Home to some of the most unique landscapes in the world and now one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe, Iceland is definitely one of those countries that seems to be having a moment.
The Nordic island country captured our hearts when we visited in 2012. We spent a week in the lively capital of Reykjavik just before Christmas and with our small but trusty hire car we negotiated the country’s frozen roads to explore some of Iceland’s most famous landmarks.
Driving the icy landscapes on the Golden Circle tour was at times a little scary but definitely worth the effort – at almost every turn there was another beautiful vista to stop and admire.
We got so close to the mighty Gullfoss waterfall we felt its icy spray, we were engulfed in sulfur-smelling smoke whilst watching Strokkur dutifully erupt, bathed in the hot waters of the Blue Lagoon surrounded by miles of surreally beautiful volcanic wasteland, met gorgeous Icelandic horses, and drove through miles of deserted roads to gaze at the low-lying winter sun on the horizon.
We took in the cool capital, Reykjavik – discovering quirky arts and crafts, drinking in some of the hip bars, and shopping for extra layers of warm clothing. We took the lift to the top of Hallgrímskirkja – Reykjavik’s iconic church with a design said to resemble lava Iceland’s flows, and wandered around the Harper Concert Hall, a truly modern piece of architecture, with its geometric glass facade and vast music halls.
We even sat out at night hoping to catch a glimpse of the northern lights. We only had to drive for a few minutes from Reykjavik centre before we were plunged into darkness, and a car park in Seltjarnarnes provided a great place to stop and stare at the night sky.
Here are a few highlights from our time in Iceland…
All words and photos by Graham Padmore from GlobalGrasshopper.com. Becky and Gray, the husband and wife duo behind the award winning travel blog GlobalGrasshopper.com are based in the UK but regularly travel the world on a mission to seek out the world’s most beautiful and underrated destinations. Also joined by a team of accomplished travellers they offer travel advice, inspiration and photography with a slight off-beat outlook.