Category Archive News

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Wednesday September 19 to Friday September 21, 2018:TRAVEL NOT RECOMMENDED!

Storm with very powerful wind gusts expected:

-in the Westfjords-in theNorth(Borgarnes to Akureyri)

-in the North East(Akureyri to Egilsstaðir)all roads in these areas can get covered in snow with slippery and difficult driving conditions.

Highlands/Landmannalaugar/Kjölur/Askja: No travel conditions!!

South East Iceland(Kirkjubæjarklaustur to Djúpivogur):Very powerful wind and chances of sandstorm.

 

Please drive carefully and check the weather and road conditions before starting your trip: Camper Iceland – Road and weather conditions

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Road conditions – please check before starting your day trip

Weather:     

Night frost is a fact in the inlands at this time of year so important to be well equipped if camping!  

The weather forecast says slow wind and some rain now and then. Looks like wind will speed up around the weekend with rain so check weather forecast when it gets closer. 

 

Conditions in the highlands:   

Tourists often mistake 4×4 for a vehicle that can take on all terrain, which is of course not the case and this must be explained as damages can cost thousands of dollars. Drivers who get stuck in rivers, snow or mud have to get themselves out at own expense – there‘s no insurance in the world that covers damage linked to crossing a river. GPS devices also tend to lead drivers on to closed roads. For this reason, it’s very important they know where to access information about road conditions/closures. It is illegal to drive off-road, including on sand!!    

Þórsmörk/Goðaland: The road is only suitable for 4x4s. It is not advised to attempt crossing the river Krossá unless you are on a larger modified 4X4 and have experience crossing it. There are walking bridges over Krossá both from Básar to Langidalur and on the way to Húsadalur. The rivers on the way to Básar/Goðaland have also been very difficult in the past few days and only recommended for big jeeps. 

Fjallabak: Fjallabak N is open for 4x4s. F225 were recently fixed. F208 was fixed from Hrauneyjar to Landmannalaugar but not south from there, that part of F208 is in bad condition, espcially that part that was flooded by the Skaftá river in August. Other roads in the area are also in bad shape. Smaller 4x4s recommended to park before the river Námskvísl and walk over the walking bridge (should not take longer than 5 minutes.) Fjallabak S is only passable for bigger jeeps and modified vehicles. In Bláfjallakvísl river there‘s a deep spot that‘s hard to direct inexperienced drivers from and it has „drowned“ a few cars this summer.  

Kaldidalur: Open for 4×4 – uneven and rougher than normal gravel roads though.     

Kjölur: In pretty bad shape south of Hveravellir! This is normal for this time of year but important to show caution and not drive too fast.   

Lakagígar: Road F206 is open for 4×4 yet in bad shape after the summer. Guidelines are to be found through the river crossings at Hellisá river and Varmá river. 

Askja: Smaller 4×4 recommended to go through Möðrudalur (F905 + F910) instead of F88 as the river Lindaá can be troublesome. F910 between Askja and Nýidalur is only accessible by bigger jeeps as there are bigger rocks on the roads that cars with only 20 cm ground clearance cannot clear. Road to Holuhraun lava field is ok for all 4×4 but the Gæsavatnaleið route beyond that point is only for modified vehicles!  

Snæfell: Road conditions in the area for 4×4. Rivers are now a little deeper than the last fe weeks. Very little snow (conditions bad for mountain skiers) on the mountain. Now a layer of fresh snow on top of old snow, necessary to bring crampons and GPS. It’s cold at the mountain now so good and warm clothes needed. 

Sprengisandur: Hut at Nýidalur is now closed. Worth mentioning that there are rivers to cross that are very weather dependent, now it‘s cold so levels are not too high butwhen it rains the river by Nýidalur may end up being challenging for smaller 4×4!  

 

Conditions in popular tourist sites:   

Conditions depend entirely on the weather so that must be checked every day. Many trails are now wet and muddy and therefore it‘s important to wear proper footwear as the mud is slippery and can cause accidents.    

Reykjanes: Construction going on by Gunnuhver where they are fixing the decks and more. Valahnjúkur is closed due to dangerous conditions! The road to Selártangar is in very bad shape.  

Þingvellir: Road closure on road 36 from the Visitors Center to the eastern crossroads of Vallarvegur (361) until October. Detour around the closure via road 361.     

Geysir: Nothing remarkable about conditions.  Please stay on marked paths. 

