The Exciting Guide to Iceland: A Review
If a sense of ennui sets in when coming to book your next holiday (the predicable sun, sea and sand) Iceland should be next on your list for an interesting and exciting jaunt into all things ecological and unexplained.
An erratic climate juxtaposed with fascinating natural geology; Iceland competes favourably with all other worldwide tourist destinations.
You can get flights to Keflavik (40 minutes from Reykjavik) for less than £100 return and the flight takes between 2 and 2 and half hours from Manchester.
To get a handle on the Icelandic Krona if something is priced at 4000 Kr, take the last two noughts off and half it. So 4000Kr is equal to £20 and that's how much you will pay for your return coach fare from Keflavik to Reykjavik.
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Most of the hotels are pretty central in the harbour area of Reykjavik which you can use as your base to explore. The hotels in the capital are of a high standard for cleanliness and efficiency with Icelander's in general being the epitome of Norse civility.
One slight criticism is the picking up and dropping off of visitors to their hotels especially after trips. As in you share the same 'feeder mini buses' with others where you could be the last one dropped off at your hotel which can be understandably irritating after a long day.
The same can be said for the coach ride from Keflavik airport whereas one has to wait for all the other visitors to ensemble together on to the bus before being dropped at different hotels around Reykjavik.
A rapid train system to ferry people from Keflavik to Reykjavik has to be of paramount importance to governance if visitor numbers are to be improved upon. Any such improvement would buoy Iceland's position in the rankings as at a top international destination.
On the plus side and since the financial collapse, Iceland has seen the cost of living decrease to a realistic level, whereas meals out are now affordable for the humble Brit.
The dining delights of Reykjavik can rival even the south of France, where even foal (not to all culinary palates) can be found on the menu.
Taking the above into account, visitors should not rest on their laurels and always shop around for the best prices. Not forgetting of course to take snacks along for any excursions like the 'Golden Circle Tour' where, at one stop off point you could be expected to fork out £15 for a bowl of soup.
Whale watching can be undertaken from the harbour for approximately £40 and if the whales do not show you can board the ship again (if you don't get sea sick of course) for free until you bear witness to these wonderful 'Water Dinosaurs' in their natural environment.
Talking of which, the weather patterns in Iceland are as unpredictable as they are amusing. You could be beset by rain, snow, sleet, high winds and sunshine all in a short period.
This can add to the excitement of this unpredictable volcanic island which features strange geological phenomena including the massively important shifting Tectonic Plates. It is in close to proximity to Reykjavik where the North American and Eurasian plates are pulling in different directions causing volcanic material to be brought to the earth's surface.
The areas where the Tectonic Plates are situated can be seen on the must do Golden Circle Tour. As can the unusual Geysir (the steam that spurts out of the ground) the spectacular waterfalls at Gullfoss and the unbelievable Kerio Volcanic Crater (main image).
The Blue Lagoon (right click for image) will cost you approximately £50 to visit which includes the return coach fare. The Lagoon is a geothermal spa that is beautifully warm and has beneficial properties for skin, bones and muscles alike.
In the hot springs you can apply silica mud (free) as a face pack, relax in steam baths steamed by harnessing the natural vapours and immerse yourself in a sauna heated by pouring water on solidified volcanic lava. There are also 'Lagoon Massages' and numerous natural algae face creams one can purchase separately.
In contrast, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a James Bond (and have a similar purse to 007) you can do the Golden Circle Tour inclusive of a visit to the Icecap (Glacier) at Langjokull (the second biggest Icecap in Iceland) for £200 approximately.
The Snow Mobile run (they are easy to drive) sometimes undertaken in Arctic conditions is an extraordinary event (right click for image).
In conclusion, to be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights is a bonus but you can maximise your chances by visiting Iceland in February or March (when it is colder) bearing in mind of course that the sky must be clear to see the lights.
However, if you should wish to visit in the summertime you will by all accounts experience the just as surreal 'Icelandic Midnight Sun'.