Planning a getaway from stress and work? Find new places without having to go looking for them: Swide takes charge with a pocket guide of top 5 places to see in…Iceland.
Things to do in Reykjavik are not the usual go-shopping-thing in the city: as the ocean around the city is a natural habitat for many types of whales (dolphins and seals are often seen, too) you should really go whale watching. The season runs from late March to late October. Another option is to catch your own fresh fish on a sea-angling cruise, or just wander the fish markets in the Old Harbour. If you are into architecture (and food), visit Reykjavik's landmark, the Perlan, built in 1988. On top of the large tanks in which natural hot water is stored for heating the city, a glass dome has been constructed: under the dome is a rotating restaurant serving fine cuisine. The dome also contains a cafe, while around the outside is a viewing platform with beautiful panoramic 360-degree views of the city and its surroundings.
The Snæfellsjokull National Park
The Snæfellsjokull Glacier meets the sky at the tip of Snæfellsnes Peninsula, rising above other mountains to the height of 1446 meters. The mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland, primarily due to the novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864) by Jules Verne, in which the protagonists find the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth on Snæfellsjökull. The Glacier and the area around it offer opportunities for hiking, bird watching, exploring diverse lava fields, craters and beautiful beaches. Snjofell runs daily tours to the top of the Glacier on snowmobiles and snow cats.
It is from The Great Geysir of Iceland, which first erupted in the 14th century, that the world's geysers take their name. It used to erupt every 60 minutes until the early 1900s when it became dormant. Earthquakes in June 2000 subsequently reawakened the giant and it now erupts approximately every 8 to 10 hours. The second most famous geyser in Iceland is Strokkur, which erupts every 8 minutes throwing a column of water and steam to a height of 20 metres or so. There are also several other smaller ones. Geysers are found in active volcanic areas or land that is prone to earthquakes. Thermal or hot springs are also a feature, as are boiling mud pools, often appreciated for their medicinal qualities.
Ísafjörður is the biggest settlement in the Western Fjords and is well known for its flourishing art and cultural life as many prominent musicians and composers live here. Frequent art exhibitions are held throughout the year that attract many visitors. In the oldest part of town, Neðsti-Kaupstaður, are four of the oldest houses in Iceland, one of which houses the Maritime Museum. Skiing is the local winter pastime and the skiing facilities rate among the best in the country.
Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at the Blue Lagoon, a unique geothermal spa on the Reykjanes peninsula only a 40 minute drive from Reykjavik. This must-see attraction is famous for the healing qualities of its silica mud and mineral-rich geothermal waters, which glow a radiant blue in contrast to the lava formations surrounding the area. Optional in-water massages are available, and other amenities include a centre for skin treatments, an exclusive lounge, a restaurant and café and gift shop with the full Blue Lagoon skin care line.
Written by: Elisa della Barba