Gullfoss: Nothing remarkable about the condition.  Please stay on marked paths. 

Western Iceland: Dangerous area around the landslide in Hítardalur. Please do not go to that area! Nothing remarkable about other conditions in West Iceland. 

Snæfellsjökull National Parl: It has snowed on the Snæfellsjökull glacier and the fresh snow hides the old cravasses, so going there without a guide is highly not recommendet.  

Westfjords: The mountain pass over Dynjandisheiði (and other gravel roads) are in very bad condition, big potholes and when it rains it gets muddy. Note that at bridges are sharp edges and deep holes, show caution because it’s easy to damage cars.   

Látrabjarg and Rauðisandur: Worth mentioning that in heavy rain Látrabjarg becomes very slippery and trails become muddy. The road to Rauðisandur is very steep, threads the mountain with out protective rails which can be challenging for inexperienced drivers.  

Hvítserkur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.       

Goðafoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.    

Mývatn: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.     

Dettifoss og Selfoss: The area is pretty wet and slippery – caution must be shown.    

Hengifoss: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.      

Reynisfjara: The beach can always be dangerous due to the unpredictability of the waves. It‘s not every wave – it‘s every 7th or 10th or 12th wave that goes a lot further up the beach than the rest making it difficult to assess danger upon arrival. There are no rocks in the ocean that break the waves and only a few meters of shore there‘s an underwater cliff so the pulling factor of these already powerful waves becomes even greater. On top of this the sand is very fine ash which makes it extra difficult to get away from these waves. Rocks have also been falling by the cave. 
Same applies to 
Djúpalónssandur in Snæfellsnes Peninsula and Kirkjufjara beach but it‘s CLOSED for this reason.   

Svínafellsjökull: Civil Protection advises against travel on Svínafellsjökull due to landslide danger and guided tours on the glacier are discouraged. Travelers are advised to stop only for a short while at viewpoints by the glacier tongue. 

Dyrhólaey: The road to Háey is only for 4×4 vehicles.  

Seljalandsfoss: Nothing unusual about the conditions – the trail behind the waterfall is wet and one must be careful when going back up the rocks on the west side.   

Fjaðrárgljúfur: Important to stay on the trails and not go over ropes that indicate closures as nature is still very vulnerable.   

   

Conditions on hiking trails:   

Hiking in Iceland requires proper equipment even on shorter hikes as trails are often not like the ones travelers are used to. Please study our equipment list as preparation is key for successful travel in Iceland. The way down can often be harder than the way up so hiking poles are a good tool to help tired knees. 

Esjan: Important not to underestimate the elevation gain but there’s nothing unusual about the conditions.   

Reykjadalur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions. Important though to follow trails as the area remains sensitive to traffic.   

Básar: Trails are in good condition but there’s still old snow on Fimmvörðuháls.  

Fimmvörðuháls:  A challenging hike and conditions vary a lot on the weather! Fog on the top and even snow is common which limits the visibility. You‘ll hit snow just after Baldvinsskáli and walk for about 4 km. Snow can be very wet and slushy so it‘s more time consuming and hiking poles are recommended. Foot prints in the snow should never be 100% relied uppon. Important to keep in mind that access to water is very limited after the river, on the pass itself.  

Þórsmörk: Trails are in good conditions. 

Landmannalaugar:  All marked trails are open.    

Laugavegur: Challenging hike, not for those without experience as proper equipment is required. Snow has melted a lot but hikers still have to prepare to hike in and out of slushy snow for a few hours. The campsite in Hrafntinnusker is mostly free of snow so in good weather it‘s ok to camp there. Now the nights are very cold so necessary to have good equipment if camping. Limited visibility and thick fog is common in this area so a GPS is required. If hikers come to Bláfjallakvísl river and see tire tracks from cars they want to avoid crossing the river there – they must look for a wider spot about 100 m. up the river for a shallower spot. Hiking poles and water shoes are good for the crossing as the river is glacial and you don‘t see the potentially sharp rocks in the bottom and the current is stronger than other rivers along the route. Gaiters recommended. 

