Discover the Ancient Wonders of Iceland

Discover the Ancient Wonders of Iceland

Article by Roy Witman

Viking ships and frigid ice expanses. Snowcapped mountains and rolling hillsides. Water, water and more water. You might imagine all these when someone mentions Iceland. While they are part of what you’ll find, the wonders of Iceland reach much farther. According to the Iceland Tourist Board website, Iceland is closer than you think, but far different than you ever imagined. Nothing could be truer!

Mystery, Myths and Mountains

Ancient legends of Leif Eriksson and other Vikings along with the Midnight Sun shroud Iceland in mystery. Stunning mountain ranges offer scenery similar to that found in the movie The Sound of Music during spring and majestic, jagged peaks during winter. All of these are true depictions of Iceland. However, over the years several myths about this gorgeous slice of nature have also developed. Let’s clear a few of those up.

Did you know:

  • Wintertime temperatures in several areas of Iceland are higher than those in New York City and other eastern seaboard towns.
  • Iceland is only a 5-hour flight from the east coast of the United States. That’s 1 hour shorter than flying from Boston to Seattle!
  • June, July and August offer nonstop fun because Iceland has daylight round the clock.
  • Iceland is virtually a pollution-free country being almost completely powered with geothermal and hydroelectric energy.
  • Iceland has the capability to grow delicious organic fruits and vegetables in greenhouses year round.

Celebrities Rave

Did you also know that celebrities including Saturday Night Live’s Will Forte and mega-star Jodie Foster rave about what fun they had in Iceland? Foster, in her interview with late-night host David Letterman, called Iceland “fantastic” and specifically named the lava fields, glaciers, whales, puffins, thermal pools and neon-blue water as some of her favorites.

While not considered a “celebrity,” the United Nations named Iceland the best country in the world to live. Quite impressive!

Nature At Her Best

If the outdoors is your thing, Iceland won’t disappoint! As Jodie Foster mentioned, glaciers and lava fields are very popular sights in Iceland. In addition, you’ll encounter spewing geysers and steaming solfataras, volcanoes, raging rivers and breathtaking waterfalls. Then there are the animals.

With the largest razorbill colony in the world, Iceland boasts a healthy and diverse bird population. Puffins, skua, eiders, Arctic terns, waders and other unique species are found all throughout the country. Add to that an excellent selection of whales, dolphins and porpoises and you’ve got a show sure to entertain your entire family.

From seasonal festivals to the world-famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa (known to cure skin diseases such as psoriasis!) to whitewater rafting, Iceland is a unique playground offering plenty for all to do and see. Since it’s closer (and warmer!) than you previously thought, why not make plans to cruise to Iceland for your next vacation?

About the Author

Roy Witman is Vice-President of Cruise Vacation Center at http://www.cruisevacationcenter.com offering the best deals including Mediterranean cruises. You’ll find their service exceptional! © 2008, All Rights Reserved

Ten Exciting Things To Do When Visiting Iceland

Ten Exciting Things To Do When Visiting Iceland

Article by Jonathan Williams

Should you happen to contemplate vacationing in Europe, you could give Iceland a try where nature that means more than beaches and resorts. Best of all, majority of the tourist spots the country can offer will require no entrance fees unlike in most other countries. Summer would be the best time to go there.

1.) Bláa Lónið

This is a famous health center with pool known as Blue Lagoon located in southwest Iceland. This happens to be a spa located in the center of lava filled with stunningly blue waters. One will find this place one of the warm spots in the country as opposed to the impression of a primarily snow-filled place that the country’s name implies.

2.) Gullfoss

One can try going east of the capital Reykjavik to be able to get to the Golden Falls. The breathtaking waterfall is fed by river known as Hvítá. This goes down a two-fold cascade to create one of the best waterfalls you could visit.

3.) Geysir and Strokkur

As mentioned earlier, Iceland is also home to several geothermal spots, and two of them are Geysir and Strokkur, which happens to be a few kilometers on the west of the Golden Falls. Between the two, it would be safer to go to Geysir since it hardly erupts, and Strokkur would do so every few minutes. But what a sight it would be and a picture worth taking only if you keep a safe distance.

