Tag: Iceland

The Mystery behind the Snaefellsjokull Glacier

The first national park to become established in Iceland was the Snaefellsjokull National Park. It stands at the foot of a volcano and a glacier and it happens to be the only park that reaches from the seashore to the top of the mountains.

Snaefellsjokull Glacier

There is no surprise that the Snaefellsjokull Glacier is the main attraction of the National Park. It is undeniably beautiful and the active volcano stands 1,446m high, which was the setting for “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.

This glacier is said to be one of the seven great energy centers of the earth and it is believed to have numerous mysterious powers. When at the top you can see the Reykjanes Peninsula and the Westfjords on the north side. Additionally, you can see well over the Snaefellsnes Mountains to the east. Tourists can book excursions on the glacier from the village Arnarstapi.

Arnarstapi

If you are looking to explore the wonders of the ocean, coastline and the beach, the Snaefellsjokull National Park is ideal for you to visit. Those who have an interest in marine life usually love it here; however, those who are interested in geology such as volcanology will have a great experience here too. You can take advantage of bird watching because the coast and lowlands are abundant with birdlife.

Access and Services 

Services in the area have improved since travelers were greeted by Axlar-Bjorn and found themselves in the Iglutjörn pond. All you have to do is get on Road 574 and you will arrive at the National Park and the nearby nature reserves. Additionally, the staff is always ready to serve you in any way that they can in addition to answering all of your questions and concerns. Lastly, guide tours can be booked so you can see all of the hotspots.

Snaefellsjokull Glacier

Unfortunately, there are no camping grounds near the National Park, however, hikers and cyclists can stay one single night in their tent if they desire. Arnarstapi, however, does have a campsite available and there are various hotels and restaurants available in Hellnar and Búðir. If you venture out to other nearby areas, you will find accommodations and food too. You can have access to swimming pools, supermarkets and more in the nearby villages.

If you are planning a visit to Iceland, make sure you schedule a trip to the Snaefellsjokull National Park.

 Snaefellsjokull National Park.

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Like most destinations, Iceland has a busy tourist season that runs from the middle of June through August. The natives believe that tourists miss out on a lot by not visiting outside that time. Spring offers plenty of tourist activities, as does winter and fall. It also helps that the cost of everything from flights, car rentals, accommodations are less, too. Winter is the ideal time to see the Aurora Borealis, and Icelanders love Christmas. Those who do visit at that time of year usually choose Reykjavik, as it is central to all kinds of great tourist activities.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

All of that said, there is a reason why the busy season is so popular. Many of the adventure trips that are available in Iceland close for the season in September. Out in the hinterlands, the roads usually shut down from October through to mid-May, with some staying closed till July. Precipitation picks up in September, and hits its peak between October and February. The driving rains and heavy storms during that time put many people off.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Vacation time for the locals hits at the same time as the tourist season, but that doesn’t mean that things close down the way they do in some European countries. Icelanders tend to have longer work weeks that Europeans, with the seasonal jobs often filled by vacationing students. Some cultural institutions shut down for the season, while many of the museum outside of Reykjavik are only open during the summer months. The cultural events that take place across Iceland generally fall in summer, but in Reykjavik, they are mostly held in Apr-May and Sept-Oct.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

You also need to think about how much daylight you will get when planning a visit. This can have an emotional and physical effect, even in summer, when you will never experience total darkness. The sun hangs low in the horizon and creates a dazzling show of color and shadow. The daylight hours in spring and fall are about the same as in Europe and North America. Mid-winter sees daylight drop to about 4 or 5 hours per day. These numbers fluctuate wildly in the Northern parts of Iceland.

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Weather

Iceland lies slightly south of the Arctic Circle, but benefits from the Gulf Stream, which provides cooler temperatures in summer and very mild winters (you can expect more severe winter weather in New York than in Iceland). Things can get a little wild with the weather, though. The Gulf Stream collides with the mild Atlantic air to deliver grey skies, fog, and wild wind and rain, not to mention sudden shift in the weather. It’s not uncommon to see all 4 seasons represented in a single day.

Precipitation is as its highest in October through February, and lowest in May to June. The highest precipitation levels are found in the south and west. You can access regional weather forecasts in English by contacting the Icelandic Meteorological Office (tel. 902-0600; www.vedur.is).

