Monday, December 26, 2011

Seal in Dalvík harbour

Oh yes, it was back then in November, when we discovered that a seal is enjoying himself at a Dalvík harbour.
Apparently, a seal comes from time to time even to this fishing village harbour hidden in Eyjafjordur.

It was for the first time, when I got to see a seal here and even-though with a month delay, I want to share a picture of him here.

Otherwise, we hope that you´ve been enjoying festive time without stress and wish you great travels full of true experience not only in 2012.

PS: We´re preparing for a welcome of a new member of our family and will be publishing with less frequency. However, we like hearing from you and also your comments so keep on posting and feel free to browse through our older articles - you might find some inspiration for your travels in Iceland.

all the best Lenka and Eggert and a little one still in the belly :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Iceland covered in snow

December 9th, an Icelandic meteorologist Einar Sveinbjörnsson published a satelite picture of Iceland on his blog showing Iceland totally covered in snow.

If you´re one of those, hesitating 'should I go or should I stay?', this might help you decide. From our part of Iceland, we can proudly report that we have a lot of snow. Great conditions for skiing and AURORA shows up from time to time too. Temperatures have been below zero, but outdoor pools stay nicely hot, as long as there´s no wind - and there hasn´t been a snowstorm for quite a while.

Last but not least, cultural life is totally blooming, not only in Akureyri, but also in small villages, such as our little Dalvík.

Christmas markets, concerts, name it.

So, if you´re up for some proper relaxing and revitalization in the middle of nowhere with great food and unusual things to do - dipping yourself in outdoor hot pot, even-though it´s minus 10, then go and book your ticket and give us a shout.

We´ll gladly assist with the rest.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Iceland - THE destination

Here, in our beloved small fisihing village of Dalvík, proper winter has come. We´ve already had a proper snow storm and now are enjoying lots of snow and temperatures below zero.

There´s also considerably less daylight during the day, so we tend to sleep more and go to the pools more often :).

And, we just wanted to remind you that whatever the time of the year, you´re more than welcome to explore this island from inside out and we´re here to help you to get know many places that you´d otherwise not get introduced to.

If you´re asking yourself: What is the best time to travel to Iceland?', then we encourage you to think about what experience you´re undry for - what is it that you truly want to try out and live while exploring this island.

Our answer would be that whatever the time of the year, Iceland is such a unique destination that it always has a lot to offer - the most important thing is that you harmonize your expectations with what is likely to be found here during the particular part of the year.

Well, and we´ve also read that Iceland is the most desirable destination for world travelers in 2012, both according to Lonely Planet and National Geographic.

No matter, whether you follow such advice or not, we keep the fingers crossed and wish you that you´ll be able to come and enjoy (N)iceland whenever the right time comes for you.

We´re here to help and assist, so do not hesitate and contact us.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Time to check out AURORA

Iceland Express is having a hot offer: Iceland for 79EUR from Berlin or 69 quid from London. If you´re thinking of calming your European life down and charging yourself with energy, while enjoying hot geothermal pools and Aurora Borealis, then do click here and book.

And if you´re still hesitant, then we want to share something.
In October, Czech online travelling magazine launched a photo competition and a picture from Iceland (tenting) was one of the winning ones.

Check it out here, it´s the one in the middle and you´ll recognize it thanks to unique light on the sky.

Still hesitant and not knowing what this AURORA is all about or what is it that you could do here? Read more here.

Last but not least,
when flying to Iceland from Europe, you might want to consider checking these 3 companies: - they have their own agents in many European countries, so you might even find the link relevant for your country. - just watch out as they fly mostly during the summer season.

Should you have more questions or need specific advice on booking your air travel to Iceland, do not hesitate to get in touch, we have a lot of experience with flying to Iceland from Europe and using all kinds of combination, so we´ll gladly share our knowledge.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting to Iceland by boat

This bit is written for all those, who really want to take their time when getting all the way to us in Iceland and as Indians say - let their soul arrive too, not only their bodies. This might be quite hard when one travels by plane, so we keep the fingers crossed for all of you, no matter what mean of transport you end up using.

Well, for slow travel to Iceland, there is a company called SMYRIL LINE that operates a boat arriving in Iceland (namely eastern side of the island Seyðisfjörður) between April 1st - October 26th - the schedule is valid for 2012.

Basically, the boat leaves from Denmark (usually Hirtshals) and then stops at Faroe Islands (the stop length varies depending on the season you travel in, so check the schedule for details. After that the next stop is Iceland and the whole journey takes at least two full days. If you leave on Tuesday morning from Denmark, you are in Iceland on Thursday morning - during the high season. The trip might take longer if you opt for departures that enable you to stay overnight in Faroe Islands.

You have quite some choices when it comes to cabins or berths, so do check out the prices well so that you can choose your prefered standard in relation to the price you´re willing to pay in the given period.
When I did a trial booking, I opted for '2 B. Cabin, window but no view (Male share)' and got the price of 224 EUR quoted - only one way.

The booking system is simple and straightforward and it is advisable to book well ahead (you might even end up saving, as there´re special offers on some early bookings). There´s a possibility to book food online beforehand and save up to 20%, which we cannot confirm as we have not taken the boat ourselves, yet.

All those, who will end up testing it, please send us the feedback and share your experience and comments here.

Well, these are the basics when it comes to travel by boat to Iceland. We know a few people, who have taken the boat, so if you need some references, just email us.

