Iceland: The Little Place with a Big Reputation

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Breathtaking lagoons, ice caves, geysers and the Northern Lights are just a few of Iceland’s unmissable sights. Local experts Guide to Iceland explain why one visit is never enough…

Once you discover that Iceland isn’t quite as icy as the name suggests, it quickly becomes obvious that you should grab your coat and visit. It’s only recently that the country has started to receive the recognition that its stunning landscapes and world leading photography opportunities deserve. While admittedly travel around the country can be tough during the winter as snow falls and several roads close for the season, the lure of the Northern Lights is perhaps enough of a reason to brave the cold.

Huge glaciers and a small population mostly based in the capital of Reykjavik mean that Iceland is becoming one big adventure playground. But as well as exploring the glaciers on snowmobiles or tearing around in a four-by-four, you can even go under the ice on an ice cave tour. Tempted?

Exploring the subterrain of Iceland in an ice cave
Exploring the subterrain of Iceland in an ice cave

In the summer months the days are long and the sun barely sets at all. This has led to Self Drive tours growing in popularity, as travellers take to the road to explore Iceland in their own time. A couple of highlights not to miss on your drive are the remote serenity of the Westfjords and the world famous lagoon of Jökulsárlón, which lies on the ring road. Iceland is also becoming something of a romantic destination, with plenty of Northern Lights tours on offer alongside luxurious visits to the thermally heated Blue Lagoon Spa.

northern-lights-iceland
The magic of the Northern Lights…

For a guaranteed winner, consider the Golden Circle tour the most popular day trip from Reykjavík. A short drive from Iceland’s capital city will take you to three of the country’s most astounding sights. Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss are arguably little nuggets of pure Iceland. The first, Þingvellir, is the country’s famous national park, birthplace of Iceland’s parliament and sits on the ridge of two tectonic plates. Because of this both cultural and natural spectacles are aplenty. Finish your Golden Circle drive with trips to the mighty, relentless waterfall of Gullfoss, followed by a walk through the moon-like landscape of the Haukadalur valley. There you’ll find bubbling pits of sulphur and boiling vents shooting steam high into the sky. You can even see the famous Geysir, the geyser that gave its name to one of nature’s most impressive wonders.

A spectacular sunset over an Icelandic beach...
A spectacular sunset over an Icelandic beach…

Honestly though, these things are just the tip of the Icelandic iceberg. All in all there is so much to do, and such a huge amount of wonders to cast your eyes over, that you should probably start booking your second trip now as well…

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