4.) Skagafjordur

It is one of the cities in Iceland which offers several fun activities to tourists. One of the parks you will find here is the Historical Nature Park Island Drangey then you can go on to visit the Glaumbær, which happens to be a folk museum. And you will need to wonder no more what an icelandic horse looks like because this place is where they are bred. And yes, it’s also time to take the challenge of river rafting.

5.) Kerið

Here lies the sight of a lake within a volcano. Many times, what you will find in countries are both active and inactive volcanoes which would spew lava from time to time. This time, you get a lake instead of lava right inside the crater of a volcano.

6.) Þingvellir National Park

UNESCO has made this national park one of the world’s heritage sites for good reasons. This happens to be the place where you will find the movement of European and North American shelf plates while serving as the longest running parliamentary field there is. Again, this, too, is just about 35 miles off the capita’s east.

7.) Mývatn

On this spot, you will get to visit the desert Smajfall which gives out sulfuric steam coming from the ground. Here, you will also see Dimmuborgir which is also known as Gates of Hell or The Black City. But the name Mývatn actually refers to the lake which looks nothing like other lakes due to presence of special volcanic craters around it.

8.) Dettifoss

If you just came off the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, you might want to check this place out afterwards. A powerful waterfall awaits you at Dettifoss. This happens to be one of the best all over Europe.

9.) Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights

Textbooks have talked about the midnight sun. It was even discussed in school. Iceland is the place to be to get to view this sight where the sun does not set at midnight, and you will not be able to find this occurrence in other countries.

10.) Vestmannaeyjar

When translated, the name means Westman Islands. It is actually a volcanic island with a wonderful collection of bird species and the biggest puffin colony you could find in Europe. That’s definitely something not to miss.

About the Author

Jonathan Williams is the travel writer for Destination Guide TV – the place to share travel videos. Visit http://www.destinationguide.tv/iceland to view or share Iceland travel videos.

Greenland Excursions from Iceland – Day Tours and Longer Tours

Greenland Excursions from Iceland – Day Tours and Longer Tours

Article by Ingi Jon Sverrisson

If you are a true travel addict, then Greenland must be a destination of lifetime for you. You may try out either the short trips or the longer tour packages for exploring the icy terrains of Greenland.

The shorter visit to the eastern parts of Greenland will provide you definite feels about the culture and people of the land. The modern frame houses and the traces of hunting societies make these tiny tours even more eventful. Approaching the Kulusuk islands by air is a real feast. The views of icebergs brushing the rocky coasts is a must watch for all curious tourists.

For experiencing the best journey, hire ‘Touris’ as your Iceland tour operator, they will arrange you a cozy and comfortable journey from Iceland to Greenland via Reykjavik. Taking out these few hours from the Iceland vacations will add up a lot to your travel experiences from this part of the world. Walk down the lanes of the Kulusuk village, the gorgeous atmosphere will surely make your day.

Try the handmade ornaments created by the village maidens, those are really priceless. This village has only 360 residents, getting to know them is an experience by itself. And if the weather allows you, you can also witness a native ceremony of primitive drum-dance. These incidents will not only make your tour moving, but also make you a more flourished person.

People, who are already in between their tours in Iceland, can also go for the longer excursions to Greenland. There are numerous packages offered based on the number of nights they want to spend in Greenland. The entire area of the Kulusuk Island has some real ecstasies in store for the nature lovers. If you are interested in discovering the core essence of the region, then the longer expeditions are more appropriate for you. ‘Touris’ will help you to get closer to panoramic atmosphere amidst the ice filled oceans of Greenland.

Other than the divine natural pleasures, you will also enjoy the artificial facilities like 24 hours service of telephone, and television in your hotel room. ‘Touris’ will also take care in making the tours interesting for the adventurous breeds. If you are daring enough, then attempt the hikes, sleigh riding across the mountains and glaciers of Greenland. ‘Touris’ has arranged packages involving all the basic needs of tourists. They are by far the preeminent service provider in this industry.

About the Author

Author’s info:Ingi Jon Sverrisson is the Manager of TOURIS. He is an seasoned tour guide with years of experience in touring Icelands highlands and lowlands. Ingi Jón Sverrisson has long experience in planning and organizing all kinds of tours and activities for individuals and groups in Iceland.