Last but not least, once you reach beautiful village of Seyðisfjörður you can travel northwards or southwards around the island. When you decide to go for north, do check out our local hiking tours as they might fit your taste and plans :).

We look forward to welcoming you here.

all the best from Lenka

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

...back after the summer

We ended up being more silent than usual this summer, as life has brought us new surprises and amongst them a baby on the way that is due in February 2012.

So, GO LOCAL Iceland is definitely growing bigger.

Nevertheless, we keep on exploring, especially Eyjafjordur and are always glad to post interesting stuff for you to GO LOCAL here.

I want to share a nice experience from the last weekend, while undergoing some fjord explorations and sort of 'after the summer' check :).

Me and my partner Eggert set off on Saturday morning from Dalvík to Siglufjordur and before you read on I encourage you to check the post here first, so that you can get the whole picture.

It is already October and mountain tops are covered in white. During this part of the year, small fishing villages can appear rather 'dead' to a foreigner who is not familiar with local reality, but quite some surpriseslie ahead once you know your way around locals.
We were up for proper brunch so our first stop, after having passed the tunnel, was a local bakery in the northmost village of Iceland - Siglufjodur. The great news is, that it is still open and running and nothing implies that they would be threatened to close down due to downturn of customers as a result of the tunnel and close vicinity of Akureyri.

The pastry choice was great and staff very friendly. It was thanks to them that we realized that Mugisson was to play that Saturday evening in a local museum - fabolous building taking one back in time.

So we strolled and checked out a very pleasant café-bar, where they hold all kinds of cultural events. That particular Saturday, the cinema screenings were to start and that´s great news as in old days, there used to be a few movies played each and every day in Siglufjodur.

Since the times were clashing, we had to make a choice and we decided for a live concert of Mugisson.
The guys were awesome. The sound in that unique building great and all in all we had very enjoyable time, experiencing Mugisson live again. If you get a chance, go for it, he is ery special and live even MORE :).

To conclude, we´re glad that ´Sigló', which is pretty much as far from Dalvík as Akureyri, is still nicely alive, keeping its charm it has had since we got to know it.

Join in, and check this place out - whatever the season and let us hear your impressions. Should you need any tips, just write to us.

your Go LOCAL team

Monday, August 8, 2011

Luck on the side of Czech Travel agency in Iceland?

Tonight, Icelandic National TV aired news, which among others, reported on a serious accident that happened on Saturday (August 6th) in the afternoon in the highlands of Iceland.

Tourists travelling with Czech travel agency ADVENTURA were extremely lucky on the mentioned Saturday when their transportation vehicle was driving in the lake in highlands and happened to go off the path (that partially runs in the lake) and started drowning.

ADVENTURA uses specially adjusted TATRA truck to travel in Iceland, which is being advertised here.

However, sadly to say, some of the advertisement recordings that show TATRA 'in action' also prove illegal behaviour of some of the Czech drivers of the mentioned vehicle, which are in breach of the Icelandic law.

The accident is being investigated, but the following has been confirmed until now: The fact that vehicle went off the path caused the truck to drown on the bottom of the lake and miraculously the driver of the bus managed to open the roof hatch and let the 11 tourists out of the vehicle in the nick of time before the vehicle submerged in the water.

In the light of what has happened, we want to let all the tourists coming to Iceland know that Icelandic roads, weather conditions and nature are to be taken seriously. There are reasons for speed limits on gravel roads in Iceland.
Thus, we encourage all of you to get familiar with nuances of Icelandic roads that are rather unique.

We recommend you the following web-pages to browse before you come:

VIDEO about driving in Iceland

We wish you enjoyable stay in Iceland with a safe return home.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ring Road complete again

Today, during lunch, the bridge over Múlakvísl was open for traffic again.

Despite original 3-weeks that were anticipated for work to get complete, it basically lasted a week to get things back to normal.

For all of you who are in Iceland, as I write this, it means that travelling between Höfn and Vík is not problematic anymore.

It is recommended, though, to keep up-to-date by checking the webpage of the Icelandic Road Administration.

Here are some other useful pages for you to keep on checking:
Iceland Civil Protection
Safe travel in Iceland
Road Map of Area

Let us know about your experiences as you travel in Iceland.

wishing you all the best, yours

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shakes and floods and tourists URGENT

We´re back after the travels in Finland and Denmark, and Iceland welcomes us with its full power.

Regardless whether you´re coming to Iceland this year or planning to come in the future, the read below might help you understand the power of this island even more.

On July 9th - past Saturday, there was some significant geo activity in Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, which covers the volcano Katla. This all resulted in flooding from two calderas in the southernmost part of the Katla crater. The glacial flood destroyed the bridge across Múlakvísl on the Ring Road, which is one of the most important roads around the island.

Today, July 11th - I´ve received an official statement from the Icelandic Tourist Board to spread amongts all of you, dear tourists and enthusiasts of Iceland. 'The flood destroyed the bridge across Múlakvísl and tore a hole in the Ring Road, Iceland’s highway no. 1, and the only route that leads past this hindrance is the highland road Fjallabaksleid nyrdri, which is only passable for 4x4 vehicles. '

So, for those who already are in Iceland, please do consider your travels in the south well, and if you have any doubts, get in touch with us and we´ll gladly assist.

When it comes to current situation in Mýrdalsjökull glacier in south Iceland, the activity has decreased significantly, according to a geographer at the Icelandic Meteorological Office. The most recent tremors that were picked up by sensors were shallow and not unusual for the area.

