Spotlight on Iceland
Iceland, the country with the chilly name, is rapidly becoming one of Europe's hottest destinations. Much of Iceland's popularity is due to its natural features, which include glaciers, hot springs, geysers, active volcanoes, portentous peaks and vast lava deserts. In addition to its expansive landscape, it has a rich history and folklore tradition.
Reykjavik - The fire, frost and water symbolized by the red, white and blue of Iceland’s flag are manifested in this land. Reykjavik, or Smoky Bay, was so named in 874 A.D. by Ingolf Arnarson when he sighted the numerous hot springs on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula. Today this remarkably pollution-free city is wrapped around a sweeping bay and has managed to retain its charming Old-World atmosphere. A pastiche of red-blue-and green-roofed houses together with the tall gray tower of Hallgrim’s Church dominate the skyline. In Old Town, many of the wooden buildings have been lovingly restored and stand side by side with modern timber and concrete structures. There are fine museums and art galleries; historic pubs present activity in late afternoon. The beautiful countryside outside of Reykjavik includes such natural wonders as volcanoes, geysers, glaciers, mountains and spectacular waterfalls. Few places on earth give you a better chance to see the Northern Lights than Iceland as they are very visible during the peak winter season. If you are visiting Iceland during winter, be sure book yourself an evening Aurora tour departing from Reykjavik. The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The steamy waters are part of a lava formation. It is a 40 minute drive from Reykjavík.
Djupivogur - This village at the head of the bay Berufiord developed around an important trading post in the past. In 1589 the German Hansa merchants were granted a trading license there by the Danish king. Later on the Danish introduced the trade monopoly and took over themselves. The oldest houses (1788-1818) date back to the Danish period. One of them, Langabud (1790), has been renovated and transformed into a nice restaurant and museums. Fishing, fish processing and commerce are the main trades. The scenic beauty of the surroundings is renowned and visitors are treated well in every respect.
Grundarfjörður - The small town of Grundarfjörður is situated in the north of the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. Surrounded by exceptionally beautiful mountains, the entrance to the harbor is secure and easily navigated. Ships can berth alongside at the 230mtr-long quay or anchor in the fjord which has a 1.200mtr turning basin. Grundarfjörður offers easy access to both the Snæfellsnes peninsula and west Iceland, combining the breathtaking natural beauty of the peninsula with the rich cultural heritage of the whole of west Iceland. Snæfellsjökull National Park, with its mystical glacier is a big attraction, as is Iceland’s greatest archipelago, Breiðafjörður with its outstanding variety of rich birdlife. Departure from Ólafsvík for whale watching excursions or horse riding across the beaches of Löngufjörur.
Isafjord - The town of Isafjord is a bona fide hive of industry. This busy fishing port runs to sizable shipyards as well as shrimp and fish factories— all ready to handle the catch of the day from the icy waters of the Denmark Strait. Recreational activities around here include hiking, kayaking, and of course, fishing. It is also Iceland’s third busiest port of call for cruise ships. Calling vessels make a dramatic 80km journey up the Ísafjarðardjúp Bay which shelters a number of smaller fjords. Ísafjörður town is located in one of these, the Skutulsfjörður.