Iceland is home to
Reykjavík, the ultimate city of extremes. The world’s northern-most capital city isn’t really a city at all: it’s a collection of Lego-coloured houses thrown together beside a whale-filled bay under
the watchful gaze of the ever-changing Mount Esja. Walk around
it in half a day and watch children feeding geese at the town
pond, discover Viking longhouses under the streets and shop
in achingly hip minimalist shops.
Drive just half an hour outside the city and watch the Northern
Lights play across the sky in winter.
Further afield, you can walk the
fault line in Þingvellir National Park, underneath which the
American and Eurasian tectonic plates are pulling apart, and
dive into a freshwater lake right above the rift. Take a tour of
an empty volcano – the only one in the world – or walk up
to the world’s most unpronounceable one, which stopped
world air traffic in its tracks in 2010. Skidoo on a glacier, ride
an Icelandic pony on the lava fields, meet a stuffed polar bear
and watch icebergs dance on an inland lake.
Retreat to an iconic isolated hotel under the shadow of ancient
volcanoes where seals play by the shore and a cone-shaped
glacier nearby is said to have mystical powers. Watch puffins –
or eat them for dinner. Try the New Nordic cuisine, Iceland-style.
Or dare yourself to eat the reviled dish of rotten shark. Drink in
the midnight sun and party till the morning. Swim in thermal
pools, buy a lopipeysa and take the best photographs of your life.
Only in Iceland.
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