‘Quick to the left, they’re here!’ Racing outside the bus we stopped in our snowy tracks. There, breaking through the clouds, the reason we booked this trip began to dance above us…the Aurora Borealis.
Many visitors choose Iceland in the cold winter months for the best chance to see the Northern Lights, and we were no different. However, our five-night stay revealed this country to be so much more than a viewing platform, and the daylight hours here can be just as awe-inspiring as the green night skies.
Staying in the capital city, Reykjavik at times can feel more like a quaint ski village. However, with an abundance of accommodation and restaurant choice and impressive structures such as the Concert Hall, the city definitely has its own cultural mark. To really get to know our surroundings, we booked a free walking tour. Filled with history, economics and humour, it was time and money (for tipping) well spent.
All of our travel outside of Reykjavik was booked using a tour company downtown. Our first, and most cost effective, was the Northern Lights. Many operators offer a ‘free returns’ policy so if you don’t see the lights on the first night, you can return for free until you do. Luckily after an exhilarating chase on our third night, the magical pale greens began swirling above us.
Iceland is renowned for its clean economy and its use of geothermal energy is best seen at the country’s most popular attraction, the Blue Lagoon. Although tourism is felt quite heavily here, it doesn’t deter from the serenity and the stunning volcanic surroundings. If you do want to experience the soothing geothermal heat in a more traditional setting, there are also public swimming baths in and around Reykjavik.
The full force of the country’s enchanting landscape is best seen on a tour of the Golden Circle. From waterfalls and erupting geysers to the Mid-Atlantic ridge, one of the few places on earth where you can stand on the ridge of two tectonic plates – this tour is Iceland really showing off.
Known as the ‘land of fire and ice’, we didn’t want to just admire the views, we wanted to be in them! And so our adventurous sides took over, strapping our crampons on and wrapping up for a bracing, yet stunning glacier hike. Next, we removed ourselves from the white, bright snow and into the black and silent lava caves, experiencing the country’s volcanic terrain from both above and below.
Visitor figures continue to increase dramatically in Iceland and the plethora of excursions show this. But as the industry is still quite new here, even the most popular destinations give an almost untouched feeling, having yet to undergo decades of heavy tourism. And although the Northern Lights can be persuasive enough to visit here, their beauty is simply a testament and compliment to the stunning country below it.
by Kirsty Wood © 2016
Kirsty Wood is a freelance copywriter based in Tynemouth producing original, engaging and clear copy that speaks directly to your customers. Whether it’s website copy, blogs posts or direct mail – get in touch today to get your business heard. Tel: 07732 272626 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.