For those who would like to read more about what exactly happened click here

For those who would like to watch the video click here and then hit on HORFA (right top corner).

Iceland is safe, one just has to respect the power of nature here, so keep on enjoying your advneturous travels and let us hear your impressions.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Hike below the Arctic

It´s June 17th, officially summer in Iceland, but here in the North, it´s been more of winter temperatures prevailing :(

Today, we´re having a heavy and grey foggy-like cloud hanging over the fjord. The wind is almost close to zero today, so it makes it a bit warmer.
Once, and again, this is Iceland with its erratic and ever-changing weather representing quite a challenge for tourists.

Nevertheless, regardles of this cold summer, I´ve been helping one amazing couple running an extremely homy guesthouse, to organize day trips on majestic mountains of Troll Peninsula. They know the peaks and valleys better than their shoes and it´s been real fun and very enriching to 'cook' interesting hiking trips with them for our visitors who will make it up north this summer.

During selected days within July and August there will be a choice of day trips including a guided hike (in Icelandic being translated to English), ending with a dip in local pool (for those who don´t feel like swimming, there is a jacuzi or hot pot to let their tired muscles relax). After that, we´ll be driven to Bjarnargil (an old farm which was transffered into a guesthouse), where great local dinner prepared with love, using mainly local ingredients will be served.

For an inspiration, check out: and keep on following this web-page to stay up-to-date about the upcoming trips.

Today, I´ve read an interesting piece of news about a waterfall Glymur in Hvalfjördur, west Iceland, which is the country’s highest waterfall with a drop of 198 meters. Apparently it might now lose its status as one of the new waterfalls, which was created at the edge of Morsárjökull glacier, in Vatnajökull national park might be 228 meters high. Well, there is still accurate measuring to be conducted by the National Park´s management, but for the time being all implies, that Glymur is losing its status.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Eastern side of Eyjafjordur - tip for a trip

I was invited by a great local guide Birna, who has become one of our first tourism providers to join GO LOCAL ICELAND, for a 'testing tour' on the eastern side of Eyjafjordur the other day.

This meant that on a nice and sunny Friday (luckily as the day before we had snow and rain) I drove off from Dalvik and copied the shores of the fjord driving towards Akureyri and then heading to a village called Grenivik. After having passed the bridge, connecting both sides of the fjord, one gets to the eastern side of the fjord with awesome views.

The further you drive the more of the western side of the fjord gets uncovered, including a little island Hrisey with around 100 people living there.

One has to watch out for the turn from R1 towards Grenivik, but as soon as you´re on the right road, quite scenic pictures open up - just don´t forget to watch out for sheep.

Birna has been living at a farm called Hleskogar, which is a stone throw from Grenivik (small fishing village) where she was born.

Our tour started in Grenivik, and Birna´s story connected us fully to her ancestors who were very important fishermen in the village and we got to see and hear about what it was like at the beginning of the 20th century when rowing boats were slowly being exchanged for engine boats. Birna is a great story teller and my imagination was full of living pictures as she was bringing us back to history of Grenivik when already 11-year olds were working hard on boats.

There is a little museum by the shore, which will be open during the summer between 1pm - 5pm so make sure you pay it a visit - even-though it does not have signs in English yet, one gets to picture the past well thanks to the objects and pictures displayed.

On the way from Grenivik to a farm, Birna showed us one of the oldest outdoor pool in Iceland beautifully hidden in a gorge. You feel a real pity, knowing that there´s a big questionmark whether to renovate it or not. I hope it will turn out well and we´ll have a dip there in near future.

Well, having been introduced to a local farm setting and shown a unique plant that only grows in one particular stone and nowhere else in Iceland, we had a nice walk overlooking the fjord and listeining to Birna´s stories (including a mystery about one maybe an old grave?..).

Last but not least, being invited to her house and tasting local fish dish and a local cake with home-made cream, was a nice ending of the whole trip.

The tour was around 4 hours, including the introduction to their own hydro-power station that is fully servicing the farm. Thanks to great real stories Grenivik became more alive for me than before and I even discovered places I definitely want to go back to.

On top of this, there are some amazing hiking trails in an area called 'Fjordur' and basically the whole eastern shore of Eyjafjordur Latrastrond is worth the whole day visit and strolling and discovering remains of abandoned farms.

So - plenty to choose from for a local traveller, just roll out the map and make up your mind.

And don´t forget:

The weather in Iceland isn’t exactly balmy – one can experience hail in July, and be effectively trapped on a campsite by a storm for a few days, whilst tents are flying around the campsite. You can’t guarantee the weather in Iceland!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fresh June tips for day trips in Eyjafjordur

It´s supposidly summer in Iceland, however, weather changes (especially here in the North) make us feel as if it was still winter time. (to stay up-to-date about wheather follow this page.)

Well, as I´ve mentioned many times, Iceland with its erratic weather changes can be quite a challenge for a traveller who likes sticking to rigorous and fixed plans. So I invite us all to think about this proverb: 'a good traveler has no fixed plans.'

Bearing the above in mind, I want to share a possible trip you might want to take, while exploring Eyjafjordur. In the coming months, I´ll be testing local tours and local options and will be posting my experience here, so do follow us, if you´re interested.

Last week, me and my boyfriend decided to use a day of public holiday to enjoy our favourite northmost village of Iceland called Siglufjordur. We drove from Dalvík (30 mins drive from Akureyri) along the fjord and decided to test a new tunnel instead of driving the old mountain pass road.

