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Published on Dec 9, 2015
With a population of only 300,000, Iceland can feel like the most isolated place on earth, yet its capital Reykjavik, is only a three-hour flight from London and just under six from New York.
Reykjavik is relaxed and welcoming, yet possesses a cultural life that holds its own against other European capitals. Most buildings are built simple and low to beat the North Atlantic winds. However, the city is also graced with grand civic architecture inspired by Iceland’s natural beauty, such as the soaring central tower of Hallgrímskirkja.
Many of the country’s most popular sights are within easy reach of Reykjavík. Immerse yourself in the spirit of Iceland, at the Blue Lagoon. Then spend a day or two in The Golden Circle, an area which encompasses three of Iceland’s greatest natural wonders; Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Field, and Gullfoss.
Iceland’s main ring road strings together an endless series of epic landscapes. Less than two hours drive east of Reykjavik are two of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. Continue eastward towards Vík, Iceland’s southern-most village, where you’ll find the dramatic landscapes of Black Beach, Reynisdrangar, and Dyrholaey. Follow the ring road for another two hours into the ethereal light of Jökulsárlón Lake, where icebergs break away from Europe’s largest glacier and float for years before tumbling out to sea.
Head north and feel the earth rumble at Europe’s mightiest waterfall, Dettifoss. Then explore the Myvatn region, a tranquil lake surrounded by nature in all its violent beauty. Take a careful walk through the boiling landscape of Namafjall, lose yourself amid the lava pillars of Dimmuborgir, and peer into the caldera of Krafla Volcano.
Known as the Capital of the North, Akureyri is the perfect place to warm up and enjoy some creature comforts, before heading off into the wilds again. In Iceland, every side road is a story waiting to unfold. So come, and live your own Icelandic story, it’s one you’ll keep telling for the rest of your days.