a lovely sculpture that has become one of Reykjaviks symbols.

8. City Hall

With an impressive modern design, the building sits right on the northern shore of Lake Tjörnin, The Pond. The building is also open to visitors, providing internet access and an information desk, exhibition halls and a cafe. Sit in the café and enjoy the magnificent view over the Pond, admire the birdlife through the huge class windows. Visit the galleries to admire one of the steady streams of new and exciting exhibitions. Make sure to have a look at the 3D map of Iceland in the entrance.

9. The Seaside

Wherever you are in Reykjavik you are never far from the sea and it’s refreshing to take a walk along the coastline. Ægissíða is a great place to walk. you might even see a seal swimming in the ocean. Grótta is another great place for a walk along the rocky coastline or black sand beach. The lighthouse is fun to walk out to but beware and check for high tide so you don’t get stuck. There is also a very small but cute geothermal pool where locals sit in and watch the sunset. Grotta is also a good place to check for Northern Lights at night.

10. Kolaportið Flea Market

At Kolaportið Flea Market you can find almost anything. An indoor flea market so no need to think about the weather. It’s open during weekends from 11:00 – 17:00 and is fun to visit. The atmosphere is unique and the old industrial building is usually filled with people hunting for books or antiques, grocery shopping, selling old garments, buying music and DVD’s, or digging through piles of stuff in search of hidden treasures. We recommend bringing cash as the majority of stalls are unable to accept card. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon in Reykjavik.


What I wish I had known

What I Wish I Had Known About Iceland

In recent years, the number of travellers visiting Iceland has increased enormously. Summer isn´t anymore the most popular time to visit Iceland, all other months of the year have also gained popularity. Even though many travellers arrive well prepared and have read a lot about the country, there are some things you just can´t find online and tourists wish they had known before arrival. We asked tourists what they would have like to know before they arrived. We have summed up a few of the answers for you so you will have a little extra knowledge when you arrive!

“I didn´t know how accessible Iceland is”

To many it is a surprise how easy it is to drive the ring road. You can make stops at so many lovely places, spend the night at various guesthouses and hotels around the country, and you can enjoy the country to the fullest in your own time. In winter the ring road is usually open. However, if you aren´t used to driving in snow and on slippery roads, then tours might be a better choice for you.

“I wish I had realized to bring normal clothing to wear in the city”

Icelanders dress very normally and it is like they almost ignore the cold. It is truly not necessary to wear hiking gear in Reykjavik and I wish I had known that before I arrived. It is not as cold as it can get in winter in central Europe as the air is dry, not humid. So, next time around I will pack some normal winter clothing to blend in with the locals and leave the hiking gear for the tours out in the country!

“I wish I had known that alcohol can´t be bought in supermarkets”

In Iceland there are special government run stores (called Vínbúðin) and that is the only place where you can buy alcohol apart from bars and restaurants of course. I wish I had known that it is closed on Sundays and on public holidays. So, if you want to buy anything – beer, red wine or something stronger – make sure you go to the Vínbúð during opening hours. If you forget, then your only option is your local bar or restaurant if you want a glass of wine.

“I didn’t know that bottled water in Iceland is the exact same thing as tap water”

I´m used to travelling and everywhere I go I buy bottled water. When the locals in Iceland told me I was buying the exact same thing as I would get from the tap, I was very surprised. I decided to try the tap water and to make a long story short, the locals were right. Definitely the best tap water I´ve tasted!

“I wish I had known how unspoiled the nature really is”

If someone had told me how the nature in Iceland is truly unspoiled, I would have definitey stayed longer and enjoyed some extra days out in the country. It is amazing how you can feel the nature all around you. It is unique!

“I didn’t realize how quickly the weather changes in Iceland”

It was a surprise how the weather chances quickly. You can get up in the morning and the ground is covered with snow. A few hours later the snow is gone and the sun is shining. You can even experience all in one day – snow, rain, sunshine, wind, no wind and hail! You truly need to be prepared for all sorts of weather, both in winter and in summer!

“All the beautiful photos online are real! The landscape and scenery is in reality truly breathtaking. However I never imagined how fresh the air would be!”

Before I finally decided to visit Iceland, I had browsed the internet and read book. All the beautiful picture you see are real. The scenery is breathtaking and the pure nature really blows you away. What I had never thought about was how truly pure everything is! The air in particular – not a hint of pollution, especially when you leave the capital. The air in Iceland is as pure as it gets I would say!

