Tag Archives: Tips

Beyond the Guidebooks: Five Tips for Visiting Iceland

Beyond the Guidebooks: Five Tips for Visiting Iceland

Article by David Davies

With its strange, barren lunar landscape and extraordinarily civilised and cosmopolitan city culture, Iceland is one of the most fascinating and alluring countries in Europe.

Most people who visit here find themselves drawn back by the people, the culture and even the changeable weather.

Five Tips For an Enjoyable Visit

Before you take the plunge and book your holiday here are five tips that should make your time more enjoyable:

Icebreakers

Iceland’s very own low-cost airline ‘Iceland Express’ offers flights from both London Stansted and Gatwick, and from many other European cities.

If you’re flying from the UK and you’re planning on parking at Gatwick it pays to book in advance through a company such as Essential Travel – they offer up to 60% discount on the list price of Gatwick Airport Parking.

Danger: Hot Water!

Iceland is situated on a geothermal hotspot and the islanders use this very much to their advantage with Geothermal power plants supplying much of the island’s electricity and hot water pumped straight into the home already pre-heated.

This disadvantage of this to the uninitiated is that the water is very nearly boiling when it comes out of the tap – a scalding 80 degrees in fact. Exercise caution when turning on the shower – and don’t mind the faint whiff of rotten eggs, it’s just the natural sulphur in the water.

When Dining Out, Ignore the Guidebooks

Most of the guidebooks that cover eating out on the island list the famous “old school” restaurants like Tvier Fiskar or Einar Ben. These are good for experiencing Icelandic specialities like puffin or whale; however eating there midweek or off-season you can easily find yourself the only table in the restaurant.

If you want something a bit more lively, take to the streets and see where the locals go – the restaurants in downtown Reykjavik are funky and cosmopolitan with modern European bistro food taking center stage rather than rotten shark.

Don’t Faint When You Get the Bill!

Eating, drinking, shopping and pretty much everything in Iceland is more expensive – hardly surprising when you realise that most fresh produce has to be imported.

However, unless you choose to dine at the most expensive restaurants in the capital, you can expect to pay slightly more than New York prices – around meal for a three course with wine would be typical.

Pubs too are slightly more expensive with beer coming in at around a pint – not far off the typical -7 we’re getting used to paying in the US.

Nightclubs are a different story – you could easily pay around for a beer but it’s common for Icelanders to do their drinking at home before heading out.

They Grow Bananas in Iceland

Oh yes, despite being on the Arctic Circle, Icelanders have rather cleverly used geothermal springs to heat large greenhouses – and grow bananas!

Finally, one last tip that stands for pretty much any destination is: make sure you have adequate travel insurance. Specialists such as AA Travel Insurance can provide appropriate cover whether you’re planning on going bananas in Iceland or you’re just there to admire the scenery.

About the Author

David Davies is a travel advisor and recommends that you take out travel insurance or annual travel insurance policy depending on the nature of your travels.

Iceland Travel Ideas And Tips

Iceland Travel Ideas And Tips

Article by Graham McKenzie

Iceland is a mountainous island in the North Atlantic, located between Europe and North America. Although a bit austere, Iceland is a country of unreserved natural splendor.

The almost unreal beauty of lava eruptions, hot springs, geysers, fissures and glaciers make this land truly unique. Nordic and Celtic people settled Iceland in the 9th century, and in fact, Ing’fur Arnarson, a Norwegian Viking, founded the first settlement on the site known as present day Reykjavik, which is Iceland’s capital city.

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is one of the most famous attractions for tourists. Although it is thought these lights are only visible in winter, the truth is they can be seen all year long.

Another of Iceland’s attraction is the Midnight Sun. When this occurs in Scandinavia, during early summer months, the sun is visible at midnight. Its opposite is called the Polar Night, and occurs during the winter months.

At some point of their vacation, visitors usually find themselves in Reykjavik City. Iceland’s capital is thought to be one of the cleanest, greenest cities in the world. The nightlife in Reykjavik is vibrant, with an amazing variety of pubs, bars, cafes and dance halls.

