New CenterHotel; CenterHotel Miðgarður

Posted on Categories Iceland, Nature, our-hotels, ReykjavikTags , , ,

This summer the new extension of CenterHotel Miðgarður was finalized and with that the hotel now offers 170 beautifully decorated rooms, breakfast room, open and spacious lobby and lobby lounge, bar and well-designed meeting rooms.   The hotel building is designed in a u-shaped form with a beautifully decorated secluded garden in the middle that is accessible for guests both from the lobby as well as from the hotel’s restaurant; Jörgensen Kitchen & Bar.

With the extension of the hotel, a SPA was also added to the hotel that includes an indoor and an outdoor hot tub, sauna, gym and two treatment rooms.  Various types of beauty treatments and massages will be available at Miðgarður SPA.

The design and at the same time the theme of the hotel is the nature that reflects in numerous flowers and trees that are found throughout the hotel, both indoor and outdoor.  The “Klöpp” or the flat rock the building was built on is well visible in the garden showing the true nature surrounding the hotel.  The interior design is light, bright and beautiful and it’s aim is to give guests a place where they can really enjoy a relaxing and cozy time during their visit in the city center.

 

Why visit Iceland in the Autumn

Posted on Categories Autumn, Iceland, Nature, ReykjavikTags , , ,

You may have heard that the only time to visit Iceland is during the summer months.  

Well, we beg to differ. It really depends on what you are looking to experience. Sure, June to late August is the peak travel season in Iceland due to warmer weather, long days and accessibility to more remote sites. But there is still plenty to experience in other seasons and several reasons why it actually makes more sense to visit Iceland in the autumn.

Beautiful

Although temperatures are lower and the days are shorter, the weather is still favorable in the fall and most roads are still accessible at least in September and October. Furthermore, Iceland is so incredibly beautiful in the Autumn with the leaves changing colors, rainbows and berries everywhere and of course the amazing sunsets, now that the sun actually sets.

Things to do

First of all did you know that the Northern Lights start making their first appearance in early September? Autumn is a great time to spot one of the 7 natural wonders of the world as the dark nights have returned and the weather conditions are still good. 

September is also the time to join in on one of Iceland’s oldest cultural traditions; the annual sheep round-up, a.k.a Réttir. Sounds like fun? Well, Réttir is the biggest farming event in Iceland. It is when farmers gather and round up all their sheep and horses from the mountains and it becomes a big community celebration. Farmers invite family, friends and anyone who’s interested to help out with rounding up the sheep and of course it’s followed by a night of singing, dancing and drinking.  And if you haven’t already, this is the time and season to try fresh organic Icelandic lamb. It doesn’t get better.. anywhere else.. promise!

For you movie buffs, be sure to check out Reykjavík International Film Festival. RIFF is an independent non profit organization and the festival takes place every year in late September for eleven days. 

Another huge autumn event in Iceland for music lovers in particular is the notorious Airwaves music festival, held every year in late October/early November. 

Crowds and Prices

Now that the summer tourist is gone; you will experience less crowds at the popular destinations making it easier for you to spread out and catch those awesome Instagram shots without random tourists with selfie sticks ruining your view.

Last but not least, most airlines and hotels drop their prices significantly in the fall/winter seasons making Iceland a bit more affordable so think about the money you could save visiting Iceland in the Autumn.

The Northern Lights season starts again

Posted on Categories Activities, Iceland, Nature, Northern Lights, Reykjavik, ToursTags , , , , ,

The Northern Lights are back.

It is with great excitement that we announce that the Northern Lights season has begun once again in Iceland and the forecast tonight, September 6th is looking GOOOOD!
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are caused by the collisions of electrically charged particles from the sun with the earth’s upper atmosphere near the North Pole.
Although the Northern Lights are active all year round; you can only spot them in the dark and when the sky is clear. Which means that the early fall is a great time to spot the dancing lights of the aurora in Iceland because the dark nights have returned and the weather conditions are still favorable.
The aurora can appear in many colors although the green and pink are the most common. The lights can appear like a shooting ray across the sky or as a soft silky cloth that lights up the sky with an eerie glow.
To view the Northern Lights in all their glory it’s best to be away from the city lights.
One of the more common destinations for Northern Lights hunting is ÞINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK as it is extremely photogenic and only approximately an hour drive from Reykjavík. If you don’t have a car or have the ambition to drive aimlessly into the night you can easily book a guided Northern Lights tour with an expert guide that know the best places to spot the lights depending on weather conditions. Just keep in mind that the tour is usually 3-4 hour long so make sure you have eaten dinner and are well rested. Since many visitors like to nap prior to their Northern Lights tour we at Centerhotels offer our guests Northern Lights wake up service free of charge.
There are also several spots in and around Reykjavík that are good for Northern Lights hunting.
GRÓTTA LIGHTHOUSE is a popular spot as it’s in close vicinity of downtown Reykjavík.Giving the close vicinity to downtown and the fact that is very poorly lit makes it a great spot for Aurora hunting. For last minute Aurora hunting on a clear night you might very possibly catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights by the Old harbour downtown. SKY Restaurant & Bar is located on the 8th floor at Centerhotel Arnarhvoll across from Harpa music hall and has a breathtaking view over the Old Harbour. Tonight might be the perfect night to grab a bite or a cocktail while experiencing one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Keep in mind that as a Centerhotel guest you receive 10% discount of the food menu.

Happy Aurora hunting!

Berjamó

Posted on Categories Food, Iceland, NatureTags ,

Lately you may have heard Icelanders talk about ‘Berjamó’ with great enthusiasm.

That is because right now is berry picking season in Iceland and Berjamó is what we in Iceland call the activity of picking berries. It is a popular activity amongst Icelanders of all ages during late summer/early fall season. You may be asking why, and reasonably so..

Well, for some Icelandic families berjamó is a yearly tradition and a fun way to end the summer. Families gather, young and old, in the beautiful Icelandic nature and look for some ripened blueberries and crowberries to pick. Everyone has their own bucket and picks away, some families even create fun games and ‘who picks the most’ contests.  At the end of the day a serious jam session will take place at home where all the day’s pickings will be thrown into a pot and made into a delicious berry jam, pies or just served alone with some sugar and whipped cream. Yum!!

The best berry picking regions are generally in the north and north west, but there are also some great berry picking areas around Reykjavík. Heiðmörk recreational area is one and if you don’t find berries; it’s still worth the visit as Heiðmörk has great walking trails and cozy picnic spots. The slopes of Mt. Esja can also be good for berry picking and again worst case scenario you can always enjoy a spectacular Esja hike.

If you don’t have the time or ambition for Berjamó, you should be able to find fresh Icelandic blueberries this time of year at most major grocery stores. We also highly recommend stopping by Ísafold Restaurant and trying the September cocktail of the month ‘Blueberry Glacier’. Ísafold Restaurant is located at centerhotel Þingholt.  

Happy Berry Season!