Although it’s become quite the cliche to refer to Iceland as the land of Fire and Ice, there really is no other way to describe this nature paradise. The entire island is mostly fueled by geothermal energy from its extensive volcanic activity. Also, large ice caps and glaciers provide Icelanders with clean and pure drinking water.
Iceland is located just south of the arctic circle, and is home to approximately 300,000 Icelanders, thus making it one of the most sparsely populated countries in Europe. Only a 6 hour direct flight from New York City, this island has become so easily accessible. Although tourism has increased several-fold over the years and continues to grow, Icelanders have made a strong effort to retain their culture and that old world rustic Icelandic charm.
For a country located just south of the arctic, the summers and winters are relatively mild, considering. On our summer trip a couple years ago, the highs didn’t go past 55 degree Fahrenheit, and we had cloudy days for most of the trip. We split our time between hiking and seeing some natural beauty, as well as relaxing in several of the island’s geothermal heated pools, a popular pastime, amongst the locals. Of course, no trip to iceland is complete without a trip to the Blue Lagoon, with its iridescent blue waters and steam lifting off the surface. Here, you can rejuvenate your skin by caking yourself up with silica-rich mud and purchasing refreshments at the swim-up bar in the middle of the lagoon. Now that’s how Icelanders relax!
I don’t often repeat countries that i’ve visited in the past, only because that just leaves less time to see and explore new places. However, Iceland is one of those places that just resonated with me from the moment I landed. The country is geared towards enjoying the outdoors, yet, city dwellers in Reykjavik know a thing or two on how to party and have a good time! The city is full of talented chefs and the music scene is exploding with new talent all the time. We’re planning a second trip to Iceland in a few months for some winter activities this time. This time, we’ll be glacier hiking, visiting lava and ice caves, checking out the seal colony on the southeast coast with a backdrop of icebergs, and of course several attempts to capture the northern lights! Given that Iceland is cloud-covered fairly often, we may not be so lucky, but one can certainly hope!
I have my Sorel boots and my North Face Arctic Down Parka ready and packed. Incidentally, Iceland has their own fashion-forward technical gear company called 66North. If spending $1,200 on a puffy jacket if your kind of thing, then that’s the brand for you! I did however spring for a wool hat and a fleece jacket, which cost a small fortune, but then again, when in Reykjavik….. Still, i’m excited to put them to the test this winter in arctic Iceland!
Hope you enjoy the pictures! Look out for Part 2 when we return from our winter trip this November!
We’d love to hear from you. Have you visited Iceland before? What are some of your favorite memories from the trip?