Earlier in the year I wrote about my bucket list destination of Iceland. I have a real love for the beautiful land of fire and ice, of the glorious scenery, the geysers, the stalagmites, the landscapes that span from mountains and glaciers to expanses of cold sea. In my earlier post I looked at some of the most popular, and traditional places to visit during a trip, but Iceland is truly a weird and wonderful land, and there are so many other places and experiences to enjoy that are far away from the beaten track. Whether you are a lover of Halloween, or of Christmas, or just a football fan who fell in love with that Icelandic chant and clap this summer, Iceland has so much to offer that promises to be unforgettable, and as you can enjoy the Country at your own pace with self drive tours in Iceland, you will be left wondering just how soon you can get back there.
Trawire is a company that rents portable wifi modems giving you and your travel companions constant internet access while traveling in Iceland. These small portable devices can fit in your pocket while hiking or a cupholder while in the vehicle – perfect for your Iceland trip! With so many destinations that you will want to share, this is a great way to stay in touch by staying online.
Now, Here are some places that will appeal to you if you want to get a different taste of Iceland.
The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft
Iceland is the perfect place to visit for a spooky Halloween experience. The most mystical and mysterious of all Icelandic museums, the Museum of Icelandic Sorcery and Witchcraft looks at the history and legends of Iceland’s witches, who, quite unusually, were mainly male. The museum (Strandagaldur) has some truly horrendous artefacts and exhibits. The most unusual has to be the necropants which were the dried skin of a man from the waist down, worn as a sort of trouser in order to create spells. This museum is perfect for those who like their history to be gloriously gruesome!
The tallest building in Iceland is situated in Reykjavik is a must visit for those with a love of interesting, other-worldly architecture. The Hallgrimskirkja is a 244ft Lutheran church which offers some of the best views across Reykjavik from it’s bell tower. The white facade of the church almost makes it appear as if it has been carved from ice and has a modern feel that echoes the fact that although it was begun in 1945, it was not completed until 1983, making it a relatively modern building.
Close to the Hallgrimskirkja is Tulipop. An original, design-led character brand from Iceland, it is a cool store based on the mystical Tulipop island and its inhabitants. Both cuddly and gothic and strongly inspired by forms and colours in nature, the Tulipop world features intriguing characters such as Bubble, a shy and dreamy mushroom boy and Gloomy, an adventurous mushroom girl, who loves surprises and cheeky little pranks – challenging gender stereotypes.
Alfaskolim (Elf School)
A lot of superstition in Iceland is linked to elves, with at least nine races of elves recorded. In Iceland, a large rock or boulder could be just a large rock, but it could also be a secret home to Elves. If you are interested in learning more about this rather wonderful superstition, then enrolling in a short course at Elf School could be for you. Based in Reykjavik, Elf School allows you to learn about elves to diploma level in a whistle stop five hour course. At the end of the course you will be awarded a diploma in elf studies, which is definitely something to add to your CV!
Sea Monster Museum
Definitely one for anyone with interest in Loch Ness, or Krackens, the Sea Monster museum (Skrimslasetur) is, quite fittingly, housed in a former fish factory located in the north-west cost village of Bildudalur on the shores of Arnarfjordur fjord. The Fjord is believed to be one of the most famous places when it comes to monster activity, so as well as being able to find out about monsters through images, films and stories, you may actually get a chance of spotting in a real monster. Children under the age of 10 are allowed, but must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
Christmas Garden (Akineym Area)
If, like Roy Wood and Wizzard, you wish it could be Christmas every day, then you need to add the Christmas garden to your bucket list, for this is a place where it is always the most wonderful time of the year. The Christmas Garden has a traditional Santa offering gifts,and you can visit his workshop throughout the year to check his progress, but you can also learn about Icelandic traditional Christmas stories and traditions, including the tale of Gryla, the Christmas Ogress and her 13 sons, the Yule lads. Gryla boils horrible children in her cauldron – another deliciously dark Icelandic tale!
The whole of Europe seemed to fall in love with the Icelandic National football team this summer during the Euro 2016 tournament in France. The spirited display on the pitch, and the fearsome Icelandic Clap celebration (apparently borrowed from Motherwell) was both to be feared and enjoyed. The Icelandic football league is called the Urvalsdeild. Currently FH are top of the league, followed by SFJarnan.
If you fancy watching a game of football in Iceland, you can find FH playing their home games at the Kaplaknkavolkr. This is in Hafnarfjorour and has a capacity of 6738. If you are used to watching the Premier League, you will find a very different scenario in Iceland, but one that is definitely filled with pride, passion and lots of atmosphere.
Iceland – a weird and wonderful land that has to be experienced.