Written by Chip Barker
Originally written for & published in Bayside Living Magazine
Exploding volcanoes, “Sneaker Waves” that can drag a beach goer out to sea forever, icebergs and glaciers that collapse under your feet, and slippery hot springs with scalding mud that can burn you to a crisp. Sounds like a place to steer clear of, right? Well, no. All those dangerous and scary things are just a few reasons why Iceland is a seriously hot travel destination.
Did you know, beer was illegal in Iceland until 1989? We know, another reason to question a visit to the “Land of Fire and Ice”. But don’t panic, the beer situation has been remedied and with all that ‘danger’ lurking around every corner, you might find a warming shot of schnapps more appropriate and in tradition with the local ways.
Iceland is a country of extreme contrasts. It’s home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe, and some of the most active volcanoes in the world. In 2010 the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier erupted, sending an ash plume into the atmosphere that brought European flights to a standstill for 6 days. Iceland is also the land of light and darkness, where summer days bring nearly 24-hours of sunlight and winter days bring no more than dusk-like light, the entire day.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream, winters are milder than you’ll find in New York and when the temperatures hit 68°F in summer, Icelanders soak up the sun at outdoor cafes and beaches. Yes, that’s crazy talk to a Florida dweller but the tradeoff in cooler temperatures for the experiences you’ll have is worth it.
No matter the weather, you’ll want to bring your swimsuit as visits to Iceland’s thermal pools are on the top of most travelers lists, and a visit to the spectacular Blue Lagoon is a must!
Iceland is also hot with Hollywood. Scores of movies film in Iceland and the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones has driven visitors en masse to see the other worldly landscapes that are anything but make believe. If you are a fan of Westeros and Game of Thrones, then hop on a tour of the movie sets and filming locations. You never know, you might just catch a glimpse of the Mother of Dragons.
It’s not all glaciers and volcanoes in Iceland. Iceland is also home to the elusive Northern Lights, dramatic fjords, Viking history and archeological explorations. After a day of sightseeing, put on your dancing shoes and enjoy the bustling nightlife in the capital city of Reykjavik where the party doesn’t get started until midnight.
Ready to see for yourself just how hot Iceland is? Visiting Iceland is about to get easier than ever. Icelandair Airlines studied the US market closely and selected Tampa International Airport to host nonstop flights between TIA and Keflavík International Airport starting September 7, 2017. So, as the locals say, “on with the butter!” or, as we would say, “Move your butt and get going.”
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