Please be advised that the huts on the Laugavegur trail will close in the following order: 
Hrafntinnusker: September 18th 
Álftavatn: September 19th 
Emstrur: September 20th 
Hvanngil: September 21st 

This means that staff will be leaving the huts on that date and if you need access to the huts on or after those dates you must contact Ferðafélag Íslands (fi@fi.isahead of time. 
Please note that huts on the Fimmvörðuháls trail have already closed. 
The huts in Langidalur and Básar (Þórsmörk) have not announced exact closing dates yet but will be open until end of September at least. Volcano Huts in Húsadalur is open year round. The hut in Landmannalaugar is also open most of the year. 

Þakgil: Campsite is open until September 15th. Apart from that nothing remarkable about the conditions.   

Kjalvegur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.   

Kerlingafjöll:  Snow above 800 m. Apart from that, nothing remarkable about the conditions.   

Skaftafell: Snow at the top of Kristínartindar. Apart from that, nothing remarkable about the trails.   

SE of Vatnajökull: Nothing unusual about the conditions.  

Víknaslóðir: Wardens were in the huts until September 7th.  

Ásbyrgi og Jökulsárgljúfur: Nothing remarkable about the conditions.  

Hornstrandir: Muddy and wet conditions can be expected, less around Hesteyri and Aðalvík though. A lot of water can be expected on the water pass in Fljótavík so taking a trail south of the lake by Glúmsstaðir is recommended.  

Glymur: Log is placed over half of the river until mid September or so. One must step on rocks for the first half but due to high river levels it’s unavoidable getting wet as the river flows well over these rocks. Not recommended except for those with good sense of balance as the current is quite strong in these conditions. Light wading shoes recommended.  

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Lost in Space to Film in Iceland

Netflix series Lost in Space has received the green light from the Environment Agency of Iceland to film at Skógafoss and Dyrhólaey in South Iceland, RÚV reports. Around 100 people will be involved in the filming, which is to take place over several days at the locations.

Skógafoss waterfall is one of the most visited sites in South Iceland. The Environment Agency placed the fall on a list of sites in danger last year due to the impact of increased tourism. Filming at the location will take two days. The crew was granted permission to build a 20m2 platform over the river which will be secured with legs dug into the gravel. The application states it will be necessary to restrict access to the waterfall while filming is underway. In response to this, the Evironment Agency has asked the crew to limit the time of filming in consideration of visitors, most of whom only visit the fall once in their lifetime.

The crew also received permission for filming on the beach east of Dyrhólaey, another popular tourist site on Iceland’s south coast. The Environment Agency granted the project permission for off-road driving in order to transport equipment to the site, as well as digging three to five holes on the beach where electric smoke machines will be placed. The Environment Agency pointed out to the production team that the project may encourage other visitors to the area to engage in off-road driving. The location is a popular tourist site and therefore it is important to clarify the area is closed to all other off-road driving.

Gullfoss waterfall is the third and final shooting location for the project. Located on the popular Golden Circle route, the fall will be filmed from the lower platform using a drone. The show’s second season can expect high viewership – 6.3 million viewers tuned into the first season during the first three days of its release, according to Variety.

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Luftküsse am Himmel

Das Polarlicht ist eine faszinierende aber auch geheimnisvolle Naturerscheinung.
Einzigartig sind diese Luftküsse, die die Sonne in Form von bunten Lichtern am Himmel an die Erde sendet. So könnten die Nordlichter doch auch beschrieben werden. 

Physikalisch beschrieben wird es etwas komplizierter. Die Sonne stösst einen sogenannten Sonnenwind voller energiegeladener Teilchen, Elektronen und Protonen und ein wenig Helium, aus. Dieser Sonnenwind benötigt ca. 18 Stunden, bis er das Magnetfeld der Erde erreicht. Diese Teilchen gelangen nicht ganz bis an die Erdoberfläche, weil sie vorher auf Magnetfeldlinien treffen. Wenn sich also diese energiegeladenen Teilchen mit den erdeigenen Atomen verbinden, entstehen Nordlichter. Da tönt die Luftküsse Erklärung doch viel einfacher, meinen Sie nicht?

Lichtspiele am Himmel haben schon immer die Menschen fasziniert und auch erschreckt. Die Nordlichter, diese geheimnisvollen, gespenstischen Leuchterscheinungen am nächtlichen Himmel waren den Menschen lange ein Rätsel. Sie hatten damals aber viel weniger Möglichkeiten die Polarlichter zu erforschen, als es heutzutage möglich ist. Da sie diese Phänomene nicht verstanden, hatten sie Angst und auch Respekt vor ihnen.

