Wednesday, December 29, 2010

News before the end of 2010

We hope that you´ve been all enjoying this special time and managed to reconnect with your close ones, getting ready to enter a new and exciting year of 2011 filled with explorations and many new discoveries!

Us - at the Center of Improvement, supporting Go local in Iceland initiatives are in the stage of planning for 2011 and would like to share the most important upcoming activities with you:

1, We´ve been assisting with hiking tours preparation for the summer of 2011 that will take place in the embrace of beautiful Alpine like mountains on the Peninsula of Trolls.
We´ll keep you updated about the details on this blog and in the meantime, check out the impressions from the tours of 2010 and also here.
Do send us an email, if you're interested in following up on this event:

2,In the year of 2011, we'll cover Local Travel possibilities according to the topics, so that it's a bit easier to get oriented in our BLOG space. The plan is as follows:

January - local accommodation possibilities

February - local food possibilities

March - local activities options

April - local events, including the Easter festivities events

May - interesting local spots/places to visit in Eyjafjordur

June - July - August: covering on the hottest local travel news during the season and providing the udpates on the topics above

September: what went well during the season and what is is that we want to improve

October: Ideas and plans for the season of 2012

November: local travel options for winter season

December: celebrations and the most important milestones of 2011.

3, We carry on our work on the project we initiated "Recycling at tourist exposed areas in Iceland" and are glad that you're helping us to keep Iceland clean, while you travel.

4, We've been developing simple and affordable booking system for small tourism providers so that it'll be easier for you, Local Travellers, get your service directly without any intermediaries.

Besides all the above, we've been involved in educational projects and if you happen to work with volunteers, we have an interesting training offer available here. Funding is possible, you just need to check your local National Agency, depending on the country you come from.

With the best wishes for 2011, we look forward to hearing from you and welcoming you in Iceland.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where to stay in Eyjafjordur?

Today, we want to carry on with our accommodation listings, not only off the beaten track in Eyjafjordur, as a built up to a list we started here and help you GO LOCAL in Iceland.

VEGAMÓT is located in Dalvík, half an hour drive from Akureyri and offers wide variety of accommodation possibilities within the village in a very family-like atmosphere, as it´s a family business run by a friendly couple (Heiða and Bjarni).

1, Traditional, so called 'OLD HOUSE' or GAMLI BÆRINN in Icelandic, has a proper soul of old days as it was professionally refurbished to keep its traditional look. It is situated next to the house of its owners and has a very unique connection to Heiða´s (one of the two owners) Greatgrandma. She lived in the house between 1924 and 1947 and you can imagine the feel of this old house from a beginning of the century. When I was invited in, it truly felt as if you went a century back. Maximum of 6 guests can comfortably be put up in the house.

2, Right next to the 'OLD HOUSE' there are 3 wooden cottages with maximum of 4 guests each with kitchen and bathroom facilities available in each house. The whole complex is in a big garden surrounded by trees, basically next to the house of the owners.

3, Guesthouse GIMLI, located by the main road passing through Dalvík, offers accommodation in 7 rooms of various sizes and is well suited for families. Rooms have common kitchen and bathroom facilities.

VEGAMÓT is to be found online also in English here, where you can find more detailed info.
Should you, however, need some further assitance and would have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me: or the owners directly.

Well, the cheapest option in winter time (valid until April 15th 2011) is 2000 ISK per person per night (sleeping bag option) in one of the wooden cottages, presuming that you're 4 guests together. The whole cottage costs 8000 ISK in winter time.
Staying in the guesthouse GIMLI would cost you 4000 ISK per person per night (sleeping bag accommodation option).
If you gave up on a sleeping bag option and decided to rent beds sheet and covers, it would cost you 1000 ISK extra per person.

On top of all this, good news is that if you´re coming as a group, there´s a possibility of negotiating the price and eventual discounts directly with the owners:, based on your room preferences.

Hope you will enjoy your stay and we're looking forward to your feedback and comments here!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Endless streams of visitors


Well, at a proper Christams market in Skeid.

The fire outside the market place, us in the embrace of majestic mountains covered in snow, and crispy evening with a promise of well visible northen lights - who would resist?

Well, many locals could not, and the market was basically full (the picture was taken at 2.45pm on Saturday :) between 3 and 6 pm both days (streams of people constantly coming and going). Myriam - the organizer - did not stop for a minute and was serving all her guests with yammies and nice smile. Kids zipping their cocoa and adults zipping their mulled wine and all biting on proper Xmas cookies including traditional German "stollen" all made at this magic guesthouse.

Hmmmmmm, that was really a nice weekend full of amazing handicraft that locals from Eyjafjordur make and we all got nicely tuned on Christmas atmosphere thanks to this first weekend of advent.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Proper Christmas market this weekend

If you happen to be in the north of Iceland this weekend, there´s definitely something we´d like to recommend.

It is a proper Christmas market with a proper mulled wine and a proper Christmas cake.

It´s taking place in a magical valley just an hour drive from Akureyri called Svarfaðardalur. The name of the farm hosting the market is Skeið and you will easily find it thanks to torches lighting the way to the house.

This 'once a farm', now a guesthouse Skeið is a place with a soul and its location will definitely catch you by surprise.

Locals, who are professionals in making beautiful handicraft and making all kinds of Xmas yammies will be offering their products this Saturday and Sunday between 3pm - 6 pm.

If you have a chance, do come and join us to enjoy all, that this great place has to offer and get tuned onto Xmas atmosphere.

I will be there tomorrow and will write the news here tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Should you need any advice or help, do contact me:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cheaply to Iceland over the winter

Now it´s the time.

Visiting Iceland in winter can be cheaper than you think. It may not be bright 24 hours a day like in summer, but the Northern Lights can well compensate for the unique experience. On top of that, the houses are warm - heated by hot water straight from the ground, Icelanders are hospitable and it´s very likely that here, in the north of Iceland, we will have enough snow, not only for skiing. And last but not least, it won´t be as cold as you think.

