Despite being popular for its woolly jumpers and ice-cold beer, there’s far more going on in Iceland than just ’80s knitwear and nights spent in the pub (not that we’d mind that). This Nordic island placed high in the North Atlantic, is actually a hive of outdoor pursuits, rich in culture and diversity, and has an ever-changing landscape that keeps tourists and locals alike on their toes! Home to just 337,000 people, Iceland’s popularity over recent years helped by Icelanders’ genuine warmth and friendliness means it hosts five times its population each year as tourists pour in to marvel at its beauty. Its capital and largest city is Reykjavik, which is the destination most travellers make a beeline for, with good reason, but if you get a chance to head out of the city and explore the surrounding areas, do – there’s lots to see.
If it’s adventure you’re looking for, then Iceland is exactly where you’ll find it. Its unusual landscape made up of mountains, volcanoes, valleys, waterfalls, glaciers, and geysers all make for a fantastic adventure playground, and as such there are plenty of adrenalin-fuelled activities to take part in. As well as sky diving, snowboarding, skiing, and mountain biking, one of the country’s biggest draws is the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, and so there are dozens of excursions all geared up to make the most of this once-in- a-lifetime experience. Night time dog sledding tours, glass igloo stays, and evening bathing in the thermal waters of the Blue Lagoon are just some of the incredible ways to view the bright green light displays.
Now Iceland isn’t known for its bargain basement prices, but if you avoid imported drinks and stick to local food and beverages, you’ll certainly get more for your buck. Surprisingly there’s plenty of low-cost accommodation options, thanks to a wide choice of hostels and the tourist industry calling for more competition. In terms of things to do and getting around, the public transport system is easy to navigate in city centres, while there are plenty of free museums and open areas to explore and even just buying a coffee in a local café might lead to free entry at an open-mic event or some live music.
Spend four days discovering Iceland’s best bits, from the Blue Lagoon to the Golden Circle from your base in Reykjavik.