ICELAND – THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE
To use the word unique to describe Iceland is a bit of an understatement. This land of Fire and Ice settled by Vikings more than 1100 years ago has fascinated visitors with its rich natural beauty and culture. In tandem with the opening of our new London office, we would like to offer our readers some of Traveltrust’s highlights of this arctic nation.
One attraction that we find to be an essential part of any journey to Iceland is the world-famous Blue Lagoon. Formed in 1976 from the construction of a nearby geothermal power plant, the bright blue waters are rich in silicates which locals soon found to have healing effects on their skin. Today, the already bustling Blue Lagoon Spa and Treatment Center located on the western shore of the Blue Lagoon will be almost doubling its capacity by 2017, adding a luxury hotel with 60 rooms, meeting and conference facilities and a gourmet restaurant.
THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
Of course, there are many more attractions and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had further afield in Iceland. There is the amazing Golden Circle Tour, which includes Iceland’s answer to America’s Old Faithful, Geysir, as well as the magnificent Gulfoss (Golden) Waterfall, a trip which we highly recommend to try out in a Super Jeep. Or if you’re up for something a bit more adventurous, we would also recommend a day trip into the heart of the Thrihnukagigur Volcano, which is the only place in the world where regular tours are organized into a dormant magma chamber. Finally, if you’re in Iceland during the winter, the long nights allow for great Northern Lights viewing. We would recommend going in November or March, when he extended night-time hours and the reduced moisture of the cold, winter air allow for the clearest viewing conditions.
BEAUTIFUL REYKJANES PENINSULA
If you have a few days to spend and are eager to venture out of Reykjavik and the surrounding Reykjanes Peninsula area, the rest of the island nation is certainly not short on natural wonders. Why not take a self-driving tour around the island’s beautiful coasts, passing Slejalandsfoss Waterfall, Eyjafallajökull Volcano, or the culprit of the famous air traffic disruptions between Europe and the US in 2010, and further on to the majestic East Fjords area. Coming back around the northern side of the island, be sure to stop at the otherworldly Mývatn Lake and Dettifoss Waterfall, before making your way back to Reykjavik either by car or by a short flight from Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest urban area.
INNOVATIVE ICELANDIC CUISINE
When you’re not out exploring the Land of Fire and Ice, the nation’s capital Reykjavik also certainly has plenty to offer any type of traveller. The northernmost capital city on the planet, Reykjavik is well-known for its design conscious restaurants, cafés and shops. For innovative Icelandic cuisine worthy of any major global culinary capital, try Grillmarket’s tasting menu which includes such Icelandic delicacies as whale and puffin meat, all present with a modern twist and served family style in a modern dining room.
SHOPPING IN REYKJAVIK
For shopping, the main pedestrian arties of downtown Reykjavik, Laugavegur and Skólavörðustígur, which leads to the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral, are lined with many innovative clothing stores and coffee houses. There are also a few nice restaurants along the west end of Geirsgata, which may be nice after a brief visit to the Reykjavik Art Museum.