Iceland is one of the few places in the world that is currently open to all vaccinated travellers regardless of origin. A PCR test is needed on arrival (until July 1st when this no longer is necessary) and quarantining until the result is returned – no more than 24hours.
Driving through Iceland is like the pages of a book coming to life, with lava spewing active volcanoes, natural hot springs at the side of the road and individual wooden shacks swamped by heart-stopping landscapes. There is so much to do here if you enjoy the outdoors and with adventure lying around every corner it ensures to be one of the most raw, otherworldly experiences in your lifetime.
One of the most adventurous and popular ways to see Iceland is by following the Golden Circle route which is a loop around the most iconic sights. The whole route can be done in 3 hours although most would make multiple overnight stops along the way to enjoy the most authentic, rugged Icelandic experience. Whilst on the route, Gullfoss meaning ‘Golden Falls’ in Icelandic, is one of the islands most loved waterfalls and on sunny days the light shines through the roaring water as it sprays into the air creating the illusion of thousands of rainbows.
Normally at the top of travellers Icelandic bucket list is a visit to Blue Lagoon, which is common to do as a first or final stop on their trip due to its proximity to the airport. With its milky blue water, filled with rich minerals containing healing properties it’s not confusing to see why National Geographic have included it in their top 25 Wonders of the World. With its increased popularity Blue Lagoon is normally very busy with slots getting booked up weeks in advance, meaning now could be an optimum time to visit.
However, with that being said Blue Lagoon does seem very generic these days and if you’re looking for a quieter and more affordable option but without compromising on the wow factor then take a look at Sky Lagoon. Just minutes away from the islands capital and is newly opened this year. With breath-taking views stretching over the Atlantic Ocean, it makes for the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the geothermal water. Another option is Myvatan Baths, which has the same blue alkaline water as Blue Lagoon but without all the crowds.
Not far from the Blue Lagoon is Fagradalsfjall, Iceland’s active volcano which has been erupting since March 2021. This is a unique opportunity to see ‘the Land of Fire and Ice’ truly living up to its name with lava oozing down the black basalt rock, it is an unforgettable experience to witness this magnificent spectacle with all your senses. There are many tour led hikes to the
volcanic site where you can see how Iceland’s mid-Atlantic positioning has formed it’s landscape, or you can make your own way their via bus or car rental.
Whale watching is an essential part of any trip to Iceland in the summer months, in particular June, July and August being peak season with an abundance of wildlife. You can even opt for a midnight tour due to there being 20 hours of sunlight, tours range from 3 hours or a full day which can be enjoyed on white-knuckle rib boat rides or the gentler traditional Icelandic oak boat, it’s a great way to see the giants of the deep. You’ll also have the chance to tie in your whale watching tour with a visit to the nesting puffin islands where half of the world’s population come to breed. Just just off the coast of Iceland is an island named Vestmannaeyjar which is home to the worlds first Beluga Sanctuary, after a lifetime in captivity 2 whales were transported by air, land and sea from Shanghai to live out the rest of their lives in an enclosed bay in their natural habitat.
Reynisfjara beach is located just next to the fishing village of Vik and is world famous for its volcanic black sands and dramatic cliffside. Just opposite the sea is an enormous natural pyramid of basalt columns that looks like a staircase to the sky which were featured in an episode of Game of Thrones. However, it is said to practise caution and beware the waves as they can unexpectedly come crashing towards the beach as there is no land mass between the Icelandic shore and Antarctica. This means the waves have had thousands of miles to build up momentum.
To round off your stay in Iceland, visit Reykjavik and wander the colourful streets filled with quaint boutiques. Stroll down to the old harbour and breathe in the fresh Nordic air, you’ll see some of the city’s landmarks like the Harpa Concert Hall, a huge steel framework clad with a coloured glass façade. Street food stand ‘Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur’ made famous gloablly when US president Bill Clinton ordered a hot dog from the stall, it has now been visited by the likes of the Kardashians and voted the best hot dog stand in Europe.