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​An A to Z of Travel: Iceland

Maddy Faulkner by Maddy Faulkner

​An A to Z of Travel: Iceland

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Are you thinking about going to Iceland?

This small, but breathtakingly beautiful island is defined by its landscape. Think geysers, hot springs, lava fields and cascading waterfalls. A visit here is a visual journey, so make sure you don’t forget your camera!

While it’s hard to plan a bad trip to Iceland, it’s easy to get caught up in the logistics as there’s just so much to see and do all over the country. Luckily we’ve done the hard work for you and picked out a handful of our favourite spots.

What to Do:

Although the country is renowned for its countryside, the capital Reykjavik is a must-see for its architecture and culture. We’d recommend visiting the Hallgrimskirkja Church, Iceland’s most unique and iconic building.

You simply can’t visit Iceland without seeing the Northern Lights! Between November and March is the best time to see them, but conditions have to be just right. You can embark on an organised tour, or just have your fingers crossed that you can catch a glimpse of the dancing lights in the night sky.

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you’ll instantly recognise Lake Myvatn. East of here, Myvatn Nature Baths have a naturally heated man-made lagoon, with mineral-rich waters containing a unique blend of silicates and geothermal microorganisms to boost both the skin and spirit.

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Near Námafjall Mountain is Hverir, a hot-springs area with boiling mud pots, hissing chimneys and fumaroles. It’s the closest you’ll probably ever get to being on Mars!

The Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, situated in the south of the island, is the country’s deepest and most spectacular glacial lake, full of broken icebergs. Seals can be spotted swimming in the lagoon, and birdlife such as the arctic tern can also be seen.

Hiring a skidoo is a great way to experience this diverse country. You can organise day trips with specialist 4x4 drivers who will take you to seemingly unreachable places for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Þingvellir National Park is Iceland's only UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s home to Silfra Fissure, a glacial spring which is a haven for divers and snorkellers. With a visibility up to 100m and temperatures just above freezing, you’ll be kitted out in thermal suits to ensure you have a pleasant diving experience.

Where to Eat:

The Fish Company in Reykjavik is a luxury restaurant which allows you to sample an ample mix of traditional Icelandic food with modern international twists. Here, you can sample Iceland's favourite dish - pan fried prime of lamb with Icelandic saltkjot, or the fish soup with langoustine, grilled monkfish and coconut jelly.

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Where to Drink:

Alcohol is notoriously expensive in Iceland, so happy hour at the Lebawski bar in Reykjavik is not to be missed. Don’t miss buy one get one free on beer and wine between 4pm and 7pm! It’s one of the best places to drink in the city, popular with both locals and tourists.

Where to Stay:

Canopy by Hilton is a great place to stay if you’re in Reykjavik for a couple of nights. The Scandinavian-inspired rooms are spacious and comfy. Guests also receive complimentary gifts of local produce at check-in and free tasting sessions each evening between 6 and 7pm. Doubles start from £180 per room per night.

Hotel Ranga is the perfect place for Northern Lights seekers. The cosy riverside lodge has outdoor hot tubs which are ideal for watching the sky light up above. Doubles from £277 per night.

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