Flights to Iceland via Iceland Express are available this winter from
London, Copenhagen, Berlin and Warsaw,

from €99/£89/DKK799, and New York from $216.

Don´t forget, there´s never a bad weather, just a badly dressed man.

Hope to see you here and should you need some local advice, do write to us:

And here is the apetizer for the area of Troll Peninsula. ENJOY.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Up for some troll winter experience in the North Iceland?

Troll peninsula, with its longest fjord – Eyjafjordur, might be your ideal choice.

And since the winter has come again with its long dark nights and loads of snow in the North of Iceland, we want to encourage all those who are ready for winter adventure.
Us in Dalvík, we don‘t get to see the sun and won‘t until the end of January or so. But, this is definitely not the time to dispair, but the opposite. This is the time to enjoy trolls, outdoor pools with hot water, aurora borealis, and of course skiing, to say the least.

As Reykjavik Grapevine quoted: 'Eyjafjordur and Akureyri deliver an authentic slice of Icelandic life.'
We definitely agree with the statement and that‘s why we keep on checking the tourism services in the area and contribute to its sustainable development.
Today, we‘ll introduce you to some of the local accommodation possibilities in and around Dalvík – a small fishing village on the west coast of Eyjafjordur.

This accommodation edition will continue until we cover the whole Eyjafjordur region and introduce you to all accommodation possibilities we‘ll be able to find.

We‘re starting with the possibilities OFF the beaten track... to help you GO LOCAL and experience personal service to its full potential.

SKEIÐ - lovely guesthouse in the embrace of magic mountains at the end of a beautiful valley (Svarfaðardalur), only an hour drive from Akureyri. It´s a piece of art, the place itself and is particularly suited for families with kids, as the owners have small kids themselves and offer wide range of facilities for children.
The cheapest option per person per night in a sleeping bag option during the winter season is: 18 EUR

DÆLI – farm holidays style accommodation in a very nice wooden cottage suitable, for both, groups and individuals. Dæli is around 45 mins drive from Akureyri, and is located in a valley (Skíðadalur). Skíðadalur is almost paralel to the valley where Skeið is.
It is possible to rent the whole cottage at a very cheap rate of 10.000 ISK, during winter time. This means that the more customers order it, the less it costs per person. The owners are ready to offer discounts, presuming that you want to stay more than 3 nights.

YTRI-VÍK - a set of wooden cottages or so called log cabins spread by the sea shore overlooking the longest fjord of Eyjafjordur with its spectacular island, Hrísey. Each cabin has a veranda with furniture and a geothermal hot water tub, with outdoor facilities for barbecues. These cosy cabins can host between 2 to 16 guests and the minimum number of nights requested is 2. For more details about the facilities on spot, pictures and prices, do check out the webpage and contact the owners here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New tunnel in Iceland, an opportunity or a threat?

We have big news for all those interested in travelling in Iceland.

October 2nd 2010, a new tunnel opened in the north of Iceland, connecting the northmost village Siglufjörður with Ólafsfjörður.

Now, what does it mean in practice for YOU, an explorer of Iceland, living up to the values of local travel?

1, On your way from Reykjavík to Akureyri, we definitely recommend taking the left turn after passing Varmahlíð in the direction of Hofsós. WHY?

Because thanks to this turn, you will be able to explore rich natural and cultural jewels hidden in and around fishing villages on your way, that you otherwise would not see, had you taken the usual way (so called ring road #1).

2, The northmost village of Iceland called Siglufjörður, famous for its unique museum, as well as blooming tourism with great services and extremely hospitable locals is perfectly accessable from Akureyri all year round.

This was not the case before the tunnel came, and the locals would be often literally locked out due to bad weather conditions in winter from the outside world.

You can imagine that such village has both, its special charm, as well as strong community bonds inside the village.

3, The tunnel was built in a way that it connects 3 fjords. This means that the tunnel itself consists of two smaller parts that are connected by a bridge. The bridge was built in virgin fjord (Héðinsfjörður )where the last families lived til the end of a second world war. The area has endless opportunities for hiking in 'Alp-like' mountains, which is truly recommended.

4, Leaving Siglufjörður, passing virgin fjord called Héðinsfjörður, coming out in Ólafsfjörður (great area for birdwatching) brings you to Dalvík - small fishing village with rich free time activities including horse back and whale watching - both in a family like atmosphere and very private and personal service. What is still a challenge for this small fishing village is a local fish restaurant - we hear that they´re working on it, so hopefuly by the time you come, all will be ready.

Now, there´s much more that Troll Peninsula has on offer than all listed above. We will help you explore it, be it through this web page (check out earlier blogs), as well as through personal advice - just drop us an email: and we´ll gladly assist.

Last but not least, such gate to the very north of Iceland that this tunnel represents can also be a threat.

  • What will happen if all the tourists, who normally explore Iceland by driving the famous ringroad, will start using the tunnel instead of a ring road #1?

  • How will this efect these picturesque small villages and settlements and personal service?

  • What is the healthy limit that the locals need in order to make profit, through offering a good service, yet not ruining the nature and culture that has been present for ages?

Well, the time will tell, but it´s good to bear this all in mind, both from a tourist and tourism provdiers´point of view.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fish, Fish, Fish - all U can eat for free

Yes, believe it or not, this is a slogan of a seafood buffet offered for free during the so called: "Great Fish Day", taking place in Dalvik once in a year at the beginning of August.

In 2010, the date fell on August 7th, but the festivities stretch before and after the date.

What it's all about?

The small fishing village of Dalvík (around 1500 inhabitants) gets filled up with around 30.000 visitors who are curious to taste local fish specialities and enjoy the busy programme full of many interesting events.