Iceland – unique island with a great vision

Iceland – unique island with a great vision

Article by Dagur Jonsson

Iceland is an island just about the size of Kentucky State. This small sized island lies in the northern direction in the Atlantic Ocean just east to Greenland and it also touches the Arctic Circle. The land of Iceland is also famous as it is one of the most aggressive volcanic regions of the world. More than thirteen percent of Iceland’s total land is covered by glaciers or are snowfields. Major part of Iceland’s total population inhibits only in the seven percent part of the island because that seven percent land is considered a very fertile coastland. The gulf stream of Atlantic Ocean keeps the climate of the Iceland milder and temperature very moderate than what is expected in an island around Arctic Circle.

It is believed that the first inhabitants of Iceland were the hermits from Ireland. These hermits vacated this island when pagan Norse people arrived here in ninth century. A constitution was formed in 930 A.D and a democracy and a parliament was formed which is also known as Althing. Now Althing has the honor to be the world’s oldest still running legislative assembly. The history of Iceland is very well preserved in the Icelandic sagas written during 13th century.

In the year 1262, Iceland was occupied by Norwegian rule and was further given to the ultimate control of Denmark through the very famous ‘the kalmar union’ in which kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark united in 1397. In the year, 1874, Iceland gained their own constitution and then in 1918, Denmark recognized Iceland as a separate country and unlimited sovereignty through the act of union. By this time also, Iceland was partially under the rule of Danish monarchy. During the Second World War when Germany attacked on Denmark first the British troops and then the American troops landed in Iceland and used it as the strategic air base. According to historians, neutral Iceland supported its allies through out the war. On June 17th, 1944, after the official referendum Iceland was declared independent republic and the Althing also proclaimed it as an independent republic.

Iceland joined NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] in 1949 and its maiden American air force base in 1951. In 1971 it was recognized by EFTA [European Free Trade Association]. In the year 1972, Iceland extended its fishing coastline to 200 nautical miles from 3 nautical miles. This was done without the consent of England. For this reason both Iceland and England were trapped in the dispute known as the cold wars. This dispute ended in 1976 with England agreeing to the new fishing borders of Iceland. In the year 1980, Iceland made yet another history, when it became the first country in the world to have a woman president in the office of the presidency. It was the case of the year 1990, when after the recession the economy and the financial condition of Iceland stabilized.

Iceland refused to sign the agreement which stated that moratorium of commercial whaling will continue as it was since 1986. This incident took place in the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in 2001. Finally in 2003, Iceland agreed on the initialization of hunting of whales for researches and experiments.

About the Author

Dagur Jonsson is the editor of Iceland Guest, a website specializing in tourist information for travelers to Iceland. For more information visit www.icelandguest.com

Feel the Heat in Iceland

Feel the Heat in Iceland

Article by Lina Lindlom

Do you like the idea of spoiling yourself with pleasure whilst experiencing some of Iceland’s most attractive sights? Iceland’s steamy spas and thermal pools offer a relaxing, revitalizing, invigorating and exciting experience! And as a traditional part of Icelandic culture the pools are a great way to meet and relax with the locals.

Here are five of the top thermal spa and pool destinations in Iceland.

1. The Blue Lagoon Spa

The Blue Lagoon is possibly Iceland’s most popular single tourist attraction. And yes, the water really is blue, The silica mud and blue-green algae content of the water are said to have health promoting effects. In fact, Blue Lagoon skin care products are sold all over the world. Open all year round, the spa has every facility you could wish for to make your visit enjoyable. Reachable in less than an hour by car or excursion coach from Reykjavik. The spa is located on a lava field close to the fishing village of Grindavik.

2. Landmannalaugar Hot Springs

Set in the beautiful volcanic southern highlands of Iceland, the Landamannalaugar area is enclosed by a rainbow of colorful mountains. This natural thermal pool is located next to a mountain hut and facilities are spartan. However, the hot, mineral rich waters are no less enjoyable or invigorating for that! Road access is only possible in summer, when there is a daily bus service from Reykjavik.

3. Myvatn Nature Baths

The Lake Myvatn nature reserve in the volcanic north of Iceland is a paradise for water birds living on the lake, river and surrounding wetlands. In this picturesque setting, the Myvatn Nature Baths blends in well with the natural environment. The outstanding feature here is the geothermal lagoon with it’s relaxing, soothing, mineral rich waters. The center features modern, comfortable facilities and a cafeteria. Open all year round.

