Iceland may look seem icy, but it has fire beneath its earth due to a number of volcanoes. Such a natural contradiction allows many to bask in the hot springs, which greatly helps to make them comfortable, especially in the coldest days of winter. Its environment is also stunning to behold; from the crystalline glaciers that grind pathways through the mountains, to the huge volcanoes that grumble underneath the frost.
Travellers visiting Iceland will not just find awe-inspiring landscapes, but also a land of light and darkness. Its location just below the Arctic Circle makes it experience about 24 hours of sunlight during summer and short winter days that looks like a long twilight. Travellers going here can also witness a beautiful phenomenon known as the Aurora borealis or the Northern lights, which are like greenish filmy curtains dancing across the skies.
Where to go
Reykjavik, the capital city, makes a fun destination for tourists due to its colourful buildings and active nightlife. Cultural landmarks also abound, such as the Hallgrimskirkja, a massive church made from white concrete between 1945 and 1986. After exploring the rather plain interior, travellers can head to Old Reykjavik where various historic buildings can be found such as the Austurvöllur Square, Parliament House, and the City Cathedral. Those looking for a contrast to this bastion of tradition will find it in Harpa, a modern building with entrancing glass panels that sparkle at night. Those going inside can then see the concert hall or view the harbour vistas visible from its windows. From here, one can then make a detour to Sundlaugar Reykjavikur, an immense volcanically heated swimming pool, where many Icelanders congregate to enjoy a warm bath.
Surveying the surrounding area from the capital lets travellers enjoy another highlight to an Iceland trip. One can turn to Skálanes, a farmhouse turned into an independent nature reserve east of Seyðisfjörður, which features various natural wonders such as the sea bird colonies on the cliffs, wildflower meadows, waterfalls, and other geological formations. Those looking for other nature sights can make a detour to Dynjandi, a waterfall sweeping over a height more than 100 metres at Dynjandivogur bay. Travellers arriving here will also find stunning views of the peaks and inland valleys around the area.
Those looking for warmer climes after a stay in Iceland can venture to Manchester in the United Kingdom. A direct flight going here takes around three hours, which lets travellers visit one of the fascinating suburban communities in the country. One will find here traditional structures such as the Manchester Cathedral, a beautiful old structure with impressively decorated misericords, murals, and a figure of Christ in modern dress.
There is also the Town Hall, with its neo-Gothic façade; and the Little Moreton Hall, a magnificent half-timbered mansion in the south of Manchester. Other landmarks to see here include the People's History Museum, which features a collection of items showing the history of the working people in the United Kingdom. There is also a Chinatown here that makes up one of the largest Chinese communities in the country. Those going here will find a variety of shops and culinary treats to enjoy.
Geneva, about seven hours away from Reykjavik, also makes a beautiful destination. One can begin the vacation with a cruise around the lake or a tour in the Old Town where one can find Cathédrale Saint-Pierre, a historic structure that belongs to the Reformed Protestant Church. From here, one can walk on the cobblestone streets to the Maison Tavel, the oldest house in the city. Its several floors exhibit various artefacts that travellers can look at to find out more about Geneva in the medieval era. Those out to stroll can then visit the Bastions Park, where one will see the Reformation Wall and life-size chess pieces and boards, as well as the entrance to Place Neuve, a beautifully preserved performance hall.
How to get out
Travellers going out of Iceland to visit other parts of the world can schedule regular or seasonal flights at Keflavik International Airport. Airlines serving here include Air Berlin, Air Greenland, Atlantic Airways, Austrian Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Edelweiss Air, easyJet, easyJet Switzerland, Flybe, Germanwings, Icelandair, Lufthansa, Niki, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Primera Air, Scandinavian Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium, Transavia.com France, Vueling, and WOW Air.