Friday, 1 August 2014

Route F550 - The Kaldidalsvegur/Kaldidalur Interior Route

The Kaldidalsvegur (officially known as Route 550) is the shortest of the highland tracks traversing the Highlands of Iceland, therefore the nickname "highlands for beginners". Its name derives from the valley it crosses: kaldidalur means "cold dale/valley.

Sometimes the Kaldidalsvegur is referred to as simply "the Kaldidalur". It is a thrill to drive in kaldidalur! Driving the ring road of iceland is a thing but driving offroad is another thing! The landscape of kaldidalur is mind boggling - you see rocks, rocks, rocks, rocks - then a river suddenly cuts through the rocks and then glaciers and massive packs of ice just looms in the horizon.

It couldnt be the moon, because the moon although composed of rocks has no water. It couldnt be an arid desert because deserts have no ice, and its icy cold here - it is a landscape that you can only see in small parts of the world and fortunately, Iceland has it.

The route begins a bit to the north of Þingvellir and to the west of the volcano Skjaldbreiður, which really comes up to its name (meaning broad shield).

The track continues between the glaciers Þórisjökull and Ok and leads up to the north. To the east of Reykholt it comes near the Reykholtsdalur to Húsafell. Then it continues up to Hvammstangi at the Miðfjörður.

Signed as route 550, the track is 40 kilometers long, and has no unbridged river crossings. The Kaldidalsvegur is not an F road, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is not legally required to traverse it, however many car rental companies forbid the use of their two-wheel-drive vehicles on this interior route.

The other well known highland routes are Kjölur and Sprengisandur.

The Cold Valley route was much travelled in the past, especially between the inland located farms of the West and Northwest, and the Parliamentary Plains area. It was the first one to be made permanent with road building in 1830. The view from the highest lying point (727 m) enroute is excellent on a fine day. A few legends and Sagas are connected with this part of the country. A side road to the east from the main route leads to a hut at the edge of The Long Glacier, where adventurous glacier tours are on offer.

It is very important to check rainfall in this area before setting off and make sure you are well prepared for the trip.

You’ll need to check road conditions in advance through this site.

Average opening date: May 31st
Average closing date: September 23rd

Jóhanna, Iceland24
July 2014

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Car Rental Iceland - Price Comparison Summer 2014

Renting a car in Iceland may not be the cheapest way to explore the island (it’s tough to beat hitch hiking) but it doesn’t have to blow your budget. With public transportation being almost non-existent outside of the larger cities, like Reykjavik, renting a car gives you the freedom at a fraction of the cost when compared to the sightseeing tours sold at tourist information centers.

Despite being a big supporter of public transport I think the best way to travel around Iceland is by renting a car.

We recommend to pick up your rental vehicle at the airport to save money to and from the airport. For example, if you pick up your rental from the city of Reykjavik, you may incur an additional cost of about USD $25-35 / EUR €20-30 in shuttle bus fees each way to get to Keflavik International Airport. This is because the airport is about an hour from Reykjavik. However, planning to pick up your rental at the airport may save you from incurring the additional cost.

July 30th - August 7th
Pick up: Keflavík International Airport / Drop off: Keflavík International Airport

Option A - New Cars:

Kia Rio diesel              581€
Dacia Duster 4x4         897€
*prices with all insurances included

Toyota Aygo                949€
Toyota Rav4                2.033€

Hyundai i10                       570€
Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4   945€

Volkswagen Polo         879€            
Suzuki Grand Vitara    1.701€

Hyundai i10                 796€
Suzuki Jimny               1.542€

Volkswagen Polo         855€
Dacia Duster 4x4         1.724€

Option B - OLD Cars:

Hyundai i10                 530€
Hyundai Tucson 4x4    909€

Toyota Yaris                675€
Toyota RAV4              1.125€

Kia Picanto                  848€
Suzuki Grand Vitara    2.084€

Hyundai i10                 630€
Toyota RAV4              1.064€

Toyota Yaris                640€
Toyota RAV4              1.175€

Ford Fiesta                  750€
Ford Kuga                   1.360€

Compare car rental prices online (see above) and then book your rental. Generally, the earlier you book your car rental, the more savings you most likely will get. You must have a valid debit or credit card to book a car rental in Iceland. Generally, the card must have a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club or Discover logo on it.

What should I do if an accident occurs?

Don't move your car (unless it is in a dangerous position which might lead to another accident) and wait for the police to arrive. You can call them on 112. It is a legal requirement to carry a warning triangle and this should be used if necessary.

