Feb 20

Scuba Diving in Stryta

By Editor | Relax and Unwind

Boredom is almost inexistent in Iceland. Whether you’re after land, air, or water adventure, you can always find something that can satisfy your thirst for adrenaline rush. Those who are fond of scuba diving would find satisfaction in Strýtan.

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Strýtan is considered to be a huge smectite cone that rise above the sea floor found at Eyjafjörður. Smectite cones are believed to be developed 10,000 years ago, during the Ice Age. These cones are made from the magnesium-silicate from the sea. They used to be unknown not until Erlendur Bogason and his friend Árni Halldósson discovered them in 1977.

The Strýtan in Iceland is not only a famous scuba diving spot in the country but is also the only geothermal cone in the world where diving is possible. Some geothermal cones are 3,000 m deeper or more. According to the professor, the water released by the cone is about 1,100 years old (it releases 100 liters of fresh water per second at 72 ˚C).

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Unlike other activities in Iceland, this water activity is not limited to summer or winter; it is available/can be done all-year round. Unfortunately, this activity may not for you if you haven’t experienced scuba diving before. In order to try this, you need to be an advanced diver, experienced dry-suit diver or a boat diver.

Diving in Strýtan could last 4-6 hours. Package tours available for this water activity are available. Most of these package tours can be either 3 days or 5 days, often involving more than just one diving spot. These packages include transport from Akureyri to the dive center located at Hjalteyri. Each tourist shall be provided with one guide.

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Scuba diving is a great adventure to try. It can open your eyes to the beauty of sea life. The experience in diving Strýtan is priceless considering its reputation as the only geothermal cone where scuba diving is possible. So, if you have tried diving before, why won’t you do it again in Iceland? Once you try it here, you will keep on coming back (that’s for sure).

 

Feb 14

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in Iceland

By Editor | Relax and Unwind

Iceland has been known to many as a country blessed with so many natural wonders. Despite the change of time, the country was able to successfully preserve its jaw-dropping natural wonders together with its tradition. While Iceland’s celebrations of certain events have similarities with the way other countries celebrate them, the country never fail to do it their own way.

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Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated events among different countries. While its origin still remains as a mystery, lovers all over the globe never fail to celebrate it. Iceland also joins other countries in celebrating this day for lovers. However, unlike most countries, Valentine’s Day in Iceland is being celebrated simply.

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During Valentine’s Day, many young people in the country express their affection by giving bouquets of flowers. The most common flowers given away by young Icelandic people are red roses and tulips. Flower vendors in Iceland flaunt these flowers on streets during Valentine’s Day. Online shops are also offering these top-selling flower bouquets.

Other than flowers, another tradition that has been practiced by Icelandic people during the Valentine’s Day celebration is the exchange of greeting cards. These cards come in a variety of colors, design, and messages. Most of the gift shops in the country are selling these together with other gifts and flowers even days before the celebration. And with the advent of technology, there are some people in Iceland who are now opting for eCards.

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Another way on which Valentine’s Day is being celebrated in Iceland is through dinner and dance parties in the city of Reykjavik. Couples who want more privacy usually opt for private Champagne parties at homes or farm houses. Those who found themselves in nostalgic mood celebrate this day for lovers in turf houses. This kind of houses plays a huge part in Icelandic culture. Celebrating Valentine’s Day in these turf houses is celebrating both the Icelandic culture and the day for lovers.

If you’re in Iceland during Valentine’s Day, on what way would you celebrate it?

Feb 08

Tips in Landmannalaugar Hiking

By Editor | Travel Guide

One of the most popular things to do in Iceland is to trek. The country’s natural wonders are more than enough to keep a surge in one’s adrenaline. If you’re up for a physical activity and if you’re prepared to witness the country’s natural wonders, then heading to Landmannaluagar for hiking will be one of the best decisions that you’re going to make. Here are some tips to help you make the most of Landmannalaugar hiking:

1. Trek during summer

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Landmannalaugar is not accessible all-year round. The roads heading to it are only passable during summer. The road from the north can be accessed as early as May; western road usually opens in June; and the eastern road is only passable by the end of June.

