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Land of Fire and Ice

Snaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland. © 2011 Charles & Mary Love

Iceland’s recent volcanic eruptions have attracted lots of attention—and, contrary to what you might expect, have increased visits by North Americans by 50%! The country’s beauty is irresistible: sparsely populated landscapes with snow-covered mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, geysers, enormous waterfalls and geothermal springs.

But there’s more. The nightlife in the capital, Reykjavik, is hot. There are outstanding restaurants with excellent local and continental cuisine, candy-colored bars, knock-your-socks-off cocktails, Scandinavian beauties and upbeat music. It’s an intoxicating brew that inspires alley cats to go “feral.”

Other news: The Harpa Reykjavik Concert Hall and Conference Center, a stunning, glass complex on Reykjavik’s waterfront that recently opened, is a major addition to Europe’s performing arts scene.

The renowned Blue Lagoon (www.bluelagoon.com), located between downtown Reykjavik and its international airport, is listed by CNN International as one of the World’s 10 Most Exotic Wellness Retreats. We think this outdoor/indoor spa complex is reason enough to stop over in Iceland on your next trip to Europe. In the expansive, steaming lagoon, which is fed by geothermal springs, you can slip some white silica mud on your face, then move (slowly) through veils of steam to the bar at the water’s edge where you’ll likely strike up a conversation with other international travelers.

Right now, Iceland Tours (www.icelandtours.is) is offering  Around Iceland In A Week, a reasonably priced self-drive tour with pre-booked accommodations. We know from our own experience that car rentals and accommodations can be expensive, so it’s worthwhile to investigate such offers well ahead of your travel dates.

North American travelers can now get to Reykjavik on Delta (www.delta.com), Iceland Express (www.icelandexpress.is) or Icelandair (www.icelandair.is). A new inter-line partnership between JetBlue and Icelandair makes it easier to arrange travel between their networks.

For more information: www.visiticeland.com and www.visiticeland.org

 

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