Things to reconsider when planning a trip to Iceland

Posted on Categories Food, Iceland, Nature, Northern Lights, ReykjavikTags , , ,

When planning or packing for your Icelandic vacation, there are few things that you may want to reconsider. For example, don’t bother to…

 

BRING YOUR UMBRELLA

Sure, it does rain in Iceland..however, the wind blows even more frequently and an umbrella and the wind do not go together.

 

BUY BOTTLED WATER

Icelandic tap water is about as clean as water can be. But not just clean, it’s delicious.  

Just run it for a few seconds, get it nice and cold and you will never want to buy another bottle of water again.  

 

CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST IN ADVANCE

Weather in Iceland is way too unpredictable. Just be prepared for any kind of weather condition, rain, wind, snow, fog, sun. You could actually experience all the above in the same day.

 

SAVE LUGGAGE SPACE BY LEAVING YOUR WARM JACKET OR COAT AT HOME

Bad idea, because of the above comment.

 

LEAVE YOUR BATHING SUIT AT HOME REGARDLESS OF THE SEASON

Winter or summer you don’t want to miss out on visit Iceland without taking a dip in a naturally heated thermal pool or in a natural hot spring.  

 

EXPECT SEEING POLAR BEARS, PENGUINS OR IGLOOS.

Because if you do you’re in the wrong place.  The name Iceland may be a bit misleading because temperature in Iceland are quite mild thanks to the Gulf Stream. However approximately 11% of Iceland is covered by glaciers so glacier related trips and activities are very popular. You can see some of them here.

 

GET VACCINATED.

Unless you are arriving from countries that suffer from certain infectious diseases.  But Iceland is a very safe country to visit and infectious diseases aren’t a problem.

 

BE A VEGETARIAN

Well..most restaurants in Reykjavík do cater to vegetarians and have vegetarian options on their menus but it is almost a crime visiting Iceland without trying the Icelandic lamb, fish and of course HOT DOGS. We shouldn’t leave out other Icelandic delicacies like fermented shark but that may actually turn a meat lover into a vegetarian. 

 

GET A HOT DOG FROM ANY OTHER PLACE THEN ‘BÆJARINS BEZTU’.

They are simply the best.

 

GET UPSET WITH THE HOTEL STAFF BECAUSE THE  NORTHERN LIGHTS WEREN’T VISIBLE

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 they are NOT visible in the summertime when the sun never sets and only when weather conditions are favorable.

So don’t come to Iceland with the main or only purpose to see the Northern Lights, there are plenty of other things to see and explore.

On the other hand, if you are visiting in the summertime we can guarantee you plenty of Midnight sun. 🙂

 

Why Iceland

Posted on Categories heritage, Iceland, Music, Nature, Northern Lights

Iceland has been a sizzling hot travel destination in recent years and it doesn’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon.

But what is it that attracts travelers to this island in the north Atlantic?

 

NATURE

Iceland is known for its unspoiled dramatic and oh so picturesque landscape with drastic cliffs, black beaches and spectacular waterfalls. It is unlike most places you see which is why your Instagram feed might be bombarded with pictures from Iceland. The country is often called the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ due to the numerous volcanoes and glaciers. 11% of the Iceland is actually covered by glaciers. Jökulsárlón, a large glacial lake in south-east Iceland is one of the most popular attractions and is most definitely worth the visit.

Another attraction for visitors are of course the infamous Northern Lights which can be visible from September to mid April and in the summertime you will experience the Midnight Sun where the sun never fully sets and the country comes alive with fun Midnight Sun events.  

 

HOT SPRINGS

Iceland is situated on a hot spot and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge causing a lot of geothermal activity which is why you will find many hot springs and geothermal pools in Iceland. The most famous hot spring/lagoon in Iceland is called the Blue Lagoon, located only 30 minutes from Reykjavík and another popular hot spring  is Mývatn Nature Baths located in north Iceland. 

 

NO CRIMES

Iceland has a very low crime rate and according to the 2017 Global Peace Index Iceland is the safest country in the world, a position it has held since 2011.

However due to Icelandic rough nature and unpredictable weather one must take precaution when traveling around Iceland.

 

FOOD

Iceland is known for spectacular seafood and lamb and has many excellent restaurants serving Icelandic lamb and seafood dishes consisting of fresh locally sourced ingredients.

Other must tries while in Iceland are the Icelandic hot dogs, skyr (Icelandic jógurt) and make sure you stop by at least one bakery and try ‘Snúður’, a large cinnamon bun with chocolate frosting, a particular favorite of ours.

 

ICELANDIC HORSE

The Icelandic horse is a special breed that has captivated animal enthusiasts from all over the world and for a long time was Iceland’s main tourist attraction. 

 

MUSIC

Iceland has created quite the buzz in the world of art and music, so music lovers flock to Iceland yearly for the music and art scene or to visit one of the popular music festivals hosted in Iceland like Iceland Airwaves or Secret Solstice festival.

And last but not least majority of Icelandic people speak English fairly well  and with the country being ideally located in direct flight route between North America and Europe it makes the perfect stopover.

RAINBOW REYKJAVIK WINTER PRIDE

Posted on Categories Events, Northern Lights, Reykjavik, Tours, WinterTags , , ,

Pink Party, Queer Bingo Extravaganza, Northern Lights Hunt, Masquerade Ball and plenty more fabulous fun is on Rainbow Reykjavík Winter Pride’s agenda this weekend February 8-11.

Going on for the 7th year in Reykjavík, this small pride festival has been a great success as it combines amazing nature, northern lights and nightlife. It is the perfect winter getaway and a great introduction to Iceland.

Guests are welcomed from all over the world so if Iceland is on your bucket list; the Rainbow Reykjavik Program covers it all.  You will be walking along the Continental Divide between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America, seeing geysers, beautiful waterfalls and nature of unparalleled beauty.  You will also relax in the Blue Lagoon and dine in world-class restaurants, sit in cozy cafes and of course party until the wee hours of the morning with LGBT people from all over the world.

CenterHotels works closely with Pink Iceland, the coordinators of Rainbow Reykjavík and this year, like every year, we proudly offer accommodations for visitors of Rainbow Reykjavík Winter Pride Festival.

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!