Posted by: neilh10 | March 26, 2011

Eyjafjordur

This blog is focussed on the Westfjords, the part of Iceland that I know the most about. However, I’ve since been expanding in to other areas, to make things more interesting and so now I want to talk a bit more about other parts of Iceland that you might want to consider planning a visit to, hopefully in conjunction with a visit to the Westfjords.

Each part of Iceland has its own, unique set of attractions. Reykjavik is a must see if you are intrigued by contemporary Icelandic culture. It makes for a great city break, or stop off on a longer tour. It is close to many of Icelands conventional tourist attractions, such as the Golden Circle. However, it is also expensive, and if you are looking for relaxation and nature, you will want to venture outside the city limits.

Another area, overlooked by the 90% of tourists who base themselves in the Capital, is Eyjafjordur. This is Icelands longest and most dramatic fjord. Icelands second city, Akureyri (population 17,000) is located on the fjord, along with a number of smaller settlements.

Akureyri (Akureyri, by J Gretarsdottir, from Flickr)

I visited Eyjafjorudur in Winter 2009. Akureyri was a truly magical place, lit up as it was by christmas lights and with snow blowing around the place. I took the public bus north, through Dalvik, up to Olafsfjordur, where I spent the day. It’s another beautiful village, surrounded by the sea and mountains. At that point it wasn’t possible to venture further to the former herring captial of Siglufjordur, but it is now as a tunnel has just been opened. I’m hoping to go back this summer, to take a proper look.

The impression I got was that Akureyri has a stronger and more diverse economy than that in the Westfjords. As well as being a fishing centre, Akureyri is also a major port and logistics hub for north Iceland, a position that will only strengthen with the opening of the arctic sea lanes. It is also close to geothermal energy fields, which are likely to be developed in the coming years. The economic strength of Akureyri feeds out in to the surrounding villages and the greater density of population means that conventional tourist attractions, for instance ski facillities, have been developed a lot more than they have in the Westfjords.

Today, I found a really good blog about Eyjafjordur, that I wanted to share with my readers. It is called Go Local in Iceland, and is written about sustainable tourism projects in Eyjafjordur region. What I found really interesting is that as well as telling people what they can do in Eyjafjordur, it also looks at how businesses are developing in the area to adapt to more tourists. It considers how this can be managed in a sustainable way.

The blog might well inspire you to think about how to make the most of your trip to Iceland. Even if you aren’t planning a visit to Eyjafjordur, it is well worth checking out as many of the topics cover tourism in the Icelandic countryside generally.

I think the format of the blog is very interesting. I like the authors style of communication. One of the things I dislike about the travel industry is the way in which it uses over-descriptive and often superflous language to ‘sell’ an experience, or a destination. For those of us who grew up travelling extensively thanks to cheap air fares and the lonely planet, we are aware that experiences tend to be what you make of them, and quickly become suspicious and cynical whenever a dramatic ‘sell’ emerges.

That’s why I’ve tried to be as informative as possible on this website. What I think people really want is information that focusses on the attractions of the area, how to access them, and how to make the most of them when you are there. Am I right? Any comments very welcome!

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