Guest Author - Julie Emrich Fredrick
Whether you prefer to travel in luxury without expending much energy or opt for an active adventure package, Iceland holds the key to unlock your travel dreams.
“Land of ice and fire”, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic countries in the world. Located in the northern Atlantic Ocean, between North America and Europe, Iceland is an island, and while not physically attached to Europe, is a European country. Despite its name, Iceland actually has a fairly mild climate (considering its location), and winters there are often compared to those in New England. While glaciers cover 10% of the island, there are numerous geothermal pools throughout the country.
Vast wilderness, 5/6 of Iceland is unpopulated. The majority (1/2) of Iceland’s residents live in its capitol city of Reykjavik, others live scattered along the coast and plains of the southern part of the country.
The coastal towns are used as a base for the many coach tours around the island. Stopping at the country’s most famous attractions, you will visit the Golfoss-the “Golden Waterfall”, as well as a plethora of volcanoes, glaciers and small fishing villages.
In order to really immerse yourself in Iceland’s beauty, think adventure and join one of the growing numbers of adventure travel companies offering unique and physically active trips.
Hofn and the southeast part of Iceland offers ice climbing, skiing, snow mobiling and hiking opportunities.
Increasing in popularity are the “safaris” offered into the mountainous interior. Camping tours, which provide tents and meals, allow you to physically experience the lay of the land. Explore the Skaftafell National Park, a mountainous area made up with a sheer white glacier that lies in the shadow of Hvannadalshnukur, the county’s highest peak. Warm clothing and sleeping bags are necessary, and do not forget your bathing suit for a soak in a steaming thermal pool.
Fishing for salmon and trout in the numerous lakes and rivers throughout the country offers excitement for the sport angler and family alike. Salmon season runs June-September, with trout season running one month longer, into October. Ice fishing is also popular.
With the growing popularity for more active vacations, several companies are now offering more challenging adventures, specializing in wide mix of activities including sea kayaking, white-water rafting, mountain biking and horseback riding, all within the same trip. These tours allow you the opportunity to “get your feet wet and your hands dirty”, while providing you with the convenience of transportation as well as comfortable nightly lodging.
Keep in mind that during the summer, there is little to no complete darkness, giving the visitor plenty of hours to stay active. That said, an eye mask for sleeping is a good idea.