Just to name a few higlights of this year:
  • Fish soup evening - this is an evening on Friday before the Great Fish Day, which is Saturday. Locals invite visitors to their homes and let them taste local home-made fish soup and let them enjoy the atmosphere with singing and music in the backyards of many houses. Visitors are strolling in the streets of Dalvik and tasting delicicous soups here and there, chatting and having fun.
  • Seafood buffet - on a Saturday, the Great Fish Day offers huge seafood buffet for free down at the harbour. One can choose from all kinds of fish delicacies, including fishburger.
  • Shark cutting show - local professional was showing how to "fillet" a huge shark, which was caught a few months before the event in Grimsey.
  • 200 species of fish on display
  • local handicraft market
  • Huge Fire Works show on Saturday evening
  • theater shows, concerts, lots of music pieces and mouch more
It's quite some experience to see all those crowds of people streaming down the streets of Dalvík, as well as the harbour, enjoying themselves and celebrating big event of Dalvík.

It was 10th year anniversary this year and one could really feel it by seeing the amount of people here. The thing is that the event got so big by now that it's the time to reconsider its concept, especially if we want to help this village develop in a sustainable way.

Me, living in Dalvík I was so pleasantly surprised to see the state of village on Sunday - most of the people were gone and streets incredibly clean - congrats to all those who contributed to this smooth flow of the event, making sure that not much negative footprint would be left behind.

I'll keep you updated, once the next year's Great Fish Day will be up and running.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hiking on Troll peninsula - part II.

It´s Saturday. Our first hike on the Troll peninsula is over and we have a new adventure ahead of us - one day hike through a pass and sadles with some snow on the way, eventhough it´s July.
Our end destination is a great guesthouse standing at a place of an old farm in a magical valley called Svarfaðardalur - yeah, I know - not an easy name to pronounce, but the more difficult to pronounce, the more beautiful it is.

Well, and how did it all go?

Our starting point was somewhere, half way between the two fishing villages: Siglufjordur and Olafsfjordur - try to find them on the map here and the hint is that Siglufjordur is the northmost village in Iceland.

At the beginning we were following small streams and rivers and even sheep´s paths from time to time, as there are no marked paths as such. After around half an hour, serious ascend started all the way up to around 800 metres. That was one of the toughest part of our hike. It was a very steep ascend with rocks and stones breaking under our feet and rolling down. Once this challenge was over, we could see the pass that was a 'bridge' to our next valley. Snow spots were here and there and even small glaciers visible. At some points it made sense to try and sort of 'ski' down the hill on our feet.

The pass has very interesting rock formations and significant red colour rocks at some places. The view splendid again, as we were lucky with the weather. One of the stories of our guide says that there was a pregnant girl going the same way in old days and she survived and even the baby was born later on - and I can tell, this was not the easiest hike at all.

After the pass, long descend with a river accompanying us on one side started. Rocky and stony terrain would soon be replaced by grassy and mossy hills full of berry bushes. Drinking the fresh water out of streams and watching the mountains overlooking the valley where we were heading was quite some spectacle.

Having reached a gravel road that runs in the valley didn´t mean the end for us. It was a beginning of a beautiful surprise. The thing is, that our magical guesthouse Skeid, where we were expected for energy giving delicious soup and cakes, is on the other side of the river that we needed to cross. This made sense, if we wanted to be there as early as possible - not following the road- which is much longer to walk.

Forging the river in the ice cold water with rather strong current was a top of the cream of our tremendous hike. Then just passing by some marshes and there we were, welcome by Myriam - the owner of the guesthouse and very nice host all in one person.
The soup was great, the cake with fresh cream even better and the place is a must to see - regardless of the time of the year - for those interested to stay over night, contact Myriam directly:, particularly suitablef or families.

Well, and this is still not the end. Local swimming pool is a must, so we were picked up and driven by our Bjarnagil hosts to Dalvik - nearest town with a pool and hot pots where we let our tired bodies rest and just enjoy the beauty of the moment!

...another great day over thanks to our local hosts...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hike in embrace of a small community on Troll peninsula

Last week of July of 2010 in northern Iceland has been very hot and pleasantly sunny.

No wonder that I ended up climbing up some slopes and hiking in beautiful area on peninsula of Trolls :)

A four-day hike was offered by an excellent enthusiast and famous skier of Iceland - TRAUSTI, who has lived in the region since he was a child and knows these mountains better than his own shoes :).

We were asked to come to his farm guesthouse in Bjarnargil on a Thursday evening. Warm welcome that one gets in Bjarnargil by both, Trausti and his wife Sibba just confirms that this place is more than "just" a guesthouse. I felt, as if I was a part of the family, and this feeling stayed with me til our last day - Sunday.

We were to have our first hike on Friday, so Thursday evening was more of a get to know each other and also getting to know saga of the place. The area along the shore called Fljótt, where many farms, including Bjarnargil belong, counts 75 inhabitants today. It was only 14 years ago, when there were 100 and Trausti believes, that mainly thanks to tourism, it is possible to have a sustainable community of 100 people living there again in near future.

Well, concerning the service as well as nature around there, I truly believe that it is feasable.

But let me share our hike of the first day, so that you can enjoy it too, should you come all the way to the north of Iceland.

Guesthouse Bjarnargil is to be found on the way to Siglufjordur. There is a significant water power plant just 10 minutes drive from Bjarnargil.
This artificial lake was the end of our first hike. But how did it all start?
Well, by breakfast table, we were shown a massive mountain range right in front of our guesthouse. A nice piece with a long a ridge and promising views from the top and many vallyes around.

We were driven to the nearest church and started our gradual ascend from the side of the mountain. Once having reached the ridge, huge stones became a nice challenge to climb over. However, it was all worth the effort as when we finally reached the highest part, which was basically a big plain, we witnessed a special nature wonder...stones formed in some sort of regular circles on the area more than 1 square kilometer. The view was awesome - clear blue sky and excellent visibility enabled us to see all the way to the glacier in West fjords. Amazing and breathtaking.

