Happy Campers' Basic Guide to IcelandicPublished: 17. March 2017
Isolated and spoken by a population of less than 400,000 individuals, the Icelandic language is a beloved and proud part of Icelandic culture. Standard Icelandic is originally based on the 12th century Old Norse and then somewhat remodelled again in the 19th century by adding and subtracting letters and words. It’s comparable to German, although Icelandic only uses four cases. If you’d like to learn more about the history and intricacies, take a look here.
Icelandic is so rare, a lot of folks I’ve met around the world are amazed Iceland even has its own language! And it happens to be one of the oldest and hardest to master as a foreigner. Fortunately, the locals are also experts in English, a more favourable language amongst travellers, so you can easily get by without trying to pronounce one of those ridiculous volcano names like Eyjafjallajökull*.
Camping Like Walter MittyPublished: 12. March 2017
By far, my favourite little town on the Snæfellsnes peninsula is Stykkishólmur. It’s the favourite of many others as well; this town has been a centre for trade and commerce since the 16th century because of its natural harbour. If you’ve seen Secret Life of Walter Mitty, you’ll notice a lot of filming locations here as this was Ben Stiller’s favourite town too...
Reykjavík’s Best Ice Cream Shops According to Happy CampersPublished: 10. March 2017
Something I noticed in Iceland and quickly embraced was the ice cream culture. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is or if the weather is crappy, you’ll always find a group of locals queuing for this sweet treat. The most important rule to remember- if you want to blend in with the locals- is to drive to an ice cream shop of choice, order, and then sit and indulge in the car. No shame!
As an ice cream fanatic, you can bet your sweet tooth I’ve tried and tested some of the coolest ice cream Iceland’s capital has to offer. Here’s my shortlist for the ultimate ice cream experiences in Reykjavík.
A Gorgeous Saga Hike at RaudfeldsgjaPublished: 6. March 2017
Traveling with your camper van on the Snæfellsnes peninsula? There’s certainly plenty to see along the entire drive, but for the adventurous at heart, the Rauðfeldsgjá Gorge is a must stop.
Bárdur is a half-human, part-troll, part-giant from the early 14th century. Just don’t anger him by endangering his daughters. This gorge was named after Rauðfeldr, one of the sons of Bárdur’s half-brother. I know, I know, in the Icelandic sagas, everyone is half-everything, but follow along, things get crazy...
How to Make the Best of a Snow Day in ReykjavíkPublished: 2. March 2017
Mother Nature gave the locals- and travellers alike- the gift of a spectacular Winter Wonderland on Sunday morning in Iceland. A total of 51 centimetres of snow was recorded as the largest snowfall in decades! Reykjavík unofficially shut down for a snow day since most residential streets weren’t plowed and cars were literally buried under a thick blanket of snow. Even the cats of Reykjavík chose to bask in the sun all day long and I don't blame them!
The forecast for the day was clear, blue skies and crisp air accompanied by the sun’s reflection off the snow-covered city. There was no way I was going to waste such a lovely day inside. Would you? So here’s what I did and what you can do to make the most of a snow day in Reykjavík.
Winter road trip in Snaefellsnes peninsulaPublished: 5. January 2017
Another weekend, another road trip adventure. This time, Kristie, my wife, and I are exploring Snæfellsnes peninsula. Snæfellsnes is one of my favorite parts of Iceland and it makes for a perfect weekend destination, as it is only about 90 minutes outside of Reykjavik.
We load up our Happy Campers van with food, camera stuff, and, most importantly, plenty of warm clothes. It's January in Iceland, so we better be prepared for anything. Once we're all set, we start driving north.
The drive is pretty straightforward. Just follow Road 1 (the ring road) until you reach Borgarnes. This small town is the perfect place for any last minute stops for gas, food, etc. before continuing to Snæfellsnes. Once you're ready to go, you will make a left at the last roundabout leaving Borgarnes, onto road 54. This road will take you around the entire peninsula, so it's impossible to get lost.
Iceland Waterfalls - Top 10Published: 20. August 2015
Have you ever typed "Iceland Waterfalls" into Google and spent way too much time looking at photos? I wouldn't be surprised. If not, you probably should.
People love waterfalls. Indeed, people like them so much that I often joke about how obsessed people can be with running water. It's just water, right? Wrong. The minute you actually experience one of the most amazing waterfalls Iceland has to offer, you'll realize that it's definitely something more than just falling water.
If you are looking for stunning waterfalls, Iceland is a great place to visit. But is there anything special about Icelandic waterfalls in particular? Some of them are amazingly powerful and others are really tall. Sure. But what makes waterfalls in Iceland truly special is the fact that they are surrounded by stunning Icelandic landscapes. So, if any country can make you fall in love with water, it's Iceland...
Reykjadalur Hike: A perfect Day Trip in IcelandPublished: 8. August 2015
It's a Monday afternoon, on a holiday, and I'm trying to decide how to best spend the rest of the afternoon with my better half, Kristie. That's when I realize that I have never been to Reykjadalur and having heard so much about it, it sounded like the perfect day trip. If you don't feel like reading the rest of this post, I can just sum it up by saying that I was completely right. The Reykjadalur hike was one of the most memorable day trips Kristie and I have taken with only a couple minor downsides, which I will explain later.
Reykjadalur: What you need to know
What: Reykjadalur ("Smokey Valley") is a beautiful valley in the south of Iceland, characterized by geothermal activity and famous for its "hot river", where hikers can bathe surrounded by nature.
Where: Reykjadalur is located right by the town of Hveragerði, an approximately 40-minute drive...
Best Places to See the Northern Lights in IcelandPublished: 24. February 2015
As an amateur photographer, there's nothing more exciting than capturing the northern lights. I suspect that I'm not alone about that, so I decided to write down my top 16 places to either watch or photograph the northern lights and hopefully you'll find it useful. To see the exact location of each spot, I put together this map.
General Northern Lights Tips
Before going through the list, there are a few general things that you should keep in mind before deciding on the perfect location.
- Try seeing the northern lights during winter months, and close to midnight (or the darkest part of the day possible)
- Make sure to bring warm clothes - this will make you more patient, which is crucial when shooting the northern lights
- Keep the moonlight in mind (is it a full moon?)
- Bring a sturdy tripod and a remote/cable shutter release trigger if possible
- Bring a travel chair with you, to be extra comfy
- Think about your composition and choose your location accordingly
- Check the road conditions. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
- If you are considering a northern lights tour, I’d recommend reconsidering. You don’t need a ticket to see the northern lights (It’s nature’s gift to everybody!) A little bit of research is all you need.
Top 10 Swimming Pools in IcelandPublished: 30. January 2015
Iceland is known for its geothermal activity and that definitely has its perks. One of the biggest benefits of living in such a country are all the amazing geothermal pools you will find around Iceland. Icelanders love their pools more than most people in the world and it has become a big part of our culture. In the land of ice and difficult weather, we have always been looking for ways to keep warm and enjoying a geothermal pool is a great way to do that. This is why Iceland is one of the top countries in the world when it comes to number of pools per capita.
The bad news is, because there are so many pools, it's tough to know which ones are actually worth a visit. Here is a list of the top 10 pools around Iceland. These pools are mostly based on my experience but I also considered the opinion of some close friends. Please let me know if you have tried/will try any of these and tell me if you agree!