4. Nautholsvik Thermal Beach

Iceland is not known for it’s beach life, the sand being black and the water somewhat icy. However, on the Reykjavik coastline at Nautholsvik, an artificial thermal beach has been created complete with golden sand, a thermal pool and hot tubs. Naturally hot geothermal water flows into the ocean here, so even taking a dip in the Arctic waves can be fun. Facilities and refreshments are also available (open in summer only).

5. Spa City Reykjavik

The city of Reykjavik boasts several geothermal swimming pools and health spas. These are appreciated and frequented as much by locals as by tourists. Outdoor thermal swimming pools include those at Breidholts, Vesturbaejar and Grafarvogs. They are open the whole year and all feature hot tubs and steam baths. Guests at the wellness spas of Planet Reykjavik Day Spa, the Saga Heilsa and Spa and also the Nordica Hotel can expect to be thoroughly pampered. The large and opulent Laugar Spa Resort combines both pool and wellness facilities for the whole family.

(c) Copyright 2008 by Lina Lindlom for http://www.nordicflights.com

About the Author

Lina Lindlom writes about travel to Iceland and the Nordic countries for her website http://www.nordicflights.com

Icelandic – a language with a strong heritage

Icelandic – a language with a strong heritage

Article by Asberg Jonsson

The popularity of Iceland’s tourism sector is growing day by day and this ever increasing popularity is encouraging more and more people to turn towards this small country in northern Europe to spend their summer and winter holidays. If you are planning to go in summer, which is the best time to visit there, you must take care of necessary reservations of flights and accommodations in hotels. Also do not forget to book the tickets of cultural and art shows that take place there in summer season only. Through these shows one can get the closer view of Iceland and its language.

The most used language of Iceland is “the Icelandic” and it is one of the very famous Nordic languages group. This group is the sub-group of the Germanic languages. Normally, Germanic language is divided into two groups i.e. North Germanic or Nordic languages and West Germanic. Iceland was first inhabited in around 870 A.D and most of the first visitors were from Norway [west Norway], Sweden and Ireland. Some Celtics were also in the earliest arrivals to Iceland. The language that became the most popular in Iceland was that of the people of Norway. Some traces of Celtic language are also visible in Icelandic language. The only words borrowed from Celtic language are some personal names and some names of places. Till 14th century Icelandic and Norwegian language was almost same. It was after 14th century that they became totally different from each other. This change occurred due to significant changes in the language of Norway. Icelandic language didn’t change and this was due to rich Icelandic literature that was written in read in the same language in 12th and 13th centuries. Now it is said that not even a single word has changed in Icelandic language that’s why the texts written in twelfth century can be read by a ten year boy even now. Another quality of Icelandic language is its uniformity i.e. the absence of dialects. But, Icelandic language has seen a huge change in its phonetics.

Because of its closeness to North America Icelandic is quite popular there. There are many in North America that speaks Icelandic language. These communities came into existence because there was huge immigration of people between Iceland, Canada and America right from the final 25 years of nineteenth century and the initial years of twentieth century. The first immigration is said to have started as early as 1855 but it started on huge amount only after 1870. It is said that first small colony of Icelanders was set around Lake Michigan in Washington in 1870. In 1875, Icelanders reached Canada and formed their first colony there on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg “also called new Iceland”. Many of same colonies were formed in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. Till now also hundreds and thousands of people there can still read, write and speak Icelandic language.

Since nineteenth century, language purism has been the national policy of the government of Iceland. According to this policy, they have decided that instead of using foreign words for new things they will coin the new words [neologism] or will revive the old words and use them after giving then new meanings. The Icelandic committee for language is responsible to guide government and public in general regarding the matters of language based on scholarly basis.

About the Author

Asberg Jonsson is the manager of Iceland Visitor, a company specializing in packages for Vacation in Iceland and day tours in Iceland. For more information visit www.icelandvisitor.com

Adventurous Jeep Tours in Iceland – Glacier and Highland Adventures

Adventurous Jeep Tours in Iceland – Glacier and Highland Adventures

Article by Ingi Jon Sverrisson

Iceland is one of the most exciting places for passionate travellers. The journey in unfavourable circumstances through various extremities challenge the spirit of the traveller to push harder and harder. TOUR.IS is a premier Iceland tour operator responsible for organizing jeep tours making some of the remotest places accessible for tourists. Their jeeps give excellent service and hence it is chosen by hundreds of travellers in high and low season. The aim of the jeep tours is to help the tourists explore the true beauty of nature in Iceland and give the value of their money back in service.

