2 Days Driving in the Snæfellsnes

Posted on Categories IcelandTags , , ,

Two hours driving from Reykjavík, an impressive coast of 90 kilometres long features dramatic cliffs and magnificent sceneries.  The Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s decorum has been shaped by volcanic ash and glacier erosion. It is home to a majestic nature and a rich culture. In fact, the communities of Snæfellsnes Peninsula were the first in Europe to receive a certification from Green Globe, an international benchmarking system for sustainable travel and tourism.

According to Google Map, you could go around the peninsula and be back in Reykjavik in less than 8 hours. The reality is that you will most probably stop every 15 minutes to enjoy the view and take pictures! Let’s be honest, you won’t be able to see everything in one day, or two… Although, if this the only time that you have, some great tour are available to see the most important landmarks of the region. Here, you can have a look at different tours.

I believe the ideal way to discover the gems of this almost untouched land is by car. The landscape is offering a remarkable selection of sceneries and having a car allows you to enjoy the ride at your rhythm. Of course, everyone is different and so is our tastes in travelling! If you enjoy driving, exploring nature and could savour a little bit of freedom, then that’s your way! This being said, remember to always be careful when you stop the car; Iceland’s roads are narrow and the weather conditions are not always the most favourable. So, enjoy the ride and be prudent!

 

On your way, you can find mineral springs in various places. For example, at Ölkelda and Lýsuhóll, which both have a thermal pool with naturally-carbonated water.

Likewise, you will find a secret hot spring called Landbrotalaug. Why secret? Because if you don’t know where to look, it’s impossible to find it! Indeed, it only fits 2-3 people at a time. It is worth the visit though. Especially with a loved one, as there is something majestic about the wilderness of Snæfellsnes and a hidden natural hot spring. As a matter of fact, there is no entry fee.  On the other hand, there are no changing facilities either… Be wild!

 

 

Gerðuberg Basalt Columns

Your next stop is approximately 3 minutes driving from the Landbrotalaug.

The Gerðuberg Cliffs of dolerite is a coarse-grained basalt rock formation. These basaltic lava columns are between 1 and 1.5 meters wide and between 7 and 14 meters high.  The even columns appeared during the solidification of the lava by the cold ocean water.

 

Stykkishólmur

We recommend to start with the northern part of the peninsula and stop by Stykkishólmur. The small town is surrounded by innumerable islands, creating an incredible view from the town’s lighthouse.

The inhabitants of Stykkishólumr have a strong will to preserve their nature and history for future generations. Their strong work led to receiving, in 2019, for the 10th consecutive time, the EarthCheck certification; making them the recipient of the Platinum Certification.

Snæfellsjökull National Park

One place you can’t miss is the country’s youngest national park, situated on the tip of the coast. Like the other national parks, the reasons for their official recognition is based on their geology, history and cultural significance. Because so, visitors can acquire a deeper insight into what makes Iceland so unique.  In fact,  the main attraction of the National Park is the mystical glacier and inactive volcano, Snæfellsjökull. It was made famous in 1864 by Jules Verne in his popular book “Journey to the center of the Earth”.

The national park extends also to Djúpalónssandur, the black Lava Pearl Beach. In the past, the area was home to the most prolific fishing villages in the peninsula. Now uninhabited, you can still test your strength with some lifting-stones of different weight; just like the fishermen used to do it. The decorum brings you the world of Game of Thrones, or simply another planet!

Arnarstapi, a small village, was an important trading post in the past. By the gorgeous cliffs of the village, you can watch the birds and the spectacular landscape. The contrast offered by the glacier, the lava formation, the blue ocean and the yellow-greenish moss is absolutely charming. When admiring a landscape, always remember to turn around and admire what is behind you as well.

Finally, when visiting the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, make sure to ask about the tales and old ghost sagas of the region.  They have given mystical energies to this beautiful area.

You can book your trip to Snæfellnes Peninsula right here.

