Somewhere new this ski season!
Summer sunshine is almost a distant memory but the draw of freezing temperatures and darker nights brings the excitement of this year’s ski holiday.
The question is where; Zermatt, Kisbuhel, Verbier, or Chamonix? Why not try somewhere new, different and with a bit of a twist...
Having had the pleasure of spending a few days in Akuyeri, Northern Iceland this year I would thoroughly recommend it.
Eyjafjördur Fjord is one of the best places in Iceland for cross-country and downhill skiing.
It boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world; personally having been lucky enough to have travelled most of the world, I believe only New Zealand comes close to beating this.
The Akureyri's ski-slopes, which are on Mt. Hlídarfjall, 5 km above the town, invite skiiers to the area from the beginning of December till end of April. It boasts 4000 square kilometres of breath-taking Arctic Mountains with terrain that suits every skiers ability be it extreme colours or wide open glaciers.
The elevation of the ski slopes range from 500 m to 1000 m above sea level, and there is therefore plenty of snow during the winter.
Impressed by the views on the approach to land we rented a car to explore the magnificent scenery Iceland has to offer.
The views are staggering – volcanoes, black sands, glaciers and coast stimulate the senses almost to the point of overwhelming them. We pulled over countless times grabbing our cameras.
I can see why its a movie directors dream. Recent movies shot in Iceland have included The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Prometheus, Oblivion, and Thor: The Dark World.
There's the small screen, too, most notably in the highly successful swords-and-skullduggery TV series Game of Thrones. We drove past a film set which we were convinced was for just that. We slowed down as much as we could trying to catch a glimpse of one of the celebrities.
For a spot of well-earned relaxation after a few hard days pushing yourself to the limits I highly recommend the geothermal pools at Mývatn Nature Baths for a dip. The smell is pungent of rotten eggs but we soon forgot about the smell and enjoyed some well-deserved relaxation. Make sure to heed the advice and not wear jewellery unless you like it a nice shade of black.
On leaving we asked about the nearest volcano and were informed that there were no volcanoes in the area.....a little hard to believe whilst surrounded by volcanic rocks and hot springs but we smiled and continued on our journey of discovery.
Next stop was the... waterfall. Not being a fan of heights I didn't get too close to the edge but enough to appreciate its vastness and take a few haphazard snaps.
A word of advice though be sure to stick to the path or like me you could end up waist deep in a snow hole. Should you decide against the advice take a willing buddy to scoop you back out- they are hard to come by.
Now my favourite part of any trip is of course great food.
In the centre of Akuyeri is Rub23 an Icelandic restaurant that uses ingredients from Icelandic fishermen and farmers. Main courses included a variety of different meats which are then accompanied by a choice of rubs (delightful spice mixtures). My favourite was the rare lamb which I choose with an Indian rub, it was cooked to perfection.
One of the most impressive sights you can experience in Iceland is the Northern lights sadly we were too late in the year for this. This and husky dog sleighing are firmly on my Icelandic hit list!