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!


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


Hotel Highland

Hotel Highland

Hotel Highland is a three star hotel in the highlands of Iceland. It is close to many of the most popular tourist attractions in south Iceland and perfectly located to explore for instance the highlands, volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs and the Northern lights in winter. Hotel Highland is unique because of its location – the vastness and lack of human impact on the surroundings, the pureness and peacefulness, gives you freedom and a chance to enjoy the natural beauty and power of nature. Therefore, Hotel Highland is a great destination to hunt for the Northern lights.

General Information

Hotel Highland is a friendly hotel, the only hotel of real standard operating in the highlands, where you can relax and explore many of the magical places Iceland has to offer. It offers standard rooms, luxury suits and two spacious family suits. The restaurant is praised for its food and the purest and finest local ingredients available are used. The hotel also ideal for meeting & conferences.

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The Surroundings

You an find endless activities and natural gems in south Iceland and the highlands are magical. Black sand beaches, hot springs, waterfalls, glaciers, historic places and much more. Everyone can find something to their liking!

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Some well-known attractions nearby Hotel Highland includes: Landmannalaugar, volcanoes Hekla and Ejyafjallajokul, and the town of Vik, which is home to Reynisfjara black sand beach and Dyrholaey.

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The list for activities and adventures is endless – dog sledding, caving, hiking, glacier tours and helicopter sightseeing tours are just to name a few. Last but not least, Hotel Highland is one of the best places for a Northern lights hunt.


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.


7 summer days in Iceland - editor's choice

Summer Days in Iceland

People visiting Iceland for the first time often wonder whether they should visit during summer or winter. To be honest, Iceland is like two different countries in summer and winter so we fully recommend both seasons. For those who opt for summer, here is what we would do if we had 7 days in Iceland.

Day One

The Golden Circle is the classical route that everyone takes on their first visit to Iceland. Just in one day you cover a lot – the national park, Thingvellir, the lovely Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal area where you see the hot spring Strokkur erupting. You can also add the crater lake, Kerið, to your route and we can fully recommend that as it is a great place to visit and take pictures. In summer you most definitely can take advantage of the 24 hour daylight. There is no need to be in a hurry driving the route and rushing back to town before it gets dark, as it doesn´t get dark in summer! The Golden Circle you can either do by a self drive or bus/super jeep tour.

Iceland 2010 – Moments at the Golden Circle from Marco Asbach on Vimeo.

Day Two

Enjoy what Reykjavík has to offer. Endless museums, beautiful churches and outdoor sculptures. The Harpa concert hall is unique and if you enjoy flea markets, the Kolaportið is the place to visit. Go whale watching, sea angling or just stroll along the harbor and enjoy the views. It is truly unique to sit outside close to midnight, enjoying a glass of wine, and still bright outside.

Day Three

Adventure day – go inside a volcano! This day tour will be one of the highlights. Lobster feast, go inside of a volcano and end the day with floating in the Secret lagoon in the midnight sun. Something you only find in Iceland!

Day Four and Five

For day four and five we recommend a long route: The south coast and all the way to the Glacial lagoon (Jökulsárlón). The south coast has a lot to offer (black sand beaches, amazing waterfalls, stunning scenery) and it is adventurous to sail on the lagoon between the icebergs. In summer you can enjoy each and every bit this part of the country has to offer whenever you want because of the 24 hour daylight. In the video below you can get an idea how magical the midnight sun is.

Midnight Sun | Iceland – 4K from SCIENTIFANTASTIC on Vimeo.

Day Six

Horse back riding in summer is almost a tradition when you visit Iceland. There are various options when it comes to horse back riding tours – from a few hours to a full day combo tours with other activities like lava caving. The Icelandic horse is unique and unlike all other horses.

Day Seven

The Reykjanes peninsula is a hidden gem that not too many people know about. There you will find gems like Kleifarvatn lake and a massive geothermal area. It is fun to cross the bridge between two continents and the landscape in unreal! End the day route around Reykjanes by soaking and relaxing in the Blue lagoon.


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.


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


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.


Where to Get Those Unique Icelandic Souvenirs

iceland-horse-souvenir

Iceland is very focused with tourism so it very easy to spot souvenir shops around the country who sells those fancy Key chains, fridge magnets and trinkets, but if you want something rather unique souvenir from Iceland, then you can check out some shops that caters them. Almost every famous tourist destinations around Iceland has a souvenir shop. But we have to admit, we are kind of getting fed up with key chains or fridge magnets or not to mention the button pins. I mean, every traveler who travels around the world might have bought the same thing, just a different logo or flag of the country visited. So let’s get you to some unique souvenir shops who sell some really worth it Icelandic souvenirs.

the-puffin

1. Lundinn – Also known as “The puffin”. If you want to take not only the photos of these colorful beaked feathered friends from Iceland’s highland, then get yourself a really cool stuffed toy. And no they aren’t the taxidermy birds, but the huggable ones with cotton and all.

2. Minja (Skólavörðustígur 12, Reykjavík)– This shop had these excellent looking, but faux puffins. They do look like real stuffed birds, but actually they’re not. Also, they have all you need for your home and body.

3. Hrim (Hof, Strandgata 12, Akureyri)– If you want to buy your significant other some jewelry, then this shop is for you. They a unique Icelandic souvenir. Also have these locally woolen blankets that make your souvenir special because it has a personal touch by the Icelanders.

4. Sirka – Every Icelandic design are featured here. A perfect gift shop for everybody who wants to take home not just souvenirs, but useful stuff as well.

5. Myrin (Skipagata 5, Akureyri)– Accessories, ceramics, books and artworks! Everything is Icelandic designed. Whenever you need something so Icelandic then you do need to head to this shop. It is definitely worth it.

6. Fotografi (Skólavörðustígur 22, Reykjavík)– When you are a sucker of pictures old and new, then this shop is the place to be. Prints by Icelandic photographers, postcards that are old and charming, even an old camera, they are all available here. The photography books that they sell have photos of all the wonderful places in Iceland and are quite detailed and angled at their best.

7. Kirssuberjated (Vesturgata 4, Reykjavík)– Another shop that sells useful things for your home. They are all handmade so whenever you buy ceramics or glasses for your home, you will remember the Icelanders who laid their hands down for it to be created carefully and beautifully.

8. Alafoss (Alafossvegur 23, Mosfellsbaer)– This shop is popular because of the handicrafts stalls all over the store building. This helps out the local handicraft producers and a great way to grab some really good kind of lopapeysa, an Icelandic wool sweater, articulately made and sure that will represent Iceland. They also sell some cute figurines of elves and miniature Icelanders.

9. The Viking (Hafnarstræti 3 and Laugavegur 1, Reykjavik) – All of those specialties above, The Viking covers them all. This shop offers common souvenirs to unique Icelandic souvenirs. And they have warm good quality wool sweaters that will be useful for your sightseeing around Iceland.

