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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Iceland Sports
Iceland Sports - TravelPuppy.com
Skiing

Skiing is Iceland’s most popular winter sport. Ski resorts offering both cross country skiing and downhill skiing can be found throughout the country. Many Alpine style resorts are situated near Akureyri (Hlítharfjall), Ísafjörður and Reykjavík (Bláfjöll).

These resorts are equipped with typical lifts and facilities. Several good ski slopes are just 30 minutes drive from Reykjavík. The main skiing season is generally from January until May or June. Summer skiing is achievable on the glaciers. Myrdalsjókull also has a ski lift which is open throughout summer. Equipment hire is accessible in resorts.

Bathing

Bathing, and even covering yourself with the mineral rich mud is possible in the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavík, heated by geothermal springs. The Blue Lagoon is situated in the middle of a lava field in the Icelandic wilderness and is known for its special properties and beneficial effect on the skin. The warm waters of the lagoon, approximately 35 °C (90 °F) all year round, are 1 of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions.

A further natural spring is Krysuvik. Most cities and towns have outdoor and indoor pools filled with water from natural hot springs (water temperature in the pools averages around 29 °C / 85 °F). Numerous places also have saunas, jacuzzis and hot pots with water temperatures of up to 44 °C / 112 °F.

Golf

Play golf during the Midnight Sun period (end of May to the beginning of August), there is something supreme about playing golf at 3.00 am when the sun is still high in the sky. The Akureyri Golf Club in the north hosts the yearly Arctic Open International Golf Tournament, a competition at the end of June which climaxes with a tee off at midnight continuing until the early morning hours.

Bird watching

Bird watching in the Westmann Islands is particularly good for spotting seabirds as well as being home to the world’s largest puffin population. Lake Myvatn in northern Iceland is apparently the most fertile spot on the globe at that latitude and is also a favourite breeding ground for several species of birdlife, particularly waterfowl.

Southern Iceland is famous for its great skua colony living on the sands. Latrabjarg in the Western Fjords is the largest bird cliff in the world, where the biggest colony of Razorbills in the world can be found. There are safari and Puffin Island tours run from Reykjavík harbour.

Whale Watching

On Skjalfandi Bay lies the town of Husavik, which is becoming Europe’s major whale watching centre. Tours to other spots around the coast are largely available. Minke, humpback and killer whales, seals and dolphins can be seen.

Horseriding

When the Vikings created Iceland’s (and the world’s) 1st Parliament in 930, 1 of their acts was to prohibit further import of horses. Over 10 centuries later, the Icelandic horse breed remains pure. This small but sturdy and sure-footed horse is known for its friendliness and willingness to carry riders over even the roughest terrain. Horses are available for hire near most towns, with experienced guides if necessary.

Safaris

Take a safari in the mountainous interior of the Central Highlands in particularly constructed overland buses. These are camping tours, and tents are supplied. Sleeping bags can be rented or bought. Visitors are recommended to take hiking shoes, warm clothing, rubber boots and swimsuits for bathing in the warm pools. The tours go through lava beds, sandy deserts and barren wilderness, passing glacial lakes with floating icebergs, mountain ranges, cvast icefields, glaciers, revasses and extinct volcanoes, plus Skaftafell National Park. Tours range from all in package tours or a 1 or 2 day trip.