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Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik, Iceland
When I was a college student, Icelandic Air offered the cheapest flights to Europe, but you had to stop over in Reykjavik. It was spartan and cheap, but who ever heard of Reykjavik? Over the years, the Iceland PR departments have constantly boasted about the hot night life and what a chic, cool place it is (no pun intended).
One of the more popular things to do is to stay in the ice hotel, which is exactly what you think it is. There is plenty of heat in Iceland, too- in the form of hot thermal springs underground- but also volcanoes.
Everyone knows of the volcanic eruption in Iceland that spewed huge amounts of ash into the atmosphere in 2010. It caused massive cancellation of flights across Europe and stranded thousands and thousands of travelers. Fortunately, most of this underground heat is not destructive. Everyone in Reykjavik uses this source to heat their homes and their water.
One of Iceland's geysers letting off steam.
A couple of years ago, we were on a transatlantic cruise that stopped in both Greenland and Iceland. Greenland was miserable; Iceland was phenomenal. The food in Greenland was inedible; the food in Iceland was delicious (though the French would likely find otherwise).
Our ship was in port for only one full day, and I pre- arranged to have a guide meet us and take us around for the time we were there. When I look back on the photos of that single day, I cannot believe how much we saw in so short a time.
In the city itself, you cannot help but be impressed with the architecture, especially the designs of the churches. It is almost as though there is a competition to design the most unusual church in the world- this week, then another next week, then another.The most spectacular of these, pictured above, is the Hallgrimskirkja. We went inside just in time to hear a "concert" played on their newly installed pipe organ. Fabulous!
We did a quick tour of the city, then headed out. Just minutes from city center, you are already in the countryside. But what country!
Iceland is superb for tourists who have had enough of castles, museums, and city life. It is an “outdoors” place- clean, reasonably affordable, not at all overcrowded, with an incredible variety of outside activity and scenic beauty. Lots of thermal pools to bathe in, or watch- as you would in Yellowstone National Park in the US. Waterfalls are everywhere. Lush mountains and broad scenic visas that can take your breath away.
We don’t often return to the same place, but we would love to go back to Iceland. There is just so much to enjoy, and I would estimate 4 days, minimum, is needed to it in the relaxing way it deserves
Have you checked the most important parts of our website? We urge you to go to the Chapter on Essential Plans. Then, whether they apply to you or not, read the Chapters Airlines, Cruises, Hotels, Taxis, Tours. Finally, be sure you read the Chapter Items to Take. The information in these chapters will make all the difference in the success of your trip.