This means that we would see an island Hrisey in the fjord from the road and see as far as Grindavik (a small fishing village on the other side of Eyjafjordur). If the visibility is good one can even see Grimsey on the horizon (located above the Arctic circle). Before getting to Olafsfjordur, you drive in through a one-lane tunnel. We call it a tunnel of trolls as it looks like a cave inside and can be quite an experience to drive through it.
Having passed Olafsjordur, we carried on to a two-lane tunnel (more modern and much brighter than the first one) that gets you first to Hedinsfjordur (once a pristine fjord that was only accessible by boat) and then to Siglufjordur.

Our plan was to have nice breakfast in a local bakery and stroll around the town, visiting our friends (I used to live there for a year) and end the day with a quality dinner in a wonderful local restaurant Hanes Boy. Even-though, it was a public holiday (or maybe because of that), neither of the two places was open. There´s a must see in Siglufjordur and it is an exceptional museum (awarded many prizes). It was open and will be during this summer, so make sure you include a visit there in your plan. On top of this, there are also nice walking trails above the town with great views, so we definitely recommend.

All in all, summer should be more lively and places should be open, so we hope that you´ll enjoy your time in 'Siglo', once you make it here. Those interested in hiking in the mountains, you might easily stay a few days, making hikes every day and exploring local majestic mountains overlooking the fjord. Once leaving Siglo, you might consider the other way (heading west) towards Ketilas and either take the old mountain pass road or take the ringroad number 1 and stop by in Holar and Hofsos - (don´t forget about the pool there)on the way.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Interesting local spots in Eyjafjordur

It´s already May here and I´m back from all my travels related to interesting trainings supporting self-directed learning. (Imagine people free to decide what they want to learn and how, unlike at formal traditional schools that we know from old times - check more here).

Coming back to my small fishing village of Dalvík, I was welcome by a winter-like weather with some snow and quite low temperatures, so those who intended tenting in Iceland might reconsider their plans.

And as I´m writing this, there is news announcing an eruption in the South of Iceland in the area of Grimsvatn under the biggest glacier of Iceland VATNAJOKUL. Click here to follow up on latest news from the area.

We´re still to see what affect this eruption will have not only on tourism industry in Iceland.

Well, and back to May - a month of love. In our GO local Iceland BLOG, I want to cover interesting local spots/places to visit in Eyjafjordur.

So I would like to start with the latest news related to interesting spots and will carry on next week too.

The Icelandic wilderness and its spectacular surroundings are the perfect setting for outdoor activities, especially, the mountains of Tröllaskagi or Trolls' Peninsula, between the fjords of Eyjafjörður and Skagafjörður, are renowned as some of Iceland's most spectacular areas for such activities. Just to give you a small picture, now, it´s a peak season for arctic and heli skiing.
During summer months hiking is very popular and there are many hiking tours on offer in the area. Keep on checking Iceland hiking tours page to stay up-to-date.

Last but not least, I want to share the news related to chance winning 1 million Icelandic crowns. No matter how surreal that sounds, ...if you like bird watching - and that is one of those activities that many parts of Iceland are paradise for, including Troll Peninsula and Eyjafjordur - your bird watching photo can bring you luck in a competition of the summer 2011.
Read more here.

Well, stay tuned and read us next week again with latest news on the volcano and some more interesting tips for a visit in Eyjafjordur and Troll Peninsula.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Swim is a must in Iceland

No matter what time of the year you would come to Iceland, trying out one of the pools or lagoons is a must here.

Since Icelanders have had enough geothermal energy, they have been building all kinds of swimming pools (both indoors and outdoors) all over the country and have even maintained a concept of something that is called natural hot pots in wild nature. Icelandic swimming pools are famous for its nicely warm water and next to the pool itself, there is usually a hot pot (small pool with water beteen 37 degrees up to 42 degrees Celsius for relaxation.)

Today, I´m going to share a list of pools that are to be found in Eyjafjordur and Troll Peninsula, so that you can make your go local experience truly complete here in our region.

While I was searching for some pictures of one of my favourite pools, I´ve come across a very useful webpage that many of you will appreciate while travelling in Iceland. It lists all the thermal pools in Iceland and is to be found here.

Now, I´ll take you to the North of Iceland and will start my list with 'capital of the north' AKUREYRI and a big pool there.

Then south of Akureyri, there is a village called HRAFNAGIL and you will find the details of the pool by clicking on the name of the village.

Going back north and heading to the eastern side of Eyjafordur (the longest fjord of Iceland), there are two pools to be found on the way.
One is in a village called SVALBARDSEYRI and the other one in GRENIVIK.
As you drive from Akureyri in the direction of Grenivik, you will pass SVALBARDSEYRI on the way. There are a few accommodation facilities including a hotel and there is also a swimming pool. I have never been there myself and was not able to find concrete directions online, so try your luck, asking locals.

Another pool is in a nice and small fishing village GRENIVIK. The pool has a very attractive name: Sundlaug Grýtubakkahrepps and when you click here, you will find some information about it in Icelandic. Make sure to scroll down, until you find that nice name in Icelandic and enjoy at least the picture.

Eyjafjordur is famous for its two beautiful inhabited islands: Hrisey and Grimsey. There are swimming pools to be found on both of these islands so check the details here: GRIMSEY and HRISEY.

Check out the map of Eyjafjordur as now I´m taking you back to Akureyri and from there a little northwest as if you were driving to Reykjavik. On your right, there is a school called THELAMORK, where they have a public swimming pool. It seems that opening hours in the summer will be as follows:
Monday - Friday: 10.00 - 22.00
Saturday: 10.00 - 19.00
Sunday: 10.00 - 22.00

I´m still waiting for the final confirmation from them and will update it accordingly as soon as I get it.

