As soon as you step off the plane you feel utterly transported when you visit Iceland. The vast white landscape is magical and surreal. Iceland is a unique mixture of spectacular natural phenomenon in the ice and warm and welcoming locals, who love their cold and seemingly lifeless land. Iceland is not what it seems though as it is a birdwatchers paradise and packed full of diverse and interesting life. All hidden in the mind-numbingly stunning landscapes that can reduce even the most jaded traveller to tears.
Iceland is famous for its spectacular geysers.
This tiny speck in the North Sea, stranded at the top of the globe, is under-populated and can feel deserted. The immense solitude of the place instantly relaxes you. As does the awe of nature you feel when you witness the immense forces at work on the landscape, where over thirty active volcanoes erupt and geysers gush out of the earth. There are pools of boiling mud and glaciers carve up the mountainsides in real time. This is a truly raw and elemental place, where even the crisp clean air takes your breath away. You really feel your place in the scheme of things in face of it all. The magnificent splendour of the natural landscape dwarfs us mere humans. In this wild and unwelcoming place you will find a people just waiting to invite you inside. The locals are egalitarian and eco-conscious, as well as being cultured. They have a rich literary history stretching back to medieval times and inside, away from the cold, live music shows rock the long nights away. Check out the very best at the Harpa Concert Hall. You will also be intrigued by the local handicrafts and knitwear, and by locavore, the native cuisine.
Majestic waterfalls will take your breath away in Iceland.
Even the most ordinary pursuits become extraordinary in Iceland. Take a dip in a pool, that is, a geothermal spa lagoon. Or take a walk along the edge of a glistening glacier. A calm and quiet night outdoors camping can turn into a spectacular display of colored lights moving in the sky, when you see the aurora borealis. It is no surprise to learn that Icelanders have so many thinkers, artists, musicians, authors and creatives, with such an inspiring landscape. And you too will feel inspired by some of the incredible experiences on offer in Iceland. Such as lowering yourself inside the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano, which is just as nerve-racking as it sounds. Especially, if you opt to do it beneath the midnight sun in the summer, which is available from the 20th June when the sun stays in the sky all night long. Inside the cavern is large enough to fit the Empire State Building, and you will be lowering into this eerie subterranean world. Visit www.insidethevolcano.com for more details about the tour. The best time to see the aurora borealis is the same time that you can catch the killer whale migration, so combine both activities on Scott Dunn’s strenuous itinerary, which takes you from the Golden Circle, with the Geysir and Gullfoss waterfall, through Thingvellir National Park to snowmobile on some of the most beautiful glaciers in Iceland.
Feel seduced by the amazing landscape of Iceland.
However you can still feel cosmopolitan in Iceland by visiting the capital Reykjavik. Start off by relaxing in one of the sixteen thermal baths dotted around the city. The most famous of which is Blue Lagoon, which has just had a face-lift. The sight is a surreal one; black lava contrasts with the teal mineral waters and people covered from head to toe in white silica mud. Check out the VIP section, which has its own lounge, wading space and viewing platform. Locals’ favourite is Laugardalslaug, which has the most facilities and a more authentic vibe. Another top destination in Iceland is Landmannalaugar, where colorful mountainsides meet decadent hot springs and crystal clear blue lakes. Landmannalaugar has one of the largest geothermal fields in Iceland. The vibrant colors of the peaks is made from rhyolite, a mineralized lava. The area is where you can start the infamous Laugavegurinn Hike. For whale watching there is only one place to go, Húsavík. Over eleven species of whale come here in the summer, and you will be awed by the sight of them feeding in the shallows. Charter a boat with North Sailing to take you right where the action is, and get up close and personal with these magnificent mammals.
An awe-inspiring sunset in Iceland.
There is also luxury shopping and fine dining available in Iceland, as well as some happening bars. For high fashion and couture go to KronKron, where you will find the likes of Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood amongst others. Or go to Kron for bedazzling handmade foodwear in bright lively colors. Eat dinner on a hundred year old boathouse at Randulffs-sjóhus, where you can find, unsurprisingly, fresh fish on the menu. One of the best restaurants in Iceland is Settlement Center Restaurant, where the region’s finest food is served in an upbeat and bustling dining room. Finish off your evening at Loftio, a high-end luxury cocktail bar with several themed bars to aid boozing up the swanky drinkers.
See adorable Icelandic puffins.
Iceland offers much more to visitors than the expected ice. Instead you will find a land that is rich in history and culture, if not in colors. This huge white land is just waiting to be explored by ski, snow shoe or snow mobile. Rent a luxury villa and you can see it all.
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