“I didn’t know how friendly Icelanders are”

I’ve often read that Icelanders tend to be cold and distant. After my trip to Iceland I truly can´t agree with that! They are very helpful, friendly and have a big heart. I wish I had known that so I would have used my time to get to know as many Icelanders as possible!

“I wish I had known that the main street in downtown Reykjavik is heated”

By the main street in Reykjavik, Laugavegur, you will find many stores and boutiques. What tourists don´t know is that in winter you can walk up and down the street without worrying too much about the snow and ice as the main street and the sidewalks are heated. I wish I had known that so I wouldn’t have gone shopping in my hiking boots!

“It would have been helpful to know how strong the sun is in winter”

Even though the hours of daylight in winter aren’t that many , the winter sun can be very strong so don´t under estimate it. If I had known that I would have brought some sunblock for my snowmobiling tour and sunglasses! I was though surprised how easy it was to find sunglasses and sunblock in Reykjavik in the middle of winter. I just went to the next pharmacy I found and got both.


Adventures on the sea

Adventures on the sea

When you visit Iceland the selection of tours is massive, both on land and sea. Here we are going to introduce you the magic the ocean has to offer and give you an idea for tours available.

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Whale watching

The whale watching tours are always popular and it is truly magnificent to see the whales in their natural environment. Usually you can see them quite up close, either the boat approaches them slowly or the whales themselves get close to the boat. The viewing success rater is 90% and dolphins often show up as well.
You can go whale watching on the northern coast during summer but the tours run all year from the Old harbor in Reykjavík. There you can choose between the largest whale watching boat in Iceland, Andrea, or a fast luxurious boat (so-called whale watching express). The types of whales you can expect to see include Mink whale, Gun whale and Humpback whale. Whale watching is an adventure for everyone and in summer you might see puffins as well!

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Sea Angling

Sea angling adventures are offered from the beginning of May until the end of August. Each tour is 2.5- 3 hours long and departure is from the Old harbor in Reykjavík in the afternoon. All necessary equipment is on board. After having enjoyed the view of Reykjavik and Mt. Esja and caught fish, and sometimes we spot whales as well on the tour, the tour guides will BBQ the fish you caught. The most common fish caught is cod and halibut. So, on your way back to the harbor you enjoy a lovely meal and view. This is a tour all age groups enjoy and we can easily recommend.

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Northern lights by boat

There are several tours offered for northern lights hunting. One option, not too many know about and is a hidden gem, is northern lights hunt by boat. The boat departs from the Old Harbor in Reykjavík and you sail out to Faxaflói bay. There you have a lovely panoramic view of the capital, Reykjavik, but you are also far away from the city lights. That means that you can enjoy the northern lights out in the sea where it is pitch dark but with the city lights as a background. Now, how amazing is that!
Puffins

Puffins

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The puffin is truly a unique bird that is fun to watch and explore. On many of the boat tours during summer you also see puffins. You can read more about puffins here. All ages love and enjoy to see this little but lovely and beautiful bird flying around and nesting.


Driving in Iceland

Driving in Iceland

When visiting Iceland and planning to self-drive to all the wonderful places or to chase the Northern lights, there are several things you need to know before you get behind the wheel. Please take note of the following safety precautions before you start driving in Iceland.

Although Icelanders are known to be hospitable, the Icelandic climate and nature may not be, especially if you tend to visit Iceland during winter. In order for you to get along with Icelandic weather and the nature, you have to stick to some strict guidelines and policies to ensure the safety of everybody. Icelanders follow them too, so as a tourist you should respect the rules to fully enjoy your visit without having any accidents.

Never Ignore Rules and Restrictions

Driving restrictions are implied in Iceland for everyones safety. Never ignore these restrictions. Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Driving off-roads, and driving on marked tracks, is strictly forbidden.
  • Stay in your lane.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Driving while drunk or under the influenced of drugs will instantly put you behind bars.
  • Talking on your mobile while driving is prohibited unless you have a headset.
  • Drive slowly on mountain roads, roads with loose gravel and on national highways with a long stretch of asphalt to prevent tire slip. When the road changes from paved to gravel, you should also decrease your speed.
  • Mountain roads are usually very narrow and winding so keep your speed down to avoid falling off the cliff.
  • Never speed, even if there are no police around.
  • Sometimes you will come across old and narrow bridges that only one car can cross at the time. When a car is coming from the other direction, stop your car and let the other car cross the bridge before you.
  • There are lots of blind summits in Iceland so keep driving in your lane, on the right-hand side of the road, and be aware of other cars.
  • Never drive too long during summer where the sun shines for 24 hours. Some tourists forget about this because they are used to using daylight and darkness as symbol of day and night. This is one reason why accidents in Iceland occur, tourists can drive for too long and accidentally doze off while driving.
  • Icelanders care for their animals safety so keep in mind that if you see sheep or horses crossing the road, always let them cross first. If you hit them, you have to pay a fine or you could end up in jail. Better safe than sorry.