From Thelamork, we´re heading back, as if we wanted to go to Akureyri, but we take a turn into the fjord and carry on in the direction of Dalvik. There are two pools to be found in Dalvik, one is indoors and the other one is outdoors.
The one outdoors is in the village itself and used to have very beautiful view over the surrounding mountains. However, recently there as a gym built right next to it, which partially disturbs the view. The pool is nice and modern and definitely recommended. After cliking on Dalvik, by scrolling a bit down you´re able to find at least a picture of it.
When it comes to the indoor pool, the story is rather different. The pool was built at the beginning of the 20th century in a valley very close to Dalvík and is considered one of the oldest pools of Iceland. It is hidden in a small house and you can rent the whole pool (as it´s cutely small) in the swimming pool of Dalvik. You can make a reservation in the outdoor swimming pool of Dalvik by paying them a visit or ringing them: 466 3233

The cute indoor pool has a very nice name: SUNDSKALI SVARFDÆLA and I hope that with the help of locals you will be able to find it. Once you get to the valley of Svarfaðardalur, it is on your right and is marked with a sign.

Carrying on northwards along the fjord from Dalvik, we get to OLAFSFJORDUR and limited information about their pool is to be found here. It is only in Iceland and again you have to scroll down to find SUND. No picture there unfortunately. The pool was reconstructed in 2010 and is very nice.

From Olafsfjodur, driving via newly opened tunnel we get to the northmost village of Iceland called SIGLUFJORDUR. The pool there is indoors, however, they have at least their hot pot outside. Unfotunately the view is not the best.The webpage is the same as for Olafsjordur and there´s no picture to be found.

From Siglufjordur, I´m taking you in the direction of HOLAR, copying the sea shores. Once you pass Ketilas (famous crossroad), and carry on driving, there will be a pool called SOLGARDAR on your left. It´s a small and nice outdoor pool.

Carrying on in the direction of HOLAR, there is a village called HOFSOS. There are pools in both places and I´ll start with the one in HOLAR that I haven´t been to yet. You will find more information after clicking on HOLAR, however, I haven´t found any picture yet.

Last, but definitely not least is a newly opened outdoor swimming pool in HOFSOS, which is a perfectly located enabling you to overlook the sea while you´re swimming. The view is magnifiecient and I personally rate it as one of the nicest pools in Eyjafjordur and Troll Peninsula (see the picture at the top of my article). It´s not that easy to find, so make sure you ask the locals in case you ended up having troubles finding it.

Well, and that´s it for today. I must admit that I´m surprised myself how much time it took me to track all this information down, and still not exhaustive enough, as
it´s hard to say how well updated the opening hours on the pages are.
All in all, my recommendation is as follows:

As soon as you come to a place, where you would like to have a swim, find a local pool - SUNDLAUG - as one of the first things and check out the opening hours as well as price and then include the pool visit in your plan accordingly. The price is really low for the service you get in pools in Iceland so enjoy it and post your comments here, please.

In one of the next articles, I will also uncover some secrets around natural hot pots of our region.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fair or unfair...?

I travel rather often between Iceland and the rest of Europe due to educational activities I carry out and have recently noticed an interesting change I would like to share with you here.

Once you arrive in Iceland by plane to Keflavik, there are a few options how to get to Reykjavík and then carry on exploring the rest of Iceland:
1, You can rent a car and have it ready waiting for you at the parking lot of the airport.
2, You can have somebody, who you know, pick you up and drive you.
3, You can take a taxi.
4, You can take a bus called Fly bus, which is one and only official bus connection between the airport and the capital.

I often take the bus and the change I´ve recently noticed is the following:
When I got on the bus and we set off, a nice voice in speakers welcomed us and gave us instructions on safety on board.
Some minutes later, some other nice voice was telling me that Reykjavík Excursions are offering many interesting tours, including a tour to Blue Lagoon and that I could find more detailed information in the booklet of my seat.

This made me think. I was sitting on the bus that is supposed to serve wide public and that operates on a very lucrative route between one of the most used entry points to Iceland and Reykjavík.

The company is private and honestly speaking I´m not really sure how long they´ve been operating this route and how they managed to get the monopoly for it. However, I know for sure that a few years ago, there would be brochures of Icelandic Excursions waiting for me in the seat pocket and now it´s also an announcement through speakers reminding me what is it that they have on offer.

Being in shoes of a private company I totally understand that Reykjavík Excursions are using all possible marketing tools to advertise their services.
Being in shoes of a person living in Iceland, however, I doubt the fairness here. If you think of number of tourists that possibly take the FlyBus to get from Keflavík to Reykjavík, how come that they only get to hear very limited offer connected to one and only company operating this unique bus route?
Most of those taking this bus are tourists who have come to explore Iceland and we all know that Iceland is much much more than a number of tours that Iceland Excursions have had on offer.

Are we ever going to hear something different in speakers in the future?

Is there a possibility that marketing offices of other parts of Iceland would pay a small amount to Reykjavík Excursions so that other parts of Iceland could be advertised too?

Can we imagine that advertising other parts of Iceland would happen on the FlyBus without any extra fee being paid to Reykjavík Excursions? It´s still a dream for now, but if this became a reality then I guess we´d be seeing that tourism in Iceland is maturing and doesn´t wear its infancy nappies as it is unfortunately still the case.

