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Winter festival “Éljagangur” / Blizzard in Akureyri

The annual winter festival Éljagangur/BLizzard in Akureyri, Capital of North Iceland, has been taking place in the beginning of February each year but in 2015 it will be held in March as a part of The Iceland Winter Games.

The Iceland Winter Games 2015 will be held 6th -14th March. With the biggest events taking place on the 11th-14th of March 2015.

All kinds of winter sports, Mountain hiking, Cross-country skiing, snow-boarding, downhill skiing, snow scooters, super jeeps, exhibition on new equipment related to winter sports, concerts and much, much more.

Place of the week - Mountain Mælifell

Place of the week is this beautiful mountain Mælifell north of the glacier Mýrdalsjökull.

Mælifell is a 791 m tuff mountain towards the east of Mælifellssandur, by the mountain road F210.

Good view from the mountain.

Extreme Iceland sent us this photo.

Places of the week - Skiing in Iceland

Skiing is quite popular in Iceland, exspceially in the Ísafjörður area in the Westfjords (see photo), Akureyri, Sauðárkókur and Siglufjörður in the North and in Seyðisfjörður and Oddsskarð in the East.

The ski areas of Bláfjöll and Skálafell are both only 25 minutes drive away from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. Bláfjöll is south west of the city and Skálafell east of the city. Both areas have great ski slopes for downhill skiing and snowboarding as well as tracks for cross-country skiing. Bláfjöll has 16 lifts. Skálafell has 4 lifts. For more information about Bláfjöll and Skálafell see webpage skidasvaedi.is

Bláfjöll ski resort is popular with tourists as well as Icelanders and is especially known for its spectacular views and varied landscapes. Bláfjöll ski area is open when snow and weather permit. Buses depart from Mjódd Bus Terminal when Bláfjöll ski resort is open.

Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year

The Iceland Road Guide wish you a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year.

Our Christmas photo this year is from the church in Norðfjörður East Iceland.

Photograph Óttar Sveinsson.

Place of the Week - Dimmuborgir home of the Icelandic Yule Lads

The Icelandic Yule Lads are the 13 sons of Grýla and Leppalúði, vicious trolls that live in in the Mývatn area in north Iceland.

Grýla is ancient - her name is even mentioned in Snorri Sturluson´s thirteenth century Edda.Grýla and Leppalúði brought up their thirteen sons, the Yule Lads by Lake Myvatn. As the lads grew up they wanted a place of their own and Dimmuborgir was the perfect place for them to settle down.

An old legend in Iceland is, that 13 days prior to Christmas the Yule Lads start coming down from the mountain, one each night.

Children in Iceland place their best shoe on their windowsill before going to bed and each night a little gift is left in it from the Yule Lad that came down from the mountain that night. If the child has been misbehaving, there might be a raw potato left instead.

In December the Icelandic Yule Lads welcome guests to visit them in Dimmuborgir in Mývatn everyday between 1 pm and 3 pm. Every year the Yule Lads go in their annual bath in the Mývatn Naturebath where guests can join them and have some fun. Some of the Yule Lads are not happy with this tradition, because they don´t like the water. The bath takes place two weeks before Christmas.

More information about the Yule Lads can be found on the webpage visitmyvatn.is

Place of the week – Friðheimar in South Iceland

Friðheimar is very much a family affair, run by Knútur Rafn Ármann and his wife Helena Hermundardóttir and five children.

At Friðheimar, they grow tomatoes all year round, despite Iceland’s long, dark winters, under artificial lighting in greenhouses. They welcome visitors to see their greenhouses, and then enjoy a taste of the crop. You can take delicious food souvenirs away with you, made of tomatoes and cucumbers.

There is a lovely restaurant in the greenhouse open all year serving food made from tomatoes.

At Friðheimarthey they also breed horses, and put on a horse show – in fourteen different languages.

Friðheimar is in Reykholt, South Iceland by road 35 on the Golden Circle route, only 95 km from Reykjavík. See the webpage fridheimar.is

Place of the week - The Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes

The Icelandic Settlement Centre in Borgarnes, West Iceland, is the place of the week. The centre reveals Egils Saga and the Settlement Saga in an entertaining and simple way by leading the visitor into the adventure world of the sagas by audio guides in 14 different languages.

The Egils Saga exhibition describes one of the most colourful of all the saga characters, Egill the son of Skalla-Grimur. Egill was a great poet but also a viking and ribald abroad. The story intertwines battles and love affairs, sorcery and pagan lore.

The Settlement exhibition portrays the first men who set foot in Iceland and how the country was settled up until the Althingi parliament was founded in the year 930. By using the modern technology of multi-media and theatre an attempt is made to give the visitor a sense of how it must have been to set foot in unsettled territory.

The Icelandic Settlement Centre is open all year, for further information see settlementcentre.is

Place of the week - Sunset in Reykjavík

Place of the week this time is sunset in Reykjavík.

The sky over Reykjavík has been unusually beautiful for the past few days.

Daylight in Iceland is only about 7 hours theese days, and will be down to 4 hours in December.

Photo: Óttar Sveinsson.

Place of the week - Northern Lights all over Iceland

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) are visible in Iceland from September until April. The best time in the day to see them is around 9 pm till 2 am. There is a strong connection between the solar winds and the Northern Lights. The lights are caused by the speed of the solar winds, and the direction and magnitude of their magnetic fields.

Many tour operators in Iceland offer mystery evening tours "to hunt for the Northern Lights". The Northern Lights can only be seen on a clear night.

Photo; South Iceland Marketing Office, Pétursey in South Icaland

Place of the Week - Iceland Airwaves in Reykjavík

The music festival Iceland Airwaves will take place in Reykjavík November 5 - 9. It was first held in 1999 and has become one of the premier annual showcases for new music – Icelandic and otherwise – in the world. Some of the world’s most exciting artists have performed there, too. The Shins, The Rapture, TV On The Radio, Florence and the Machine and Fatboy Slim. Including Icelandic bands such as Björk, Sigur Rós, FM Belfast, GusGus, múm, Of Monsters and Men.

Iceland Airwaves is more than just music. Reykjavík is quite possibly the perfect festival city – small enough to be welcoming, sophisticated enough to offer cultural, historical and nightlife diversions to rival cities ten times its size. Maybe twenty.

For further information see their web, icelandairwaves.is. Photo by Alexander Mitkhno of FM Belfast last year.

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