Is it any wonder that Iceland inspires such vast magical myth and legend? The Land of Ice and Fire is a volcanic playground, yet its striking ultra-Nordic landscape is also dotted with huge glaciers. This is an enthralling country in which dusky winters are wildly contrasted by midnight summer sunshine… and in which you’ll discover an array of unique places to stay.
One of Europe’s most sparsely populated countries, two-thirds of Iceland’s inhabitants live in the capital city, Reykjavik, and its surrounding areas.
So, if you love the city buzz, start your travels here, and pay a visit to Hallgrimskirkja, a 244-foot church designed by Iceland’s state architect, Gudjon Samuelsson. Standing proudly on a hill, you can take an elevator ride to the top, for spectacular views of the city.
Though if you’d like to get more intimate with Iceland’s mesmerising scenery on foot, you could always set out on the renowned Laugavegur hiking trail. Stretching almost 50 miles, it’s the country’s longest, leading you past hot springs, glaciers, and waterfalls.
Speaking of waterfalls, there’s a jaw-dropping amount of choice here. The mighty Gullfoss (Golden Falls) are the largest volume falls in Europe, while Skogafoss in the south includes a dedicated observation platform… so bring your camera!
But if that’s not enough, you can actually walk behind Seljalandsfoss, one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, which is beautifully positioned off the Ring Road on the south coast. One for the bucket list, perhaps.
Vatnajokull National Park is home to the powerful Detifoss (known as the Prometheus waterfall, as they were featured in the movie!) and Svartifoss, as well as offering the chance to explore glistening ice caves, and a stunning glacier lagoon (Jokulsarlon) that’s one of the deepest in Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon, meanwhile, is one of the most famous Icelandic tourist attractions; a geothermal spa on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Many people believe its mineral-packed waters have healing powers… but if you fancy a therapeutic dip then you’ll need to book ahead, as the experience is often sold out.
Part of Iceland’s Golden Circle, the Geysers of Haukdalur are well worth a visit, with its hot springs and murmuring mud pots. Strokkur is one of the most popular geysers here, erupting every five to eight minutes for plenty of photo opportunities!
Beach-wise, the rugged, puffin-strewn Reynisfjara is steeped in legend, while the beautiful Breidavik Beach boasts turquoise water, golden sand, and glacier-carved cliffs that are ideal for bird watching.
But if it’s whale-watching you prefer, then head for Skjalfandi Bay, and settle down to enjoy an authentic slice of Icelandic life.
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