In Iceland: Southern Region

The South will always be popular whatever time you go and there is a good reason why. I have been in January and in September and each time it has been beautiful. I wanted to get a different angle on some old spots and finally get to some places that I have wanted to go for long time.

Svínafellsjökull Glacier

PhoebeGill170417102I love this glacier, you can walk alongside it, take a seat and listen to the creaking ice. I had to fly the drone above the fissures and try and get closer to the source of the glacier, it is miles away so that didn’t happen but it’s stunning none the less. PhoebeGill170417187

Diamond Beach

I have taken pictures of this beach from the ground but from above it is one of the most beautiful sights. I think this is one of my favourite shots from my trip. PhoebeGill170422028

Jökulsárlón

Again I have taken many shots from the edge of the glacier but from above it is incredible. You can see the seals, huge icebergs and all the seagulls swooping below. I could honestly fly the drone over this area all day if I had enough batteries! PhoebeGill170422152

Fjaðrárgljúfur

This river canyon is a great site to visit, you can walk up to the top of the canyon and get great views of the river and the surrounding area. It gets very popular for a spot that doesn’t have great signage. PhoebeGill1704221131.jpg

Dyrhólaey

PhoebeGill170423017I have seen a lot of people sitting on the edge of this cliff however knowing my luck I’d fall off and be lost forever so I just flew the drone and sat in the sun. This was the first day where I didn’t need loads of layers and gloves, it was perfect. PhoebeGill1704231924

Gljúfrabúi

PhoebeGill170423159One of my last stops was back to the not so hidden waterfall. Unlike before, this time I was going in and I am very happy I did.There is something so wonderful about getting so close to a waterfall, blinded by the rushing water, getting soaked. Not staying too long because your cameras are going to get waterlogged. Can you tell I was happy? PhoebeGill170422001Iceland is somewhere you can go time and time again and you will find incredible things to do. I might not be back for a while but till next time Ísland.

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Eastern Region

The East is a stunning part of the country that I didn’t get to explore fully. In April a lot of the north eastern roads are closed and impassable. A lot of my trip was dodging storms and high winds so my eastern adventure started with a small town of 1000 people. I hope these next few images inspire a trip of your own.

Reyðarfjörður

This was the start of a stunning drive around some of the most beautiful fjords. It is all amazing and the only bad thing is that there aren’t enough places to stop and take it in. PhoebeGill170421072-Pano.jpgI did the drive from Reyðarfjörður to Höfn in a day but there are so many more coast roads and smaller roads that you could explore for days in warmer months or if you are an expert in driving in snow. PhoebeGill170421097Around every corner was beautiful and serene, you just want to stop and take it all in. Towering snow capped mountains and the sun dancing on top of the water would be the most peaceful setting if it wasn’t for the strong winds that chill you to your core and does nothing for your hair. PhoebeGill170421960The East, like the Westfjords will be a place I have to return to, in Summer when prices go up but becomes far more accessible.  I know there is so much more to this area but it’s beauty will be forever something that I remember. Never boring, always beautiful. PhoebeGill1704221053.jpgIt’s also the first time I saw reindeer just hanging out at the side of the road. Not as amazing as when I saw moose for the first time but still such cute animals. They are skittish so I couldn’t get amazing shots but it’s always fun to sit and watch them.

The east is somewhere that deserves your time. Don’t just stop at Höfn, keep going, drive and enjoy. PhoebeGill170421132

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Western Region

The Western Region is just above Reykjavik and below the Westfjords. Snæfellsnes peninsula is the main point of interest with some amazing places to visit. I love it, I keep finding myself gravitating to the same places over and over again because they are just stunning.

Hraunfossar

This was my first stop on the drive around the Western region. This beautiful waterfall is powerful and peaceful however, it is quite popular with tour busses and you might find that you’re in the midst of a big group of tourists.

Driving around the Snæfellsnes peninsula should be on your list of things to do if you are going to Iceland for a week. The south is amazing but there is something about this area that is so gorgeous, if you aren’t into staying in Reykjavik longer than a day then try get here.

Búðakirkja

PhoebeGill170418165With the infamous black church, a small but picturesque sight. Stunning mountains, lava fields and look out points, there is so many things you can see and do. Driving around and exploring you can get the most amazing images.

Vatnshellir Cave

I am very annoyed that I didn’t visit this site, I love caves, they are dark and cool in temperature and bats live there. I just love them. I have no idea if it is good but for more information you can find it here. 