2. Start your trek the earliest time possible

Trekking in Landmannalaugar is one of the famous activities in Iceland. It can get really busy during its peak season so it’s highly recommended to be there the earliest time possible. Getting there in an early morning also gives you an opportunity to witness the stunning views around the mountain.

3. Get a sturdy vehicle

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If you opt to reach the spot before Landmannalaugar with the use of a vehicle, then you better ride on a sturdy one such as a 4×4 vehicle. Ordinary vehicles could pass by the roads heading to the area but there are some areas that cannot be passed by a typical car especially when water level rises.

 4. Workout prior to trek

The trek to Landmannalaugar can be done within a day and at times, can be extended up to 3 days. This is a physically taxing activity and thus, must come well-prepared. Running and other forms of exercise that strengthen the leg muscles could help.

 5. Be prepared

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The weather in the area is described to be poor. It usually experiences light rain and low cloud. It is also subject to Iceland’s unpredictable weather. This is why it’s important to come prepared by wearing appropriate clothing and bringing the right equipment. In this way, you get to enjoy the view from the top regardless of the weather.

These are just some of the tips for you to make the most of a trek in Landmannalaugar. So, what are you waiting for? Come to Iceland and trek the mountain now.

Feb 03

Top 3 Adventures in Iceland Worth Checking Out

By Editor | Travel Guide

Iceland has now become one of the top destinations in Europe. This is no longer surprising considering the country’s picturesque natural wonders, the well-preserved culture, its traditions and festivities, and the people. The country may have isolated itself for years but it didn’t fail to impress anyone who visits it.

There’s always something for anyone in Iceland. If you’re a food lover, they have authentic Icelandic dishes that you could try. If you’re a huge fan of nature, then there are countless things that you can see and take pictures of. And if you thirst for adventure, the country will not fail you. Here are the top adventures in Iceland that you should check out:

Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing

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If you happen to be in Iceland during winter then one of the things that you can do is to try glacier hiking and ice climbing. You will be taken to Sólheimajökull, an impressive natural phenomenon in Iceland that will let you explore and witness amazing ice formations, ridges, and even sink holes. What’s more, you’ll get your heart pumping with their ice climbing activity. As long as you’re physically fit, you’re good to go. Most of the tour operators conducting this kind of tour are the ones who provide the safety equipment needed for ice climbing.

Caving

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There are countless caves and mountains in Iceland worth checking out. If you’ve always been impressed with natural rock formations and underground beauty, then caving (also popularly known as spelunking) might work for you; it’s one of Iceland’s top adventures. You can choose to go caving inside Búri cave, one of the largest caves in Iceland or try the activity with other caves and combine them with another adventure. You can have caving and snorkeling in one day or caving and an hour of ATV ride. Indeed, there are countless ways to enjoy Iceland’s wonders.

 Volcano Climbing

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Iceland is studded with a number of volcanoes. Many of those who have the guts and stamina could get into volcano climbing. While this activity isn’t exactly for everyone but those who dare to do it are rewarded with amazing view from the top and even along the way. If it’s your first time do it or if it’s your first time to be in Iceland, it would be best to contact a tour operator to guide you.

The best way to explore a country is to experience it. Try at least one of these adventures and you’ll find out why many people are keep on coming back in Iceland.

Jan 25

Iceland’s Top Geothermal Pools

By Editor | Relax and Unwind

Iceland is well known for its geothermal pools. In fact, a trip in this country wouldn’t be complete without taking a dip in one of these pools. If you’re in Iceland, you shouldn’t miss this experience that can be traced back to the Vikings time. You don’t have to fret even if you’re in the country during peak season as Iceland has a number of geothermal pools. Below are the country’s top hot pools:

LAUGARDALSLAUG, REYKJAVÍK

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This geothermal pool is one of the most famous in Iceland. In fact, the people in the country are spending so much time dipping in the pool. Aside from one of the biggest geothermal pools n Iceland, this one is also one of the best-equipped pools. It has both indoor and outdoor pools for everyone and water slides for kids.