10. Kolaportid market (19, 101 Reykjavik)– Want to get all those stuff but you are in a great budget? Fear not for your pocket as in this market, you can find great deals and great prices. They aren’t cheap because when you say cheap it is kind of off for most like the quality or something, the products here are mostly locally produced but with high quality. Go to a thrift shop in Kolaportid market and you’ll definitely find some great finds to take home with.

lopapeysa

Unique Icelandic Souvenirs to Buy

Here is the list for you not to miss some great finds, but you can always find some unique souvenirs of your taste in the shops below. But to give you a heads up what you will exactly find in most of the mentioned shops. If not displayed, feel free to ask the shop owners or managers if they have them, the items might just be lying in their store room, or if they really don’t have one you can ask them where you can find some of this items;

1. Lava Rock Jewelry – rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They are all made with rounded black rock from the volcanic eruption.

2. Icelandic woolen goods – the ones made by the Icelandic housewives are the best kind.

3. Viking Beer glasses – they can be quite heavy so just take a mug or two.

4. Blue Lagoon beauty products – These have silica on them that is a rejuvenating element. If you are on a budget, you can bring a small container with you when you visit Blue Lagoon and just scoop out some silica for you to take back home.

5. Icelandic hot dog mustard – It is the best thing ever made. Enough said.

6. Puffin stuffed toy – If Aussie have those jumping kangaroos and Americans have their eagles then we have these cute little feathered friends. It is one of unique Icelandic Souvenir.


Facts about Iceland

9 Facts about Iceland

Every country and its population has special traditions and culture. It is always nice to know some inside facts about the country you are about to visit so here are a few fun facts about Iceland!

Myvatn_Nature_Bathsnl

1. Population

Did you know that the population of Iceland is less than 400.000 inhabitants? The majority of Icelanders live in cities in the capital region on the south west corner. Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland, located on the northern coast. When you travel out in the country you will see many lovely villages and towns, but no large cities. You will therefore be able to enjoy the nature, pure air and unspoiled areas instead of large cities and pollution.

rrrstor

2. Language

The official language in Iceland is Icelandic (which is basically old Norwegian) but English is widely spoken and understood. It is obligatory for all students in Iceland to learn English and one Nordic language (Danish, Swedish or Norwegian). Also, students must choose either French or German (or both) and then later on you can choose other languages like Spanish, Italian and Chinese. So, it is very rare to meet a local who doesn´t speak at least one foreign language.

videy-stor

3. The National Flag

The national flag is blue with a red cross outlined in white. The colors of he flag are symbolic for the country. Red is for the volcanic fires, white recalls the snow and glaciers, and the blue color is for the mountains in the distance. Icelanders are very proud of their flag and it isn´t that long ago Iceland got its own flag. It was when Iceland became independent in 1944. Icelanders have a special legislation about the flag.

fani-stor

4. A Nordic Country

Iceland is one of the Nordic countries (other being Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway). It is important to note though that Iceland is NOT a part of Scandinavia like so many people seem to think. The capital of Iceland is Reykjavík. Many find it strange to fly over Reykjavik as the houses and roofs have all different kinds of colors. Some say they look like doll houses, in all these colors and different styles. When you fly over Iceland you will also see steam from the geothermal areas, lava and mountains. Some say they fell like they are landing on the moon.

rvik-stor

5. Landscape

In Iceland you find many mountains, glaciers, hot springs, volcanoes and waterfalls. The highest point in Iceland is Hvannadalshnjúkur (2119 m) and Vatnajökull glacier in south east Iceland is Europe´s largest glacier. The most active volcano is Hekla and it is fun note that the name Hekla is also a common female name in Iceland. The Icelandic nature is very unique, unspoiled and pure.

kellufj1

6. Youngest Country in the World

Iceland is the youngest country in the world. Geologically speaking, Iceland is hardly out of kindergarten as it began to rise from the North Atlantic seabed only 25 million years ago! The country is a product of volcanic eruptions and still today volcanoes are erupting on the island. Recent eruptions include for instance the eruption in Eyjafjallajokull glacier. Some parts of Iceland are covered with lava and American astronauts chose to practice their moon landing in Iceland as the landscape is so similar to the moon!

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7. Where Two Tectonic Plates Collide

Iceland lies on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the tectonic plates of America and Eurasia are slowly spreading apart. A huge rift runs through the country from south west to north east where the plates are heading in different directions so you can expect earthquakes in that area anytime. At the national park, Thingvellir, and also on the Reykjanes peninsula, you can cross from America to Europe (geologically speaking) on foot! You can also opt for a snorkling tour in Silfra at Thingvellir where you snorkel in two continents (again, geologically speaking!)

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8. Swimming

Icelanders love swimming. From the age of 6 – 16, swimming lessons is a part of every child´s timetable at school. Yes, most pools are outdoors and the swimming lessons take place in the outdoor pools in all kinds of weather. You can find pools all over the country, both regular swimming pools and also nature pools and rivers. Hot tubs are also a big part of the Icelandic swimming culture and if you want to blend in with the locals, that is the place to be. The latest trend is a so-called “cold tub”.

AWESOMENLslide3

9. The Puffins

The puffins usually start coming to Iceland in May but the main nesting season is in June. You an expect to see puffins throughout the summer but not in winter. Puffins nest close to Reykjavík so it is easy to spot them on the whale watching tours during summer. The puffin colonies are actually all around Iceland and one of the largest ones can be found in the Westman Islands and in the West Fjords. The puffin isn´t just a beautiful bird, it is also a very wise one.

puffins


How to Take Better Winter Photos

winter-photo-1

In Iceland, winter means time to play and have fun. Icelanders love spending the day outdoors on a beautiful winter day and they even go swimming on a cold and windy winter day! Iceland is never dull even on a long cold winter day. There are many outdoor activities like skiing, dog sledding, skating, snowboarding and a lot more offered. In winter the landscape is breathtaking, the sky with northern lights dancing is magical, the snow itself is lovely itself. How will you really be able to capture the whole beauty of winter?

Winter photography is just a side dish for all those activities you yearn to get into. There are just a few things you must follow and simple guidelines on how to get that dramatic moment. Who wouldn’t want to capture that beautiful moment like for example you guys are hiking and then suddenly, the view of the most wonderful glaciers just there ready to be captured, or you went caving and there are just those amazing ice formation, you wouldn’t want to miss it for anything in the world. You just simply want to stop and click on that button to get every angle, every story that the dramatic view is uttering. Winter photography is different from other seasons simply because the snow will deter you by doing so, if you don’t get a bit of understanding how things work. Your effort to produce more dramatic images will simply end up with a blurred misty image.

So here are a few tips and techniques on how to make your winter photos better

1. Always carry extra freshly charged batteries with you – The batteries won’t last that long during cold climates, so first things first, charge your batteries and carry with you one or two spare batteries. There will be times that your camera and the batteries will not work because winter photography deals with cold and harsh environment. If you have small cameras like those point and shoot varieties, consider making them warm by putting them in your inside pocket, if possible take a camera jacket along. Don’t let it stay with the cold climate for too long. After your captured several breathtaking moments, put them back in your inside pocket. If you are using those large DSLR type, you might consider putting insulation in your camera bag and your batteries must be put near your body to warm them as well. Rotate the batteries as you go along so it will last.

2. The sun’s lower angle in the winter is the most dramatic sight – The professional photographers happen to shoot in early morning or late afternoon as this is the most perfect scenario for winter photography, unless you are trying to capture northern lights. The colors are more vividly dramatic and the winter photos are “warmer”. The shadows give out better winter photos too as the images are captured with lots of dimensions. During winter, the shadows are pronounced longer which means you will have longer chance of capturing perfect winter photos. The angle of the sun should be situated across your subject rather than behind or in front of it to have a better detailing of the chosen subject. It will create depth and rays which is very much nicer to look at.