Adventurous jeep tours in Iceland are full of excitement and fun. The condition of the roads is not up to the mark most of time and the jeeps ensure that minimum exhaustion comes from the journey. The specially modified jeeps can be run through the ice under favourable condition. This cannot be done with other vehicles and makes the journey full of fun. A Super Jeep tour is the experience of a lifetime because the travellers can stop at chosen places, come closer to the nature and indulge in activities like sleigh riding, whale watching etc.

The jeep tours provide extensive tour of Iceland. The path of journey is full of spectacular sight and scenery. Among the natural phenomena volcanic craters, hot springs, majestic waterfalls, glaciers are the most amazing things to watch. One jeep tour towards Thingvellir and another towards Thorsmork, cover most of the important areas. Iceland vacations are never complete without Super Jeep tours.

The adventurous jeep tours to the highlands and sights near volcano Hekla are full of material for nature lovers as well as those interested in geological science. A journey to Landmannalaugar, the most beautiful oasis in Iceland with mount Hekla and explosion crater Ljotipollur nearby is bound to turn your head with the wonders of nature. Tours in Iceland seem endlessly enthralling when riding the Super Jeeps of TOUR.IS.

TOUR.IS has emerged as the premier tour operator in Iceland. Their exhaustive tour plans are planned to give the tourists true satisfaction and the experience of a lifetime. The jeeps provided for journey into the terrains are well maintained as well as specially moderated to run efficiently on the unfavourable roads and give the travellers minimum exhaustion from journey. Tours in Iceland reaches new heights due to the full coverage on these trusted vehicles.

About the Author

Ingi Jon Sverrisson is the Manager of TOURIS. He is an seasoned tour guide with years of experience in touring Icelands highlands and lowlands. Ingi Jón Sverrisson has long experience in planning and organizing all kinds of tours and activities for individuals and groups in Iceland.

Enjoy Your Iceland Private Tours and Luxury Tours

Enjoy Your Iceland Private Tours and Luxury Tours

Article by Ingi Jon Sverrisson

The private tours in Iceland are there to take you to a journey of glory. These tours are specially arranged keeping in mind the comforts and requirements of the tourists, right from the time of their arrival till the departure. These are action packed packages including all facets that the perfect Iceland vacations should have. “Tour.is” is a real expert in this field.

“Tour.is” have it’s base in Reykjavik, but they are equally functional in all other parts of Iceland. You may be in your business trip or planning to steal some private times with your family, the private tour is the best option for you.

Iceland is the place of uninterrupted natural beauty. The most indispensable gain out of these tours is getting to know nature from a closer distance. Majority of the nature enthusiasts try these packages while spending their holidays in Iceland. If you are interested in activities like, Hiking, Sleigh Riding, Snowmobiling or Horse Riding, then also you will get the hottest offers from these private tours.

“Tour.is” has planned a wide variety of comprehensive and luxurious private tours to Iceland. Each of these packages start from a pick-up from the Keflavik airport and continues up to the departure of the tourists. In between these two “Tour.is” arranges some exciting time for the people coming to Iceland. Availing any of these packages will provide you some of the most pleasant moments of your life.

These tours involve only the tourist and a professionally trained driver, who is also a qualified guide. This helps in keeping the group short and well-balanced. The guides also have profound knowledge of the environment, culture and inhabitants of Iceland. Car rental in Iceland was always a better option for travelling around the different enthralling locations, the private tours are only adding up new elements to this concept. You are getting everything in a single deal, starting from a car to a well qualified tourist guide. You can also go for self driven private tours, if you require more privacy.

Now let us come to the individual packages. You will get to pick from the luxury packages like, a 4 days’ private tour to South Iceland with or without a guide, or an 8 days’ tour to the Northern part of Iceland along with a driver guide. The immaculate blends of these offers makes “Tour.is” the finest Iceland tour operator in this industry.

 

About the Author

Ingi Jon Sverrisson is the Manager of TOURIS. He is an seasoned tour guide with years of experience in touring Icelands highlands and lowlands. Ingi Jon Sverrisson has long experience in planning and organizing all kinds of tours and activities for individuals and groups in Iceland.