BLUE LAGOON, REYKJANES

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If you’re looking for a geothermal pool with spa-like benefits, then you’d most likely enjoy the Blue Lagoon. The water, which flows from a geothermal power station, is said to provide relief to skin problems. Other than the pool itself, the Blue Lagoon also has steam rooms and on-site restaurant.

LANDMANNALAUGAR

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Landmannalaugar is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Iceland. Aside from providing a good place to trek, it also offers a quick relief for tired bodies. Also known as the farmer’s hot bathing pool, Landmannalauger is a place where you can actually find a spot to take a dip depending on your desired water temperature. Thanks to being the meeting point of cold and hot water.

LEIRUBAKKI, HEKLA

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Leirubakki is one of the few farms that can be found in the foothills of Hekla. Its crater was once believed to be the gateway to hell. Now, it is a sunken pool enjoyed by small groups (could only fit up to 4 people).

SNORRALAUG, REYKHOLT

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If you’re looking for a place to dip with a value in history, then you can check out the pool in Snorraluag in Reykholt. It is said that this is where Snorri Sturluson used to take a dip. Sturluson is a thirteenth century politician who was assassinated. Aside from being a politician, he was also known as writer, having authored the Eddas.

When you’re in Iceland, do not just go around and do sightseeing; experience the place. One way to do that is to do the activities that Icelandic people love and one of that is swimming in geothermal pools. Go ahead and dip in one.

Jan 18

Go on a Food Trip in Iceland: Top Icelandic Food that You Should Try

By Editor | Food

One of the things that make a country distinct from the rest is its food. By tasting authentic local delicacies, you get to learn more about the country itself, its people, and their practices and traditions. When you’re in Iceland, one of the things that you should not forget to do is to go on a food trip. Check out home-grown restaurants and taste as much as authentic Icelandic food as you can. Here’s a list of some of the Icelandic foods that you should try:

1. Hangikjöt (Smoked Lamb)

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The smoked lamb is one of the best Icelandic dishes. Compared to other smoked lamb, Iceland’s Hangikjöt has a distinct flavor. This has something to do with the way the lambs are being fed in the country. In Iceland, lambs are allowed to roam freely, feeding on grass, herbs, and other plants.

2. Skyr

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Another notable Icelandic food that you shouldn’t miss is the skyr. With its slightly sour taste and sweetness, it is likened to a yogurt. It is available in plain and flavored varieties such as blueberries, vanilla, and strawberries. Icelandic people love to have their skyr in smoothies, deserts, and even as a standalone food taken between meals.

3. Kjötsúpa (Icelandic Meat Soup)

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Kjötsúpa is a traditional Icelandic dish. It is made from slow cooked lamb meat mixed with herbs, vegetables, and onions. This is often served with rolled oats or rice barley.

4. Pylsa

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You have never been to Iceland if you haven’t tasted the famous Icelandic hotdog called pylsa. It is often served in a bun topped with the usual ketchup, fried/raw onions, and remoulade sauce. If you’re looking for the best pylsa in Iceland, then you better try the ones from Bæjarins bestu in Reykjavik.

5. Icelandic flatbrauð

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Considered as one of Iceland’s staple food, the Icelandic flatbrauð is the country’s flat bread. It has been around for ages and often enjoyed with butter on its top or with slices of smoked lamb. Flatbrauð is widely available in Iceland’s supermarkets.

These are just some of Iceland’s authentic dishes. Try them at least once and you’ll never regret it. They’re more than just satisfying your gastronomic cravings; every bite takes you to Iceland’s distinct culture.

 

Jan 14

Top 5 Reasons for Traveling in Iceland

By Editor | Travel Guide

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” –St. Augustine

If your wander lust is kicking back again, then why don’t you head to Iceland? The country, which isolated itself for years, is now one of the best countries to visit in Europe. Getting here may not be cheap but a trip in the country will give you a lifetime of happy memories.