Icelandic Furry Friends

Posted on Categories Animals, history, Iceland, NatureTags , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Iceland was first settled, back in the 9th century, the only native land mammal was the Arctic Fox. They came to the island at the end of the ice age, when frozen water was connecting Iceland with North America. The settlers were the ones bringing all the other Icelandic domestic breeds. 

Due to the island’s geographic isolation, most of the breeds have remained unchanged since. The Icelandic horse is a well-known example of this and of course the farmers best friend, the Icelandic sheepdog.   

These both amiable and furry creatures first came to Iceland with the Nordic Vikings, the original settlers of Iceland. 

 

The Icelandic Sheepdog

In terrain like in Iceland, the breed developed flexibility, strength, patience, as well as independence. Additionally, with being easily trainable, the dog became an excellent herder of sheep and other domestic animals. Also, with its loud bark, they made great guard dogs and protected the lamb from predators like eagles.

Today, not only he is the farmers’ favorite little helper and a great household pet. The Icelandic sheepdog is also helping in a variety of jobs, like avalanche tracking and field searches.

 

The Icelandic Horse

Like all the other non-native mammals, Nordic settlers brought the first horses on the island. More precisely, coming from British Isles between 860 and 935 AD. Known for being easy-going and friendly, the Icelandic horse is famous for its welcoming and nurturing temperament.

They are exactly like their country, little but strong! Their muscular silhouette,  shaggy fur, and small height (140 cm) typify them. Normally, we consider most horse breeds that are shorter than 147 cm as ponies. That being said, you can ask any Icelander, the answer will be the same; they are not ponies, they are horses!

While other horse breeds may perform 3 or 4 gaits (ways of walking), this Nordic beauty has the ability to perform 5. The Tölt and the Pace are the additional gaits to the common Walk, Trot, and Gallop.

The Icelandic horses have marked a lot the history of their island. Worldwide, they are known for being loyal, pleasant and strong creatures. Doubtlessly, they are popular for their camaraderie and comfortable ride.

 

Fun fact:

During medieval times, the Icelandic sheepdog was quite popular amongst the British.   Not only for sheep farmers but also as pets for elites. William Shakespeare even mentioned the Icelandic dog in his popular play Henry V.

Icelanders are very protective of their horse breed. First of all, authorities do not allow any other horse breed to enter the country, and this since 982 AD. Nonetheless, any Icelandic horse leaving Iceland is not allowed to enter back in either! Hence, there are more Icelandic horses living outside of Iceland then in.

 

Iceland’s Beer Day

Posted on Categories Beer, Culture, Holidays, IcelandTags , , , , ,

Surprisingly, the Icelandic government prohibited beer during most part of the 20th Century. Once the authorities made the precious beverage legal again, it became the most popular beverage amongst locals. Every year, on March 1st, Icelanders celebrate Beer Day in honor of the abolition of the beer prohibition, which lasted 74 years (January 1st, 1915 to March 1st, 1989).

 

Beer always had an important place in the hearts of Icelanders. No wonders, since many locals had their own brewing equipment at home during the 19th Century! Nowadays, the Icelandic beer brewing industry is prospering rapidly. Several new breweries focusing on craftsmanship beers started their operations offering the widest selection of local beers Iceland ever had! The deliciousness of the Icelandic beers is not only due to the use of their pure and high-quality water but also to their ingenuity and rigor.

 

When the British invaded Iceland during the Second World War, many soldiers thought that their life was missing an important element… Beer! Hence, the government allowed Ölgerðin Brewery to produce beer for the British Navy, only for that period. You can still find this beer today under its original name; the Polar Beer. For the time being, it was still illegal for Icelanders to consume beer and it remained that way until the near end of the 20th Century!

 

Surprisingly enough, after the withdrawal of the prohibition, only a few breweries were producing a limited variety of beers. The main productions were pale lagers and lagers. The two major breweries were Ölgerðin Brewery and Vífilfell. Amongst many beers produced, you should try the following ones:

 

Ölgerðin classics

  • Egils Gull
  • Egils Premium
  • Egils Sterkur.

