5 Reasons to Visit Iceland
With everything from glacier hikes to the Northern Lights, Iceland is an adventure playground ready to be explored at any time of year
Iceland is nature at its most raw and rugged, conveniently reached in less than three hours from London. And thanks to a raft of new luxury hotels and unique experiences, you can now explore its volcanoes and glaciers in true comfort and style. Check out our top five reasons to visit.
“Because it sits on a shifting tectonic plate boundary, Iceland is amazingly getting bigger year on year.”
Personal Travel Designer01488 689700 Sarah.Woodthorpe@baileyrobinson.com Read Sarah’s profile
More time for adventure
Visit Iceland in the peak summer months of June, July and August and you’ll get to experience the Midnight Sun, when the sun never really sets but casts an ever-present glow across everything around.
The long days mean you have almost limitless opportunity to get out and explore the island in all its wondrous glory.
Where to stay
Whatever else you get up to in Iceland, you should plan to spend at least a few nights in the capital Reykjavik. To be right among the action we recommend Sand Hotel, set on the hip and historic Laugavegur Street in the heart of the downtown area. Contemporary artwork hangs in the rooms, sculptures pepper the courtyard and books by Nobel Prize winner Halldor Laxness, who was born in the building, are out proudly on display.
Gaze in awe at the Aurora Borealis
During the winter months, Iceland’s clear night skies can light up with the ethereal glow of the Northern Lights. The best way to experience this natural phenomenon is by staying in a remote lodge or hotel, well away from all artificial lights, where you’ll enjoy the best standards of service the island has to offer.
Watch from the warmth of your outdoor hot tub as vivid streaks of green and blue fill the heavens in a nocturnal rainbow of kaleidoscopic colour.
Where to stay
Torfhus Retreat in southern Iceland is isolated enough to offer wonderful Northern Lights viewing – made all the more vivid by the lack of light pollution – while remaining in reach of all the main attractions of Iceland’s Golden Circle, including the 105-foot-high Gullfoss Waterfall and the spurting geysers at Geysir. And what better way to watch the lights than from your hut’s basalt stone hot pool, naturally heated by geothermal waters.
“In Norse mythology, the Northern Lights were said to be the glow from the shields of the Valkyries as they carried fallen Viking warriors back to Valhalla.”
Get back to nature
Icelandic scenery is nature at its most cinematic, with jaw-dropping views around almost every corner. You’ll find endless lava fields, bubbling mud pools, plummeting fjords, black-sand beaches, active volcanoes and dramatic icecaps all waiting to be explored.
In winter, blankets of snow cover the ground and waterfalls are frozen, creating a winter wonderland like nowhere else on earth. In summer, waterfalls swell with the melting ice flow, fields are a luscious green and purple Lupina flowers bloom as far as the eye can see.
Where to stay
With 14 rooms beautifully finished in Art Deco style and a fine-dining restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in the country’s capital, Skalakot isn’t lacking in charm or creature comforts. But it’s the scenic location and activities on offer that really steal the show. Still a working farm breeding tough Icelandic horses, Skalakot offers some of the best riding in the country, as well as hiking, canoeing, helicopter tours and snowmobile adventures across glaciers and volcanoes.
ACTION & ADVENTURE
Get your heart racing
Iceland was built for those who love adventure. Roar across vast glaciers on a snowmobile tour. Don your crampons and venture into ice caves and mighty crevasses. Soar over lava fields and active volcanoes on a helicopter tour. See spurting geysers and thunderous waterfalls.
Descend into the depths of a dormant volcano. Spot seals and puffins, dolphins and whales. Bike beneath the glow of the Midnight Sun. Catch Atlantic salmon and Arctic char in the wild rivers of the north.
Or snorkel in the gap between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America, where glacial water has been filtered for decades by porous lava rock, affording breathtaking visibility of over 100 metres.
Where to stay
The adrenaline rushes come thick and fast at Deplar Farm on the mountainous Troll Peninsula in northern Iceland. Even in winter, days are packed with the likes of whale-watching, snowshoeing, skiing and fat biking, while in summer the lodge has access to some of the best Atlantic salmon and Arctic char rivers in the world. Don’t be fooled by the isolated location though; this is one of Iceland’s most luxurious hotels, complete with 13 immaculate rooms, two helipads, an innovative restaurant and a standout spa.
“Luxury hotels like Deplar Farm can arrange heli-ski descents from summit to sea among Iceland’s awe-inspiring Arctic snowpack.”
Comings & Goings
Sitting just outside the Arctic Circle, Iceland is less than a three-hour flight from the UK. With plenty of direct flights and no time difference, it’s incredibly accessible for both a weekend break or longer stay.
Iceland also makes a great stopover on the way to, or from, the USA. Direct flights to New York take less than six hours, meaning you can easily combine retail therapy on Fifth Avenue with a luxury wellness escape at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, or a Northern Lights vigil at Torfhus Retreat.
Where to stay
The soothing geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon are one of Iceland’s most popular attractions. But it can’t half get crowded. Stay at The Retreat at Blue Lagoon, however, and you’ll get a calm, enclosed section of the lagoon all to yourself and your fellow guests. Aside from VIP lagoon access, the resort’s star amenity is its cavernous spa, a world-class wellness facility whose signature treatment involves cleansing your body with the lagoon’s three most restorative elements: strengthening silica, nourishing algae and energising minerals.
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Family Fun in the Midnight Sun
With 24 hours of daylight and few experiences off limits to young visitors, Iceland is perfect for a family summer getaway.
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