Iceland - an adventure in all seasons
Iceland in a nutshell
Iceland is a refreshingly unconventional destination. Icelandic nature is unspoiled, exotic and mystical with its spouting geysers, active volcanoes, tumbling waterfalls, towering mountains, other-worldly lava deserts and sparkling iceberg-filled lagoons. Iceland’s fjords, glaciers and highlands present visitors with some of the most beautiful and enchanting landscapes they will ever see, as well as a feeling of utter tranquility.
Reykjavik, Iceland's friendly capital, offers plentiful cultural and social happenings in addition to an abundance of first-class restaurants, interesting boutiques, museums, art galleries and a legendary nightlife. Most of these attractions are found right in the city center, which is compact and easy to navigate by foot.
Adventures in the great outdoors
For those on a quest for adventure, Iceland’s pristine nature and unique landscapes offer great potential for outdoor activities like snowmobiling, glacier trekking, horseback riding, cave exploring, swimming, river rafting, hiking, skiing, kayaking and wilderness safaris on modified 4x4 jeeps, to name but a few.
Iceland also supports a surprisingly diverse sub-Arctic flora and fauna and is an ideal place for ornithology enthusiasts, in addition to offering some of the world’s best whale watching destinations.
Hotbed of subterranean activity
Iceland attracts visitors year round not only for its nature and culture, but also for the powerful forces beneath the earth's crust. Geologically speaking, Iceland is the world’s youngest country and is still growing, as can be seen in various areas of the island. One such area is Þingvellir in Southwest Iceland, where the Eurasian and North American plates are slowly drifting apart, creating a remarkable rift valley.
Another unique sight is Surtsey, Iceland's newest island, formed by a 1963 volcanic eruption off the country's south coast. More recently, the spectacular eruptions at Fimmvörðuháls and Eyjafjallajökull in 2010, and 2014 eruption of Holuhraun renewed the country's nickname as the "Land of Fire and Ice".
Thanks to this subterranean activity, a boundless supply of geothermal heat is available to be harnessed for thermal spas, inexpensive heating for homes and renewable energy creation. In fact, Iceland is the world’s second largest user of geothermal energy, producing slightly more than the United States and trailing only China.
Viking heritage & mythical legends
Icelanders, while achieving a high standard of living and education, have kept true to their Viking heritage, traditions, history and folklore. The Icelandic countryside is dotted with habitats of elves and trolls and every region has a multitude of myths and legends, many of which are kept alive by monuments and plaques.
Norse literature enthusiasts and history buffs should be sure to visit one of the museums dedicated to the Saga age or some sites where the Sagas took place.Climate & daylight
Iceland is actually warmer than its chilly name suggests. Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the Icelandic winters are relatively mild, with average temperatures in January about -0.2 °C and average summer temperatures of around 12-13 °C with highs occasionally reaching upward of 20 °C.
In the deep of winter, Iceland is known for its limited sunlight which, coupled with the island’s northerly location, makes it one of the best places on earth to see the northern lights, also called aurora borealis. October through April, when weather conditions are favourable, you can see these kaleidoscopic displays light up the dark winter sky, a phenomenon not to be missed.
Iceland more than makes up for this lack of sunlight during the summer time—the period of May through August provides long days with bright nights, and the midnight sun is especially prevalent in June. Thanks to these endless summer days, visitors can enjoy outdoor activities at any time of day—even teeing off at a golf course at midnight!