Enjoying the beauty of Hofsos, Iceland

Hello again!

As promised in my previous post, I’ll be sharing with you my week in Hofsós.

I gotta say, during my two weeks of exploring Iceland, this part of t he journey was really a week of relaxing and rewinding. We barely did anything other than going out to shoot during the day and trying to catch the Northern Lights at night. When you’re exploring Iceland, you have to include the chasing of Northern Lights.

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Hofsos is a quiet town, with only about 200 locals. It is one of the oldest trading ports in Northern Iceland dating back to the 16th century. The tiny village Hofsós in the Northern Region in Iceland was a rather busy trading post in the 17th and 18th century, but despite the merchant activities this small village did not develop into a larger village or a town in the 20th century. In summer, this town comes alive with tourists, hikers and locals who have summer homes there.

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Hofsos is so picturesque, with so many amazing areas to shoot amazing photos. Everyday looks different because of the weather. Some days the town has a more gloomy, dramatic look to it, thanks to the snow. Other days, when the sun is out, it is like a winter wonderland.

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We visited a famous thermal bath in Hofsos. The Hofsós swimming pool is quite simply magnificent. It is designed by the same architect responsible for the famous Blue Lagoon. It may not be Olympic size, but because it has been built into the hillside above the sea, the views over to Drangey are breathtaking. Come rain or shine, the vista from the pool is a combination of marvelous different shades of blue; the clear blue color of the swimming pool itself, the green blue sea, the dark blue of the islands and mountains in the distance, and finally the blueness of the sky on a clear day.

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 was a gift to the town by two heiresses who live in the area – of the Hagkaup and BYKO fortunes, respectively. Rather than building private pools at their own residences they decided to finance the construction of a pool in the town, for everyone to enjoy. The Hofsós swimming pool is not strictly an infinity pool, but the impression you get as you swim in the geothermal waters is that you’re right next to the sea’s edge. Definitely worth a visit.

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So, if you’re exploring Iceland, make sure to visit this quaint little town.

Stay tuned for my last Iceland blog post next week…

In the meantime, you can follow me here on Instagram!

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Xx,

Nic

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Gimbur Guesthouse Collab: How best to explore North Iceland without a car

The day we were supposed to go to the North, there was a snow storm and we didn’t know that the roads to the North were all closed. We waited at the bus stop for 30 minutes and when the bus finally came, the driver told us that we had to try the next day. We had to make an emergency hotel booking for that night since we didn’t have anywhere to stay.

Luckily, the next day, the storm cleared and we were able to catch the morning bus out to the North!

Gimbur Guesthouse

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Gimbur Guesthouse is operated in a house built in 1992 by a farmer named Johannes Runólfsson or JR. It is located in North Iceland, 23km North of Hofsós. In February 2015 Jon and Sjöfn rented the house and started renovating and preparing the guesthouse. The first booked guests arrived by the end of May the same year.

Gimbur is an Icelandic word for a young, female sheep. The name of the mountain that characterizes the property is Gimbraklettur or “sheep-cliff”. During summertime, many sheep can be seen grazing around the property by the guesthouse. Thus, the owners named this guesthouse after the mountain.

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There are currently 5 rooms and 2 bathrooms in the guesthouse. Jon and Sjöfn are working on adding two additional rooms.

The rooms in the guesthouse are named after small bays that are along the seaside of the property. “Vik” means small bay and hence, the names of the rooms have the word “vik” in them.

Reykjarhóll or “smoke hill” is a regularly-formed hill East of Gimbur. The hill is located within the property, and is farmed by geothermal activity under glaciers during the ice age. Reykjarhóll provides the guesthouse with 70 degree Celsius of clean water, enough to heat the houses and hot tubs on the property.

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Facing the Arctic ocean, the guesthouse experiences the Midnight sun in summer and Northern Lights in winter. In fact, according to a local, a couple of years ago, they faced three consecutive weeks of the sun not setting at all.

At the guesthouse, you’ll be able to hike near the property and enjoy the beauty of nature. The owners’ trusty and adorable dog will be your tour guide. Couldn’t ask for a better guide! You can also enjoy the property’s hot tub. If you’re lucky, you can actually see the Northern Lights while soaking.

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Langhus Horse Farm

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Another activity that might interest you is horse-riding. Langhus horse farm is just a five-minute drive from Gimbur. The family farm has been run by the same family for at least a century.

Horses are the family’s passion. They started out as a milk farm and owned many cows, but decided to sell the animals and convert it to a horse farm, in order to concentrate on the horse training and breeding business.

In Iceland, there is a regulation that horses cannot be imported to the country. The locals take pride in their very own breed of Icelandic horses. What is so special about them? Well, unlike other breeds that only have three gaits (walk, trot and gallop), Icelandic horses have five, with the additional being tölt and skeið.

Tölt is known for its explosive acceleration and speed; it is also comfortable and ground-covering

skeið is used in pacing races, and is fast and smooth with some horses able to reach up to 30 miles per hour. Not all Icelandic horses can perform this gait; animals that perform both the tölt and the flying pace in addition to the traditional gaits are considered the best of the breed. The flying pace is a two-beat lateral gait with a moment of suspension between footfalls; each side has both feet land almost simultaneously.

It is meant to be performed by well-trained and balanced horses with skilled riders. It is not a gait used for long-distance travel.

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At Langhus, there is a variety of trail options for both beginners and advance riders. The riding trails are in a beautiful area with valleys and stunning mountains, by a fresh water lake and the black beaches of the Arctic Ocean.

There are so many types of horse riding tours you can choose from at Langhus. There is “The Beach Ride”,  “The Viking Tour”, “A Little Bit of Everything Tour”, “Horse Round Up Tour”, “The River Ride” and many more….. You can choose the tour according to your needs and level of horse riding experience.

We chose the “A Little Bit of Everything Tour”, which is a 3.5 to 4-hour tour. We passed through moors on a country side road with very little traffic, down to an old little former village by the beach.  We were able to ride on the coast, or directly on a black sand beach on a beautiful reef between the Arctic ocean and a fresh water lake bordering the farm.  We were also able to go up the beautiful and striking Flokadalur valley, and passed some farms on a quiet country road.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for my next post next week!

In the meantime, you can follow me on my Instagram