 

Vífilfell classics

  • Viking Classic (Vienna style beer with a slight taste of caramel and roasted malt)
  • Viking Sumaröl (Belgian style summer beer spiced with coriander and orange peel)
  • Viking Páskabjór (Most popular Dunkel beer in Iceland with rusty tones and flavors of coffee, chocolate, and caramel)
  • Thule.

 

In recent years, the beer market has flourished to give the drinkers an extended possibility of choices. Rather you are a beer lover or not, here are some beers you should definitely try before leaving. Some microbreweries, such as Ægisgarður are even offering tours allowing visitors to understand the process of beer making and taste many different products!

 

Later on, many smaller and creative breweries produce beer inspired from all around the world. Amongst many, the beer Bríó won several prizes for its distinct taste. The German hops and Pilsen Malt added to the recipe gives to the beer the interesting flavor. Once you try its sweet perfume, it is hard to let it go.

 

Lastly, you shouldn’t leave Iceland without trying the fruit of the first microbrewery that opened in 2006; Arskógssandur. Their brewing techniques are inspired by the Czech traditional ways. Kaldi, their pilsner beer offers dry and fresh taste with flavors of roasted barley and hops. The fermentation with burnt malt gives to the Kaldi Dark beer an additional dark color and intense flavors! You should visit the Kaldi Bar in the center of Reykjavik. Easier for you to taste more than one of their treasures!  

 

list of other beers worth your time and money:

  • Lava (Black Ale): Like wine, it ages very well and reaches its optimal taste quality after 3 years in cold storage! This beer won many championships, mainly the “United States Open Beer Championship”. Because of this, North American consumers can now enjoy this Icelandic delicacy from home!
  • Einstök Beers: White Ale, Pale Ale, Toasted Porter, DoppelBock etc. The Einstöck brewery offers a great selection of beers for all tastes. It is most likely to find them in the UK and the USA. A question of keeping the travel lasting a little bit longer!
  • Borg Brugghús Beers: Úlfur (Indian-styled Pale Ale), NR 8.2 Surtur (Imperial stout with vanilla and oaky aromas),  NR 8.4 Surtur  (Imperial stout with licorice, dark chocolate and coffee aromas) and Leifur Nr. 32 (Belgian White with arctic thyme and heaters flavors).

 

Skál (Cheers)!!

Konudagur / Woman’s Day.

Posted on Categories Culture, history, Holidays, Iceland, TraditionTags , , , , , , , , ,

Icelanders sure know how to keep their traditions alive! Many festivities throughout the year come from ancient celebrations from the pre-Christian Norse calendar. Þorri and Góa, for example, celebrate the beginning of the fourth and fifth month of winter.

Both of these celebrations are also known as Husband’s Day (Bóndadagur), and Woman’s Day (Konudagur). Bóndadagur marks the beginning of the Icelandic month of Þorri. Whereas, Konudagur marks the start of the month of Góa. Konudagur is the first day of Góa. It always falls on a Sunday on the second-to-last winter month, marking the time when the days start being visibly longer.  Centuries ago the tradition was that the housewives would  wake up and go lightly dressed out in the snow, to welcome Góa by saying:

 

“Góa is coming, kind and true;

she´ll be warm enough.

Þorri, you´ll be missed by few;

you´ve been plenty rough.”

 

The expression “Ladies’ Day” goes back to 1900. It made it to the official calendar in 1927 and has been on it since then.

On both Þorri and Góa, it is tradition to pamper your loved one with sweet attentions throughout the day.      

So for that reason and the fact that it’s in February, Woman’s Day (Konudagur) has been considered the Icelandic equivalent to Valentine’s Day. Although the day of love gained international popularity over the last years, Icelanders prefer to follow their traditions and reserve a special day for both parties.