Reykjavík Excursions claim on their webpage:
We´ll take you there. All the most exciting places in Iceland.

Well, it´s really possible to see many exciting places via Reykjavík Excursions, but I also know they are not necessarily the most exciting places of Iceland. There´s just as much excitement off the beaten track, where Iceland Excursions don´t offer tours, and I encourage you all to explore them too.

P.S.: It will be interesting to find out how did Reykjavík Excursions manage to obtain such a unique permission for operating this lucrative route between Keflavík and Reykjavík.

By then, let´s keep on exploring Iceland and all its beauty, having the eyes open for all kinds of tours, not only thouse shouting at us from good-looking brochures and leaflets.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gossips in HoT PoTs

Recently, I‘ve been asked to cooperate on very interesting tourism projects and I would like to share some thoughts here.

Eventhough tourism is rather young industry in Iceland, it‘s been developing really dynamically for the past few years. I‘ve been privileged to watch its development in the Northern part of it and was even contracted to co-organize one very big conference, at the end of February.

One of the crucial parts of the conference was a workshop, where using a special research methodology of focus groups, future image of North Iceland was being explored. Around 100 people took part at the workshop and thus we could gather very precious opinions and thoughts and visions of those representing various tourism fields and institutions.

The outcomes are still being worked on, as I write, but already now, it‘s rather obvious that majority of the participants is calling for strengthening mutual cooperation so that they are stronger once promoting the desired image agreed upon. This is a great sign of moving forward, as recognizing the need for cooperation and also being able to act in a way which makes providers stronger together, is an important first step.

I‘ll keep you posted here and let you know once the workshop conclusions will be made public, in the meantime you might find interesting to read impressions of North Iceland of one of the main speakers at the conference Simon Calder.

On top of this, I‘ve also checked out an ongoing exhibition in Reykjavík. It‘s called Travel without destination and is throwing fresh and somewhat different perspective of looking at tourism industry and understanding of travellers and destinations.

If you have been asking yourself: Why do people travel? What do they bring with them (in their minds) and what do they leave at the place of visit? How do promoted images of destinations influence us as travellers? And so on and so forth, you might definitely find the exhibition inispiring and horizons widening. And eventhough you haven‘t pondered over the questions above, you still might find the exhibtion worthwhile. Click here for details.

And now, to our March theme which has been „activities one can enjoy in Iceland out of the peak season.“

Last time we covered horseback-riding and today I‘ll shed a bit more light swimming pools in Iceland. It‘s a really special phenomenon and is deeply rooted in the culture of Icelanders. Thus if you‘re up for getting to know that part Icelandic culture, it‘s a must to try out at least one local swimming pool or a natural hot pot, once visiting Iceland.

WHY a special phenomenon?
1, Iceland is full of contrasts and eventhough the weather can be really harsh and long winters sometimes seem endless, we have natural sources of geothermal energy on the island, which have enabled Icelanders build many outdoor swimming pools and hot pots. Not to mention that natural hot pots scattered all over the country are another attractive magnet to indulge.

2, Swimming pools are cheap, concerning the service one gets in return and represent a socializing place for Icelanders.

This means that both, in Reykjavík and also in every small settlement you‘re able to find a swimming pool. Most of them are outdoors with pleasantly warm water in pools and with hot water in hot pots. So, not only can you enjoy swimming all year round (reardless of weather outside), but also simply dip yourself in a hot pot and chat with locals, getting to know local gossips.
In the next article, I‘ll post the list of pools available in Ejafjordur and article after that will be about natural hot pots.
Me off for a swim now and I look fwd to hearing your stories and latest gossips.

Friday, March 4, 2011

AURORA and more horse-back in the fjord

Eventhough, I´ve been living in Iceland for almost 4 years now, I still get impressed and awed at speed, at which days start to get longer in January. Or, in other words, it´s truly incredible to feel the energy coming back and realizing that each and every day, it´s gets brighter earlier in the morning and gets darker later in the day. That´s a sign that winter will be coming to an end.

However, before that happens fully and we´ll welcome spring, there is still chance for all of you enjoying Iceland out of the high season to watch a spectacle called

There´s a great webpage published by a research institute in Alaska that gives an excellent forecast on visibility levels in a chosen location. I attach the link for all of you, who will be up for watching Aurora in Iceland, so don´t hesitate and check it out here.

The scale is from 0 to 9 and if a predicted number is 3, you already have a good chance to see some Aurora dancing up in the sky. However, for the best results, make sure that you get further away from public lights. No clouds in the sky help too, but this is something tha you cannot influence, really.

Well and since it´s March and we´re introducing all kinds of activities that one can enjoy in Iceland also out of the peak summer, I´m adding some more info on horse-back riding so that we have our horse-back riding list complete.

There´s one more company, on top of the other two introduced in my last article that is just 5 minutes drive from Akureyri. It is called Kátur and is actually the closest one to Akureyri out of all the three companies described.

Now, details about the service:
Company name: KÁTUR
1-hour tour: 5.000 ISK per person
2-hour tour: 7.000 ISK per person
3-hour tour: 9.500 ISK per person
Midnight tour (specialty of Kátur): 7.000 ISK per person

The daily schedule is as follows:
09.00 13.00 17.00
Midnight tours take place only in June and July departing on Fridays 23.30 and returning 00.30.

