A Grapevine service announcement Pay attention: The Holuhraun eruption is at it again
Travel
Organized Tours
Þingvellir On 38 Inch Tyres

Þingvellir On 38 Inch Tyres

Published January 12, 2009

One thing that hits you once you get acquainted with Reykjavík’s cityscape is the abundance of big-wheeled, so-called called “Super Jeeps”. You ponder their usefulness and purpose in an urban environment. Locals will tell you about the gravel mountain roads that still constitute the majority of roads in Iceland’s wide rural regions, roads where you need huge tyres and navigation systems to tread. Super Jeeps have become very popular in Iceland, and so have tours where tourists can go on off-road as passengers in one of these tuned-up monsters.
Lately, there has been a new trend in the tourist business: you can drive the Super Jeep yourself with guidance from touring company Arctic Adventures experienced guides. The concept works out quite well as the demand for the ‘U-drive’-tours has been constantly increasing since they were introduced, according to Torfi Ingvason, owner of Arctic Adventures.
As you can imagine, driving around with a car that almost packs the horsepower of an industrial crane is not very eco-friendly. The company is aware of this, and tries to balance the negative effects. They are donating to the environmental organisations Icelandic New Energy and the Icelandic Carbon Fund for every kilometre driven.
The trips include more adventure than just the experience of driving and navigating a monstrous vehicle. There are activities like caving, river-rafting or glacier-hiking, depending on the tour you pick. For example, the Golden Circle one includes a fascinating passing of Gjábakkahelirinn, a 350m long lava cave under Þingvellir, before you drive the big-wheeled car on the bumpy mountain road to Geysir and Gulfoss.
Unfortunately the venture is all in all very dependent on the road conditions. As safety is always first, you cannot go into the highlands all year round. “We went into a mountain river yesterday, and nearly got stuck in it”, says Torfi about the dangers of mountain rides in winter conditions. Therefore it is up to the weather how much “off-road” you will go. However, in a package with the other activities and seeing some of  Iceland’s most beautiful spots, these tours are an exciting alternative to the conventional bus trips.



Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

Into The Abyss

by

“It’s a good thing you’re going underground,” our bus driver calls out as his windshield wipers work furiously to bat away the rain. I watch the drops race across my window, blurring the moss-covered lava field that surrounds us. We are headed thirty minutes southeast of Reykjavík, with the intent of entering the chamber of a dormant volcano that erupted 4,000 years ago. In Jules Verne’s fantastical novel, the Snæfellsjökull volcano is an entry point to the centre of the Earth. But in the real Iceland, Þríhnúkagígur is the only volcano where dreams of descent can be realised, and only

Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

A Craving For Caving

by

Forty-five kilometres from downtown Reykjavík I’m standing on a snowy embankment surrounded by the Leitahraun lava field. The snow slopes down, guiding me under a shelf of rock and into a winding crevice to a basketball-sized hole in the ground. Feeling a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole, I drop my legs into the void and slide in, wriggling a bit to get my shoulders through the gap. The top of my helmet vanishes into the dark. My first thought is that I’ve actually arrived in Wonderland, complete with its own sparkling ice palace. The narrow tunnel has

Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

Where Winter Is Always Coming

by

The guy from New York has seen all three seasons of the television series ‘Game Of Thrones,’ “at least five times,” he says. He, a couple from Colorado, a father and son from New Zealand and South Korea, Nanna (our Icelandic photographer) and I are in a van in sub-arctic temps, north or west or both from the airport in Akureyri we flew into. We’re being driven around by Jón Þór Benediktsson, ‘The Travelling Viking,’ on his tour of film sites from the ‘Game Of Thrones.’ In that tactical way someone poses a question they already know the answer to,

Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

Riding With Fire, Tölting On Ice

by

Rule number one when riding an Icelandic horse: do not use your leg. Or at least, do not use as much leg as you would when riding a horse English-style. Swinging myself onto the saddle on a dark, snowy January morning, I had not imagined that my day riding through snow-capped mountains and frozen rivers with one of Iceland’s top riding centres, Eldhestar, would begin with such an abrupt wake-up call. You see, after spending the majority of my life trotting, dizzily round and round an English riding school, I have it drilled like a rusty nail into my subconscious

Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

Suspended In Silfra

by

Fifty kilometres north of Iceland’s Þingvellir National Park, a drop of water melts from the glacier Lángjökull, liberated from the 1,000-year-old frozen mass. The drop falls into porous, volcanic rock where it spends 30 to 100 years being filtered through the ground until it emerges into the cracks and fissures that skirt Þingvellir lake. By the time it reaches these fissures and this lake, it is some of the most pristine water in the world. The most notable fissure to be found along Þingvellir lake is the Silfra fissure, a rift in the earth’s crust between the North American and

Travel
Organized Tours
<?php the_title(); ?>

Horsing Around

by

In the kitchen at Steinsholt, Kari Torkildsen is stirring up a delicious lamb soup. She and her husband, Gunnar Marteinsson, are the owners of Steinsholt Riding Tours. They are making sure everything is ready for the company of thirteen Danes that they are expecting. Meanwhile, their toddlers, Magnús Örn and Jóhann, play with their matchbox cars on the floor. Not unlike most Icelanders, they don’t seem to need a proper road to drive; in fact their cars hardly need a road at all, leaping enormous gaps straight from floor to kitchen table with ruthless precision. They play utterly oblivious to

Show Me More!