When is the best time to visit Iceland?

Iceland Travel Guide Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Travel in Wintertime in Iceland

Wintertime is once again upon us, and it is this time of year that I am reminded of my trip to Iceland. Winter is a great time to visit Iceland, the beauty of the Northern Lights in a crisp, clear starlit sky is something to behold. The snow capped mountains and frozen waterfalls give the place a truly unique and magical feel.

travel winter iceland

I also remembered a few practical points to keep in mind when travelling in Iceland in the winter. Here are my top five tips:

Don’t give up on the Northern Lights

If you are travelling in Iceland in the winter months then you are sure to have more than a passing interest in the Northern Lights. Your chances of seeing them are good, but bear in mind that they are an unpredictable natural phenomenon. You may get unlucky and not see them at all. You can increase your chances by heading out of urban areas (light pollution can seriously hinder your view) and by being diligent. Sightings are possible from early evening through to the early hours – so be prepared to stay up late and you just never know!

northern-lights-iceland

Remember the weather can change

The weather is notoriously changeable in Iceland. If you are heading out for the day check the weather reports – and be prepared for the exact opposite conditions to prevail. The good news is that Iceland is surprisngly mild in the Winter thanks to the warm air from the Gulf Stream. Temperatures in the capital area usually hover around 0 degrees.

Drive carefully

If you do hire a car in Iceland over winter then it goes without saying that you need to drive carefully, observing the speed limits and road signs, and keeping a close eye on the (possibly changing) road conditions. Driving within the capital area should present no problems, but when you venture further afield you are strongly advised to check the road conditions, (vegagerdin.is gives you a comprehensive overview of the state of the roads in Iceland in English) and take extra special care. Your vehicle should be provided with studded tires which will make it much easier to handle in slippy conditions.

winter road iceland

Make use of the hot springs

There is something really special about bathing in warm water whilst sat outside. Especially in winter. Geothermally heated hot pots are plentiful, both of the natural and man made variety. It is a wonderful way to relax after a long day, and no trip to Iceland would be compete without visiting one.

hot spring iceland winter

Pack warm layers

This one is important! Good quality clothes that you can wear in layers as oppose to thicker clothes is the key here. The oxygen between the layers helps keep you insulated and you can add or remove layers as the weather dictates. A warm waterproof coat and good quality boots are essential in winter. It is worth mentioning that the pavements of downtown Reykjavík are heated in winter, so walking about can be done in whatever footwear you desire!

travel winter iceland

Travel Guide Iceland Team – Reykjavík (Iceland)

Lake Mývatn – Edge of the Arctic

Around 100km east of Akureyri on the Ringroad, Mývatn’s placid, shallow spread of water belies its status as one of the country’s most touristed locations.

Myvatn - Iceland
Admittedly, Mývatn has had its detractors ever since the Middle Ages – when the lake and its steaming surrounds were fearfully dismissed as a pool of the devil’s piss – though the only annoyance nowadays are summertime swarms of tiny black flies (Mývatn means “Midge Lake”). These provide an abundant food source for both fish and the hundreds of thousands of wildfowl which descend on the lake each year to raise their young: all of Iceland’s duck species breed either here or on the Laxá, Mývatn’s fast-flowing, salmon-rich outlet, and one – Barrow’s goldeneye – nests nowhere else in Europe.

Hverir - Myvatn - Iceland
Most people base themselves at Reykjahlíð, a small service centre on the northern side of the lake, though a few alternatives are dotted elsewhere around the shore – especially at southerly Skútustaðir.

A good road circuits Mývatn, with tracks and footpaths elsewhere, and two busy days are enough to take in the main sights.

Myvatn - Iceland
Mývatn looks its best in summer, but can get very crowded then: beds are in short supply and it’s a toss-up to decide whether there are more tourists, insects, or ducks. As for the flies: a few bite, but most just buzz irritatingly around your face – keep them off by buying a hat with attached netting. Alternatively, hit a few good days in late spring and, while you’ll miss out on some of the bird life, there are no flies and you’ll have the place to yourself – though facilities are limited out of season.

Travel Guide Iceland – October 2014