Here are some reasons to adopt this new love tradition after your visit to Iceland!

 

  • Always lands on a weekend!

It is known, Valentine’s Day is always on the 14th of February, which may cause you to celebrate in the middle of the week or having a belated lovely dinner during the weekend… Well, Konudagur is always on a Sunday and Bóndadagur is always on a Friday! Needless to say more.

 

  • Specially confectioned cake

Every year, Icelandic bakers hold a competition for “The Cake of the Year”. The most beautiful and delicious cake is sold especially for Konudagur! Here you go ladies, the best cake is showcased in the windows just for you. You deserve it!  

 

  • Two instead of one!

Bóndadagur and Konudagur both focus on pampering the individual instead of the couple itself. This means that you get the whole day to treat your other half without compromising; food, activities, surprises, everything at your loved one’s preferences! And you know you’ll get yours too.. Not bad eh?

Anyhow, remember that we should be celebrating love every day, not only because of a special date and should always treat our loved one like a prince and a princess! Have a good day!

20 Intriguing Fun Facts About Iceland

Posted on Categories IcelandTags , , , , , , , , , ,
Credits: UEFA Nations League

Iceland is not only the country of wonderful breathtaking landscapes. It’s inhabitants share a rich and fascinating culture. Here are 20 fun facts that will make you want to visit Icelanders and their intriguing island. Enjoy!

 

Food

NEVER SAY NO TO ICE CREAM

Cold temperature does not discourage Icelanders from standing in line at the Ice cream shop regardless of the season. You will find an Ice cream shop in almost every neighborhood in the capital area. Try Ísbuðin Valdís, Joylato or Brynja, our favorite ones!

 

NO MCDONALD’S OR STARBUCKS

Fast food restaurants do exist in Iceland but you will not find a McDonald’s or Starbucks anywhere unlike in most other cities. Although, the consumption of Coca Cola per capita is higher than in any other country!

 

BEER WAS ILLEGAL FOR 74 YEARS

Yep, there was a ban put on alcoholic drinks in Iceland in 1915. In 1935 the ban was partially lifted where stronger spirits were legalized but beer was not included until March 1, 1989. Still, to this day, the 1st of March is the Beer Day and it is very well celebrated by the locals.

 

TRADITIONAL FOOD IN ICELAND CAN BE QUITE SURPRISING…

These include hákarl (fermented shark), súrir hrútspungar (boiled and cured ram’s testicles) and lundabaggi (sheep’s loins also cured in lactic acid). These delicacies are mostly found during the annual festival of Þorrablot, celebrating the 4th month of winter according to the ancient Norse traditions and calendar. Oh, in Iceland, when someone thanks for the food, the answer will be “Verði þér að goðu!” Which can be translated into “Hope the food will do you well”! We will see about that…

 

Country

YOUNGEST LAND, OLDEST DEMOCRACY

Iceland has the world’s oldest extant parliamentary institution, Alþingi Parliament formed in 930. Which is remarkably interesting since Iceland is the last land in history to be populated. It is also, geologically, the youngest country to be formed.

 

ONE OF THE MOST ECO-FRIENDLY COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD

Roughly 90% of Icelandic homes enjoy heating and electricity from renewable energy and natural geothermal resources. This is one of the main factors that make Iceland rank one of the greenest environments in Europe.

 

ICELAND IS THE MOST PEACEFUL COUNTRY

First of all, the country does not have an army, navy or air force. Iceland has only waged one war, and it can barely be called war. Its name is “Þorskastríðið”, The Cod War, political disputes between the governments of Iceland and the UK over fishing grounds. The only weapons Icelanders used were scissors, to cut the enemies fishing nets…and WE WON! Also, the crime rate is very low in Iceland, hence, the police do not carry guns. The only officers permitted to carry firearms are on a special force called the Viking Squad, and they are seldom called out. One man has been shot by the police, ever.

