Mývatn offers a unique natural environment. With large contrasts and small distances you can experience the most and the best that Iceland has to offer. Large open spaces with roads and walkways lead travelers to interesting locations, were volcanic eruptions have played a crucial role in the formation of the landscape. Whether the plan is to enjoy the landscape, examine unique natural phenomena or take a closer look at the pant and bird life, Mývatn has it all. Furthermore the area offers a variety of services in accommodation, food and entertainment, based on years of experience and knowledge. A large number of travellers visit Mývatn in the summer, but many believe the lake and its surroundings to be no less impressive in the wintertime.
Snæfellsnes is a thriving community with rich economic and cultural diversity. Most of the coastline is dotted with small villages or settlements. There is a good road along the coastline and the distances are short between villages. The varied landscape and different towns offer a unique experience for visitors. Fishery provides the main employment for the inhabitants of Snæfellsnes and there are five bustling harbours on the peninsula. It is a must to do as the Icelanders and visit the harbour area of these small towns, to feel the atmosphere and see the action. Tourism has been growing steadily as an industry on Snæfellsnes. It is based on the quality and resources of the area with sustainability in mind. Snæfellsnes was given the Earth-Check award for being a sustainable community in 2008.
The Westman Islands are a group of 15-18 islands, depending on how they are classed, and about 30 skerries sand rock pillars, located off the mainland’s south coast. The islands were formed by submarine volcanic eruptions along a 30-km long fissure lying southwest to northeast. The largest island is Heimaey, 13.4 km2.Most of the islands have steep sea cliffs, and are well vegetated. Bird hunting and egg collecting are traditional to the islanders’ culture.
A Norse timber church, a gift from the Norwegians to commemorate 1000 years since Christianity was accepted in Iceland, was consecrated on Heimaey. The only church of its type in Iceland, it has been situated at the Skans area where a stone wall, built after the Turkish invasion in 1627 occurred, has been rebuilt. Population 4,416.
Langanes is a 40 km long peninsula stretching into the ocean from Iceland’s Northeast corner. In addition to being an enchanting nature pearl with teeming bird life, Langanes is a virtual outdoor museum holding fascinating remains of a time gone by. Before the turn of the 20th century almost the entire peninsula was populated with farms but now only a couple of farms east of Thorshofn are in residence. A trip to the outlying peninsula is an adventure as you pass remnants of ancient farms and more recently deserted buildings like Skoruvik. Each house or ruin holds a story of man’s survival and adaptation to his environment in a changing world. On the peninsula’s eastern shore, almost at the tip, is the deserted village of Skálar. Here, seemingly at the edge of the world, stood a thriving fishing village in the early 20th century, although short lived.
Scenic nature, favorable weather conditions and a network of hiking trails make Skaftafell an ideal destination for those who like to enjoy outdoor activities in Icelandic nature. Short and easy trails lead to waterfall Svartifoss and glacier Skaftafellsjökull, but for those who want to reach further out valley Morsárdalur and mountain peaks Kristínartindar are perfect in terms of distance and labour. Skaftafell is also the perfect base camp for those who seek to climb Iceland‘s highest mountain peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur.
Private travel companies operate in Skaftafell and offer guided hikes on the nearby glaciers and mountains. Also on offer are sightseeing flights over glacier Vatnajokull and other renowned attractions.
In 1967, Skaftafell National Park was established, but in 2008 it became a part of the newly established Vatnajokull National Park. To enjoy Skaftafell’s true value it is recommended to spend at least few days there, either staying at the camp site in Skaftafell or in a nearby accommodation.