Holidays - Reykjavik

By: Gill Critchley

Iceland may not be your first choice for a holiday, but its capital city, Reykjavik, is a destination that has a lot to offer its visitors, whether it's an adventure break or a peaceful city trip that you are looking for.

After your flight, you may want nothing more than to relax and unwind and there is no better place for doing this than the geothermal Blue Lagoon spa that is, rather handily, not far from the airport. In the spa you can soak in the shoulder-deep 37 degree milky blue water whilst you are surrounded by snow but if you would prefer, you can also relax by slipping into the sauna, having a cleansing silica face mask and to top it all off you can have one of the trademark blue-coloured cocktails.

Although Reykjavik is the country's capital city, it is not very big and only has a population of 115,000 so it is difficult to get lost there, however, if you do lose your way it is only a matter of looking for the Hallgrimskirkja, the largest church in the country, as this dominates the skyline.

The church is named after the religious poet Hallgrimur Petursson and is Reykjavik's most famous landmark. The modern architecture of the building is stunning and so it is perhaps a little disappointing to see the sparse interior compared to the intricate exterior of the building. However, the impressive pipe organ inside is worth a look, as are the impressive panoramic views from the tower.

In the city centre, it is easy to pass an hour in the main street of Austurstraeti by wondering around the shops or just by sitting in one of the cafes. If you are looking for a more cultural activity, then you can head to the Reykjavik Art Museum.

Even though Reykjavik has several museums and a theatre, and can easily keep you occupied for two or three days, if you were to venture inland then Iceland has even more to offer.

If you are looking for holidays that would be ideal for children, then you won't be let down with Iceland. In the town of Hafnarjordur, just outside of Reykjavik, there is said to be home to one of the richest elf and spirit populations in Iceland and you can go on a tour to visit their secret homes.

When you head east from Reykjavik, you can follow the Golden Circle to look at some of the countries natural physical features: Thingvellir National Park, with an impressive rift valley caused by tectonic plate movement, Stokkur Geysir and Gullfoss (Golden Falls) are all very impressive.

The original Geysir (the Gusher), hasn't erupted naturally for more than 40 years. The Strokkur (the Churn), is nearby Geysir and although it is said not to be as impressive, it spouts every few minutes roughly 20m into the air and is therefore still breathtaking.

Only a short drive away from these natural beauties is the gigantic thundering waterfall of Gullfoss. You can walk on the path along its edge but be warned about the spray and the ice under-foot in the winter.

For the more adventurous type, you can experience the Icelandic outdoors by ski-dooing (snowmobiling). This can prove to be quite an expensive mode of transport, but you may find that the exhilaration of racing across a glacier during a blizzard to be priceless.

If you don't fancy this level of excitement on your break, then why not opt for a safer mode of travelling on horseback. Horses arrived in Iceland by being transported by early settlers. Nowadays, there is a ban on imports and exports to prevent the spread of disease.

The breed of horses tend to be short and stocky, Islandshest are thought to be a mild-tempered breed so if you are new to riding, you won't find it too difficult. In fact, some of the Ishestar Riding Tours horses know the route so well that you can just sit back and enjoy the view.

If you are tempted to visit the beautiful city of Reykjavik and perhaps even explore more of Iceland then it is worth comparing the prices of flights and holidays on the internet in order to find cheap holidays to Iceland.

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