 

IMPORTANT MAIN ROAD!

The “Ring Road”, road number 1, is the only national highway and goes all around the country. When it closes for bad weather conditions, there is no way around. One needs to wait for the main (and only) road to re-open!

 

Language

NAMING COMMITTEES

The government of Iceland has a naming committee for newborns. The Naming Committee approves the first names of all newborns in order to preserve the traditions and culture. The Icelandic Naming committee maintains an official register of approved Icelandic given name. Fun fact; the country also has a non-official government body, which two members are appointed by a government agency, regulating the name of horses, The Horse Naming Commission.

 

NO SURNAMES OR FAMILY NAMES

The Icelandic phone book lists people by their first name and the reason is that Icelanders do not use family names. Instead, they use the traditional Nordic naming system where the last name is taken from their father’s (or mother’s) first name with the addition of -dóttir (-daughter) or -son.  Jón Ólafsson’s offspring, for example, might be Einar Jónsson and Sigríður Jónsdóttir.

 

ICELANDERS SPEAK ON THE INHALE

This may be a surprise to some Icelanders (only because it is so natural) but we often speak on the inhale, mostly when saying Já (yes). The reason is a mystery but if you pay attention; you’ll notice and hopefully get a giggle.

 

A VERY PROUD NATION

The official written and spoken language in Iceland is Icelandic. It comes from the Old Norse and changed so little through time that students still read manuscripts written hundreds of years ago. On the 16th of November is “Dagur Íslenskrar Tungu”, The day of the Icelandic tongue (language).

 

Nature

NO MOSQUITOES

Yep, you can relax and enjoy a summer evening in Iceland without worrying about getting bit by these annoying insects. The weather stays too cold and windy during the summer to welcome them! There are also no reptiles or amphibians naturally in Iceland, hence there is none and is prohibited to own a pet lizard, turtle or snake.

 

THERE IS NO NIGHT DURING ALMOST 3 MONTHS

Because of its geographical position, Iceland gets extremely short days during the winter (only 4 hours) and no night between the end of May until the end of July. During the summer, the annual Arctic Open Golf Tournament in Akureyri, offers golfers to compete under the midnight sun, attracting players and watchers from all around the world.

 

Culture

GEOTHERMAL POOLS

Icelandic people use outdoor swimming pools in the winter just as much as in the summer as they are all heated with geothermal power all year round. Going to the swimming pool for an Icelander is like going to church for some. It’s a place where locals come together, chill in the Jacuzzi and catch up with other locals. And of course, it’s a blast for the kids with all the water slides.  Pools are very important in the Icelandic culture, and this, no matter the time of the year, the weather or the time.

 

ICELANDIC BABIES NAP OUTSIDE

Also no matter the season, it is very normal to see strollers and prams outside a coffee shop or a home as parents often let their babies nap outdoors (bundled up of course).

 

ICELAND IS A READING NATION

There is a word in Icelandic Jólabókaflóð, which means the Christmas book flood. Many books are being published before Christmas, as books are a very popular Christmas gift in Iceland! Surprisingly, they also watch more movies in the movie theatre than any other nation worldwide

 

AN EGALITARIAN NATION

Iceland became the first country in the world to democratically elect a female president in 1980 Vigdís Finnbogadóttir and then an openly gay prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir in 2009.

 

THE SMALLEST NATION EVER TO QUALIFY FOR WORLD CUP FINALS

A mere year after making into the quarterfinals at the 2016 Euro cup with an epic win against England, the Icelandic football team beat the odds again by qualifying for the world cup finals in 2018.

 

LAST BUT NOT LEAST

Iceland has a total of 13 Santa Clauses called the Yule Lads, and they are all brothers and vicious Sons of the dreadful ogress Grýla and her husband Leppalúði. They also have a Christmas Cat, who eats children if they are not wearing a new piece of clothes on Christmas Day. Brutal I know!

