Follow your light

Iceland
  • Gullfoss waterfalls Gullfoss waterfalls
  • a tiny farmhouse in the middle of nowhere a tiny farmhouse in the middle of nowhere

A Quick Glance

Destination(s) Iceland

Duration 7 - 10 days

Traveller(s) Group

Trip highlight Blue Lagoon, Volcanoes & Vikings Northern Lights

Travel Advisor Josie McPaul

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Iceland is an outstanding place to visit, one not to be missed and a sure remedy for those who believe that everything has been seen and done and there is nothing left to impress.  

The scenery is bizarre but beautiful - fields of black lava covered in orange and yellow moss with smoke rising upwards in the cold air, waterfalls which move more water than Australia sees in a good year, serene fjord lakes with trees silhouetted in their glassy surfaces, picturesque towns of whitewashed buildings with pitched red roofs. 

Iceland is such a natural wonder, I love it and would visit again and again. 

One hour drive from Keflavik airport to Reyjavik itself, I stopped off to get some air. The wind and rain were outrageous, the temperature was anything but balmy and the scenery was like having landed on the moon. but just when I was wondering what on earth I had come to, in the centre of all this appeared a magnificent blue jewel of a lagoon... the famous Blue Lagoon... a natural wonder, heated thermally and a heavenly place to spend any number of hours soaking away your jet lag.  Inspired to keep going, I motored up a huge hillside and from the top, while fighting to stand up in the wind, I took photos of the little lighthouse on top of a cliff which sat about 150 metres inland. Apparently it used to be on the actual shoreline but since the land is volcanic and constantly "evolving", an eruption made most of the land near the water vanish into the sea, so the lighthouse was relocated inland just to be safe!

This tiny country is full of quirky moments and strange places such as these, and they very quickly turn any trip there into something different and wonderful.  Let's face it - you do not go there for the weather, but by the same token, it is warmer there during winter than it is in most of the USA, Canada & Europe, so that cannot be used as an excuse!   It is the land of fire and ice and natural beauty is everywhere you look: geysers puff their super heated water and gas into the air, waterfalls thunder over staggering cliffs, huge mountains brood threateningly over tiny little farm houses.  You will see ancient lava flows covered with strange coloured moss, forests full of trees with stunted height due to the ferocious and constant wind (the joke is that if you get lost in an Icelandic forest, you should just stand up!) and "hot pots" (as the locals call them) which are little hot water nature baths in the middle of nowhere...  

  • Akureyri, northern Iceland Akureyri, northern Iceland
  • Josie at Barnafoss falls Josie at Barnafoss falls

Iceland is not somewhere you can see without doing a major amount of walking - up and down volcanoes, across lave fields, over rocks, through mud and snow, footpaths and walkways.  It is completely wild and glorious once you get outside the main towns, but in some places, sightseeing is on private land and you need to speak to the farmer to obtain permission to walk on through. 

Tracing their communal ancestry back to the Vikings, Icelanders are all about the sagas - the heroic tales of larger than life heroes and their epic feats. Talking to people in the little towns and villages which are dotted over the windswept landscape, you quickly realise that this continues to this day - they never let the truth get in the way of a good story!  Over a coffee, a beer, a brennivin (the local schnapps) or an ice cream, you will hear lots of yarns which may or not be true! 

Iceland is such a natural wonder that it really is a shame more people don't get to see it.  In summer, you have virtually 24 hours of sunshine and can play golf at 3 am... In winter, you have the Northern Lights... It is a unique place and any effort you have to expend to see it is more than paid back by seeing something so amazing.