2WD vehicles are not allowed on road number 35 in KJÖLUR, road number 550 in KALDIDALUR and other roads that are marked F on Icelands official maps. You can get maps at gas stations, local tourist offices and in bookstores in Iceland. Please respect these rules and guidelines as they are to avoid any accidents. Drivers that do not comply with these rules, will have their insurance revoked and in many cases of accidents, whether it’s the driver driving 2WD fault or not, it will still be the one to be held reliable.

Other Useful Information

General Speed Limits

Here are the general speed limits in Iceland although there can always speed signs on the sides of the road too. It’s useful to memorise these:

Urban areas – 50 km/h
Rural areas (gravel roads) – 80 km/h
Rural areas (asphalt roads) – 90 km/h

Headlights

Motorists need to turn on their headlights all the time. Remember, there will be times that the sun does not shine in Iceland, even during daytime, so keep them turned on at all times.

Gasoline / Petrol

Petrol stations are open until 11:00 pm / 11:30 pm in most areas of Iceland. In Reykjavik, gas stations are open from 7:30am to 8:00pm during weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays they are open from 9:00am to 8:00pm. You can also find self-operated pumps at gas stations in Reykjavik that you ca use after closing time. They accept all major credit cards.

Insurance and Valid Driver’s License

If you are driving your own car then you must bring with you your “Green Card” or any third-party insurance proof. There can be exceptions on countries in Europe.

Always bring a valid drivers licence.

Mountain Roads

You can only drive on mountain tracks when you are driving a 4WD vehicle. It’s advisable, sometimes required, that two or more vehicles need to travel together. Please be aware that mountain tracks are slippery during winter period. Always ask the local tourist information offices about road conditions and check the weather forecast before you start your journey.

You will find many car rentals in Iceland where you can find a car that suits your needs, offering different car types for different budgets.


4 day self drive in West Iceland

4 Day Self-Drive in West Iceland

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In the western part of Iceland you will find many wonderful and adventurous places. Here is an ideal four day self-drive route. Please note that it is important, especially in winter, to check the forecast and road conditions before you head off!

The 4 Day Itinerary

Day 1 – Deildartunguhver, Reykholt, Hraunfossar

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You start the day by picking up your rental car, if you haven´t already. When everything is set, drive out of Reykjavík and head towards the Hvalfjarðargöng tunnel. When you have driven under the deepest fjord in Europe, head towards Borgarnes where you can make a short stop, grab lunch and get some fresh air. Your next stop is Deildartunguhver in Reykholtsdalur, which is the highest-flow hot spring in Europe. In the area you will find many interesting places, such as Reykholt and Hraunfossar waterfalls. From there, drive back to Borgarnes where you will spend the night. We recommend you book accommodation in advance. Borgarnes is a nice town where you will find museums, gardens, restaurants and much more.

Day 2 – Snælfellsnes

After enjoying breakfast, you drive out of Borgarnes and at the roundabouts you choose to road towards Snæfellsnes. The drive is a few hours but the scenery is breathtaking. Your first stop is Arnarstapi, a beautiful natural treasure. Within a walking distance, you will find Hellnar. Take your time to enjoy the scenery and the breathtaking nature. The Snæfellsnesjökull glacier is almost next door to Arnarstapi. The local agencies can inform you about tours, such as snowmobiling, if you are interested. There are several hotels in the area, which might be ideal for a Northern lights hunt in winter, but please ask in advance whether they are open all year round.

Day 3 – Stykkishólmur

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After a good night sleep, you now start making your way to the other side of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Your first stop is Ólafvík where you can enjoy lunch and take a stroll around the village. Your next stop is Stykkishólmur where you will check in at your hotel (please pre-book) and enjoy the rest of the day in this lovely town. You can go sailing, visit museum, visit Flatey island, go swimming or just relax.

