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Holiday, Vacation & Tour

 

Iceland: Tectonic Plate Diving

Iceland is Europe’s westernmost country, and occupies a strategic location in the North Atlantic, straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, on the edge of the Arctic Circle. One of the coldest countries in the world, it is also one of the world’s most volcanically active hotspots. Iceland is known today for its mix of glaciers, bubbly hot springs, rugged fjords and fiery volcanoes.

Iceland can give you a truly unique diving experience you can’t get anywhere else: diving between t...

Iceland is Europe’s westernmost country, and occupies a strategic location in the North Atlantic, straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, on the edge of the Arctic Circle. One of the coldest countries in the world, it is also one of the world’s most volcanically active hotspots. Iceland is known today for its mix of glaciers, bubbly hot springs, rugged fjords and fiery volcanoes.

Iceland can give you a truly unique diving experience you can’t get anywhere else: diving between two tectonic plates, astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the fault line where two of the Earth’s tectonic plates are drifting apart. It is not only unique, but it is also exclusive – only few people have dared to try the experience. To get to the diving site, you first have to drive deep into geo-thermal territory and tectonic plate activity. If you’re not yet thrilled enough, you can drive the next day to its glaciers in the south and race snowmobiles.

The country is the most sparsely populated in Europe, with just 283,000 people living in an area the size of England or the US state of Kentucky. Over half of the population lives down in its southwestern corner, around Reykjavik, the small but cosmopolitan capital. The other decent-sized population center is Akureyri, up on the north coast.

What Else to Do

All long-distance buses and domestic planes begin their trips from Reykjavik. You can visit Geysir, the original geyser from which all other gushing hot springs get their name, and the spectacular waterfalls at Gullfoss. The country’s only international airport at Keflavik is on the Reykjanes Peninsula, an area teeming with birdlife and whales.

Outside Reykjavik and the populated southwestern corner, the wilder side of Iceland meets your eye — wide-open spaces of vivid green fringed with coastlines of red and black volcanic sands set against a backdrop of brooding hills and mountains. On the west coast, in the towns of Borgarnes and Reykhold and the surrounding countryside, every landscape feature you see will be associated with parts of the Icelandic sagas.

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is the country’s most accessible hiking destination. Arguably, Iceland’s most dramatic scenery is in the far northwest, the West Fjords, where you’ll find tiny fishing villages ensconced at the foot of table-top mountains or tucked away in the neck of narrow fjords which protect the houses from ferocious Arctic storms that batter this exposed part of the country.

You can relax for a day at Akureyri. From here, it’s easy to go inside the Arctic Circle to the island of Grimsey. The country’s biggest tourist attraction outside Reykjavik is Lake Myvatn, one hour away to the east of Akureyri. Many species of duck and waterfowl nest in this lake, which is surrounded by evidence of volcanic activity, including long-dormant cinder cones and still-steaming lava fields. North of Myvatn is the small town of Husavik, the best place for summer whale-watching cruises, while just inland to the east you can hike along deep river gorges of the Jokulsargljufur National Park to the awesome Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall.

Iceland’s most rewarding long-distance hiking route is found near the glacial lagoon, Jokulsarlon. The Porsmork trail is one of the world’s most exhilarating walking paths. In the south coast, you can take a ferry to the Vestmannaeyjar (Westman islands) to survey the world’s largest puffin colonies and have a look at Surtsey, the new island created by volcanic eruptions in the mid-1960s.

When to Go

Icelandic weather is notoriously unpredictable. In summer, there’s a fair chance of bright and sunny days. Many bus routes through the interior don’t start until late June or early July when the snow finally melts. The sun does not fully set during June, and though there’s no true midnight sun, nights are light from mid-May to early August across the country. Between September and January, the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights can be seen. Hiking and camping are out of the question in winter.

Planning Your Trip

Most budget accommodations open only from late May to early September. In winter, there’s little chance of accommodations other than large hotels in Reykjavik and the main towns. Given the long distances involved to reach Iceland, flying is the quickest and cheapest option. The highest airfares are around June to August when the weather is best. Fares drop September to November and April to June, and you get the best prices during the low season, November to March. The most convenient flights from Europe and Asia go through London; there are direct flights from the US, but Canadian travelers need to go via the US.

 

Iceland: Untamed And Tourist-Friendly

Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of 'must sees.' Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuade...

travel, Iceland, Holiday, Vacation & Tour, island Holiday, Vacation & Tour, tourist, hiking

Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of 'must sees.' Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuaded!