On the way down, we were meeting many streams with refreshing and pure water accompanied by nicely green moss. Riping blueberries, 2 swans being caught by a surprise on a small lake hidden in a valley, sheep herds - that was all what were meeting on our way down, still looking up in awe to our mountain which we´d just climbed.

Getting lower and lower and seeing a car in a distance which was waiting to pick us up was energy giving, eventhough we´d had 8-hour hike behind us.

Well, time for local swimming pool and a good hot pot was well used, straight after we were driven to the nearest one.

You can imagine how sweet sleep we had after a great dinner in our warm Bjarnargil guesthouse.

Check out the pictures here

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Local Travel Movement

If you are one of those, who has made it all the way to Eyjafjordur and ended up even exploring it, then it´s very likely that Local Travel Movement is something for you.

Here are some thoughts about Go Local in Iceland possibilities that were published thanks to Local Travel Movement.

Now, what are the Local Travel Values? - this is one way of looking at it:

If you are mindful of the local people, you put yourself in the locals’ shoes and discover what they really think.

If you are mindful of the local environment, you put yourself in the heart of it, feel its beauty and power, and do what you can to preserve it for the future.

If you are mindful of the local culture, you put yourself in the local mindset and share in activities and experiences as locals do.

If you are mindful of the local economy, you put your money into local business and ensure that your tourism benefits the right people.

If you´re curious about How to be a Local Traveller, do not hesitate and check Local Travel Movement out:

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

COOL ISLAND with cool music

Fancy some Icelandic music on an island in the longest fjord of Iceland?...

Me and my friends did grab the offer straight away and past Tuesday went off to an island called Hrisey with around 100 inhabitants, many many birds and one of the freshest sea muscels.

Well, but how did it all start?

Icelandic band Hjaltalin has been touring this summer all over Iceland and came all the way to the north of Iceland, including our longest fjord Eyjafjordur.

There are two islands in the fjord Grimsey and Hrisey, each with around 100 inhabitants. On the mentioned Tuesday, Hjaltalin were to hold a concert in Hrisey, in a local get-together house (nice old house with a soul and stage).

Now, how does one get to the island?

There's a ferry leaving a village called Arskorssandur every day to get to Hrisey in about 20 minutes. And how does one get to Arskorssandur - village with the one of the best local Icelandic beer Kaldi?

Well, unless you have a car, you're at the mercy of Icelandic public transport and thus you would end up taking a bus either from Akureyri, Dalvik or Olafsfjordur - depending on where you are, to get to the village.

In case your bus would not happen to be harmonized with the ferry schedule, there is a nice small local cafe in Arskogssandur called Cruzcafe to make your waiting more pleasant. We recommend to try out local "lummur" - similar to small pancakes.

Once on the island, there's plenty of stuff to do: local swimming pool, local hiking trails, connected with bird watching, local restaurant Brekka - serving one of the best quality sea muscels and local tractor guided tours - specialty of the island.

We tried out some of it, including the restaurant, before hitting the concert hall and both, the food and the concert were awesome.

The happy crowd was leaving the island - all squeezed on one ferry around 11pm - not doubting that some of us will make it to the island again and again.

These small communities of Iceland, do have a special charm, and even more when they´re on a remote island.
We look forward to hearing your thoughts and impressions about the island.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Whale watching in the longest fjord

It's 1.30 am and there's beautiful dusk and dawn with pinkish sky over the sea accompanying whale watchers, as I'm writing this.

Yes, believe it or not, there are whale watching tours in the tranquility of small fishing villages hidden in Eyjafjordur available with departures at 11pm.

A local company , setting off from Dalvík - just half an hour drive from Akureyri, offers tours (with maximum 15 people on board) lasting for about 3 hours. And if you´re lucky with the weather, you can even experience this...
... doesn´t picture speak for itself?

Scheduled boat trips in a beautiful old oak boat are available three times a day from Monday to Sunday and the times, while summer schedule is on, are as follows:

- might be a bit more windy than in the mornings or at nights

What is it that you can actually see?
Click here to see what has already been spotted: humpback whale, minke whale, dolphins and harbour porpoise.
However, it´s not only whale watching, but also sea angling and bird watching that are included in the price paid. What´s more, you grill your own catch straight after the tour and taste it in the harbour - truly a unique experience.
The prices are as follows:

Adults: ISK 7.000 / EUR 42
7-16 year olds: ISK 5.000 / EUR 30

Last, but not least tailored made private charter is always an option and these are the charge, in case this is something for you:
ISK 70.000 / EUR 425 for 3 hours
ISK 25.000 / EUR 154 per hour
When I tried this local whale watching myself, I was cautiously double checking with Freyr (the captain) sea conditions. Having been sea sick a few times before, I really didn't feel like vomitting over the whales...
The answer I got was: 'Don´t worry, the sea is like a mirror today, you´re really lucky', and yes, lucky I was, both with the calm sea and with playful whales who didn´t hesitate a minute to show off and splash their tales in all its glory.
Feeling of having these huge intelligent creatures so close to a relatively small boat is quite an experience.
Hope you´ll enjoy it too, when you decide to go local and try this family-like service without queuing up for tickets!
Here is the email and a phone number, once you decide to book:
Telephone number: (00–354) 771-7600

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Iceland boiling again?...

Ha? 99 degrees in Iceland again? Is there anybody trying to tell us that there is something almost boiling in Iceland?

The picture on the left is a print screen of online weather forecast for June 28th 2010. Check it out and find the bit with 99 degrees forecast for the day and night :)

What does that mean???
Well, many new laws are being passed and things might be a bit "boily" in Icelandic society, especially for Icelanders carrying a burden of loans in foreign currencies.

Regardless of this, however, tourists coming to Iceland have no clue about the new laws and might be at utmost a bit surprised by the above mentioned weather forecast.