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3. Fill flash at people – When you’ve chosen people as your subject, you can have a better image capture if the subject is captured with fill flash. The technique above doesn’t compensate much with people as subject. The cross lighting will cover the face of your subject thus giving them a wonderful background but poor image. Almost every point and shoot cameras have this feature (small flash built-in), so they will be most likely be favorable to use in this kind of situation. Instead of choosing the automatic camera mode, you can select the force flash to operate. If you are using the DSLRs then just channel on the flash and use it. The exposure should be and still be the primarily from any light available, using the fill will eliminate the harsh shadows that will affect your subject.

4. For snow and ice scene, compensate your exposure – The “overexpose” setting will have to set by one stop meaning “f” stop to all scene that is primarily snow or ice formations or otherwise white. The industry standard means that with every exposure, camera’s meter tries to set the scene and make white as gray. The industry determined to be the subject to gray about the reflectance of 18%. Now for that normal photography at normal climate, this will work well but for snow and ice, the scenes will be more underexposed. Like they would look dirty, so the setting for Overexpose will allow the camera to make the white brighter than the usual industry of 18% gray reflectance. It will produce more white in your images.

5. Shoot the scene as you see it – Don’t hesitate to shoot that amazing sight as soon as you see it. It may change later and the quality will be poor. Remember that in Iceland, the weather changes every now and then.

6. Don’t stress the wildlife – If you are not a wildlife photographer, then don’t be a fool and get any closer to the wild animals. During winter, the animals are more likely to be scarce, so be kind and leave them alone to hunt for their food first rather than you scaring them all away or their food away.

Friendly Reminders for those who want to capture great winter photos
Don’t approach wildlife as you will only stress them.

Ask a local always if it is safe to drive or to hike on certain areas or particular areas you are interested in pointing your camera at.

Keep batteries in warm places in your pocket or with an insulation jacket.
Carry with your lens tissue or wiper. The condensation will be more likely is present during winter. So wipe those moist to achieve better winter photos.


Top ten things to do around Reykjavík

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When visiting Reykjavík and you want to make your whole trip as memorable and as exciting as possible. Here is a list that will give you a good idea what there is to see and do in and around Reykjavík. You can use it as your itinerary for your stay in Reykjavík.

1. Golden Circle Tour

Go for a the Golden Circle tour – The Golden Circle features memoirs of Iceland, geology and enchanting sight of nature. Tourists can have a marvel at greenest pastures, adorable farm animals and open churches at Þingvellir National Park. Since Þingvellir is located in between American and European plates, it has a great geographical prestige. Iceland’s largest lake the Þingvallavatn is one of the most clearest lake you will ever see. The Geysir area is truly amazing. Although the Geysir itself doesn´t function today the way it used to, the hot spring Strokkur, Geysir’s neighboring active hot spring, erupts regularty and shoots 15-30 m high. After you enjoyed Geysir and Strokkur’s exhibitions, you will drive for just about 10 minutes and Iceland’s most famous waterfall will be on your site. Gulfoss is a fascinating scenery, especially if you catch a rainbow on the horizon it is absolutely fantastic. Sites like the crater lake Kerið is also included in the Golden Circle.

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2. The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon – ever heard of it before? Nope not the movie but a massive geothermal spa in Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula. About a 40 minutes drive from Reykjavík and you can swim in warm waters. Established in 1976 when construction workers and some passerby began bathing in it which was the idea of making it into a luxurious spa came from. It is well know for its healing powers but it is also heavenly just for relaxation. You really cannot visit Iceland without making a stop at the Blue Lagoon!

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3. Northern Lights!

Check out the Northern Lights! – Northern Lights is a layman’s term for the Aurora Borealis or Polar Aurorae. It is nature’s own huge theatrical show of lights in the Northern Hemisphere. You can find many different types of Northern lights tours in Iceland – from budget bus tours, snowmobiling tours, boat tours, self drive, monster truck adventures to super jeep tours. Experiencing the northern lights dancing above you is simply magical! It´s something you can´t really describe with words, you have to experience it in person! However, please note that it´s only possible to spot the Northern lights between September and April. In May, June and July, and in the beginning of August, you experience 24 hour daylight!

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4. Visit Local Glaciers

Explore Glaciers – You will appreciate the mystifying perspectives of the encompassing mountains and the astonishing chasm framework. Contingent upon the ice sheet conditions you can enter the tough and chaotic icefall where it plunges over the side of the latent mountain and down the ocean. Envision that, standing in a genuine ancient ice.

5. Icelandic Horses

Ride that Horse – The Icelandic horse is at the size of a pony but as strong as a mountain horse. You can rent a horse and have a horseback riding around the pasture. These horses are very well secured by the Icelanders and they prohibit importation of horses.

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6. Whale Watching

Watch the Whales – The whales around Iceland surface and shows off their tricks. They often come very close to the boats and you also often spot dolphins jumping. Make sure to book a tour especially to witness the several of the 23 different breeds of whales to showcase their talents. It is truly amazing to see these gigantic animals in their natural environment and so up close!

7. Perlan

Visit The Pearl – Perlan is a famous landmark in Reykjavík where you can see a massive glass dome. The building stands 84.3 feet in height. You can go watch concerts in the winter garden and visit the viewing deck, visit the shops, museum and enjoy the magnificent view at the café.

8. Hofdi

Visit HÖFÐI – this is indeed an historical site where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had their meeting in 1986.

9. Dive or Snorkel in Silfra

Try Diving and Snorkeling – One of the best thing to do in Iceland actually. Needless to say that there are plenty of spots where you can enjoy such activity. Surprisingly, you can also go surfing in Iceland!

10. Hallgrimskirkja Church

Check out the view from the bell tower – If you want to do this then do this at the highest ever built church in Iceland, the Hallgrímskirkja church. It measures up 244 feet in height! Just make sure you aren’t afraid of heights before doing. The view is magnificent and don´t forget to bring your camera with you! The church itself is beautiful so we can easily recommend you pay it a visit!

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Where to buy groceries in Iceland

Grocery Stores and Markets in Iceland

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Many travelers are often concerned where they can bytheir grocery supply in Iceland. Although there are many of grocery stores scattered all around Iceland, some find them too expensive or rather out of their selection contents. Going to each of the places would be too time-consuming so we listed some stores for you to visit while you are in Iceland. Most stores have a great selection of goods, such as fresh fish & meat as well as fruits and vegetables.

Low-priced supermarkets

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The Bonus supermarket chain operates around 30 grocery stores all over Iceland. The groceries are kept in simple shelves and giant fridges. They have the most affordable food items in Iceland and buying groceries in Bónus is a breeze with their huge selection of local and imported goods. No more awkward moments asking what kind of meat they are selling because of they label (in English) meat varieties. Their stores are open on weekdays and weekends. You can easily recognize the Bonus branches as their logo is a pink piggy bank with a yellow background.

Just like Bónus, you can get affordable groceries at Krónan supermarket. There are many supermarkets all over Iceland and their logo is a yellow smiling coin. They usually serve a huge healthy selection of groceries. They have non-gluten, no-preservatives and such. The stores are open on weekdays and weekends.

