Tried and Tested – Iceland: Fire & Ice
by Traveleads | February 1, 2019 | Latest News Reviews
With a population of under 400,000 and covering 40,000 square miles Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe.
Considering that over two thirds of the entire population live either in the capital city (Reykjavik) or the south-west surrounding areas, it’s hardly surprising that visitors exploring beyond the main hub can find a world of unspoilt natural beauty that has barely changed since people first settled here.
Iceland’s place in modern society has been marred over the last few decades, firstly by what were dubbed ‘The Cod Wars’ – a dispute over the fishing rights in the North Atlantic, and more recently the financial and economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Icelandic banking system. Luckily the Icelandic people are built of strong stuff, with the blood of Vikings running through their veins it was only going to be a matter of time before it would be business as usual. Today there are no signs of the 2008 depression and Reykjavik is once again a magnet for travellers looking for a city break with a difference.
Its location in the North Atlantic makes it an ideal place to unite businesses from Europe and North America, and demand for meetings and conferences in the city is on the rise.
We visited to discover what the country has to offer once business has been taken care of.
The Blue Lagoon is undoubtedly the country’s biggest tourist attraction, followed by the popular Golden Circle tour – a day trip visitors can take from Reykjavik that includes geysers, waterfalls and volcanic craters.
With fishing and tourism the top two sources of income for the county, it’s no surprise to find a whole host of tour companies offering boat trips and excursions.
We enlisted the help of Reykjavik Erupts to explore further afield, we wanted an adventure that would take us off the beaten track and allow us to see some of the most beautiful and yet relatively undiscovered parts of the country.
We were met by tour guide and business owner Dofri Hermannsson who had prepared a tailor-made itinerary for us. We had emailed Dofri prior to arriving in Iceland with a wish list that was a huge ask – we wanted to see volcanoes, waterfalls, tectonic plates, glaciers, beaches …oh, and if we could include a dip in a geothermal hot pool along the way, that would be great!
Reykjavik Erupts is a small family and friends operated company that provides exclusive professional tours led by expert guides. No two tours are the same as they craft their experiences to meet the requirements of their customers. Your adventure can be as active or as easy going as you want it to be. However you choose to spend your day you are guaranteed it will be packed with great conversation including history, folklore and lots of interesting information and facts – not to mention absolutely breath-taking scenery.
The itinerary that had been prepared for us couldn’t have been more perfect. Iceland in winter enjoys relatively little day light so tours start before the sun has cleared the horizon. Exploring the moon-like volcanic terrain in low-level lighting transports you to an otherworldly place.
We didn’t just get to see the incredible waterfalls on our wish list, we got to walk behind them. The thunderous roar of fresh water cutting through rock and shaping the environment leaves visitors with a sense of just how powerful the forces of nature really are. We navigated streams on foot, crossing at strategic points using volcanic stepping stones until we came to what was one of the absolute highlights of the tour, a naturally occurring geothermal hot-pool.
Hidden away in a landscape with nothing for as far as the eye could see, it would be impossible to find this spot without the help of an Icelander with inside knowledge. The therapeutic mineral rich water comes from the summer melt of the nearby glacier, filtered through rock over thousands of years it eventually reaches the earth’s mantle and is lava heated to extreme temperatures, this forces it back through the earth’s crust and up to the surface, cooling as it travels. The result is a natural spa like bath – if you are lucky enough to experience a dip in these waters on your tour, the memory will stay with you long after you’ve dried off and moved on.
Thanks to Reykjavik Erupts we got to climb into the huge crater of a volcano – considering Iceland is currently one of the most active volcanic regions on the planet, this was a pretty impressive feat! We scaled lava flows and the hexagonal rock structures that formed millions of years ago when the earth was in its infancy. At the end of the day, as the sun once more dropped below the horizon, we drank hot chocolate on the black pebble beach watching as the sky became an artist’s pallet of colours. Our tour had been timed to perfection, creating the impression that a wonderful light show had been prepared just for us.
Our private tour included transportation in a 2018 Land Rover Discovery, hotel pick-up and drop off, and a 45 minute break for lunch.
If you are visiting Iceland this year for business or planning a short break and would like to discover a more authentic way to explore the country Reykjavik Erupts caters to individuals, small groups and families. Bespoke tours by appointment.
For more information visit: Reykjavikerupts.is
Regular flights operate from the UK including regional departures. For more information on flight schedules, or to book your trip, please contact your Traveleads consultant.
Please note: Traveleads is not in any way affiliated with Reykjavik Erupts. The opinions in this review belong to the author and are featured for information purposes only.