Until now, there hasn´t been any reports of explosions in the area, but you can bet that we´ll be one of the first ones to let you know.

Well, and until some shaking and volcano spitting will eventually take place, we have something for those who are particularly interested in hiking in Iceland.

Many regions in Iceland offer so called hiking week in the summer time and we´re presenting the details of a unique offer in Eyjafjordur, not far away from Akureyri.

A local tourism association has prepared a hiking week in one of the most beautiful alpine
mountains of Iceland - Peninsula of trolls, for the summer of 2010.

You will find the overview and details here and even though the guided hikings started June 23rd, you can still take part without a guide anytime after the official hiking week. You would need a good map, that you can buy either in Akureyri or a local swimming pool in Dalvík, and good hiking boots as well as good clothing.

Should you have any queries or doubts, do not hesitate to contact Lenka: (00354 -840 13 29).

Well, hope you will enjoy the hikes in Icelandic mountains, whereever that might be and don't forget that weather in Iceland is extremely erratic and can change rapidly from a sunny day into a snowstorm.

But then again, how much does a weather forecast checking help? :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Crossing the Arctic circle

Once you come up all the way to Akureyri, then you literally are just a few miles away from the Arctic Circle.

And who would say no to an inviting trip all the way to the northmost inhabited island of Iceland - Grimsey -lying on the Arctic Circle that is a home to a very special community of around 150 people and around 1000 seabirds?

The island (of about 5 square kilometers in area) stands alone far out on the horizon as a blue cliff, sourrounded by the wide Arctic Ocean, about 40 km off the north coast of Iceland.

The islanders live in a small village by the harbour - a prosperous and fertile community with many children. The courages fishermen of Grimsey harvest the rich fishing banks all around the island but often venture bravely in their small motorboats much further north on the Arctic Ocean.

Summer in Grimsey means sun 24 hours until late July, when twilight begins to decsend around midnight. Something very special for all those who are used to stars on the dark summer skies at nights. The birds nesting in 100-metres high cliffs are a paradise not only for birdwatchers and it´s not a surprise that Grimsey belongs to one of the best birdwatching sites in the country.

Are you motivated enough to check this island out, enjoy unique local life and even get a certificate for crossing the Arctic Circle? Here are the possibilities:

You can get to Grimsey either by ferry from Dalvík or by plane from Akureyi.

Taking the ferry
It´s an experience on its own to sail for 3 hours from Dalvík, eventually spotting whales on the way, exploring the island including its 800-year old church and going back the same day.

It´s important, though to bear in mind that boat departs from Dalvík only 3 times a week. It leaves from Dalvík at 09:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The ferry comes to Grímsey about 12.00 at noon and departs back to Dalvík again at 16.00, the same day.

Bookings are to made at the following e-mail:

Taking the plane
During the summer time until the end of August, local company AIR ICELAND, flies every day between Akureyri and Grímsey. The flight takes around 30 minutes and the schedule is as follows:

Akureyri - Grímsey: departure 13.00

Grímsey - Akureyri: departure 14.45

Bookings, directly at the webpage: airiceland

PS: Although Grímsey lies on the Arctic Circle, the island enjoys mild climate.

We look forward to hearing all your impressions from your local Grímsey experience, in this special and warm community of 100 islanders and thousands of puffins.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Public transport - challenge in Iceland

Our big fishing event in a small fishing village Dalvik has been nicely rolling and the biggest highlight so far is a fish soup evening.
Imagine that 142 participants together with their family members get invited into homes of Dalvík locals to taste 4 different fish soups. We were divided in 4 groups and felt extremely privileged while strolling from home to home and enjoying this special atmosphere and surprises awaiting us in each and every home. We had it all: rotten shark, Brennivín - local spirit called black death and magnificient singing of a famous quartet. Not to mention that we had a lot of fun and singing and delicious soups the whole evening.
Competitors from 12 countries appreciated the hospitality very much, they simply loved it and were still talking about the event two days after it :). Indeed such presentation of local culture and hospitality will stay imprinted in all of those who took part.

As I´m writing this, competitors are out fishing, trying to get their best catch ever and their family members are checking out the possibilities ashore.
Today, I will share one possible itinerarry that, unfortunately didn´t take place, mainly due to challenges in public transport in Iceland.

Customers, staying in Olafsfjordur in beautiful cabins decided to do some whalewatching. Well, the closest destination to do some whalewatching is just 15 minutes drive in Dalvik. However, since the sea fishing competition is at its peak, all the boats are booked out until May 15th. Thus we booked whalewatching in Husavik for Friday and the itinerarry was supposed to be as follows:
Leave Olafsfjordur at 07.00 am by a local bus and get to Akureyri 08.00 am. Then buy the tickets for the bus to Husavik in a local information center in Akureyri and leave for Husavik by bus 08.15 getting to Husavik 09.30. Whalewatching in Husavik via Gentel Giants sounded promising with the offer of hot chocolate and local pastry included in the tour. The 3-hour tour was supposed to start 13.15, so plenty of time to explore the famous village of whale watching in Iceland before the tour.
However, when it came down to planning the journey back, quite some challenge arose.
There are two buses from Husavik to Akureyri that the clients could take after the tour: either 17.00 or 18.30 dearture. So that's great, we can even choose. But, how to get from Akureyri to Olafsfjordur on a Friday after this well planned whalewatching tour? after 16.30 - the time when the last bus leaves from Akureyri to Olafsfjordur - that's quite a challenge.

There are 3 options, really, either renting a car or taking a taxi or hitchhiking. Well, the taxi between Akureryri and Olafsfjordur would cost 17.000 ISK so the customers decided to give up on their great whalewatching plan and enjoyed local surroundings of Olafsfjordur.

