Adventures in Reykjavik and the South West

  

Adventures in Reykjavik and the South West

From geysers to lagoons and endless volcanoes, Iceland boasts a fascinating landscape. Iceland's mix of natural wonders is because it is sitting atop one of the world's most volcanically active hot spots. Activities in this magical land include hiking under the Midnight Sun, surrounded by history and literature.

Most people get their first taste of Iceland in its capital, Reykjavik. The city may be small but it makes up for its size in stylish bars, restaurants and shops, and a lively nightlife that comes to life particularly during the light summer nights. But there's more to Reykjavik than its city life. East of the capital lie the hotspots of Geysir, spectacular waterfalls at Gullfoss, and Pingvellir National Park. Nearby you will also find the famous Blue Lagoon, where you'll get the chance to review tired limbs. Further east lies Hverageroi's geothermal hinterland.
Golden Circle
To reach the Golden Circle, you might want to opt for a jeep, the vehicle of choice across Iceland's volcano-pitted landscape. Upon leaving Reykjavik, you'll drive across from beautiful plains and fast rivers before reaching The Pingvellir National Park. That's where you'll have the chance to dive into Lake Pingvallavatn. Located over the separation between American and Eurasian plates, the Golden Circle is a Mecca for adventurous scuba divers. As you dive deeper into the surreal lake bed, you will see the link between between the two continents. Although you'll need a PADI Open Water qualification to dive at Silfra, there are no requirements for snorkelers to swim between continents.
Stacked three deep and even a kilometre long like lava tunnels known as the Gjabakkahellir lava caves, which is also an ephemeral natural wonder to explore.
Hot-spring hike
Situated on a tectonic plate boundary, Reykjadalur Valley is an active geothermal field. Although it's been 2,000 years since the last eruption, a massive earthquake that took place back in 2008 brought dozens of gurgling, sulphurous springs to life. If you follow a 3 km trail up a grassy valley, it will lead you to a warm stream where you can take a dip. The hike takes three hours, unless you bathe or explore the area further. As the trail climbs 250m with a couple of streams to wade, the difficulty is moderate.
Blue Lagoon and Lighthouse Circuit
Near to Reykjavik lie Iceland's famous attraction - the Blue Lagoon. This is a great place to relax in a top-class natural spa on a lunar landscape.
Although a ticket for the Blue Lagoon is a bit pricey (€35), it makes up for it by allowing you to stay there the whole day. Soaking in the turquoise geothermal seawaters of this giant therapeutic hot pond is what you need to charge up batteries and get ready for the adventures that Iceland has to offer.
After unwinding and relaxing, head to the Reykjanes coast. Guarded by 11 lighthouses - including Iceland's tallest at Garaskagu, this peninsula houses extreme surfers and it's a great place to get up close and personal with migrant birds and, with luck, even a passing whale. At sunset, don't miss the view of a magical volcano across the bay.

 

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