Damit die Nordlichter gesehen werden können, braucht es eine klare, dunkle Nacht. Island ist durch seine Lage begünstigt. Die ideale Reisezeit für Polarlichter ist ab Mitte September bis im März/April. Sie treten häufig im Süden, Westen und Norden auf. In verschiedenen Farben tanzen sie am Himmel und tauchen Island in ein geheimnisvolles Licht. Stetig wechseln die Farben und Formen und man kommt aus dem Staunen nicht mehr raus. Ein überwältigendes Naturspektakel. 

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Wetterwarnung für das Hochland / Weather alert Highland – today 28th of Aug 18

Der isländische Wettterdienst hat für das zentrale Hochland eine Warnmeldung herausgegeben, berichtet RÚV.

Von heute Mittag an bis etwa 3 Uhr kommende Nacht gilt die gelbe Warnstufe, gerechnet werden muss mit Windgeschwindigkeiten von 15 bis 20 m/s im südlichen Teil des Hochlandes, dazu kommen kräftige oder auch schwere Regenfälle, die Sicht ist extrem eingeschränkt.

Auch an der Südküste können an Berghängen Windböen von bis zu 30 m/s entstehen. Wohnmobile und Wohnanhänger laufen Gefahr, im Graben zu landen.

Wanderern und Radfahrern im Hochland wird heute dringend empfohlen, bei dem Wetter nicht unterwegs zu sein.

Die aktuelle Wetterlage finden Sie hier, Warnmeldungen gibt es stets bei safetravel.is.

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Hvalfjörður Tunnel Toll to End in September

It is expected that the toll collection in the Hvalfjörður tunnel will cease by the end of September, Skessuhorn reports. The tunnel, which opened on the 11th of July, 1998 at a cost of 70 million $, has greatly shortened distances for drivers since opening. The private company Spölur is now finishing its last tasks, such as cleaning the tunnel along with regular maintenance. Barring any last-minute changes, the company will hand over the reins of the tunnel to the Icelandic Road Administration by the end of September, 2018.

Original plans projected that it would take around 20 years to recover the costs of building the tunnel through toll fares. The private company Spölur has handled the collection of the toll fares hitherto, as well as taking charge of all repairs and security in the tunnel. Traffic volume has been significantly higher than originally projected, so it has been clear for some years that the tunnel has been paid for. There were even plans afoot at one point to construct another tunnel through the fjord, which would allow traffic in opposing directions to be separated.

The Icelandic Road Administration will now take over the reigns of the tunnel. The previously manned toll booths are expected to be unmanned now, and security will be controlled from The Icelandic Road Administration offices. “The only difference will be that security monitoring will not take place in the booths next to the tunnel, but rather in the monitoring stations of the Icelandic Road Administration in Borgartún, Reykjavík or in Ísafjörður”, G Pétur Matthíasson, the public relations officer of the Icelandic Road Administration commented.

The tunnel cuts through Hvalfjörður fjord, just north of Reykjavík. Previously, drivers had to undertake the arduous trip into the long and winding Hvalfjörður, which was often deemed unpassable due to weather conditions. The time it took to pass through the fjord was shortened from an hour to 7 minutes. The Hvalfjörður tunnel is part of Route 1, and is 5 770 metre-long in total, reaching a depth of 165 metres below sea level.

Those drivers heading to West Iceland, the Westfjords, or the North of Iceland can expect their purse to hurt a little less during their trip to Iceland. Spölur will soon start work to clear up all toll fare subscription accounts.

The toll rates had previously been 1000 króna (9.22 $, 7.98 €) for passenger vehicles. Further information can be found on Spölur’s website – www.spolur.is, as well as the website of the Icelandic Road Administration – www.road.is

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Ring Road Closure Due to Flood Continues

Route 1, the Ring Road, remains closed at Kirkjubæjarklaustur due to a glacial outburst flood in Skaftá river, RÚV reports. Authorities are now evaluating whether to breach the road and build a channel to drain the area.

Though the road is closed to smaller vehicles, larger cars and jeeps have been permitted to pass through. Smaller vehicles can bypass the closure via Road 204 through Meðalland.

“There is just a large catchment area that has been formed there, I just have no idea when it will recede, that’s just how it is,” said Ágúst Bjartmarsson of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration. “This is over a kilometre long catchment area and lots of water behind it.”

Travellers are advised to check conditions at weather and road conditions before setting out.