In fact, live music is fast becoming a trademark of this city. You can find a concert on almost every night of the week. There is also a variety of local craft shops and Scandinavian designer stores in Reykjavik, and the Kringlan shopping mall is a popular draw for locals and tourists alike.

No trip to Iceland is complete unless you try one of the whale-watching tours. Surrounded by an ocean that provides a natural habitat for whales, dolphins and seals, Reykjavik is ideal for this activity. The tours will also take you past Puffin Island, as well.

Reykjavik’s landmark, the Perlan, or Pearl, is simply a must-do on any itinerary. Built in 1988 atop huge tanks, which store the natural hot water for heating the city, this rotating restaurant sits under a huge glass dome. The cuisine is top-notch, and the views breathtaking.

Is Viking history your thing? If so, check out some of Reykjavik’s museums. Also make sure to visit the Sun Voyager, which is a massive steel sculpture of a Viking ship. Created by Jon Gunnar Arnason, it can be found on Mt, Esja, and is best viewed at sunrise or sunset.

Another stop that is well worth making is the Restaurant Fjorugardurinn. Here you will experience a traditional Viking feast, amidst Viking decor. This unique eating establishment allows you to step back, and get a first-rate taste of Viking culture.

A very popular tourist attraction in Iceland is the Blue Lagoon. This outdoor, geothermal seawater pool is approximately 45-minutes, by car, from Reykjavik. The fluorescent blue pool, covered in steam, stays at about 104-degrees all year long.

Iceland offers tourists a wide variety of inimitable experiences, all of which both enchant and awe. Both strikingly and strangely severe, a trip to Iceland is simply unforgettable.

About the Author

Graham McKenzie is the content coordinator for the leading UK Flight Comparison website, which offers detailed information on Booking a Flight.

Tips for Those Considering a Vacation to Iceland

Tips for Those Considering a Vacation to Iceland

Article by David Brooks

I recommend visiting Iceland wholeheartedly but, there are some things you should know before you go.

First let me say, before I spew out all the negatives, that Iceland is a real gem of a country in more ways then I can say. But, the country is kind of an anomaly. It is small, very small and there are only about three hundred thousand Icelanders. That many people would make you would wonder how their economy survives. But it does and, in fact, they enjoy a very high standard of living. Iceland is also very beautiful, clean and exotic. The air is clean, the water is pure and the nature unspoiled. When the weather is good, enjoying the Icelandic outback is a world-class experience. Iceland is also a very modern place so you can enjoy all the amenities you are accustomed to. So, as I mentioned, if you are interested in visiting this beautiful land, here are some of the negatives you may want to be aware of.

First off I must mention the weather. Iceland’s weather is notoriously capricious. You can literally have four seasons in one day. That’s not just hyperbole; I have experienced it for myself. Also, it is almost never really warm. The average summer temperature is somewhere in the mid-to-high 50s. That isn’t to say that on occasion it can’t get warmer, that’s just the average. It can also rain in Iceland – a lot. You could go there and have rain for the whole vacation. So, come prepared for wind and rain and wear layers so you can modulate your temperature as the circumstance dictates.

The second big issue is that Iceland is galactically expensive. Food is three to four times the cost compared to America. This can come as a real shock for US visitors who are used to cheap food. This is less true for European tourists who are used to higher costs. Also, alcohol is very expensive. I believe that Iceland ranks right up there with the most expensive alcohol prices. If you drink, I would recommend buying your booze in the duty free store before you enter the country. You will be limited to certain quantities. Once you are in the country you will need to find a “Vin Bud,” pronounced, “veen booth” which literally means “wine store.” The Icelandic government has a monopoly on all alcohol and these are state run stores. There are many scattered around Reykjavik and here and there around the country. They are not always open, like 7-11’s in the states so, keep this in mind. If you buy drinks at a restaurant be prepared to be shocked. A beer is at least and a glass of wine is anywhere between and up. Eating out is tremendously expensive. I would recommend shopping for most of your meals if you can.