In the meantime swap insurance information and addresses with the other driver. If you have a camera handy take pictures of the accident for police and insurance purposes. You should give a copy of the police report to your insurance company.

What are the seat belt regulations in Iceland?

All passengers must wear seatbelts. Having your headlights on while driving is also mandatory while it is illegal to drive while talking on a mobile phone.

What are the motorway signs?

There is one main highway in Iceland which goes from Reykjavik all the way along the coast. It is called the Route 1 Ring Road and you can't miss it.

What is the alcohol limit?

The drinking limit is 0.05% and the minimum fine is ISK 70,000 or 386 Euros.

What documents do I need?

You need to have your driving licence, your passport, some proof of insurance (including third party fire and liability insurance) and your vehicle registration information.

What phrases might I find useful when driving?

- Motor oil - motor olia
- Entrance - inngangur
- Detour - krokaleid blylaust bensin
- Diesel - disiloliaHospital - spitali
- Police - logregla
- Police Station - logreglustod
- Parking - bilastaedi
- Highway – hradbraut
- Road goes from being paved to Gravel - malbik endar (change your speed down accordingly)
- Unleaded petrol - blylaust bensin
- Gas station - bensinstod
- Exit – otgangur
- One lane bridge – einbreio bru (you should give way to cars already on the bridge)

What are the speed limits?
  • 50 kilometres per hour in built up areas.
  • 80 kilometres per hour on open roads.
  • 90 kilometres per hour on highways. 90 kilometres per hour is the maximum speed limit and should never be exceeded in Iceland as the penalties are steep.

Berglind Rós, Iceland24
July 2014
© 2014 by Iceland24

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Volunteering in Iceland

If you’ve ever wanted a meaningful holiday without breaking the bank, then volunteering is the solution. You not only get to know the locals well but you’ll also be contributing something of value to the country of your visit. Iceland is no exception as goedele vermeeren recounts how her first volunteering experience in iceland went…

There are many ways to experience iceland. you could go there as a tourist, or make a short stopover on the way to or from europe but if you really want to get to know the country, there is an interesting alternative: volunteering because volunteering is not only a great way to save money while traveling, but you also get to meet lots of people, and immerse yourself in the local culture in a way a ‘normal’ tourist wouldn’t be able to. Plus, you get to learn a lot; both about the work you do and about yourself.

The easiest way to volunteer somewhere is to contact someone via the internet. there are great websites to help you with this, like, or Once you log on, you’ll be surprised to find these sites offering a long list of possible local hosts, even for a small country like iceland.

Goedele's experience

It all began when i contacted several families through the workaway-website weeks and months in advance of my trip. this is because the families on the site are overwhelmed daily with requests from volunteers everywhere. So when i found a family that was still looking for someone, i was unbelievable happy.

I did, however, feel a bit insecure, not knowing what the family would be like, and if i would like the work itself. i had never worked on a farm before by the way so i did have some doubts but these proved unnecessary, since everything turned out for the best afterwards.

I originally planned to stay with them for 6 weeks, as they had requested but in the end, i stayed for almost 3 months (september to december), and even then i was reluctant to leave. During that time, i was treated like a member of their family and together with another volunteer, they took us to family parties, dinners and outings; everything we, as volunteers, could wish for. It was really a pleasant experience, living under their roof, eating and working together. It also helped that the work we had to do on the farm was equally pleasant too. we started (and ended) most of our days with milking and feeding the cows, cleaning their shed, and feeding the sheep.

At other times, we worked out on the farm, shaving sheep or reining in cows that had broken loose and the best part of the gig was having free time sandwiched in between the milking, where we could do whatever we wanted.

It was also during this time that we went shopping in akureyri, indulged in some winter skiing, read some books or tried to learn some icelandic, which was really fun. to top it all off, the farm was located in a beautiful valley. We just had to step outside to witness the most amazing views and sights we had ever seen and fill our days with long scenic walks that would satisfy our souls.

So there you have it! my farmstay experience in iceland. If ever you reached a point where you don’t know what to do with your life, just take some months off and do some volunteering –in iceland, of course. Coming here as a volunteer was the wisest choice i ever made, since the experience was unlike any other. The time that i spent on the farm could probably be the best time i’ve ever had in my life and i will always remember the kind and generous people i’ve met there.

No doubt, i will probably visit them again when i return to iceland and i hope that it will be sooner rather than later.

bless, bless…

Julio 2014