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should go and check out Iceland:

1.    The Northern Lights

The Northern Lights Photo Source

The Northern Lights
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The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are one of the most beautiful natural phenomena. However, they do need certain environmental conditions to be seen. This what makes a pretty good reason for visiting Iceland. The country makes it as one of the best places to witness the Northern Lights. Just make sure though that you’re heading there during winter as summer time is not the best time to witness the beautiful auroras.

2.    Festivities

Another reason why you should travel to Iceland is its wide array of festivities. No matter what month you’re planning to visit it, there’s always something for you to look out for. Festivities lined up from the beginning of the year until the end. For a list of their festivals, you can check out this link.

3.    Endless Adventure

For those who have thirst for adventure, Iceland is perhaps one of the best countries to satisfy it. From 4×4 adventure to countryside skiing, Iceland can be dubbed as a country for adventure-seekers. If you want a more laidback approach, there are countless mountains and trails for trekking and sightseeing.

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Snow Mobiling
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4.    Natural Wonders

They say it’s not everyday that you get to witness nature’s jaw-dropping wonders. But it doesn’t seem to be true if you’re in Iceland. Wherever you set your eyes into, there’s always that beautiful waterfalls, mesmerizing lagoon, or that amazing mountain. When you look at these things, you’ll come to think if there’s anything more that Icelandic people would wish for.

5.    Culture

If you’re a natural lover of history and culture, then it’s not impossible to fall in love with Iceland. The country was able to preserve its traditions that they are still even practiced up until now.

Gay Pride Festival in Reykjavik Photo Source

Gay Pride Festival in Reykjavik
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If you haven’t been to Iceland, then you better book your ticket and travel NOW. You’ll never regret a day spent here. It’s a country that will help you rejuvenate and restore your faith in life’s awesome wonders.

 

Jan 09

The Golden Circle

By Editor | Travel Guide

One of the most popular destinations in the southern part of Iceland is the Golden Circle. It covers about 300 km loop starting from Reykjavik down to Central Iceland. There are three famous primary stops on the route. These include the national park  (Þingvellir), the golden waterfalls (Gullfoss waterfall), and the Haukadalur. The latter is a geothermally active valley comprised of the two geysers: Geysir and Strokkur. If you’re in the Golden Circle you shouldn’t miss other famous stops including the volcano crater (Kerið), the church (Skálholt), the geothermal plant (Hellisheidarvirkjun), and the greenhouse village (Hveragerði).

First timers in Iceland particularly in the Golden Circle don’t have to fret as tour agencies are offering different tour package options. Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, there’s definitely an option that suits you. Some of these tour package options include the following:

Super Jeep Tour with Snowmobiling

Snow Mobiling

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The Golden Circle tour that comes with the Super Jeep Tour and Snowmobiling is great for those who seek adventure other than the typical sightseeing. By signing up in this kind of tour package, you will get in touch with one of the natural wonders of Iceland and gets the chance to go snowmobiling in Langjokull.

Golden Circle Tour in Minibus

If you’re a deep lover of history, then the Golden Circle Tour in Minibus is the one for you. You will be taken on a historical tour, on how Iceland attained its freedom and its geological development.

Golden Circle Express and the Blue Lagoon

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Among the popular tourist destinations in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. This tour package comes with a tour in Blue Lagoon and opportunities to enjoy its amenities including its massage and spa centers. Other than the Blue Lagoon, this package also comes with a tour on waterfalls and geysers.

The Classic Golden Circle Tour

While there are several varieties for the Golden Circle tours, nothing beats the classic one.  The tour comes with a visit on Iceland’s historical sites and its best natural features. It starts with Nesjavellir, a geothermal area that can be found in Lake Thingvallavatn.

Private Tour to the Golden Circle

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If you want to explore and enjoy the features of the Golden Circle then you might want to opt for a private tour to the Golden Circle. This package will take you to the beautiful landscapes and sceneries including the Gullfoss, Geysir and Thingvellir.

Indeed, the Golden Circle is one of the places that you should check out when in Iceland. No matter how old you are or where you came from, you will definitely find something in the loop that will suit you.

Have fun and enjoy!