Ice Cold Ocean Swimming

Posted on Categories Activities, Culture, Iceland, Nature, ReykjavikTags , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Iceland and Icelanders are known for soaking in hot springs and warm geothermal pools. But Ocean swimming, not as much. 

As you can understand, swimming in whichever conditions is part of the wonderfully curious Icelandic culture. It is not rare to see Icelanders on their daily (or weekly) visit to the public pool, enjoying the hot tub and dipping into the cold tub after coming out of the steamy sauna, and this all year long! 

So taking a cold dip is a popular Nordic tradition. The Finnish and the Russians enjoy an ice cold ocean dip after coming out of the steamy sauna. The same applies to Icelanders, but don’t forget the Víking factor… They live more intensely!after  Moving back and forth from steamy saunas or hot pools into the the cold ocean. 

So it is not uncommon to see Icelandic locals go dipping into the ice cold ocean, the North Atlantic Ocean! Even now, in January with ocean temperatures as low as 4°C (39.2°F). Oh, those Viking genes…

The most common place to go ocean swimming in Reykjavik is Nauthólsvík beach (www.nautholsvik.is/en/), a geothermal beach not so far from the center of Reykjavik.  It is open all year long and can be very busy during warm summer days. During the winter, obviously, you won’t find many people sunbathing… But definitely, the ice cold dipping as become more popular over the last years. In the winter season, there is a small fee of 650 Kr. for the access to the locker room, steam bath and most importantly, the geothermal hot tub.

When going for the first time, it is recommended to stay NO MORE than 30 to 60 seconds in the ice cold water. Remember that it can be quite a shocking experience for your body! The idea is evidently to use as little clothes as possible, as if you would go swim normally, in a pool. Hence, no wet suit! There is no “Ice cold swimming police”, but understand that you get the benefits (and the fun) from it by getting cold.  Granting all this, they recommend using special shoes in order to avoid being hurt by the rocks dotting the ocean floor. The shoes are available there and cost about 15$.

With practice, some of the experienced swimmers are able to stay in the ice cold water  for up to 15 minutes. On average, people stay 5 minutes, and it is more than enough, believe me! Regardless of the amount of time in the water, it is absolutely necessary to move around and make the blood circulate throughout the body. The prickling and numbness in the extremities and on the skin is completely natural and the muscles will start to contract, normal as well!

Many Icelanders believe in the many benefits of the activity on their health condition. Take Haukur Bergsteinsson, for example, an eighty-two years old man swearing by cold ocean swims for good health. When interviewed by MBL in April 2017, he said “I’m going to keep swimming, the feeling is just indescribable. For me, it is definitely unmissable!”

 

 

Some studies even showed that getting your body used to very cold water on a regular basis can help with the blood circulation (increasing the level of white blood cells),  to boost your immune system, to bring your endorphins higher and reducing stress. Overall, including this exercise in your routine assures a happier, healthier and more energized life, according to Icelanders!! Well being and energy; this is what the ice cold water from the North Atlantic Ocean can provide you with! Don’t think about it too much, just do it!

What makes it great, is the whole experience. Coming out of the water is extremely fulfilling and cold doesn’t seem so bitter anymore. Yet, it is nothing compared to the warmth feeling filling up your heart when jumping in the 38°C hot tub. The fizzing feeling on the whole body brings back alive some body parts you thought you might have left in the ocean… It feels like your body melts a little bit and as if the system reboots from the inside. It can be very addictive… You are warned now!

DO NOT TRY ocean swimming just anywhere in Iceland as waves can be EXTREMELY STRONG and it can be VERY DANGEROUS!

Nonetheless, by trying this experience in Nathólsvík, you get to enjoy your viking experience AND then award yourself by with a dip in a warm geothermal pool! Oh, and Nauthólsvík also sells coffee and snacks to warm you up after the adventure! Not bad, not bad at all!

