Iceland has a population of 320,000. That's it. And a full third
of those hardy Icelanders live in the capital, Reykjavik, making
the rest of the country one of the emptiest countries in the world.
As well as the least polluted, since the country meets most of its
energy needs from natural geothermal power. As a result, pristine
landscapes of fjord, mountain, glacier, and moss-covered lava field
still dominate most of the island.
But before you head out into the wild, your first stop will be
Reykjavik, the most northerly capital in the world,
and a place that looks and feels more like a small fishing village
than a capital. The city has a very quirky charm all of its own,
with a selection of decent hotels and a more than decent nightlife.
The good news is that Reykjavik is also so small you'll never get
FOMO (fear of missing out) as you just wander five minutes around
the corner to find another fun place to party. While you wander,
it's also worth checking out the statue of explorer Leif Erikson
outside the extraordinary Hallgrimskirkja church, which is designed
to look like Iceland's basalt lava flows. A gift from the US of A,
the statue acknowledges that it was a Viking who actually
discovered the Americas several hundred years before that charlatan
Away from the capital, Snæfellsnes is typical of Iceland - a starkly
beautiful peninsula jutting into the North Atlantic on Iceland's
western coast. Closely connected with the Norse Sagas, this region
was also the birthplace of Mr Explorer Erikson himself, and the
Snæfellsnes volcano is where Jules Verne's adventurers journeyed to
the centre of the world.
Another intriguing place to visit is Southern
Iceland, home to yet more spectacular scenery, and the
villainous volcano Eyjafjallajokull which caused so much air travel
chaos in 2010.
On the long days of summer in Iceland when the sun hardly sets,
there are plenty of outdoor activities that we can arrange - and
plenty of daylight hours in which to enjoy them. Pack your luxury
holiday to Iceland with fishing for sea trout or salmon,
horse-riding, sea kayaking, whale-watching, hiking or snowmobiling
on year round glaciers. In Snaefellsnes itself, we can organise
snow-shoeing or snowmobiling on the glacier-topped volcano that
dominates the tip of the peninsula.
So get on that flight to a place that has, after much
post-credit crunch soul searching, realised it's much better at
fishing and producing bonkers creative types (exhibit A - Bjork)
than banking and they seem far, far happier as a result.