Northern lights season starting

The lights on the sky.
Aurora Borealis opening up on the sky above Iceland.

The northern lights season is about to start.  Sunset is around 9pm and darkness close to 10pm so it is ideal to start the northern lights tour at 9pm. The tour usually takes all in all three hours so you will be back to your hotel close to midnight.

The aurora forecast is great today and for the next days. Tonight it is 4 out of 9 which is a good forecast, tomorrow is als 4 out of 9. At the end of the week it goes down to 3. Seems like the season has a good start.

How to Dress for Iceland

Guðrún Helga in Snæfellsjökull national park.
Me dressed warm in front of Mt Kirkjufell. Please notice the shoewear.

The climate is mild in Iceland, 0°C on average in winter and +13°C in summer. It rains a lot in Iceland and it can be windy. So, what kind of clothing to take with you? Here is my advice for a winter trip:

1 Woolen underwear, longjohns and long-sleeved shirt. Woolen socks.

2 Fleece sweater or warm sweater.

3 Parka or a warm wind-proof jacket.

4 Hats and gloves.

5 Hiking boots or winter boots.

6 Full rain-gear.

In summer you don’t need the woolen underwear but you need a warm sweater or a jacket, possibly a parka (early and late in summer), hiking boots and definitely a rain-gear.

Popular outdoor sweater.
Lopapeysa is the traditional Icelandic woolen sweater.

Itinerary for a private Golden Circle tour

Geysir geothermal area has a lot of geysers
You see the geyser spouting during the golden circle day tour.

The Golden Circle day tour is a great opportunity to see some of the most famous spots in Iceland but you can also see other places on the way. Here are the places that you see:

* Nesjavellir area in summer only
* Volcano Hengill
* Lake Thingvallavatn
* National park Thingvellir – short sightseeing walk if you like
* Lyngdalsheidi plateau – having a cup of coffee at a cave cafe if you like (coffee not included in the price)
* Driving through Laugarvatn lake and village
* Geothermal area Geysir with geysers spouting hot water and steam – Strokkur being the most active geyser
* Golden waterfall Gullfoss
* Lunch at hothouse restaurant Fridheimar? Barn restaurant Efsti-Dalur or mushroom restaurant in Fludir?
* Passing town Selfoss
* Passing flower town Hveragerdi, break for coffee if time permits.
* Hellisheidi plateau on the way to Reykjavik

Optional extras:

Secret Lagoon at ISK 3000 per person

Fontana Spa at ISK 4000 per person

Crater Kerid at ISk 400 per person

Here you can see more information about the day tour. 

Reykjavik custom-made city walk

Hallgrimskirkja is one of the main landmarks in Reykjavik
Hallgrimskirkja is the biggest and probably most interesting church in Reykjavik city. Outside the church is the statue of viking explorer Leif the Lucky.

Reykjavik city is a young city but definitely worth a sightseeing tour, a short sightseeing walk in the centre of Reykjavik where you see some of the most important landmarks or a day tour walking and driving around in Reykjavik. So, what do you want to do? Here is a suggestion for a walking tour:

* The tiny old part of Reykjavik
* The parliament
* The cathedral
* The city hall
* The pond
* The main square if you are ok with a short walk, otherwise we just pass it on the way
* Statue of Ingolfur Arnarson
* Statue of Leif the Lucky (Viking that discovered North-America)
* Hallgrimskirkja church
* Catholic cathedral
* Old harbour
* Harpa music house

If you want to do a custom-made private day tour driving and walking then the itinerary can of course be much longer. Here is what it could look like:

Óþekkti skrifstofumaðurinn
Whose blockhead is this? Statue by the pond in Reykjavik city, Iceland.

* The tiny old part of Reykjavik
* The parliament
* The cathedral
* The city hall
* The pond
* Hofdi house where the 1986 summit took place
* The University of Iceland’s main building
* The Nordic House
* Piece of the Berlin wall in Reykjavik
* The main square if you are ok with a short walk, otherwise we just pass it on the way
* Statue of Ingolfur Arnarson
* Statue of Leif the Lucky (Viking that discovered North-America)
* Hallgrimskirkja church
* Catholic cathedral
* Old harbour
* Harpa music house
* Passing Perlan water tower
* Grotta lighthouse
* Stopping at a warm pool in Grotta. It is possible to take a foot bath, please bring towels.
* The Viking village and town of the hidden people
* President’s residence
* Murals in Reykjavik, e.g. by Reykjavik city artist Erro

More if time permits and as you wish.