Nettó is also one of the most affordable grocery shop in Iceland and sells not only food items but some everyday stuffs as well. This is also known as the budget shop in Iceland because they do have the most affordable items especially on the fresh food selections. The stores are open on weekdays and weekends, and some stores are open 24 hours.

Medium-prices supermarkets

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Víðir offers a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, not that affordable though but their products justify their price. When you are on a strict healthy diet, this is the place you would want to go to. They are open on weekdays and weekends.

Hagkaup supermarket is like a hypermarket similar to those you can find in most countries. They have other items such as cosmetics, clothes, toys and appliance prior to food selections. Although they are a bit more pricey than Bónus and Krónan, they are always open with staff that is friendly enough to serve you even in the middle of the night but many of the Hagkaup stores are open 24 hours. All of them are open on weekdays and weekends.

Kostur supermarket is privately owned and offers a lot of imported goods from the U.S. They are relatively affordable and they have novelty sections that you can really enjoy. The store is located in Kópavogur and is open on weekdays and weekends.

Nóatún supermarket chain in Reykjavík is has a great selection of groceries but it´s not the cheapest one you can choose. They offer hot meals at lunch which can be very convenient and at a reasonable price, but the rest is rather pricey. Their meat & fish counter is well known for a great selection.

Other supermarketsmelabud-stor

Melabúðin is one of a few stores in Reykjavík that are reminders of the times when little corner shops were all over town. They were and are privately owned with personal service and a unique charm. Just going there is an experience.

When you leave Reykjavík, you will see supermarkets that you don´t see in Reykjavík. Samkaup Úrval and Samkaup Strax are among those supermarkets. In the small villages out in the country you will find supermarkets of some sort and it is often a nice experience just to browse and mingle with the locals.


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.


Weather in Iceland during winter

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The only way to describe Iceland’s weather is this; It’s like a deck of cards faced down, you cannot predict what you will get unless you are David Blaine. Seriously, the weather in Iceland changes from time to time. It is unpredictable, so being prepared with proper clothing is very important. Though, despite of this bad reputation on weather in Iceland and despite of the fact that it is named “Ice” land, winter in Iceland is not as bad as it sounds. You see, there are many countries that have colder wintertime than Iceland and there are some areas that are darker during winter than in Iceland. So, Iceland definitely isn’t the worst country to spend the winter and visiting Iceland during wintertime is not the most unfavorable experience. In fact, there are lots of extraordinary things to see and experience in Iceland during winter. For example; the countless display of decorations Christmas season all over the city of Reykjavík (which by the way, Iceland celebrates Christmas in grand magnificence), the northern lights, and a full calendar of happenings and events! Winter in Iceland can truly be filled with excitement and adventures.

The weather in unpredictable

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As mentioned before, you need to be dressed accordingly or properly. In other words, put on layers and layers of clothes when going outside and just strip them off when you feel a bit warmer. The weather can be as great as “Sunday morning” in the city of Reykjavík, but in Ísafjörður it would be freezing because of the bad weather. Or the other way around, it could be sunny in Isafjörður while it is windy and rainy in Reykjavík. You basically never now what to expect. To define weather in Iceland briefly: It might rain, it might snow, it might be perfectly sunny or it might be gloomy. So just be ready for the sudden change. This is how thrilling the weather is in Iceland.

Driving in winter

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When it comes to moving around with cars, 4WD will come in handy in most situations with heavy snow but nonetheless, a car with good tires and breaks will usually do just fine. Checking on the Icelandic Road Administration website will also be a great help or you can ask assistance of the friendly locals. Also check the weather forecast as a blizzard might be on its way. In this way, you will not get stuck and freeze to death in some valleys where snow is heavy. Even though this is only a metaphor, there will always be someone who will pass where you get stuck as long as it’s not in the depth of a forest or in the peak of mountains (although, I believe there is no possible way a car would go that far or high unless you are hiking).

The Northern lights

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During winter in Iceland, the sky is not always pitch black. There are times that the sky becomes as dark as night but will also brighten up eventually. During winter is the best time to gaze at the Northern Lights, just ask the locals on where will be the best spot to spend and wait for the splendid show to appear. Also “nights” in Reykjavík during winter are incredible with lots of events and places to party, especially during Christmas and New Year. Winter Lights Festival is just one of the most awaited event during winter in Iceland because it gives entertainment for the whole family with full packed activities and programs to look forward to. With lots of things to do who would ever want to know if it’s dark outside or the sun is shining brightly? Well, okay maybe you would as you would love to swim or to go sightseeing. You can still do that during winter time in Iceland, just make sure to check on the weather forecast first and you are good to go. Swimming? I tell you, with hot tubs everywhere and geothermal pools, swimming during winter in Iceland is actually very relaxing and enjoyable.


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


What to do in Reykjavík after dinner in winter

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In winter, sunset is between 4 - 6 pm (differs from October - March), so after dinner you might wonder what there is to do. You might be surprised, but Reykjavík doesn´t fall asleep after dinner in winter. Here are a few ideas that might interest you.

Cafe Rosenberg

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Cafe Rosenberg is located just off Laugavegur, the main street in Reykjavík. Centrally located but not as hectic as some places in the city can be. It is a live music venue that has something to offer every night after 9pm, from rock to jazz to poetry. Everyone should find something to their liking. You can go there for dinner as they offer good food and wine for a reasonable price, or just for a drink and enjoy the friendly atmosphere. Cafe Rosenberg is popular among the locals so if you want to mingle with the locals, Rosenberg is a good choice.

See the Northern lights

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Iceland is one of the best destinations in the world to see the Northern lights. Unfortunately they can never be guaranteed but if/when you see them, it is an experience of a lifetime. Many companies offer Northern lights evening tours. You can chose from a budget bus tour, a self drive to a super jeep tour. You can also go on a Northern lights boat tour and enjoy the aurora from sea.

Spa

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In Reykjavík you can find many wonderful spas where you can relax and being pampered. One of them is Laugarspa in Laugardalur where they offer many different kinds of massages, saunas, hot tubs, beauty treatments and much more. In the same building you will find a great gym and the outdoor pool, Laugardalslaug. A great way to relax and enjoy an evening in Reykjavík.

Go swimming

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Icelanders are known for their love for swimming. There are many great pools in the Reykjavík area and most of them are open until late in the evening (8 or 10 pm). Most pools are outdoors which is a part of the whole experience. To relax in one of the hot tubs or take a swim under the winter sky, is truly refreshing. If you are lucky, you might even get an aurora show to make the evening perfect! Here you will find further information about the pools, their location and opening hours. It´s really a must to go swimming during your stay in Iceland.

Take a walk

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During winter, the pond in the city center is often frozen. It´s a popular place for the locals to go skating during winter. It´s fun to walk on the ice but if you decide to do so, please make sure it is thick enough so you won´t fall through! It is a lovely walk to take a stroll around the pond, especially on a still winter evening with freshly fallen snow.

