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.