If you need more information then please click here. 

#daytours #iceland #privateguideiniceland #icelandprivateguide #reykjaviktours

Mural during Golden Circle Private Tour

Picture on golden circle day tour
This mural in new. It is on one of the boreholes in Nesjavellir. We see it in summer during the Golden Circle tour.

I love to be able to drive different roads in summer and one of my favorite roads from Reykjavik are surrounding volcano Hengill to the Nesjavellir geothermal area. The view from there is breathtaking and plus that you get to know about the geothermal activity in Iceland. The road to Nesjavellir was recently opned and on my first trip I discovered a new mural on one of the boreholes. Of course I took a photo and you see it here to the right.

#goldencircle #daytours #iceland #travel

Bathing Trip to Iceland

Looking over the lagoon in Grindavik.
The Blue Lagoon is beautiful to go in sunshine but even in rain.

Icelanders are bathing crazy since they always have had access to the hot water in nature so why not join them and do a bathing trip to Iceland? Here is a suggestion for a seven days trip to Iceland with bathing every day. Some of the pools are nice, modern spas with changing rooms and showers but the natural pools are very basic, just hot water welling up in nature, no changing rooms, toilets or showers.

Day 1
Arrival to Iceland. After pick-up at airport we go to the Blue Lagoon where you enjoy the hot water before going to your hotel in Reykjavik.

Day 2
Golden Circle tour with national park Thingvellir where the viking parliament used to be located – unique because of its nature, golden waterfall Gullfoss and geothermal area Geysir. Bathing at the Secret Lagoon before heading back to Reykjavik.

Day 3
Volcanic and Glaical South Coast of Iceland with – like the name of the tour states – all kinds of magnificent waterfalls, new and old volcanoes, vast and thick glaciers and then the beautiful black beach Reynisfjara with the basalt stacks. Optional to take a short hike to Seljavallalaug for bathing but please notice that there are no changing rooms or showers. You can also take an optional 1.5 hours hike up to a hot river for bathing. The hike down takes 1 hour. Back to Reykjavik. No facilities at the hot river.

Secret Lagoon and surroundings.
The Secret Lagoon is a wonderful place for bathing despite this shark.

Day 4
Landmannalaugar reservation area in the interior of Iceland (summers only). During the tour you see volcanic desserts, lava and then very colorful, unique nature and shapes in the mountains. We are driving along Mt Hekla which is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Iceland. Optional to take a bath in the hot spring. No changing facilities but showers.

Day 5
Western interior with waterfalls driving along one of the most beautiful fjords in this country, lava field, glacial rivers, driving all the way up to the glacier Langjokull (in summer only) and then back to Europe’s biggest hot spring. Bathing in Krauma Spa.

Day 6
Snaefellsjokull national park crossing lava fields, driving around the volcano and along the Atlantic, passing craters and all kinds of shapes in the nature. Optional to go to a natural hot spring for bathing. No facilities at the hot spring.

Day 7
Public swimming pool to bathe with the locals. Transfer to airport.

Please notice that the natural hot pools are optional. The natural hot pools can be crowded.

Dyrhólaey with blowing hole

Two gaps into the headland.
Dyrhólaey is one of the many gems along the south coast of Iceland.

Dyrhólaey is a headland on the south coast that can be included in the south coast tour seeing waterfalls, volcanoes, glaciers and the black beach Reynisfjara.

Dyrhólaey is close to 120 metre high (350 feet) and it is really many places in one, all of them interesting.

We drive up to the top of the headland where you take a short walk to see the arch on the photo above. If you like walking then you’ll enjoy the walk down the slope. Down there I meet you and take you to see different things in the nature. We will enjoy the view over the black beach Reynisfjara and to the dykes and cliffs in the ocean close to land. We will also see a blowing hole and all kinds of volcanic rocks.

Dyrhóley has rich birdlife in summer and sometimes you can see puffin there. Traffic and opening hours are limited in summer for respect and preservation of the birds.

