A contrast of black, volcanic rock and snow-capped mountains; spewing, red-hot volcanoes and dark, cold winters, Iceland has every ingredient for an inhospitable environment. However the reverse of this could not be truer. Recognised as one of the most peaceful nations on the planet, friendly Icelandic inhabitants will welcome you with open arms and show you the exciting and unforgettable spirit of their country.
There are no words to describe how beautiful and stunning the landscape of Iceland is. When you visit, you will probably come away just as speechless. Whether you visit in the glorious summer or the twilight of winter, Mother Nature never fails to entertain. Bathe in the warm thermal pools, wait eagerly for the geysers to erupt and to feel true isolation, hike into the desolate Interior where not one human soul resides.
When, or if, you decide to return to civilization after a peaceful day in the country, the bars and restaurants of the capital city Reykjavik offer a warm drink to thaw you out for the evening. Even if you do have one too many, you’ll be sure that a holiday to Iceland is one to remember.
Iceland is an outdoor adventurer’s oyster and for the explorers, or just the plain inquisitive, there is enough about Iceland to keep anyone on their toes for a lifetime! The summer months bring eternal, glowing daylight to the country and the midnight sun means you can really make the most of your time on the island. See the best of Iceland on the Golden Circle Tour and visit the Strokkur geyser which shoots water up into the air every 4 to 8 minutes and then take a pit stop at Gullfoss Waterfall. End the day at Thingvellir National Park where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates come together, it’s literally a meeting of two continents!
Venture to Iceland in winter and although daylight hours may be minimal, it just means there is more chance to see the phenomenon that is the Northern Lights. Drive out into the hills, get wrapped up and wait patiently for a myriad of colours to dance around the starlit sky. If it’s on your bucket list, this is the perfect place to get it ticked off!
Now, a major plus point of being in a country which sits on a volcanic hotspot, is that it creates some of the world’s best geothermal pools and spas. After your flight or a long walk on the glaciers, Blue Lagoon Spa is the best way to relax and do nothing else but bathe in the warm, mineral rich waters. Only 24 miles away from Reykjavik, a day trip to the Blue Lagoon is ideal if you’re staying in the capital, you could even treat yourself to a massage or a VIP experience!
It’s fair to say that the food available in Iceland is not the most inspiring and it probably won’t be the thing you’re telling friends about on your return home. But there is enough to choose from to mean that you won’t starve! With a great quantity of sheep in this country, lamb is a popular dish with Icelanders so expect there to be various varieties on any restaurant menu. If you find dining out every night is starting to make your pockets a little bit too light, lamb and other groceries can be bought at a local supermarket if you fancy a night in.
Now, since Iceland is surrounded by the ocean, there is also a great choice of seafood on offer. Feast on pickled herring for breakfast and on smoked salmon and delicious lobster in the evening. However you might want to stay away from Greenland Shark, a delicacy which not even many Icelanders will eat. Most people will stay away from rotted meat (yes, that’s what Greenland Shark is!), but if you’re feeling brave and are eager to get involved in the local culture, give it a try! If none of that appeals, there are fast food places around and in the main cities you will find Chinese, Italian, Mexican and French inspired eateries so at least you won’t be going hungry!
To wash all that food down, grab yourself a beer to end the day which up until 1989 would have been illegal! Be prepared to part with more than a few pennies for a pint of the golden beverage though, Iceland is one of the world’s most expensive places to sample a beer or two! Now if you did try the Greenland Shark you may need something a bit stronger to neutralise the putrid taste. The local liquor, Brennivin, will replace the taste of shark but with a strong flavour of distilled potatoes and caraway seeds. Sounds delightful, right? Or it might just be an idea to bring in some duty free from the airport, at least then you’ll probably be saving some money and drinking something you like!