The public transport is a bit more frequent in the summer season, which starts in June - just watch out, different companies might have different season division, so I attach a few links to help you to get oriented:

Akureyri-Olafsfjordur-Dalvik: company HBA
Akureyri-Husavik: company SBA

For other journeys in the north: company TREX
Reykjavík - Akureyri / Akureyri - Reykjavík (WINTER - SUMMER):
Staðarskáli - Hólmavík - Drangsnes - Staðarskáli (WINTER - SUMMER)
Varmahlíd - Sauðárkrókur - Siglufjörður - Varmahlíð (WINTER - SUMMER)
Reykjavík - Kjölur - Akureyri - Reykjavík (SUMMER)

Good luck and hopefully, public transport in Iceland will be getting better and better.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Big international event in a small fishing village

When: May 8th - May 15th

What: European boat and line class championship

Who: Organized by EFSA - European Federation of Sea anglers

Where: in Dalvík, 30 minutes drive from Akureyri

This big international event with around 200 participants from 13 countries is being hosted for the second time in Iceland. It took place in 1974 in Akureyri, for the first time in Iceland, and now locals of Dalvík have a unique opportunity to share their hospitality with guests from all over Europe.

Although participants will be busy fishing all the working days, locals have done all their best to put up in interesting programme both, for the locals and guests. One of the events is local fish soups tasting and so called 'get to know locals' better walk taking place on Saturday evening.

All those who happen to pass Dalvík or will be close by around that time are encouraged to stop and enjoy fun and special atmosphere.

Detailed programme and possibilities will be hooked here later this week, for the time being, just an apetizer of what will be on offer.:

  • Helicopter sightseeing over the Troll peninsula and fjord,
  • Local brewery visit with tasting one of the best local beers in Iceland
  • Off the beaten track, guesthouse Skeið and hikes
  • Local museum famous also for its collection related to the tallest man of Iceland
  • Local handicraft and souvenirs exhibition with sale
  • Horseback riding on unique Icelandic horses for all
  • Local café with homemade bread and cakes
  • Show of local fish at the harbour
  • Snowcat rides up to the top of Kaldbakur with great view over the Eyjafjordur
Stay tuned and if you can, do come and check this out.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go LOCAL, off season - museum with the tallest man of Iceland

When writing this, it seems that more and more airlines will be at ease, as vulcano is calming down.

Well, nobody can predict for how long, but it´s good to bear in mind that nature is stronger, indeed, and we should all treat 'her' with respect.
Before introducing another interesting bit from Eyjafjörður, I feel like sharing a nice model on emissions from the volcano - check the details here.

And yes back to exploring Iceland - presuming that you will make it here despite a cloud of ash. Going local and exploring Eyjafjordur off the season, means much less activities to choose from than in the peak summer season. However, it is still enough to have fun and relaxing holiday in pristine nature, exploring the local culture in its full beauty.

Today, I will introduce an activity which not only Icelanders like doing, when trying to get to know a new place better. Museum visit.
Museums in Iceland are truly special and many of those in the countryside have been founded thanks to a lot of voluunteers´work. Not all of them are open all year round, however, there´s normally a telephone number on the door, and if you ever happen to find a museum closed, do give it a ring. There´s 99% likelyhood that some of the locals could open the door for you.

Today, I´m introducing a local museum in Dalvík with the tallest man of Iceland, and his bicycle, huge shoe and huge armchair he used to rest in...these are just some of the things you can enjoy when visiting the Dalvík museum.
The tallest man was born in Dalvík and there´re quite some memories related to him to be found in the museum.
Another interesting bit are earthquake memories depicting times in 1934, when big earthqake stroke Dalvík.

On top of this, you will find many instalations showing the way locals lived in old days, as well as local fauna and flora. One of the biggest fauna attraction is a huge polar bear who might have come from Greenland...these days standing stuffed.

The museum is small and cute and gives a nice and precious overview of the area. The only drawback are signs and ways to find the museum. If you are driving from Dalvík in the direction of Ólafsfjordur, you will find the museum on your left. There´s a big black and white sign depicting the tallest man and is says HVOLL in big letters - that´s the name of the museum.

Opening times are:

Winter time: Saturdays
14:00 - 17:00

Summer time June 1st - September 1st: Every day
11:00 - 18:00

And here is the magic number, in case you find the museum closed, as well as the link to their webpage: 892-1497.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Go local, try LOCAL Icelandic BEER

If you ever come to Akureyri and will have some time to explore one of the longest fjord in Iceland - Eyjafjörður with its rich history and magnificient nature, you simply CANNOT miss local brewery KALDI.

The brewery with one of the most quality beer made in Iceland is situated in Árskógssandur. It is roughly 20 minutes drive from Akureyri, along the western side of the fjord, in the direction of Dalvík and is an important place for islanders living on a beautiful island Hrísey. The ferry to Hrísey sets off from Árskógssandur and thus KALDI represents a great stop for all those passing Hrísey too.

Famous KALDI beer was born thanks to its icelandic owners and a renowned Czech brewmaster David. David has studied brewing for 10 years, eventhough a standard education is 4 years only. He´s had an extensive experience with brewing beer and comes from a family where beer making is inherited from generation to generation. No wonder that David knows what he´s doing, when brewing high quality - regardless of where it is.

When it comes to Icelandic KALDI, it is made exclusively out of the best raw materials one can get. All the materials come from the Czech Republic, except Icelandic fresh water, which KALDI gets right from a mountain in Arskogssandur.
The beer has no added sugar or any preservatives, and Kaldi is not pasteurized. This is a very unique feature for an Icelandic beer and makes Kaldi as fresh and healthy as it can possibly be.

When I visited Kaldi, I had a chance to get a sightseeing tour by the brewmaster himself, David, and was impressed by the great job that locals in Árskógssandur together with the master have been doing. It would be a waste of words, trying to describe the taste of this high quality beer and I simply encourage all, who ever come to Akureyri, and will have craving for some proper local exploring, go and check this out by yourself.