Cinema

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If you want to see a movie, there are cinemas in Reykjavík and the surrounding areas. The one closest to the city center is Háskólabíó. Bio Paradis at Hverfisgata specializes in film from all over the world as well as older films. All movies in Iceland are shown in the original language (except for kids movies, they are shown both in Icelandic and the original language) but with subtitles. It´s always nice to relax and watch a good movie on a cold winter night.

Harpan Concert Hall

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You can always find something interesting on the event calendar at Harpan Concert Hall. Whether it is a concert, a play, opera, comedy, a dance show or something else, one can usually find something interesting. For further information go to Harpan Concert Hall

Go Bowling

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Keiluhöllin is located in Öskuhlið (close to Perlan/The Pearl) and Egilshöll (about 20 min drive from the city center). The one in Öskuhlíð (and closer to the city center) has great facilities for bowling, a restaurant, a Football Café and more. A good option for those who don´t want to sit down and relax after dinner.

Stofan

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Stofan is a cosy café at Ingolfstorg. It is popular among locals as it´s a nice place to sit down and have cup of coffee or a drink in a relaxing environment. It is like being in your grandmother's kitchen, cozy and with family themed atmosphere. Once you enter the cafe, you would actually think you just entered a house of some very inviting family. The food is excellent and the coffee is brewed to perfection. If you happen to be in the neighborhood around noon, Stofan is a great place to grab a light lunch as they serve delicious soups daily.


Restaurants in Reykjavík

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Reykjavík city center is a charming place to visit. Laugavegur, the main shopping street, is buzzing with life and the city center is the perfect place to find the perfect restaurant. You will find both international and local cuisines in all price ranges. It doesn´t matter whether you are in summer enjoying the 24 hour daylight or in winter for the Northern lights, you will always find a nice place to sit down and give your taste buds a feast. Here we will give you a few ideas for a fancy night out.

Grillmarkaðurinn (The Grillmarket)

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Grillmarkaðurinn is one of the most exclusive restaurants in Reykjavík. It´s a little bit hidden from the main street but when you find the small alley, you enter another world. When you walk into the restaurant, you will stunned by the amazing decorations and atmosphere. The chefs seek to infuse creative culinary arts with Icelandic ingredients building on their experiences from the Icelandic restaurants as well as from restaurants in Copenhagen and London. Lunch or dinner at Grillmarkaðurinn is a unique experience we can easily recommend.

Sjávargrillið

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A young master chef with a great passion for food since early childhood is the owner and chef in the restaurant. When you take a seat at here, you will realize that the restaurant is a dream that has come true for a young chef from the north coast of Iceland. Sjávargrillið is a lovely restaurant at Skólavörðustígur which specializes in seafood but you can also get a good steak. A cozy place with a friendly staff whether you are in searching for a nice place to have lunch or dinner.

Dill restaurant

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Dill Restaurant is a Nordic restaurant located in the Nordic House in Reykjavík and it is much more than just a restaurant. During lunchtime, the atmosphere is informal and the menu is simple but new every day. On the menu you will find traditional Nordic and Icelandic dishes that have been modernized. Every week a new seven-course dinner menu is arranged with wine selected to match each course. You will rediscover the Nordic culinary roots and ingredients with an unlimited creativity. It is a perfect choice if you want to combine lunch or dinner with a visit to the Nordic house, or if you want to enjoy a meal a few steps away from the buzzing city center.

Kolabrautin

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Kolabrautin restaurant is located in the Harpan concert hall. There you will get a delicious Italian food made with the best Icelandic ingredients available. Don´t for get the stunning view as Harpan is located by the harbor. One of the best view in town for sure! A perfect choice especially if you are planning on enjoying one of the many events Harpa has to offer.

Other good choices

If you are in the mood for Indian food, Austur Indiafelagið at Hverfisgata is one of the post popular Indian restaurants in Reykjavík. Gandhi is also a great choice for Indian food. For Spanish food, we recommend Tapasbarinn at Vesturgata. By the Old Harbor you will find many nice restaurants where you can enjoy a lovely meal with a view over the harbor. If you fancy sushi, Sushi Samba is one of the finest sushi places in town. Apotekið restaurant is also a good choice either for lunch or dinner. Argentina steakhouse has been around for ages and is always popular among the locals. Same goes for Humarhúsið (The Lobster House) if you are in the mood for a delicious lobster. Fiskmarkaðurinn is an ideal choice for sushi and at Fiskifélagið you will get good quality food. Take a stroll around the city center and you will have a great selection of restaurants to choose from. Bon appetit!


Where to shop Vintage Stuff in Iceland?

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Welcome to Vintage Town

When you visit Iceland and you come to wonder where all the best vintage shops are located, then you will never get to wonder again because in Iceland you will find what they call the vintage town where you can get all the precious little treasures. They have high quality second hand stores and those half and half (vintage with new creations) stores where you can shop and will not hurt your fashion sense. Ever noticed the Icelanders’ fashion? Yes some are kooky but you must admit they are classy. That is because they find old clothes and put them on in a highly fashionable way. They tend to mix match as they go on with their everyday life with their adorable outfits, and if you have seen someone wearing a victorian style dress, you are not seeing a ghost from the past, the dress is probably an antique one that has been reused for a fashion statement. And yes, they don’t look even a bit ridiculous, in fact, you will find them very stylish. So let us get you some new wardrobe, err… some vintage clothes to fit in with the Iceland fashion craze.

Let us start from where it all started, the Hlemmur. This is the easiest vintage clothe shop to spot as it is located where busses and cars pass by. Believe me,if you ask about Hlemmur to a local, you will certainly get an answer with directions right away. This shop is located at the Grand Central station in Reykjavik and you will have to get there early as many Icelanders and tourist often visits the place.

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Just across the street is Fatamarkaðurinn. In this shop, you can get vintage clothes and shoes at a very reasonable price. The store is not that alluring on the outside but don’t be fooled because once you are inside, manequins with high class vintage clothes are there to greet you. There are many goodies as you venture inside the store with friendly, not the manequins, but Icelanders to ready to assist you. They can even help you out if struggling from what fits your body frame. It’s like they know what you want even before you enter their shop.

Kassetta means (cassette tape), just walk a couple of blocks and you’ll reach the store. They have what we call the half and half and their clothes range doesn’t fall out of style as they tend to mix them with the latest fashion. It is like wearing something that is vintage but will still look like you came out of the latest edition of Vogue or something. They have things like lomo cameras which is so in with Instagram right now plus if you take a picture of yourself with it, it matches the vintage fashion you are wearing.

Finding where cute things are hidden? Besides the first three shops mentioned, Nostalgia is the best place for the title cutest. Even from the window, you can view the victorian style that is happening inside the store. It is indeed a very nice place both from the outside especially from the inside. You might want to check on your calendar if you are still on the same date as this shop will have to confuse you with its interior design as well as the clothes they display. The have Vinatage Kimonos which is their edge with all the vintage shops in the town.

spuutnik

So women has their hands with their Audrey Hepburn fashion sense, how about making the men looks like they came out of the Gatsby movie? Yes Spuutnik is the mother of all vintage here in Iceland. As they have ranges of affordable yet so fashionable clothes from women to men to children’s clothes. They have shoes to match up with your selected clothes. You’ll go crazy wanting to buy everything in the store. Fatamarkaðurinn is their side project outlet so you can really get a good price here in Spuutnik as well. A must visit place.