I invite you to have a look! https://nautholsvik.is/en/

Illumination of the Imagine Peace Tower

Posted on Categories Events, Iceland, ReykjavikTags , , , , , , , , ,

In 1967 John Lennon asked Yoko Ono to create a peace tower for him in his backyard in England.  Although this never happened, 40 years later on October 9th 2007 on what would have been her late husband’s 67th birthday, the Imagine Peace Tower rose in Reykjavík, Iceland.

You may wonder why Iceland?  Well for many years Iceland has been ranked as the most peaceful country in the world and this is why Yoko considered Iceland to be the perfect place for the peace tower to be situated.

The sculpture is in the shape of a wishing well and shoots out a powerful tower of light beams into the dark evening sky. The tower symbolizes Lennon’s and Ono’s continuing campaign for world peace and the words IMAGINE PEACE are inscribed on the well in 24 different languages.

The electricity for the light comes entirely from Reykjavik Energy, which produces the electricity from geothermal power.  Another good reason why Iceland is a great location for the memorial.

The Imagine Peace Tower is located on Viðey Island, a short ferry ride just outside of Reykjavík Harbour and every year, on October 9th, the tower is lit with an illumination ceremony.  The tower stays lit until December 8th (the anniversary of Lennon’s death).  Yoko Ono visits Iceland every year to attend the illumination of the tower and she also offers free ferry rides to and from the island to encourage people to come and attend the ceremony.

You can also experience the light glory from a distance at the rooftop restaurant SKÝ Restaurant and Bar located at Centerhotel Arnarhvoll. From there you should be able to view the light beams coming from the island while munching on a delicious meal and/or sipping on a refreshing cocktail.

Peace and Light

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.

Explore the majestic Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Posted on Categories IcelandTags , , , , , ,

Snæfellsnes Peninsula is 90 km long and features tall and dramatic cliffs that have been shaped by volcanic ash and glacier erosion. The peninsula is home to a majestic nature and rich culture and the communities of Snæfellsnes Peninsula were the first in Europe to receive certification from Green Glove, an international benchmarking system for sustainable travel and tourism.

On the tip of the peninsula is the Snæfellsjökull National Park, the country’s youngest national park and only park in Iceland that is situated at the coast. It features sites like the mystical glacier Snæfellsjökull, an inactive volcano and Djúpalónssandur or the black Lava Pearl Beach. There you will find peculiar rock formations, one which has a large hole in the middle and by looking through it you will see Snæfellsjökull..great place to stop and take a photo.

Mineral springs can be found at various places, such as at the farm Ölkelda and at Lýsuhóll, which has a thermal pool with naturally-carbonated water.  

Hellnar is an old fishing village on Snæfellsnes peninsula right beneath Snæfellsjökull glacier and a popular travel destination. There is a hotel and a cafe and a visitors center for the national park.  At Hellnar you will also find a large freestanding rock with one of Iceland’s most peculiar cave called Baðsofa with colorful interior walls that vary according to it’s exposure to light and tide.  If you are into photography then check out the Hellnar church which is build on a very picturesque site.

Arnarstapi is another village and was an important trading post in the past. Today it attracts many travelers, and there is a camping ground, guesthouse and a restaurant. At Arnarstapi you can arrange tours to Snæfellsjökull and you can also tour an 8000 year old cave called Vatnshellir Cave, that was created by volcanic eruption from a nearby crater.  This is the volcano that Otto Lidenbroch and his nephew descended into and started their adventures in the famous 1864 science fiction novel ‘Journey to the center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne.

Skarðvík beach is a cove located on Snæfellsnes peninsula, surrounded by cliffs, with white sand and blue waters. A number of hiking trails lead to and from the beach over the lava fields.

Finally when visiting Snæfellsnes Peninsula, make sure to ask about the tales and old ghost sagas about the area’s extraordinary happenings, which has given this beautiful area a mystical energy.

You can book your trip to Snæfellnes Peninsula right here.

Enjoy the mystic Snæfellsnes!