The only thing you have to do is to phone Agnes up (lovely owner): 8613007 and book your visit that costs you 1000 ISK. In return, you get endless amount of tasting as well as KALDI beer glass as a souvenir and an unforgetable experience.

More information in Icelandic is to be found here:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

World class destination in the 'Icelandic Alps'

High quality service, professionalism, uniqueness. These are definitely words that I associate with Bergmenn - extremely dynamic and promising company in the field of, and now breath in:
  • ski touring
  • ski mountaneering
  • heli skiing
  • ice climbing
  • alpine climbing
  • ...and other mountain related activities
Jökull Bergmann, the founder of the company is Iceland´s first and only UIAGM-IFMGA certified mountain guide, who has been offering truly top quality adventure tourism, on the so-called Troll Peninsula, within easy reach of Akureyri (amongst other places).

During the season from around mid of March until the beginning of June thousands of peaks and slopes with vertical descents of up to 1500m offer endless opportunities and represent paradise for skier and mountaineers.

Bergmenn offers various tours related to skiing and mountaineering:
Eventhough, the company offers tours with fixed dates they also try their best to satisfy special wishes thanks to tailored-made offers.

If you´re one of those who is hungry for proper adventure in the Icelandic Alps do not hesitate and check out the offer:

And if you´re still hesitating, then turn some good music on and check out the gallery,

there´s some seriously good stuff going on in the remote places of Troll Peninsula.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hidden jewels in magical valley

Despite the fact that the hottest spot of Iceland has been the most interesting target to talk about for the past week, I´m going to direct you attention to the north of Iceland.

Just a few minutes drive from Dalvík, a small fisihing village half an hour drive from Akureyri, lies a magical valley called Svarfaðardalur. Yes, yes, I know - not one of those easy names to pronounce, but the harder to pronounce, the more spectacular it is in reality.

This weekend, the people in the valley, as well as from close surroundings celebrated traditional Icelandic dances at a yearly event that takes place last weekend in March.

This year was very special, as 1100 years have passed from the moment when first settlers settled in this magic place, and thus the dancing event was accompanied by many other interesting events.

All kinds of professionals talked about the history of the place and read quite some bits of sagas connected to this area. The local men´s choir managed to transfer us literally to the middle ages not only through their breathtaking singing but also through the costumes and powerful instruments play that consisted of all kinds of stones, metal, horse shoes, sticks, wood horns, you name it. It´s a must see show that brings up goos bumps!

Grand finale of Saturday meant trying out excellent choreography of Traditinal Icelandic Dances lead by two local professionals. The magic lies in constant changing of partners and very lively, though simple structures that the dancers create together.

Last but not least, Sunday opened the door to 3 beautiful churches hidden in the valley that offered surprises in the form of old stories, old bibles and great singing and fagot playing. We drove from place to place, stopping at each and every one, being taken on the journey of the church´s history, being spiced up by the locals who were describing it.

If you ever come all the way to Akureyri, and will feel like getting local, indulging the beauty off the beaten track, these are the places to go to!

And here are the links where you can follow up on the volcano spitting out...

or maybe calming down.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Is there still hope for some skiing?

I´ve just come back from Berlin (having attended one of the biggest tourism fair ITB), being really curios about the weather and Icelandic reality.

Well, I didn´t see any snow down south (Keflavík, Reykjavík), but reaching Akureyri in the middle of March, snow has welcome me. On the way to Dalvík, it even started snowing.

There´re still some chances to try out the slopes and apparently even Bláfjöll (half an hour drive from Reykjavík) still offers some skiing possibilities. The most important thing is checking out the weather and snow conditions on the relevant web-pages, before you actually set off to your dream Icelandic skiing destination.

Today, I want to introduce you to skiing in Dalvík, in the area of a large ski resort, just half an hour drive from Akureyri.

The area has two lifts and offers paths of two different difficulty levels. On top of that, there are 2 kilometres of cross-country skiing paths.

The skiing area serves as a training place for the local kids, bringing up some promising champions to represent Iceland. As the result of this, opening times are adjusted accordingly, however, flexibility is there, especially for groups.

Check out the updated opening hours here.
When it comes to prices, Dalvík is one of the cheap places for skiing, charging as low as 1400 ISK for an adult´s day pass and 1600 ISK for a weekend.

When writing this, there´s a big national competition in skiing announced for the end of March, taking place in Dalvík 26.03. - 29.03. This means, no public skiing.

As soon as I will have tried the local cross-country skiing area, I will post a comment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Skiing, crosscountry skiing, snowboarding

Skiing, skiing, and skiing again.....

Last week looked promising when it came to snow in the north of Iceland.
I happened to be in the south of Iceland last week, where we had clear sky and lots of sun, although rather chilly.
Right before flying north back to Akureyri on Wednesday, believe it or not, it started snowing in Reykjavík and we even had to wait for 15 minutes circling on the runway while the it was being cleaned for us. However, arriving in Akureyri, it felt like coming to a different world....there was loads of snow in comparison to the south....

And, if you happen to be in the north of Iceland over winter time, trying out winter sports, eventhough you haven't tried skiing before, is a must, especially when the conditions are favourable.

Eyjafjördur - fjord where Akureyri lies - is one of the best places in Iceland for cross-country and downhill skiing. The area is very well serviced and the ski slopes, on Hlíðarfjall mountain, 5 km above the town, are unique in many ways. Their elevation ranges from 500 m to 1000 m above sea level, and thus there is plenty of snow during the winter.
Hlíðarfjall ski resort offers ski and snowboard lessons for both children and adults, at all times, just that the lessons must be booked in advance. The gear can be rented on spot and you can check all the prices and other details on the web-page, which has been udpated and has a very good set out.

There are some new features and in order to get information about openinghours, weather and other details, press here.