And so second hand may not sound as appealing to anyone it would just maybe struck you and will get yourself rummaging on other vintage outlets. But let us give this a second thinking as The Red Cross (not the health and emergency care) will take you to a new perspective with second hand clothes. They have the most incredible collections of clothes vintage and hip. It has been handpicked by the shop as the selections of clothes are really great. You can’t spell ugly in this shop but all beauty. Even the prices are generally affordable. They give discounts as well. But if I were you, paying in full will not hurt besides, you got to be reminded that hey, it’s the Red Cross.

Dótturflélagið is talking lovely! As their collection of half and half are really are overloaded with character. The employees are very willing to assist you with their friendliest and most endearing kind of way. It is like visiting a garage sale of one of your bestfriends. Plus if you brought your kids with you, there is this corner for them to play while you get into the wonderful pieces and clothes they have. It’s a very nice place to visit especially when you are with your mom or daughter. After all, the place means The Daughter Company.

rok

Want to look fine? Like gorgeous fine? Are you going to a party where you need clothes to be formal at the same time to be a party dress? Don’t be left out as here in Rokk og Rosir you will find beautifully crafted clothes and girly vintage accessories. Although their prices are a bit higher than those other vintage shops, they have this sale going on oftentimes and if you get to avail it during your stay; you will be going home with a bag full of gorgeous looking dresses.

Then after strolling with all your bags full of vintages, you will find yourself in another interesting store, the Gyllti kötturinn. The designs in their collections are very worth the visit because if you think you’ve seen enough, wait till you reach this place. They have mixed of new, interesting designs and pure vintage which will make you want to spend few more hours to get through all of the stuffs and their shoes are way too lovely to be ignored.

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And last but definitely not the least is Kolaporið. Not only will you get the whole concept of vintage in here but the concept of Iceland is here. From food to things, the prices are incredibly affordable. Your whole day wouldn’t be enough to get through the exciting things you can find in here. There are not only vintage things but antiques as well. Worth your time, I should say. So if you are searching for those vintage clothes in Iceland, get your feet and eyes ready as you will be ending in a vault full of it.


Reykjanes in a day

The Reykjanes peninsula is a hidden secret that not too many know about. Therefore most people only drive to and from the airport with a stop at the Blue lagoon. The peninsula however has much more to offer and is well worth spending a full day there and here is why!

Reykjanes 2014 from O Z Z O Photography on Vimeo.

Kleifarvatn lake

Kleifarvatn lake is the largest lake on the Reykjanes peninsula. The surroundings are extremely beautiful and peaceful. The road can be a bit narrow and difficult to drive at times, just be careful and you will be fine. As you can see on the video, it is a perfect place for a northern lights hunt if you are planning on taking pictures/videos and need a beautiful background.

The bridge between two contients

Visitors of all ages enjoy visiting the bridge that connects the two continents. Don´t forget to make a stop by the bridge and take the camera with you!

Krýsuvík

Krýsuvík is a geothermal area on the Reykjanes peninsula. It consists of several geothermal fields and in the area you can find sofataras, fumaroles, mud pots and hot springs. In summer Krýsuvík is a popular hiking area as it is a very beautiful and peaceful place to visit.

Small villages

There are many lovey small fishing villages on the Reykjanes peninsula that is fun to visit, like Garður and Sandgerði. Drive through, get a cup of coffee and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the villages.

Gunnuhver hot spring

Gunnuhver is a hot spring at Reykjanes. Collectively mud pools and steam vents are called Gunnuhver. When you step out of the car you instantly smell the sulphur and see a lot of steam. Earthquakes are very common on the Reykjanes peninsula but they are usually rather small. However they have caused a minor slip on a fissure that passes through Gunnuhver.

The Blue lagoon
The Blue lagoon in Grindavík is one of Iceland´s most famous place. It it well worth the visit and everyone can relax and unwind in the lagoon.


10 Extreme things to do while on vacation in Iceland

Iceland is a wonderful place to visit and should be on everyone’s must visit list. The country has something for everyone, but if you really like to live life to the extreme, then Iceland is seriously one place you need to place on your travel wish list. From active volcanoes to freezing glaciers and everything in between, you’ll have a trip to remember once you visit Iceland. It’s filled with extremes and is where you’ll be able to live life to the extreme just the way you like it.

1. Snorkeling and diving adventures

If you’re an extreme underwater enthusiast, then you’re love Iceland’s diving and snorkeling adventures. You’ll be able to scope out the underwater scene off of Iceland’s shores and check out its underwater animals while floating on top of the waves while snorkeling. There are several diving tours you can book that will show you glacial water filters that are seeping through volcanic rock, which are incredible sights to see!                                                                       

2. ATV / Quad biking

For those you are into quad bikes or All-Terrain Vehicles (aka ATVs), then Iceland has tons of quad biking adventures you can take to see nature up close and personal. You’ll be able to travel at fast speed across rocky, hilly and rough terrains and really see Iceland the way it should be seen. These off-road vehicles can really go where no other cars can and you can see the countryside and all of its beauty in an easy-to-ride TV. Some tours will take you out to volcanoes, through rivers and even up glaciers.                                                                                                                                                             

3. Mountain biking (2013)

Although you can go mountain biking anywhere in the plant, Iceland offers tourists crazy biking adventures that they won’t get anywhere else! Much of Iceland is covered in glaciers, volcanoes and mountains, which are perfect terrains for mountain biking. Iceland has a popular highland area that’s smack dab in the middle of the massive country and it’s pretty rough, covered in lava fields infested with moss, black-sand deserts that are barren, lots of hills and mountains and other unfriendly terrain that cars can’t transverse. But you can see and experience it all on a bike.                                                                                                                                                                     

4. Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to explore rivers and Iceland has lots of them. You’ll be able to scope out the beauty of Mother Nature and have a great time with various Kayaking tours offered in Iceland. There’s even ocean Kayaking for those who really want to explore the open waters. On any given Kayaking trip, you’ll be able to go down waterfalls and through mountains and more!                                                                                                                                                                                                         

5. River rafting

For those looking for a more intense trip in Iceland, river rafting offers a great adrenaline rush! You’ll go rafting through many of the country’s rivers that are exciting for any level of tourist. This is something everyone will be able to do no matter what their skill level is and it’s one of the most exciting things to do in Iceland.                                                                                                                                                             

6. Explore volcanoes

Where else in the world can you actually explore the inside of a volcano? Not many places, right?! Well in Iceland, you can actually go inside of a non-active volcano to see what’s in it and really see what makes a Volcano tick from the inside!                                                                                                                                                              

7. Surfing

When you’re done checking out the innards of a volcano, you can hit the beach and catch some great waves! All you need to do is grab a wetsuit and then head over to the beach and jump in the North Atlantic Ocean. There’s about 3,000 miles (or 5,000 km) of beautiful shorelines that are sprinkled with peninsulas and fjords here and there, which is a natural way to get some great waves!                                                                                                                                                                                             

8. Sky diving and paragliding

Many people know what sky diving is, which is when you jump out of a plane with a parachute to land safely back on earth. Well, paragliding is actually the freest form of flying and you simply have to strap on this special parachute-like glider on you and then take off running as fast as you can. Before you know it, you’ll be flying in the air! Iceland offers extreme junkies the chance to do both!                                                                                                                                                                                             

