Iceland


The stunningly beautiful country of Iceland has seen a massive increase in tourism in recent years, with many visitors awestruck by the impressive natural wonders of this small, volcanic island floating in the North Atlantic. First settled by Vikings in 874 AD, today, Iceland is a vibrant nation leading the way in LGBT and women's rights, as well as boasting incredible eco-credentials - the entire country is powered almost completely on renewable energy! The capital Reykjavík is overflowing with culture and an ever-growing community of Nordic foodies, and was the first non-English speaking city designated a UNESCO capital of literature. As for the rest of the country, Iceland offers breathtaking landscapes, glacial lakes, geysers, and thundering waterfalls, making any world-traveller instantly fall in love.

Places to stay in Reykjavík

Hotel Borg - ★★★★ - £££££
If you're looking for a top-quality hotel in the centre of Reykjavík, look no further than Hotel Borg. A stunning, prestigious hotel, styled in the theme of 1920s Art Deco, this hotel offers everything you could possibly need and more. Underfloor heating, complementary WiFi and relaxation spa come as standard, and with an on-site Jamie's Italian offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can begin your Icelandic adventure in style!
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Eyja Guldsmeden Hotel - ★★★★ - ££££
This beautiful, modern hotel lies in the centre of the Icelandic capital. Rooms come equipped with a TV, and WiFi is free of charge. There is also free parking, great for those hiring a car or camper van to explore the rest of the country. Breakfast is not included, but is available at an extra cost. Don't worry though, if you want to explore at breakfast, there are many cafés within 10 minutes walking distance. The hotel is a short drive from the airport, and the Hallgrímskirkja church is around the corner.
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Luxury Apartment - £££
If you're looking for your own space from which to explore the city, these modern apartments are perfect for you. There's a supermarket nearby, and many eateries in the surrounding area. The Harpa Concert Hall, Hallgrímskirkja church, and Reykjavík's main high street are just a short walk away too. WiFi is complementary, and you can also arrange a shuttle to and from the airport for an additional fee. For those with a hire car, there is street parking available nearby. These apartments are perfect if you're looking for high quality accommodation, with the independence of self-catering in style.
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Things to check out in Reykjavík

Although a relatively small city, there are plenty of free gems to check out in the capital before discovering what the rest of the country has to offer. You could easily spendtwo or three days soaking up the culture and eating your own body weight in the incredible delights on every corner. Be sure to check out:

+ Harpa Concert Hall
The concert hall, which was opened in 2011, is a contemporary building made of glass, designed to reflect the basalt landscape of Iceland. Take a guided tour, or book a seat for a performance in this incredible building.

+ Hallgrímskirkja Church
This church is a focal point of Reykjavík, and it can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. From the top, it offers awesome views, whether it's a clear or cloudy day. Designed by Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, its structure emulates the shapes created when lava turns into basalt rock.

+ Solfar Sun Voyager Statue
Shaped like a Viking longboat, this statue represents a dream boat, and was created as an ode to the sun. Visit at dawn or dusk to admire Mount Esja in all of its majestic beauty.

Places to eat in Reykjavík

+ Breakfast - Satt, meaning true in English, offers a fresh, hearty breakfast buffet, using locally farmed and freshly caught ingredients for 3,300 Icelandic Kroner (around £25). The restaurant also serves brunch and dinner buffets, with menus available as well.

+ Lunch - Why not check out Lækjarbrekka, located in one of the oldest buildings in the city. This restaurant focuses on pure Icelandic ingredients, and offers a three course lunch menu for 3,690 ISK (around £28).

+ Dinner - For dinner, head to Gló. This restaurant offers both meat and vegan dishes, and includes as many organic, fresh Icelandic products in its recipes as possible. Owner Sólveig Eiríksdóttir is known throughout the country as a healthy lifestyle campaigner, and has pioneered Iceland's raw food movement - when you're here, you could sample some for yourself.

Don't worry, you'll never be short of places to eat in Iceland, as there are restaurants and cafés on every corner. Do your research beforehand, though, and be careful to consider your budget, as many places can be expensive.

Outside Reykjavík

+ Golden Circle Full Day Tour
Get picked up from your hotel in Reykjavík for an eight hour tour of the south of Iceland. Discover the awe-inspiring Gullfoss Waterfall, and take a visit to the Geyser area, whilst taking the opportunity to see where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates come together in Þingvellir National Park.
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+ Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon Day Tour
After getting picked up from your Reykjavík hotel, your day of adventure has just begun! Expect to see icebergs at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, walk behind Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, and visit the most southern village in Iceland - Vik. On clear days, you'll get the opportunity to see the majestic Eyjafjallajökull volcano, and enjoy a boat cruise on the Jökulsárlón lagoon. A truly exciting day - don't worry about having to pronounce any of the names though!
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+ Blue Lagoon
Not many would be able to visit Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon, the world's largest geothermal pool located in a lava field in Grindavík. Its popularity means you'll need to book beforehand, but it's a definite must-see for anyone visiting Iceland.
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+ Whale-Watching & Puffin Cruise
After a hotel transfer, enjoy a cruise to Akurey island, where you can get close and personal with Puffins in their own environment, and look out for harbour porpoises and humpback whales along the way. Afterwards, choose between a 2.5 or 3.5 hour whale watching cruise , where you'll learn from expert guides about the native wildlife that Iceland has to offer.
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Other information

+ If you're thinking about a trip to Iceland in 2018, September and October are the best months to see the Northern Lights, but in winter, temperatures can drop to minus figures, even as low as -30°C, so be sure to pack for extremely cold conditions. If you want as much daylight as possible, the best time to visit is late May-July, when the weather is at its warmest and the days are longest (almost 24 hours at the solstice).

+ If you're going to Iceland and want to see Puffins, the best time of year to go is April through September. The largest Puffin colony in the world, Vestmannaeyjar, lies to the south of Reykjavík, and can be visited via plane from the capital or ferry from Landeyjahöfn. Don't worry if you can't get out to Vestmannaeyjar, there are other opportunities to see these birds around the country.

+ If you want a comprehensive experience of Iceland, the Route 1 Ring Road is made for you (highly recommended). Hire a camper van and set off on an exploration of the entire country! Along the way, you'll admire some of Iceland's most impressive scenery, including the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls. You'll get the chance to see Puffins at Dyrhólaey, and visit the Jökulsárlón Glacial lagoon too.

+ As with the other Nordic countries, Iceland is expensive, so be sure to plan and budget carefully!

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