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Arnarstapi

This small fishing village on the south of the peninsula is absolutely beautiful and is so photogenic it’s crazy. With a stunning coastal walk, amazing rock formations and strong waves, this place is a must see.

 

Where to Stay?

The small yet lovely town of Grundarfjörður on the north side of the peninsula. I stayed in the Old Postoffice Gusthouse, a wonderful place to stay for a night before you set off on another adventure. The rooms are very comfortable with a clean shared bathroom. I think I paid €79 for a single room but got upgraded as it was quiet in the guesthouse and got an amazing view of Kirkjufell! If you want to know more about the mountain find it here.nvjh.jpg

Happy Travels!

In Iceland: Driving in April

Driving in April is great, it is pretty easy, mildly scary and all around unpredictable! This was fun for me, checking the weather, looking ahead into the road and figuring out a safe spot to stop and sleep. Once again, I didn’t do much prep for camp grounds and generally blagged my way through the 10 day road trip,which I urge you not to do. Luckily there was only one instance where I wanted to break down crying and flail around but thankfully it was short lived.

So how’s the weather?

It’s all around mental. I had every type of weather in the 10 days I had exploring. Rain is always going to play a part in your trip but if you have your waterproofs you’ll be fine. Snow might crop up every now and again, potentially quite heavily at times, but just keep an eye on the weather and you will be fine.

When I landed, there were going to be gale force winds in Reykjavik and in the east so what did I do? I drove five hours to Jökullsárlón, of course! This was my plan, wherever the storm went I went the other way. Unfortunately this meant I missed out on some beautiful areas but what I did see was incredible!

The South

The south is generally where I find the easiest to navigate every time I have been in Iceland, there was rain and wind but also where I had the best weather. I had one of the nicest days at Dyrhólaey, the sun was warm and there was no breeze. I was on top of a cliff, no jacket, sitting enjoying the sun after about seven days of coats and layers. Note that it can still be cold at the main stops, this part of Skogáfoss was covered in ice and I almost went A over T a few times! PhoebeGill170423121

The West

The west of Iceland is always such a beautiful place to drive around, I recommend it to anyone who goes there. The weather was generally overcast, however, it was also exceptionally windy, that strong, kicks your legs out from under you, strong! It also had a bit of ice and snow on the high roads, around the number 54. Was so easy to drive around, I encourage everyone to give it a go.  PhoebeGill170419304

The West Fjords

The majority of the roads in the West Fjords were impassable, but the one road I wanted to go down was, for the most, part clear. That’s where I was headed. However the road that links the west to the west fjords was covered in snow, with terrible visibility. Driving in whiteouts is scary because you have no idea if you are driving on a cliff or a flat road. You can’t see anything. I eventually got out of the blizzard and calmed down. Just as I arrived at my road to the West Fjords, they closed it. Typical! This might happen at anytime in Iceland, they will close the roads and you will have to find an alternative route.

The North

The North is stunning. I drove from sunny Akureyri to Lake Mývatn and it was like driving to another world. The landscape was covered in snow and ice. There was fresh snow falling but you can easily drive around this area as none of the snow stuck to the road. There was one section of road on the way to Dettifoss that was icy and would most likely be impassable at certain times of the year.
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The East

Unfortunately a lot of the East fjord roads were closed or icy and a storm was coming, this would mean I couldn’t stay very long but I drove on the number 1 road and it was still a stunning route. It’s not a road that you can stop frequently or a route that has a lot of tourist attractions along it. However, it’s a great drive and I urge you to definitely take the time to explore it and enjoy how beautiful it is. PhoebeGill170421072

What you need.

There are a few tech, websites and apps I used that were invaluable to my trip.

  1. A wifi box – I got one from Trawire.com, you can pick it up from the N1 petrol stations and to send it back just drop it in a postbox. It cost €10 a day and well worth it.
  2. 112 Iceland app – This is an emergency services app that will give the police your exact location. If you are travelling in a remote area this can be a big help.
  3. Veður weather – This app and the website were perfect, it has alerts, tells you where the wind/storms are moving and it was a great tool to map my route if I had to change at the last minute.

  4. Road.is – This website will show you all of the road conditions and closures, it also has webcams of the roads so you can see for yourself what it is like. It is updated regularly and is such a useful thing to have during your trip.
  5. Aurora forecast – If you are travelling from October to March you have a better chance of seeing the northern lights however as the first northern lights of 2017 were in August, you could just be lucky. Be prepared.

 

Do you need a 4×4 in April?