Next is the cost of rental cars and hotels. If you plan on traveling outside of Reykjavik, you will need a car unless you want to take a bus tour or jeep tour. If you are just going to stay in the capital you can get around just fine with the bus system, or on foot. If you do rent a car you should know that gas in Iceland is, currently, about .00 per gallon. So, make sure your budget can handle it. Hotel rooms are outrageous, so if you are willing to lower your room expectations, I would recommend staying at a guesthouse. Most of the guesthouses have common showers and a common kitchen so you can cook. There are many in Reykjavik and many more scattered around out in the country.

I know that I am not painting a very pretty picture here. But, in truth, if you have traveled to Europe you already know about high prices. It’s just that Iceland seems to take it a step further. But, you can get by with a little less and the pay off is that you will get to experience a truly wonderfully unique country. What I am saying is that, despite the costs, it is worth going. Just be prepared.

There are many things to do in Iceland. You can take bus tours, jeep tours, hiking tours, and just about every other outdoor pleasure you can imagine. You can enjoy the wonderful spas and pools all over Reykjavik, visit museums, art galleries and more. The downtown area of Reykjavik is very charming and old world. Other areas are very modern and cutting edge. The Reykjavik nightlife is pretty much world famous, so if you like to party then this is a good destination for you.

I personally would recommend the jeep tours. These Iceland tours will take you out of the city to almost anywhere you want to go. They have themes and cool destinations; just bring a rain parka and a wad of Icelandic kronur. – David Brooks

About the Author

David Brooks is a customer service specialist at Blindsgalore.com, a internet retailer of window treatments, blinds, shutters and shades.

Tips For Gay Holidays To Iceland

Tips For Gay Holidays To Iceland

Article by Howie Holben

Most visitors who travel to Iceland arrive with the intention of exploring the country’s diverse, unique natural beauty that is unlike any experience you will have on gay vacations to other popular destinations. From the Northern Lights and Europe’s largest glacier, to volcanoes and Grimsey, a minimally populated island in the Arctic Circle, Iceland is filled with opportunities to see the outdoors in an entirely new way. Rafting, hiking, kayaking, bird watching, ice climbing, ocean fishing and whale watching are just some of the popular activities that visitors partake in while in Iceland and are excellent options for outdoor gay tours.

Visitors who prefer an urban vacation will also find just what they are searching for in Iceland, especially in the capital city, Reykjavik, which is where individual travelers and folks traveling with gay tours will find a variety of historical and cultural attractions, dining and shopping, a beautiful waterfront, museums and an exciting nightlife.

Birdwatchers and nature lovers will also want to take a side trip to the small island of Grimsey, just 25 miles to the north. There is just one town on Grimsey, Sandvik, which is the northernmost settlement of Iceland and has a population of 150. The island is best known for the steep cliffs lining its shore and its abundance of bird colonies, both of which are popular draws for folks on gay vacations to Iceland. Lucky visitors might also catch a glimpse of polar bears, which sometimes show up on the shores of Grimsey after drifting on ice from Greenland.

While on Grimsey, participants on gay tours, as well as solo voyagers, will not want to miss the opportunity to get their certificate showing they crossed the Arctic Circle. Iceland’s other outdoor attractions include the glaciers that cover more than 10% of the land, particularly Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier and a popular location for ice climbing.

Other sightseeing and hiking opportunities abound as well, including numerous waterfalls, picturesque cliffs and historic Videy Island, which is just a few minutes offshore and home to Iceland’s oldest stone building, as well as several pieces of sculptural art.

The time of year chosen for gay vacations to Iceland is an important factor in determining which of the country’s natural phenomena you will experience during your trip: the Polar Nights, Midnight Sun or Northern Lights.

Regardless of the time of year, there is one must-do activity that no gay vacations to Iceland can be complete without: taking a dip in the Blue Lagoon. This mineral-rich, geothermal seawater pool is located just 45 minutes from Reykjavik and treats visitors to a unique experience with fluorescent blue waters surrounded by black lava rocks.

About the Author

Howie Holben is owner and caretaker of Spirit Journeys. Spirit Journeys offers spiritual gay travel opportunities. He is a Reiki and Karuna Ki Master and also a Quantum Touch and Breathwork Practioner. You can learn more about Howie and gay vacations or gay tours with a spiritual focus at SpiritJourneys.com.