00354 - 695-7218
00354 - 847-2208
How to get there: I will add advice on how to get there, as soon as I have it confirmed from locals. A farm, where the rental is, is called Kaupangsbakkar, Eyjafjarðarsveit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Horse back in magic valleys

It´s March and we´re going to zoom in on activities that one can enjoy in the area of Eyjafjordur (close to Akureyri) all year round.

We´re starting with horse-back riding possibilities.
I personally know stables, a few minutes drive from Dalvík - which is around 30 mins drive from Akureyri, so I´ll start with the western side of the fjord, where those stables are. Eventhough the stables are rather big, concerning the sizes of nearby towns, there´s only one company that has been running horseback riding business there. Simbi is the owner and has been working with horses for many many years and if I remember well, he´s to be found in stables almost every day, including the weekends. He knows his job really well and you can bet that the experience you will get, if you decide to ride with him, will be truly local. On top of this, the area for riding is a beatiful valley with many interesting sagas, including a lovely wooden church.

Now, details about the service:
Please note, that they still don´t have their own web-page yet.
Company name: TVISTUR Horse rental
1-hour tour: 4.000 ISK per person
1,5-hour tour: 5.000 ISK per person
2-hour tour: 7.000 ISK per person
3-hour tour: 8.500 ISK per person
00354 - 861-9631 SIMBI
00354 - 616-9629 ELLA
How to get there: From Dalvík, after you have left the town, take the first turn to the right (sign: Svarfaðardalur). Follow the road for a few minutes, until you see big stables on your left called HRINGSHOLT.

On the eastern side of the fjord, around 30 mins drive from Akureyri, there is a bigger company, with 25 years of experience called POLAR HESTAR. They´re situated at a farm where they have around 100 horses and more than double as many sheep. Beautiful and friendly couple Stefan and Juliane are the ones running the company and here is their offer with really well prepared longer tours (lasting a few days):
Company name: POLAR HESTAR
1-hour tour: 3.500 ISK per person
2-hour tour: 5.500 ISK per person
When it comes to longer tours that Pólarhestar are experts in, 'Farm holidays tour', lasting 8 days and 7 nights costs 800 EUR and is available out of the high season (from April to middle of May and middle of September to middle of October).
There are actually 3 other kinds of longer tours to choose from and they are to be found here
00354 - 463 3179 Stefan and Juliane
How to get there: From Akureyri you drive direction east (Myvatn/ Egilsstaðir) on road no 1. After about 15 minutes you turn to the left into road no 83 ( Laufás/ Grenivík). You follow this road for again about 15 minutes, passing the famous turf houses of Laufás and the church. Cross the river Fnjóská and turn once again to the left direction Grenivík. After a few minutes you will find the farm on your right. It is marked with big letters PÓLAR HESTAR.

That´s it for today from both sides of the fjord. Do let us know and leave a comment here, once your riding tour is over. Should you be having troubles getting in touch with the companies, do write to me:

And last but not least, an interesting link full of impressions from travels in the North written by artists who spent some time exploring North Iceland.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Go local and enjoy local yammies

It´s March 1st and I have to apologise for a delay as February was the month to blog about local food adventures.

The excuse is my full involvement in conference preparation for a Tourism Marketing Office of North Iceland, which brought some very nice discussions and I will share some interesting outcomes here as soon as the evaluation process is finished.

But now, back to a promised virtual journey full of great local food in Eyjafjordur.

I want to start with introducing a new concept that started last year and is about mapping possibilities of tasting local food directly from farms where it´s being made, grown, processed, you name it.

Once you click here, you will get to a map of Iceland, showing places where it´s possible to visit a farm directly and get fresh products right at the spot. Unfortunately, the web-page is in Icelandic only but I will help you navigate here.

Once clicking on dots scattered in Eyjafjordur, we find the following on offer:
this farm has been processing feathers and making eider-downs - eventhough this is not food, it might be interesting for some of you to visit the place and just see how they do it. They also have home-grown potatoes for sale.

these guys have home-made ice-cream and the flavours they offer range from traditional taste all the way to beer ice-cream. It´s a must to try, I´d say.

South of Akureyri, you have the chance to visit a cow´s farm where they serve fresh dried beef and a wide range of beef yammies that one might think of.

Now, there´s definitely more to add on the map as I know a few more tips from the fjord that I´ll share with you here.

EKTA FISKUR in Hauganes - Professsionals in making great food out of fresh fish. They also sell all kinds of fish and their specialty for tourists is so called GOLDEN BOX with salted fish - BACALAO - perfectly packed present to be taken home.

KALDI in Árskogssandur belongs to one of the best local beers in Iceland. It´s one and only non-pasterized beer and you´re welcome to pop in for tasting anytime. (might be wise to call beforehand in the summer as they´re getting overbooked then).

Last but not least, there is a newly opened restaurant in Siglufjordur called Hannes Boy - a charming place with excellent food. Another must, although I have to admit that I was rather disappointed, finding it close in February without any sign saying why or when they´d open next :(.

Akureyri, as a metropolis of North, has quite some places on offer and I recommend you to check their pages to find exactly something that would fit your taste and preference.
My personal favourite one is a lovely café called 'the blue mug' - I could die for the cakes their including their home-made cream.

Well, that´s it for today. Should you be having troubles finding the places described above, do write to me: or phone me up:00354- 840 13 29, I´ll be happy to help.
Otherwise, I definitely recommend having a phone number of the place you decide to visit, especially during winter time so that they can come and open for you eventhough at the time of your visit they might be busy with something else - welcome to Iceland.