The front page has a detailed overview of updated weather conditions on the mountain, which comes extremely handy for everchanging Icelandic weather
There are still some challenges and things to be improved.
One of them is an English version of their web-page.
Another one is actual accommodation on the slope. There is none and also a pick up service is missing, which is normally combined with the accommodation. For the time being, of you need a place check out the possibilities either in Akureyri or along the fjord...there are many to choose from.

So let´s see what will future bring.

The following contact number works really well, so if you decide to check this place out, do not hesitate and call (+354) 462 – 2280.

I myself tried some cross-country skiing there and that was awesome....overlooking the long fjord and enjoying well maintaned paths was just a pleasure that I definitely recommend.

A brochure presenting the Hlíðarfjall ski area as well as other ski areas in the neighbourhood, can be found here (NB! 2007 edition).

Looking forward to getting your comments.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Skiing in the northmost village of Iceland

It seems that winter is coming back to the north of Iceland.
There´s a snowstorm starting right behind my windows, as I´m writing this from Dalvík, so no wonder that skiing area of Siglufjordur, I want to introduce today, northwest of us, is closed for today. You can see the video-camera shots online here

Nevertheless, skiing there, is worth trying out, as it´s one of the best in Iceland, so here is some inspiration for all those, interested in winter sports.

Skiing area of Siglufjordur, not far away from Akureyri, offers a great view over the fjord and also a famous herring village itself. There are 3 lifts available and the details are as follows:

The lowest lift:
Starts at 205 metres and ends at 300 metres and is 430 metres long.

The middle lift:
Starts at 300 metres and ends at 520 metres and is 1050 metres long.

The highest lift:
Starts at 470 metres and ends at 660 metres above sea level and is 530 metres long.

The hill itself belongs to one of the best in Iceland and there´s a good service offered to guests at a skiing chalet at the bottom of the hill.

The locals will gladly assist you with skiing gear, if you need to borrow anything and also give you good advice on cross-country skiing possibilities in the area.

Opening hours are to be checked here and the prices range from as low as 600 ISK per adult for half a day up to 1500 ISK per adult for a weekend day.

Once, you´ve had enough of skiing, it´s a must to try out local hot pots in the open air, as well as local food.
Last but not least, truly a living museum that will take you to the herring era, when Siglufjordur was once the most important town of Iceland.
It would be a sinn to miss it, as this museum was built with heart and sweat of local volunteers and enthusiasts and has deservedly won many national and international prizes for its uniqueness.

If you´re in need of accommodation in Siglufjordur, contact and I'm sure he will gladly assist you.

Enjoy Siglufjordur as well as your skiing there and we're looking forward to receiving your feedback, once you will have tried this exceptional skiing area of the northmost village of Iceland.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Eventhough winter in Eyjafjörður doesn´t have as much snow these days as the skiers would wish for, there are many opportunities that one can try out, once in the north, close to Akureyri.

Today, we´re introducing so called KALDBAKSFERÐIR, which translates to English as 'tours on the mountain Kaldbakur'.

The company operating these special tours owns 2 snow cats that will take you to the top of Kaldbakur, the longest ski run in Iceland, 1173 meters high.

Once on top, you can enjoy the panoramic view over the whole fjord. Afterwards, it´s up to your own choice, whether you decide to ski, snowboard, walk, sled or just sit back and enjoy the ride down in the snow cat.

The snow cats have a combined maximum capacity of 52 adults. Both are open air so it is necessary to dress warmly.

The snow cats depart from the parking area north of Grenivík, just 30 minutes drive from Akureyri. It takes around 45 minutes to get to the top of the moountain.

Tours must be booked in advance, so in case you´re interested don´t hesitate and

phone up: 867 3770 or e-mail:

If the conditions are good, the season can last from January all the way to May and there can be up to 3 scheduled tours per day: 10 am, 1 pm, 4 pm, if the minimum number of passengers is booked.

The specialty for the year of 2010 is a locally produced sled that you can borrow and enjoy the downhil sledging to the full.

The prices are as follows:
  • 4.500 ISK / adult
  • 2.500 ISK / children aged beween 6 and 12 years old
  • free for children under 6 years old
Interesting? Sounds like something worth trying while you´re in the north of Iceland?

Don´t hesitate a minute, check out this web-page for more pictures and simply try it out.


P.S.: I´m planning to try it myself soon and will post the impressions as soon as the trip is over.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Tranquility, Silence, Nature embrace,

Horse-back on the ice,

Helic skiing, Ice climbing, Hot pots,

Arctic circle within ferry reach,

Ice fishing, Sea angling,

Bird watching, Whale watching,

Golf at midnight sun, Local handicraft,

Tailored made adrenalin activities: snow mobile, downhill dash and more...

Local quality food, including:
fresh fish, fresh seashells, lambmeat and even local beer

Sounds familiar? Sounds like Iceland? Yes, that´s right.

However, this time we´re introducing you to a well hidden fjord that has kept its tranquility and slow pace, having all the musts that Iceland has to offer:

Eyjafjörður with its Troll peninsula is:

one of the longest fjord in Iceland,
fjord with the second largest town of Iceland: Akureyri,
fjord with close reach to the Arctic Circle,
fjord with endless possibilities for tourists who wish to relax and enjoy the nature embrace, however with all the necessary infrastructure,
fjord with the access to a northmost village of Iceland -> world famous for its herring,
fjord with good weather - lots of sun in the summer time.

This blog aims at introducing you to a great variety of ‚Things to do‘ and ,Things not to do‘ while exploring Eyjafjörður.

We´ve embarked upon a journey of contacting the local providers and seeing what is there on offer, making sure that the word about great service and hospitality spreads around.

We encourage all of you, reading this blog, to post comments and let us hear about your personal experience with the service in the area, as well as your suggestions.

We´ll do our best to let your opinion be heard by those concerned and contribute to improvement of the local services.