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Fall In Love With Iceland

A Personal Account Of The Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland has long been known as the “Land of Fire and Ice” due to its icy glaciers and active volcanoes. It is a mythical island that calls to your inner explorer, while being accessible to the average tourist.

Iceland’s weather can be mercurial, experiencing all different seasons of weather in one day. So word to the wise, be prepared and dress in layers. Grab your camera and puffy coat, and get ready to fall in love with a magical island where the residents believe in “hidden people” and the prime minister rides a bike around town.

Iceland is blessed with great natural beauty, and while everyone talks about the Blue Lagoon, which certainly isn’t to be missed, my favorite spot was Jokulsarlon (pronounced Yo-cool-sar-loon.)  Jokulsarlon is a stunning lagoon where large chunks of ice break off the glacier and drift through the bay, changing color with the light. If you travel in the fall, climb aboard a zodiac boat and cruise the icy bay while listening to the sounds of glacier calving or even a harbor seal frolicking in the water. Across the bridge on the other side of the lagoon is a black sand beach where chunks of ice have washed up making the shore glitter like diamonds. This occurrence crowned the stretch of beach “Diamond Beach.”

Come back inland to fall in love with waterfalls, geysers and hot springs. Waterfalls are not in short supply in Iceland (although they do freeze solid in the winter), and each one is more spectacular than the last. There are literally dozens of them, but my favorites were Seljalandsfoss, Gullfoss and Skogafoss. Each has short, flat trails that lead right up to the waterfalls, and the cool, crisp air makes for a perfect hike. 

After trekking the countryside, some relaxing is definitely in order. Enter the Insta-famous jewel in Iceland’s crown, the Blue Lagoon, right outside the capital of Reykjavik. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal heated lagoon located in a lava field, and yes, it really is that bright blue you see on social media. However, the real star is the spa. Through the Retreat Hotel, you can book from an array of packages, including private changing rooms, swim up champagne bars, and some of the best spa experiences on the planet. I, of course, was determined to sample a little bit of everything. After indulging in the champagne, wrapped in a fluffy robe, I reveled in a 2-hour full head to toe body scrub, facial mask, and an hour-long floating lagoon massage. It was one of the most amazing days I have ever had. 

There is something for everyone in Iceland and it should be on everyone’s bucket list. Fun fact about Iceland: Traditionally, on Christmas Eve, books are exchanged and then everyone spends the rest of the night reading them, curled up in front of the fire eating chocolate. If anyone needs me, that is what I’ll be doing this Christmas Eve. 

Laney is luxury and adventure travel blogger Martinis and Miles. She hosts group trips around the globe, plans vacations, is an animal lover and occasional beach bum. Follow her on Instagram at @martinis2miles or MartinisAndMiles.com.

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