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Whale Watching Tours

Whale Watching Tours

Whale Watching Tours

Whale Watching Tours — Iceland is an incredible place to go whale watching – in fact it is one of the most ideal spots in Europe. Altogether, there are 23 different types of whales that can be seen in Icelandic waters. The best time to see them is from May to September. Tour outfits conducting such excursions include: www.elding.is; www.hvalalif.is; www.sjosigling.is; www.specialtours.is;


Vatnajoekull National Park

Parque Nacional Vatnajoekull

Parque Nacional Vatnajoekull

Vatnajoekull National Park (Sprengisandsleio) – located toward the eastern part of Iceland, Vatnajökull National Park offers its visitors a unique opportunity to experience and learn about the forceful interplay of volcanoes and glaciers. The park covers 13% of Iceland with its 13.600 km2 (5,300 square miles) and is the largest national park in Western Europe.

 

The Icelandic word jökull means glacier and the National Park contains the largest glacier in the world outside the Arctics, called Vatnajökull. This massive glacier has many subsidiary glacier tongues, each of which has its own name and distinct characteristics.

 

Vatnajökull National Park is unique in its range of contrasting natural wonders and is characterized by the perpetual struggle of fire and ice.  In this area you’ll see the white glacier descending to black sands, hot streams erupting from frozen banks of ice and, Iceland’s highest mountain presiding over its deepest proglacial lake.

 


The Pearl (Reykjavik)

La Perla (Reykjavik)

La Perla (Reykjavik)

The Pearl (Reykjavik)– this futuristic-looking building was designed by Ingimundur Sveinsson and is supported by six massive hot-water tanks – each with a capacity of 4 million liters. The Pearl also houses the Saga Museum – a history installation of very lifelike silica figures depicting some of the more famous scenes of the Sagas.  A restaurant and exhibition areas can also be found here.

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival

Reykjavik Winter Lights Festival – held every February in the Icelandic capital, this is a culture festival that celebrates winter and light with multiple events, exhibitions, poetry reading in a swimming pool, outdoor performances (including light shows), free admission to most of the city’s museums, free admission to some of the city’s popular thermal pools and much more. That, and a range of activities for school children. See its website for detail: http://winterlightsfestival.is

Reykjavik Old Harbor

Puerto viejo de Reykjavik

Puerto viejo de Reykjavik

Reykjavik Old Harbor — originally built during World War I, a majority of Reykjavik’s marine activity is conducted here — from whale watching expeditions to puffin tours.  The Vikin Maritime Museum and the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina are also found here. The recent proliferation of small independent businesses has helped this area grow into a major gathering place for visitors.

Reykjavik Culture Night

Noche de la cultura de Reykjavik

Noche de la cultura de Reykjavik

Reykjavik Culture Night – held every August (when the sunlight exists well into the evening in Iceland), this event takes place all across Reykjavík with celebrations in city streets and squares, in museums, businesses and even in residential gardens. Culture Night is now a permanent fixture in the annual calendar of events in Reykjavík and marks the start of the city’s cultural year, when museums and theatres and other cultural institutions launch their annual program of events. See its website for details: www.menningarnott.is

Puffin Tour

Puffin Tour

Puffin Tour

Puffin Tour (island of Akurey) – Icelandair arranges tours of Puffins for international passengers flying into Reykjavik. Visitors can board the good ship Faxi for a trip from Reykjavik Harbor to look for puffins. They can be found on the bird island of Akurey near Reykjavik.

 

The charming-looking puffins arrive in Iceland in April and depart at the end of August. During the breeding season, Akurey is populated by over 15,000 pairs of puffins. A puffin lays one egg per year and keeps the same mate every season. Rearing the chick is shared by both parents. The boat comes extremely close to the island, providing an excellent photo opportunity for our passengers (who are advised to bring binoculars). See icelandair.com for details.

 

Northern Lights

Aurora boreal

Aurora boreal

Northern Lights – foreigners who visit Iceland during the winter months will likely want to see the phenomenon known as the “northern lights” (a.k.a. Aurora Borealis — which may be visible from the Icelandic capital’s skyline, but more likely in the outerlying areas). NASA scientists predict the brightest Northern Lights display for 50 years thanks to the Solar Maximum – a period where the sun´s magnetic field on the solar equator rotates at a slightly faster pace than at the solar poles. Various tour outfits know where the good spots are, and transport groups of curious travelers to them, including: www.adventures.is; www.icelandexcursions.is www.icelandtravel.is; www.re.is; www.specialtours.is

Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach (Reykjavik)

Playa geotérmica de Nauthólsvík

Playa geotérmica de Nauthólsvík

Nauthólsvík Geothermal Beach (Reykjavik) – located just outside of the city of Reykjavik (by its international airport), is this geothermal beach. Originally opened in 2001, it now draws in an estimated 530,000 guests a year (both locals and tourists). The creation of the geothermal beach was an ambitious, but very successful, project involving the construction of a lagoon with large sea walls, where cold sea and hot geothermal water fuse together resulting in higher temperatures.

 

The main objective of creating the geothermal beach was to establish the bay of Nauthólsvík as a diverse outdoor area and haven for recreational activities, such as sunbathing, sailing and sea-swimming: the latter is surprisingly popular all year round with people enjoying the use of the hot-tubs, steam-bath and changing facilities and showers, even when the water drops below freezing. The temperature of the sea inside the lagoon itself is higher in the summer, averaging at between 15°- 19°C, due to the geothermal heating. It’s also significantly warmer during the winter in opening hours when the overspill from the hot-tubs warm the lagoon. Keep in mind that this also depends on the tide. During high-tide when the lagoon floods temperature differences are negligible. Admission: ISK 500 (Winter), free during the Summer. Hours: 11 am – 1 pm (weekdays), 11 am – 1 pm & 5 pm – 7 pm (Monday & Wednesday) (January – May 15); 10 am – 7 pm (daily)(May 16 – August 15). See the facility’s website for details: www.nautholsvik.is

 

Monte Esja (área de Reykjavik)

Monte Esja (área de Reykjavik)

Monte Esja (área de Reykjavik)

Mount Esja (Reykjavik area) – located just 10 km. north of the Icelandic capital, this is not simply a single mountain, but in fact a 914-meter high volcanic mountain range (best-known for dominating Reykjavik’s skyline).

 

For climbers and hikers interested in exploring this mountain range, one must first go to Kjalarnes, past the town of Mosfellsbaer just east of Reykjavík. It is accessible by the number 15 bus from Hlemmur bus station. Get off at Háholt in Mosfellsbaer, then take the number 57 to the foot of Esja at Esjuskáli. Upon arrival, one will find a number of hiking trails. Each path has a sign indicating its difficulty level — from 1 boot (easy) to 3 boots (difficult). Obviously, “3 boots” is for experienced climbers only. Such individuals are the only ones who make it to the top. Climbers & hikers of all levels are advised to check weather conditions before proceeding, since built-up snow can significantly hamper any excursions up Mount Esja.

 


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