On the contrary, I'm simply inviting the European travelers to dig a little deeper into their destination country and find the gems that will make them smile as they recall them even decades later. Remember and celebrate the taste of a fresh German pretzel, the sweet smell of the air in a Tuscan vineyard, or the baby soft petals in a colorful field of Dutch tulips. Savor an entire spectrum of sensory bliss as you skip from one country to the next, searching for that tiny unique detail that you will fondly relish for the rest of your life.

Oozing volcanoes, thousands of earthquakes, and countless exploding geysers you can set your watch by – it doesn't sound like a coveted Holiday, Vacation & Tour destination. However, Iceland is quickly becoming the newest hot spot for travelers. Just a hop from the U.S.'s East Coast or Western Europe, this little island country is easier to visit than one would think.

Iceland's attraction is its untamed countryside. Considering that most of this rugged island is uninhabitable, this leaves much open space and fresh air to the brave adventurer for exploring. The landscape is forever changing as the shifting continental plates refuse to give this country a moment of rest. Stand in awe before raging waterfalls and frozen glaciers, hike deep volcanic craters and rocky lava fields, even enjoy ice fishing, whale watching, puffin and other sea bird watching, kayaking and jet-boating. Iceland can be easily discovered with the help of local tour companies – the only question the tourist must answer is if they prefer to go by bus, snowmobile, or gentle Icelandic horse.

Not into roughing it? Iceland will still satisfy – the country is rich in cultural treasures, indulgences, and a serious patron of the arts. Savor a gourmet meal at a world-class restaurant, take in the unique artistic styles at a museum, learn about the tectonic plates and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a geological center, enjoy one of many musical concerts by local, national, or international talent, or soak your cares away in the steamy Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is probably Iceland's most famous destination as an oasis of heat amid its chilly surroundings. Heated by geothermal energy, the intense cloudy blue waters feel almost scalding at times and are chock-full of healthy minerals. Troughs of soft white silica mud sit warm in the water for visitors to slather on – all while enjoying the balmy sunbeams and the crystal clear sky.

Despite its seemingly cold and uninviting name, Iceland boasts a mixture of friendly people, fascinating traditions, and an unsurpassed landscape. Need to get out?

 

A Holiday, Vacation & Tour To Remember In Iceland

As a senior executive for a large multinational corporation, I have been assigned to nine different countries in five different continents over the last 20 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and adapting to new cultures. But perhaps my favorite perk of the job is that it allows me to have my annual Holiday, Vacation & Tours in some of the most exotic locations on the planet. My Holiday, Vacation & Tour last summer has to count as one of the most surprising and most pleasant of all. It may s...

Inceland Holiday, Vacation & Tour, travels, outdoors, Iceland, Traveling

As a senior executive for a large multinational corporation, I have been assigned to nine different countries in five different continents over the last 20 years. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and adapting to new cultures. But perhaps my favorite perk of the job is that it allows me to have my annual Holiday, Vacation & Tours in some of the most exotic locations on the planet. My Holiday, Vacation & Tour last summer has to count as one of the most surprising and most pleasant of all. It may sound hard to believe, but I really had a grand time spending nearly three weeks in Iceland.

As the name implies, Iceland is constantly covered in ice as more than 11 percent of the country is covered by ice glaciers. I know, that doesn't sound very cozy, but Iceland's climate is surprisingly mild and filled with countless geothermal hot spots.

Located in Northern Europe, Iceland is actually a large mountainous island in the North Atlantic that comprises one of the most picturesque places you will ever see. It is never dark in Iceland and nearly the entire landscape is filled with beautiful and colorful wildflowers, especially around the hills that surround the island's deep fjords. The view of the ocean, mountains and delicate grassy shores is spectacular and breath-taking.

The typical Iceland Holiday, Vacation & Tour starts with a cruise from one of the many ports of Europe. You will sail through the country's beautiful deep natural harbors and witness its quaint farming villages perched delicately on the rocky shores.

Once in Iceland, you will have every opportunity to try their natural hot springs, which are known all over the world and are universally recognized as sort of a native national pastime. Like bears in hibernation, Icelanders enjoy spending most of the winter and much of the summer months blissfully soaking in these springs to pass the long months of night away in relative comfort. It seems like the entire island is filled with these natural hot springs.

Traveling by car around the countryside is a novel experience as well since there is only a single road that traverses the whole rim of the island and affords a majestic view of island's barren and icy interior.




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