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Iceland - the Land of Fire and Ice

I never considered Iceland as a vacation destination until 2014. A friend and I were discussing our favorite trips and Iceland was her number one choice. When I asked why, she said it was the most unique place she had been. I was intrigued, did some more research, and became fascinated with Iceland’s natural beauty. I had already decided to visit Germany in 2014, but changed my itinerary slightly to include a 3 day visit to Iceland - Icelandair makes this quite attractive, as they allow an up to 7 day stopover in Iceland at no additional charge. I was sold!

Describing Iceland as unique is an understatement. Iceland is a country where sheep and horses outnumber humans, where the beauty and ravishes of volcanic activity surround your every step, where small villages nestle at the base of gushing waterfalls, and where you feel folklore and fairy tales come to life. It’s no wonder that many popular movies and television shows choose Iceland as a filming location!

Taking a soothing soak in a hot spring is an Icelandic experience like no other. Iceland’s most famous hot spring, the Blue Lagoon, is world renowned for its crystal blue water, invigorating silica facial masks, and relaxing atmosphere. Many travelers find it to be the perfect spot to rest and rejuvenate after a flight - I know I sure do! Even though flights to Iceland from Northeast USA are fairly short, it’s a great way to refresh and begin your vacation.

Are you more interested in city life? Reykjavik doesn’t disappoint, with its Scandinavian architecture, eclectic museums, shopping and diverse restaurants. Visit the tower of Hallgrimskirkja and get a bird’s eye view of the city. Take a guided tour of Harpa concert hall and experience the integration of light, sound and natural influences on a stunning cultural beacon. Stroll through the city center, stopping at shops containing traditional Icelandic sweaters and handcrafts - they sure know how to keep warm! Try a classic dinner of salt cod, or maybe something more adventurous such as whale or puffin. Or, my personal favorite, book a helicopter tour and land on a volcano - sure to be a trip highlight!

No trip to Iceland is complete without visiting the Golden Circle - a lovely day trip from Reykjavik where you’ll see geysers, waterfalls, the continental divide and Viking parliamentary site. Venturing along the southern coast provides so much visual and sensory stimulation, as you’ll see glaciers, black sand beaches, and waterfall after amazing waterfall. So many natural wonders to see and experience!

Our company, The Relaxed Explorer, chose Iceland as a destination because of its’ uniqueness and originality, and our guided tours to Iceland have all been resounding hits. We spent a lot of time and research and included our personal experiences to design a relaxed pace, fully accessible tour of Iceland, focused on Iceland’s natural beauty and stunning landscapes. We love to travel and believe travel opportunities should be available to all. Come join us on an upcoming relaxed pace guided tour of Iceland – we’d love to explore the land of fire and ice with you!

Patti and Kelley are the co-founders of The Relaxed Explorer, specializing in accessible, guided small group tours.  Visit us online at  www.therelaxedexplorer.com or call at 412-386-8730.

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