Probably not if you are going around the ring route however, did I use the 4 wheel drive? Yes. I found that it really steadied the car on icy roads and the whiteout was very unnerving and having it was a comfort. I wanted to go places that were less frequented and if I was in a small car it would have been a lot more challenging and probably a very uncomfortable journey. The Pajero was great, highly recommend you check it out.

So go to Iceland in April, you just miss out on the expensive rates, the throngs of tourists and you get to experience all of the weather Iceland has in one go!

Happy Travels!

 

In Iceland: Renting a Car with GoCampers

Driving in Iceland is a must, seeing this amazing country at your own pace is something I will always recommend. I have used KuKu campers before, if you want to see my review click here. I wasn’t going to use them again and I also wanted a 4×4 so I went on to GoCamper. PhoebeGill170417107I chose the new 4×4 camper, a Mitsubishi Pajero and I have to say I love this car. It is a lot of fun to drive and it’s really spacious inside. I forgot to take a picture of the inside but there is everything you could need. Pots, pans, utensils, a little gas cooker, a cooler box and a heater. The only thing that didn’t work was the mp3 system didn’t work with Spotify, which isn’t a big deal. PhoebeGill170425006-1I spent 10 days in the car and it cost me €2490. €249 euro a day seems quite expensive and of course you can get a cheaper camper out there but for a car and accommodation, it’s not too bad. I am very happy I got the 4×4. As I was April, there were roads in the north that were icy and I was driving in whiteouts but I still felt very safe in the car. PhoebeGill170425006-2Do I recommend GoCampers? Yes, I definitely recommend the new 4×4 as it’s a great car to drive, it has lots of room, everything you could need. Also GoCampers offer a free transfer to your hotel after you drop back the car which is very helpful. PhoebeGill1704241990I had so much fun driving around Iceland and this car made it so easy and I felt really safe. It also looks great! I would love to be back in Iceland in the Pajero, till next time.

Happy Travels!

In Airlines: A Guide to WOW Air

WOW air is relatively new airline. Established in 2011, it is a low cost airline that connects Iceland with Europe and the USA. In June 2015 the connection between Iceland and Ireland was established and I am very thankful it did.PhoebeGill150915010

Before WOW air the only way people travelling from Ireland could get to Iceland was catching a flight to London or Copenhagen and then on to Reykjavik. It was annoying having to go an hour or two further afield when Iceland is straight above Ireland.

Firstly:

They brought in Online Check in! Woo, thanks WOW Air! 

Baggage:

One carry on at 5kg (Free). You can buy two extra kilograms online if you wish.

One check in bag at 20kg (Best paid for online as it is cheaper) The rates for extra kilograms are really expensive once you reach the airport so make sure you have everything in order. Here are all of the extra fees and charges. 

From Dublin:

You will be flying from Terminal 1. This information is not on booking confirmation so just take note. When you are flying with WOW air, it is pretty simple. You check the board in departures for where WOW air’s check in desk is located, both times I have been, it has been row 9. You check on the screen above the desk what country you are flying to and you stand in line. Simple.

In busy Summer months, this queue will be crazy busy (Now that they have online check in it will be a bit quicker). At any time of the year make sure you allow yourself plenty of time. Two to three hours. With the addition of a very busy Dublin security and the walk to the gate (Or the walk to Siberia as I like to call it) you need plenty of time!

From Keflavik:

In Keflavik it is a little different. When you arrive in departures there will be a wow section with lots of desks. On one side is the flights to main land Europe and on the other side are the flights to Dublin and London. So you are lumped in all together and just because there are lots of desks doesn’t mean they are open. No no. There has been two people on the Dublin/London side, both times I have flown with them. This is not enough people at all for the amount of passengers. And this is 4:30am!

Again I would be in Keflavik about two to three hours before your flight as once you check in you have to go through security, which has slowed down even more with the addition of a new tray dispenser system they have installed. Then once you get through security, you have to go through passport control and then you have to walk to the last gate in Keflavik airport. So two hours minimum!

When On Board:

On board, you have to pay for all of the food and drinks. I don’t think there are any complimentary items at all. They have a selection of food and Icelandic snacks, they also have duty free if you feel like buying something.

Flight Time:

The flight is around the two hour mark. A really easy flight to take and the flight path is almost all over the sea. There may be some turbulence, so just be aware of that before you fly.

I will definitely be flying WOW air again! Although a slower process and a little stressful to figure out how much your baggage weighs, it is worth it!

If you have any questions about WOW air leave them below and I will gladly reply! 

Happy Travels!