Dec 13

Thorrablot: Iceland’s Midwinter Feast

By Editor | Travel Guide

If you have just celebrated Christmas day and New Year in Iceland then you better not leave yet. The merriment in Iceland doesn’t end in the holidays. Another celebration is coming up and this is one of the festivals in Iceland that you shouldn’t miss. It is the Thorrablot, Iceland’s midwinter feast.

The Thorrablot is a sacrificial midwinter festival. In the past, it was celebrated for the pagan gods of the Icelandic people. When Christianity was brought in the country, this festival was abolished. However, it was celebrated again in the 19th century and is treated as a midwinter celebration.

unusual food is being served during the festival

unusual food is being served during the festival
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According to the old Icelandic calendar, the festival is being celebrated on the month of the Thorri. The name “Thorri” is believed to have been derived from the Norwegian king Thorri Snærsson or Thor, the god of thunder in the old Nordic religion. The celebration, which commemorates the Norse god of thunder, begins on the first Friday after January 19. This usually lasts until the month of February (last year it was until February 22).

How It Is Being Celebrated

The way Icelandic people celebrate their festivals has something to do with how these festivals are being celebrated in the past. In the case of Thorrablot, this was usually celebrated by the Vikings with singing, dancing, and with good food and drinks. The same thing has been practiced in the country. The people come together to celebrate this midwinter festival by singing, dancing, and drinking in merriment. What makes this celebration distinct is the kind of food prepared for this traditional feast.

Unusual food items are being served in the celebration of Thorrablot. For someone living outside Iceland and not used to its culture, these food items may appear to be somehow bizarre. For the Icelandic people, these are part of the staples of a midwinter celebration. Examples of these food items include the rotten shark’s meat, sheep’s blood wrapped in ram’s stomach, and boiled sheep’s head. These food items are usually flushed down with a traditional Icelandic drink, Brennivin. The latter is an unsweetened schnapps obtained from fermented grain or potato mash. It is often flavored with botanical ingredients such as cumin, caraway, and angelica.

Other than drinking and eating unique food items, the Thorrablot is also being celebrated with traditional Icelandic games, songs, and story-telling. The celebration often lasts until the wee hours in the morning.

 

Nov 05

How to Enjoy the Holidays in Iceland

By Editor | Relax and Unwind

Iceland is one of the best countries to spend your holidays. While Christmas and New Year celebration is similar to the celebration that most countries have, there’s something about this country that will definitely make this year’s celebration of the holidays a unique one. Here are some suggestions on how you can make the most of the holidays in Iceland:

Witness the Northern Lights

Northern Lights Iceland

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The Aurora Borealis, popularly known as the Northern Lights, are among the best wonders of nature. Their surreal combination of colors on the night sky is definitely worth the time and effort of your travel. Iceland has the ideal climate to witness the Northern Lights. In fact, the country is listed among one of the best countries to witness these natural wonders.

There are package tours available for those who wanted to witness these auroras. Some of these package tours include a dinner cruise, relaxing trip to the geothermal Blue Lagoon, and off-year festivities in Reykjavik.

Reykjavik City Break

City Break Reykjavik

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You haven’t been to Iceland if you don’t know where Reykjavik is. It’s one of the key cities of the country, popular for its festivities and is considered to be a center of trade. If you wanted to enjoy both the Icelandic culture without going too far from the country’s capital, then Reykjavik is the place to go. Some of the places to check out in the Reykjavik include the lake and bird sanctuary, the cathedral, and the Parliament. You may also want to sip a cup of coffee, the country’s national drink, in one of the country’s coffee shops (there are too many to choose from).

Killer Whale Watching

Whale Watching Iceland

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Iceland is famous for its nature trips. If you’re keen on being one, you better include the killer whale watching as part of your Iceland activity. Some tour operators are offering a package tour which includes this famous activity at Grundarfjordur Harbour, one of the popular sites for watching the killer whales. What’s more, this package includes a trip to witness the Northern Lights and a Christmas dinner buffet.

These are just some of the ways on how you can spice up your holidays while in Iceland. With these different activities, who says you can’t do something new while on holiday vacation? With Iceland’s beauty and well-preserved culture, it’s very much possible.