The land of the Vikings is one of adventure and mystery. Stunning landscapes and action-packed excursions put Iceland at the top of Europe’s ‘must-see’ destinations. Flying to Keflavik in under three hours also means these enchanting snowscapes are within easy reach for a weekend away. Defined by its dramatic landscape, experience the geysers and glaciers by snowmobile or Super Jeep, bathing in geothermal springs at the end of the day.
The Northern Lights are probably one of the biggest draws though to visiting Iceland. Although elusive and unpredictable, the best time to visit to try to catch a glimpse of the multicoloured light show is between late September and early April (with October and February giving you the best chance of viewing them). Combine a Northern Lights excursion with a tour of the Golden Circle and a dip in the Blue Lagoon and you’ll have ticked off your Iceland checklist.
The only trip you’ll regret is the one you don’t take
Firstly, Reykjavik’s 101 Hotel may be all black and white, but Sixties-style furnishings echo the tantalisingly close countryside . Quirky artwork also adds a dash of eccentricity. With a slick mini spa and a sci-fi style restaurant, this is one of the most stylish hotels in Iceland. With only 38 rooms, there’s plenty of space to use the gym and plunge pool in the basement spa. Additionally, there’s also a fantastic modern restaurant and Starck-style bar. You then have the perfect base to explore the beautiful landscapes of fjords, mountains and glaciers that are on your doorstep.
Take the 40-minute drive out of Reykjavik to one of Iceland’s most iconic hotels. Hotel ION is an abandoned inn turned boutique hotel on the south-west coast of Selfoss. From the volcanic marvels of Mount Hengill, the unique landscape plays a pivotal role in the design, influenced by sustainable practices. Throughout 45 rooms, guests can enjoy the farm-fresh cuisine at Silfra Restaurant & Bar, warm up in the sauna or soak in the warm 10-metre long outdoor pool with the most spectacular views. Furthermore, you can book a spa treatment or get out and explore. Local adventures include horseback riding, diving in Silfra Fissure and exploring local hot springs.
With epic, small-group heli-skiing under a midnight sun, at the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland has become the ultimate heli-ski playground. The center of its burgeoning ski activity is on the Troll Peninsula, on the island nation’s north coast. Here, an abundance of deep-base freshly powdered slopes, descents of up to 5,000 feet and a season lasting from the end of February until the beginning of June – when long daylight hours lend themselves to extended activity – are heaven for the adventurous. Surrounded by fjords and the Arctic Ocean, here – uniquely – you can ski right down to the water’s edge. There is suitably luxurious accommodation too, with an indoor–outdoor saltwater pool, sumptuous spa and gourmet chef. There’s also plenty to occupy non-skiers: Snowmobiling, dry-suit surfing, hot springs, whale-watching, and boat trips to visit the local puffin colonies are all on offer.