Day 4 – Back to Reykjavik

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This is the last day of the 4 day self-drive tour. We suggest you start heading back no later than noon so you can make stops on the way back to Reykjavík and enjoy the scenery and the beautiful nature. We want emphasize that it is very important, when travelling in winter, that you check the weather forecast and the conditions of the roads, as you never know what to expect weather-wise in Iceland, especially in winter!


What To Wear In Winter

What to Wear in Iceland in Winter

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As you already might know, the weather in Iceland is unpredictable. Therefore it is often difficult to decide what to pack for a trip to Iceland. Here are few guidelines on what you will need during your stay:

Dress warm and layer up!!

Warm Coats

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Warm coats/parkas are a must in winter. If you don’t have one then we strongly recommend you get one before you arrive or you can buy one when you arrive. A waterproof outer layer is vital. Downtown you will find the shopping streets of Bankastraeti and Laugavegur in the city centre and there are two shopping malls on the outskirts; Kringlan and Smáralind. You will find Icelandic stores with outdoor clothing for the whole family. We recommend 66North, Cintamani, IceWear and ZO-ON.

Accessories

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A warm coat isn’t enough, you’ll also need to bring or buy gloves/mittens, a scarf, hat and warm socks. Wool socks are ideal as they will keep your toes warm no matter how cold it gets. If you are planning on going out whale watching or snowmobiling, etc then keep in mind that it will be much colder than in the city.

Shoes

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Icelandic weather is a little unpredictable and changes often. When the sidewalks are clear, trainers or even winter boots with heals can be ok. However, when it becomes slippery or the sidewalks and roads are covered with snow, you will want shoes with a good grip. If you can get the cover-the-shoe ice grips then bring some but you can buy them here too. When going on tours outside of Reykjavik city, make sure yo wear good walking shoes or hiking boots.

Sunglasses and Sunscreen

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Sunglasses and sunscreen are probably the last things on your list for a vacation in Iceland but nevertheless it’s a must. The sun doesn’t go very high in winter and it is very strong, not to mention when the ground is white with snow (reflection). Protect your eyes with sunglasses whether you are in the city or out in the country.

Protect your skin with sunscreen when you go skiing or on a snowmobile on a sunny day, even though the temperature is well below zero. Last but not least, when the sun is coming up or going down in winter, it is very strong and can make it hard to see where you are driving so you will be glad of the sunglasses. These don’t need to be anything special but will help with the glare.

Sweaters and Pants

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Warm sweaters and trousers with leggings or a thermal underneath is a good idea if you are going up to the mountains or will be spending time outdoors. Reykjavik has some quirky stores and boutiques with Icelandic designs for both men and women. Lopapeysa, the traditional Icelandic woolen sweater, is a classic and makes for a great souvenir – it will also keep you very warm too. If you are planning on just walking around in the city then jeans with a few layers on top are perfectly okay. If you are going on a tour then the key is to layer up.

TIP: avoid jeans or cotton close to your body, use a thermal base layer. If your jeans get wet they will stay wet and make you very cold. Also, if you sweat in a cotton layer then the damn sweat will quickly give you a chill.

Swimwear

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We always recommend visitors to visit one of the many great swimming pools across Iceland. There are many to choose from, from local pools to hidden pools and the more iconic ones such as the Blue Lagoon. These geothermal pools are amazing and well worth the experience so don’t forget your swimsuit and towel.

The Countryside

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Many visiters to Iceland want to explore the countryside and the famous sites such as the Golden Circle, the South Coast and Snaefellsnes. Make sure you are prepared for different weather conditions as the weather can be unpredictable.

If heading out on a Northern Lights and Stargazing tour then wrap up warm, while the bus is nice and cosy, you will be standing out watching the Aurora in some very cold conditions.

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As you have probably figured out, it is important to dress warm when you visit Iceland. The weather in Iceland is unpredictable, especially during winter. You might be lucky and get a lovely sunny day (6’c) but you still need a coat and hat, scarf, gloves. A cold day with strong winds (-10’c) requires warm clothing so layer up and make sure you consider your footwear. Every day is unique, enjoy it and enjoy wonderful Iceland


Here’s a video from a local vlogger talking through a packing list for winter in Iceland.

Sonia Nicolson-Guðrúnarson

www.layoutlines.com