9. Motorsports

Lets your inner off-road junkie go wile by getting an adrenaline rush with one of Iceland’s many motor sport tours! The Formula Off-Road lets you drive some crazy mechanical beasts and go wild and out in the vehicle. You can do flips, and more on some of the craziest and extreme terrain in the world.                                                                                                            

10. Snowmobiling

With so many glaciers in Iceland, you will be able to take advantage of all the fun that snowmobiling offers! These types of tours have tourists riding in Jeeps to ride on top of a massive glacier. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 


The Best Time to Visit Iceland

When being asked when the best time to visit Iceland by travelers, we tend to answer the question with another question; when are you planning to visit? You see, Iceland isn't seasonal when it comes to what you can see or do, even in the long dark winter time you can do fun things and experience Iceland in a very different way. Usually, people will avoid getting into planes and visit some place that they think would freeze them to death, places where there is awfully lots of snow; Iceland makes no exception with this factor simply because of the misinterpretation of the country’s name. I mean, who would go in a place where there is always ice? Why would the travelers bother to wear layers and layers of jacket for a vacation? They would rather go to tropical places and sit under the sun, right? But then, Iceland, as mentioned in earlier posts, is not really that cold compared to other countries and did you know that there are special things you can see and do during winter in Iceland that you cannot possibly see and do during other seasons? In every season, Iceland offers something special, something worth visiting. So is winter the best time to visit Iceland? The answer is yet another question; what do you want to experience? Let us look at the each season to help you decide when will you like to book your flight. But I must warn you that after reading this, you might want to keep coming back every season…

Is summer the best time to visit Iceland?

summer

If you are eyeing for that camp, then yes, summer is definitely the best time for you. Want to see the midnight sun? Then you are in the right spot as summer here in Iceland means more time and light for you to have fun. But warning, you might not know when the real time is to go to bed so constantly check on your clock. During summer, there are lots of festivals celebrated in Reykjavik. There’s Reykjavik Art Festival, Midnight Sun Run, International Viking Festival, Reykjavik Gay Pride and a lot more! With endless daytime to spend during summer, these festivals and events are really necessary to tire you down to sleep. Tourists are all over the place during this period meaning you will meet new friends and fellow travelers that you can exchange “itineraries” with. And in summer, expect the scenery to be more green and lush with lots of furry little lambs to smile with you with your photographs. And speaking of photographs, this is the best time to get those cameras rolling because the glaciers, are glistening with beauty from the sun’s rays. Pink sky and long summer days, go horseback riding and gallop around the wonderful valleys, the weather is perfect and not so unpredictable during summer in Iceland. Planning on Swimming? Why there are many places to go, swimming pools are open in every corner of wherever you are in Iceland.

Autumn, is it also the best time to visit Iceland? Why?

autumn

Autumn in Iceland is like getting yourself sliding through the rabbit hole, the places have turned otherworldly. The golden light, colorful scenery match the sun’s rays which is absolutely stunning! There are few people around so you can have some places all by yourself. Autumn is surprisingly good time to visit Iceland. It is because this is the time where the serene color of nature comes out and slowly descent into peaceful hibernation. Country sides during this season run numerous events which you can witness and participate with. Iceland Airwaves is celebrated during this season which is one of the most significant events in Iceland, covering on the third week of October; party spirited people will definitely go with this. Hotel and tour rates drops to 30 – 40 percent during this season plus the flights go more affordable. You don’t have to wait until winter to catch the spectacular Northern Lights as the season begins in September. Although, the chances could be around 70% yet it is still a high chance. Hotel Ranga is best known of its location and the best spot to catch the Northern Lights even in Autumn. During this season, you can still take advantages of visiting black sand beaches or go seal and whale watching which is not available as regularly during winter season in Iceland.

Winter must be the best time to visit Iceland

winter

As you have read about the best things to do in Iceland during the other season then you must have decided to book your flights on summer or Autumn, but wait, there’s more! Seriously, winter in Iceland is different from all those seasons mentioned above. Remember what I've said about Autumn when it is starting to get otherworldly? Well, Iceland during winter is now otherworldly! The glaciers with pink, yellow and orange sunsets, the caves with stunning ice formations, the mountains and fields of snow, a truly winter wonderland! You’re feeling long lonely dark nights? No need to worry because in Iceland, there is no lonely nights (although, there are long dark nights), parties all over, Christmas time is something to look forward to, the lights and beers and oh where do I end to mention all those wonderful things to do and experience during winter here in Iceland. And ever wanted to catch that gorgeous light up in the sky? Now is your chance.

How about spring, is it the best time to visit Iceland as well?

spring

So you want longer daytime but not as long as summer days, you want to do those things like camping, swimming and such but it is just too crowded for you, then springtime is the perfect time to visit Iceland then. Get your gears and go hiking, the smell of the air in spring is definitely fresher than you would even imagine. The botanical gardens are way more colorful than that in summer; flowers are blooming with butterflies and bees. But you might ask, if I can do almost anything like that in summertime, then I might as well visit during summer. I have to address that with this; it is not really that similar since it would be less crowded (for those who wants to enjoy their tour with less people), and the tours are more affordable too! This is like the normal state of Iceland where you can visit anywhere you like to visit because of the decent weather plus the prices goes down during this period, at least about 20 to 30 percent meaning you can have more budget for extra trips.

So when is really the best time to Visit Iceland?

As I told you earlier, Iceland brings out the best in each season. It is like no residue for this island, every season is perfect for something. If you are still confuse on when is the best time for you to visit the country, start by enumerating what you want to do and check out the other articles here on what are the best in your opinion and then by there you can identify which season do these places bloom the most. Are you eyeing on a particular event? Then check out their dates. Every season whether it is winter, spring, summer or autumn, you will feel that it is the best time to visit Iceland.


Camping in Iceland

camping-one

The most popular choice of locals and tourists in Iceland during summer vacations is either swimming (which actually locals do even during winter) and camping (also when they go hiking). It is somewhat reasonable due to the previous financial crash which makes camping the only affordable, but fun way to get away on vacation. This means that camping sites are somewhat crowded during summer, but it is nevertheless fun because it is more lively and you can go on tours around the place together, somewhat meet new friends or for the locals to meet up with family friends out there. As a tourist, camping in Iceland will give you the chance to mingle with the locals to catch advices on where to go and what is best to do at camp. And believe me, there are lots of activities to do out there, even awe-inspiring landscapes to view. However, if you don’t want to get your camping gears and tents and set it up somewhere, you would need to take your stuff and get into the camping sites. There are numerous camping ground around Iceland, about 200 campsites. Listed below are the top 5 camping sites and their facilities (Not in Particular Order). And following the list is also a list why you would want to consider camping in Iceland during summer.

Top 5 Camping Sites in Iceland

1. Mosfellsbær

This campsite is just about 10 minutes away from the city of Reykjavik. It has a beautiful view of Varma and Leirvogsa rivers. Public transportation is available on the campsite. This can be a good short trip away from the noise and the lights of the city. You can pay the accommodation between 8:00 to 9:00 am and 4:00 pm or simply pay at the sports center or visit Hotel Laxnes.