Troll peninsula full of surprises

Eventhough February posts were meant to cover local food possiblities, I feel like sharing exciting news related to inspiring tourism operations where words like ARCTIC HELI SKIING, SKI TOURING TRIPS, ICE CLIMBING, HAUTE ROUTE OF THE TROLL´S represent every day 'bread'.

The reason being that I happened to attend a presentation last week, where a founder of the company Jökull Bergmenn shared his story (including lots of great pictures and professional videos), as well as his experience and future vision of the majestic mountains of Troll Peninsula.

No matter how close to skiing and skies and climbing you feel, checking out the pictures and videos is definitely worth it as they say much more than words.

There´s a great variety of very professional service that Jökull´s company has on offer that has contributed big time to putting Troll Peninsula of Iceland on the world map of heli skiing.

Funnily enough, not many locals know about what these mountains have on offer and very often it´s actually foreigners who have been using the full potential of it rather than locals. Nevertheless, there´s a growing trend of hiking in the summer and the vision is that not only foreigners but also locals will be able to appreciate and even take most out of what this powerful Alp-like range here has on offer, all year round.

There´s a big challenge of finding ways that will support local kids and youngsters stay connected to nature and even make most out if it through fun activities that are enriching. I see a great potential in that and am looking forward to working in that direction alongside people like Jökull.

Enjoy the videos and let us know, should you have any questions or thoughts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter in Iceland cheaply

Yes, once and again, there´re some good deals offered by Iceland Express on flights to Iceland from now until January 31st.

Don´t hesitate and check the details out here.

Last post was about a village of Olafsfjordur and today, we´re moving to the northmost village of Iceland Siglufjordur, currently with heaps of snow all over the place.
Just a reminder for those who haven´t been to this part of the world. In winter time, we strongly reccommend to use newly opened tunnel to get to Siglufjordur.

This place has truly an exceptational spirit and locals are very friendly and extremely hospitable. Now wonder, that there´re something special in the air, if you consider that this northmost village used to be isolated in winter time, especially when blizzard came round and there was no way of getting out of the place surrounded by imposant mountains.
Now, thanks to the tunnel opened in 2010, things are a bit different and let´s see what the future will bring.

So, it´s definitely worth stopping by and once there, it´s a MUST to visit award-winning herring museum. No words can describe the experience you will get, once there, so GO FOR IT and let us know what you think.
When it comes to accommodation,

HVANNEYRI - a friendly gueshouse-like hostel (part of Hostelling International) is in the very center.

I stayed there for one night in 2008 and was very satisfied with the service, cleanliness and friendly staff. Check out some inspirational pictures here.

The website is in 5 languages and except from the updated prices you're able to find all the necessary details there.
I´ve got in touch with the owners and got the confirmation that the cheapest winter option for members costs 2.700 ISK per person per night and 3.300 ISK per for non-member. Pillow and a duvet included.

Last but not least, there has been an exciting tourism project going on full of refurbishment of old houses and giving Siglufjordur even more special look and sould than it already has. Keep up-to-date here.

Looking forward to hearing your comments about Siglo alias Siglufjordur here.

Should you need some more advice or assistance do not hesitate and write:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Off the beaten track not only for passionate BIRDWATCHERS

If you make it all the way to Akureyri (the second largest town of Iceland), you basically make it to the mouth of the longest fjord of Iceland, called Eyjafjordur.

This fjord, together with its Troll Peninsula, offers endless possibilities all year round for Going Local in Iceland. Eventhough, you will not be able to find a brochure promoting Eyjafjordur and Peninsula of Trolls as a whole with all its possibilities, there are a few of us here who have putting a lot of effort to make the common promotion happen, thus helping you get most of your stay according to your preferences and interests.

One of those local "promoters" of this beautiful area have been two brothers who have been running a set of accommodation facilities in Olafsjordur.

The accommodation is located right next to a beautiful lake (suitable for both, fishing and canooing) in the fjord embraced by high mountains. It is the area where one truly gets reconnected to himself/herself, as it's a bit further from a village (yet still close enough).

The area is considered birdwatchers' paradise and the brothers running the accommodation initiated a 1.000.000 Icelandic crown competition for those taking pictures of birds in 2010 in the area. You can check the winning pictures and more details here.

Now, to the accommodation itself - one can choose either a hotel type accommodation or Finish bungalow style bungalows with hot pots included.

I somehow anticipate that Go Local enthusiats would prefer bungalows to the hotel, but since the offer is there, definitely check the prices and description so that you choose what fits your needs best.

At the time of writing the article, the prices are not available on the hotel webpage, but will be coming up soon.

I include a basic price overview, quoting the cheapest possibilities in winter season
(quoted prices valid until March 31st 2011):
Finish-style bungalow for 6 people: 143 EUR
Finish-style bungalow for 5 people: 133 EUR
Finish-style bungalow for 4 people: 124 EUR

The price includes accommodation only, as there are kitchen facilities available. There is a possibility to book breakfast for extra charge.

If you manage to fill the bungalow with 6 people, then the price per person per night comes down to 28,83 EUR.

The hotel accommodation option is the cheapest, if there are two of you staying in double room. Then the price valid until March 31st 2011 comes down to 47,5 EUR per person per night, including breakfast.

After staying in Olafsfjordur, you might want to carry on through the tunnel and explore the north most village of Siglufjordur with very strong herring tradition and unique community of generous and friendly locals. Stay tuned and we will tell you more on Local Travel possibilities in magic area right below the Arctic.