5 Interesting Food to Taste in Iceland

Skyr in a bowl with croweberries and blueberries.
The skyr, pronounced sci:hr, is the national dish in Iceland, similar to Greek yoghurt or Italian tiramisu.

Food is an important part of visiting every country. The food in Iceland is based on Iceland’s unique position, throughout history food shortage and difficulties in surviving. That’s why the traditional food is different to most other parts of Europe. Here are 5 types of food that is easy to taste:

1 Skyr is the Icelandic yoghurt but it really is fresh cheese made of skimmed cow milk. Great for breakfast together with berries. You sometimes have it on the hotel’s breakfast table. If you are not staying at a hotel then you’ll just buy a box of skyr in the closest super market.

The hverabrauð is sometimes called the hot spring bread
The hot spring bread is wonderful to taste with a thick spread of butter.

2 Rye bread is usually served with a dish of fish at a restaurant but you can also buy it in every bakery and supermarket you see on the way.  To make the tasting even more interesting I recommend visiting the geothermal park in Hveragerði and buy a slice of freshly baked bread with eggs in slices. It’s delicious and great adventure.

3 Taste the hot dog at the famous hot dog stand in Reykjavik centre. To really taste it you need to ask for ein með öllu or “ayn me:th odly”. This means that you get the hot dog in bread bun, freshly chopped onion, crispy onion, mustard, remoulade and ketchup but of course you can also have it New York-style with hot dog in bread. And mustard?

A bottle of brennivin and two shot glasses.
Islenskt brennivin is the national alcohol, sometimes called the Black Death.

4 The aquavit Íslenskt brennivín is the traditional alcohol. Some people think the brennivín taste of anis or liquorice but the brennivín is made of potatoes and caraway seeds and it has a long after taste. Go to the closest bar to have a short of brennivín, buy a tiny bottle in the souvenir shops or simply buy a bottle in the local Vínbúðin (alcohol shop).

5 The fermented shark is the most infamous Icelandic delicacy. You need to be brave to taste this one because it stinks but it’s worth it. I am not going to spoil the fun for you but I dare you, if you taste the shark then you have a tale to tell at home. You can buy a taste of the fermented shark at the fleemarket Kolaportið during weekends and in restaurant Sea Baron in Reykjavik’s old harbour. it’s also available in local supermarkets.

5 Ways to Meet the Locals

The Private City Sightseeing and Food Tour - Guide in Iceland
Don’t be afraid. Shark is a local delicacy.

Traveling is a great way to see new countries, but even better, it is a great opportunity to meet new people. The way to meet locals is to go off the beaten track, go where the lcoals go, do what the locals do. Here are some ideas for you:

1 Bathing is the key to local life. Go to a public swimming pool some place in the suburbs, early in the morning or late in the afternoon, sit down in the hot tub and relax no matter whether it is storming, snowing or raining. After a while you might notice how people are talking in the hot tub and maybe you could start a conversation with them.

2 Books are important in Iceland. Go to a local library and ask the librarians for advice on what to read. Make sure you are not visiting during the rush hours. If you show curiosity for Icelandic literature then the librarians will be more than willing to chat with you.

3 Eat local food. Don’t be afraid to taste the weirdiest things. If you eat fresh fish and lamb then they locals will love you when you tell them. Sit down at local bakeries where there are tables and seats and have some Icelandic pastry.

4 Stay at farm stays when you are traveling out of Reykjavik. Talk to the family / staff at the farm stay and see what they can tell you. 

5 Join my custom-made private tour to meet some locals. I will show you local life, tell you about the locals, where they live and what kind of life and help you find locals to meet and talk to. Even possible to organize a visit to a family. Please email me for more information.

#iceland #travel #privateguideiniceland #icelanddaytours

How Much Money for Food?

I sometimes get the question, how much can we expect to spend on food in Iceland? It’s hard to say since it is very personal and depends on how much you want to spend on food. But as a guideline I can say approximately ISK 7000 – 10 000 per person per day. This is how it could look like:

ISK 1500-2500 for lunch, e.g. soup and bread + water.

ISK 5000-7000 for one main meal at dinner.

1 glass of white wine or red wine is ISK 1200-1500.