We’ve fallen for Iceland in a big way. Europe’s final frontier, this land of fire and ice is a raw and uncompromising cauldron where nature sets the rules. Just minutes away from the towns and villages that scatter around the island’s circumference you’re in a land as elemental as it is extraordinary.
No wonder we’re smitten – few places on Earth offer us the chance to see, up close, the restless inner turmoil of our home planet. Where tectonic plates collide, geysers erupt and waterfalls roar – Iceland is a full-on sensory rush of a country.
Take the road north, to where expert and adventure tour leader Óskar Gudjonsson can be found, scouting out our next great North Atlantic adventure.
“The increase in interest in Iceland over the past ten years or so has been incredible,” Óskar says. “Maybe that volcano erupting did more good for us than we thought, and put us on the map!”
Maybe. But a more likely scenario is that, when the secret got out, Iceland just couldn’t keep its wonders under wraps any longer. As more of us returned from its northern shores, with tales of otherworldly landscapes, a vibrant culture, and of rejuvenating spells immersed in pools of vivid blue waters, this compact island nation of less than half a million souls quickly became the new magnetic north.
Reykjavik city centre
“Winters especially have really risen in popularity,” Óskar says. Hardly surprising, really – this is Iceland at its most uncompromising. “It’s when the dramatic contrasts of the country are most in evidence,” he says. “And the weather isn’t as severe as you might imagine.”
And, on our adventure trips, Iceland’s strange beauty is laid bare in a series of excursions into the frayed edges of the south coast, deep into a hinterland of glacial icefields, and far away from city lights, where the Northern Lights crackle and shimmer overhead.
“We showcase the very best of Iceland in winter on our tours,” Óskar says. “You see the south coast in all its remote splendour, with its glacial lagoon, its raging waterfalls, the highest mountain in the country, and the historic old parliament site, Thingvellir,” he adds. But, for some, the best sights are overhead, in Iceland’s unpolluted skies.
“The hotel we’ve selected, over in the east of the island, is very well situated to witness the Northern Lights,” Óskar explains. “We monitor their activity daily, so if they’re out, we’ll see them.”
What you’ll also see? Lava tubes – sculptural remnants of long-ago volcanic eruptions, these structures have been transformed into the world’s weirdest caves: revealing the pyrotechnic forces that have shaped this young and geothermally active country.
Thingvellir National Park
“That mix of volcanoes and glaciers creates a totally different landscape,” Óskar says. “You just don’t get it, in such a confined space, anywhere else on Earth.” That’s Iceland for you. Europe’s wildest frontier.
If you’re feeling inspired and would like more information on our adventure travel packages, please call 01730 711010 to speak to one of our experts or contact us online