The campsite has toilets, cold water, chairs and tables, shower, swimming pool and hot tubs. You can have a good view of the mountains, or go hiking or golfing. Nearest establishments are hospital (just in case of any health related emergency) supermarkets, coffeehouses, house rentals, restaurants (because this camp is strictly no open fire cooking) and gasoline stations.

2. Akranes

Another campsite near the city is the one in Akranes where you can also have a nice view of the Icelandic wonders as well as avail the following services; toilets and shower, cold and hot water, Electricity (to power up your gadgets), washing machine and dryer, BBQ facilities (what is camp without a BBQ right?), chairs and tables. In cases you need something there is a nearby supermarket and gasoline station. Alcohol is allowed but of course, drink moderately. There is a playground for the kids, a golf course and a fishing area. You can go hiking, sightseeing for beautiful landscapes of mountains, and or go swimming outdoor or indoor. The hospital is near in case of health related emergencies.

3. Varmaland

This is located just on the outskirts of Skaftholtstungur in Borgarfjörður fjord. The campsite sits between the Hvita river and Nordura river. The swimming pool is the main attraction, according to some campers and there are several hiking trails. The campsite is large so it can accommodate many campers during summer. Toilets and showers are available as well as hot and cold water. Electricity which is a must for gadget lovers is also available. There are BBQ facilities for those who love their grills to camp, but open fire for your marshmallows are not allowed. Chairs and tables as well as garbage disposals (mandatory to use) are available. You can go hiking, sightseeing, and of course swimming. There is a playground for the kids to play at.

4. Flateyri

The place is a typical fishing village, but in here you can find all sorts of service you might need such as swimming pool, sports hall, restaurants and shopping retails. The campsite itself is located below the avalanche protection wall. You can grill with the available BBQ facilities but are not allowed to burn an open fire. There are toilets and cold water. Dogs on leash are allowed so you tag along your best friends with you. There is also a playground and a boat rental in addition to recreational activities you can get while camping in Iceland.

5. Grindavík

This is a very popular tourist destination because this is where you can find the ever famous Blue Lagoon. The campsite, anyway, is located in Austurvegur. They call this campsite the luxurious camping in Iceland as you can access the breathtaking view of nature and the bird sanctuary in Reykjanestá, which is just few minutes away from the campsite. This campsite has everything from playground to golf courses, swimming pools and sports center. You can go fishing or horseback riding. There are grilled and cooking facilities but open fire is also not allowed. Dogs are allowed as well as long as they are on leash. Chairs and tables, washing machine and dryers. Electricity for your gadgets are also available.

Top 5 reasons why you should go camping in Iceland;

1. Perfect Weather

The average temperature during summer in Iceland is around 16 degrees Celsius, which is perfect for camping. It is neither too hot or too cold.

2. Endless Light

Summer in Iceland by late June is all sun over the sky. Yes, you can have the sun for 24 hours a day during this time. Though it will only dip down around 1 to 3 in the morning and will say hello again after that, resulting to bright twilight. The amazing part of the day is about 7 in the evening to 5 in the morning ,you will have to take a good look at your clock because the light might fake you. The sky will have a perfectly shining golden light of these hours, which is romantically set.

3. Unlimited Space

You will have the whole ground. You can camp out the vacant lot at the side of any road and camp for free. But there are also many campgrounds as mentioned above.

4. Budget Friendly

This is an obvious reason, though it is a bit silly to put it here, but just in case you want to know, you can go camping in Iceland for only 20 to 50 bucks or according to your budget or you can just simply camp for free. Saves boot loads of money.

5. Captivating Nature

There is nothing more exciting than getting up and seeing the whole view in an instance. Plus, you get to inhale the fresh grass and rivers. And if you worry about bugs and mosquitoes, fear not because Iceland is pests-free! See Facts about Iceland.

camping-two

So there you have it, the list of where you can spend your day and night at and it is more affordable that renting a guest house or checking in a hotel or motel. So the next time you are planning on a trip for a summer getaway, consider camping in Iceland.


Being a Tourist in Iceland

Being a Tourist in Iceland

You might have been planning on being a tourist in Iceland. There are some things you need to know first. Since Iceland is one of the most growing number of tourists nowadays, there are just a few things about how you can make your stay as great as possible. The problem with some tourists is that they really just go to one place take pictures, post them on Social Networking Sites and then head back home. But don’t you know there are just things you should be doing instead of posing in your ever reliable camera? Yes, it can also boost the enjoyment of your stay in Iceland. So putting it all together in a list will make it easier for you to follow and be an awesome tourist.

Always Listen to Local Advices

tourist in Iceland

After hearing a lot of sad news about tourists being abducted, lost, or even found dead all over the world, it is highly recommended and even mandatory that you guys should listen to local advice. If the locals tell you it is not safe to go in a certain place, it is NOT really safe to go there. Although abduction has not been and will never be an issue here in Iceland because we have ZERO terrorists here, lost tourists and worst hurt or dead has been really the main problem. It is because some people just seemed to ignore the advices of locals that nature can be quite drastic during winter and during volcanic eruptions. I mean, it is common sense that you should be knowing the road conditions, weather and the update on the volcanic activities for you to be safe. And believe me, even though how remarkable our rescue squads are if you don’t follow the rules, you’ll get in a lot of trouble. So to avoid any unwanted circumstances just sit down and listen to local advices and for crying out loud, follow them.

Don’t Drive Alone Off-Road

tourist in Iceland

The roads are fine… Stick with them. Unless you have an off-road tour package with a driving tour guide who knows exactly where to drive and where not to drive, then you are okay. But if you are travelling alone, with a rented 4x4 truck, refrain from driving on undesignated roads. You might end up trampling on crops and other resources that Icelanders are trying hard to develop. Vegetation has been quite fragile in Iceland so just to be safe, please stay on the roads.

Toilets Are All Over The Place… Use them

tourist in Iceland

Yes, it is a bit silly, but you might be surprised how this is a great issue nowadays in Iceland. You might not notice the “mess” because the locals have cleaned it up every time. These are not just personal businesses being littered around the place, but also garbages like candy wrappers and the like are being left about by some travelers. There are toilets and garbage disposals all over the place, find them and please use them.

Go to the Less Traveled Places

tourist in Iceland

The tour packages that some tour operators are offered have those places that are less popular… Go there! Iceland is noted to have places which are awe-inspiring and being assured that every turn you make is a breath taking sight. Go west or north, search for places that you will discover one of the best places you’ve been. Explore Iceland. The key here is to ask locals where the areas that are less traveled or underrated and if they tell you ask them what is in there. As long as it is safe, it is rewarding I tell you.

Buy Local Goods

tourist in Iceland

You are in a place where knitting is well taught and crafts are the products from a hobbyist, it is then sure that these are high in quality. Plus, it can be your memorable souvenir of the place adds to the taken pictures.

Spend Time With The Locals

tourist in Iceland

A foreigner in a place remains a foreigner until he learns how to adapt. Don’t just go and treat your tour guide just a tour guide, make friends with them. Icelanders are very hospitable and friendly, and even with a limited time you can have a good relationship with an Icelander. They can talk about more about the place and the entertainment is endless. Respect the culture and you’ll find yourself wanting to stay. Adapting in a certain place will even make your stay more worth it, just try and be an awesome tourist in Iceland.