Discover a Land of Fire and Ice With Collette
PHOTO: Iceland is inspiring and magical all at once (Courtesy Collette)
An island smaller than Cuba with a population less than that of Buffalo, NY, and which bumps against the Arctic Circle might not seem like an ideal get-away.
But Collette's series of tours exploring the best Iceland has to offer will quickly dispel any doubts.
Iceland's Magical Northern Lights (Starting at $1,699 pp): This 7-day tour begins in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, where visitors can explore the Hallgrimskirkja church, City Hall, the harbor and Reykjavik’s oldest building, now home to the Kraum Icelandic design center.
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As night falls, take a cruise with a sail in Faxaflói Bay in search of the Aurora Borealis – or Northern Lights. The next day, head for the incredible Golden Circle with stops in Thingvellir National Park and a visit to the geothermal fields of Geysir and Strokkur that erupt every few minutes. The tour takes in Iceland's famous waterfalls – Seljalandsfoss and Gullfoss (Golden Falls) – before continuing to Vik, Iceland's southern-most village. Surrounded by valleys, beaches, cliffs and mountains it's the ideal spot to take in the Aurora Borealis.
Next stop is the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano Visitor Centre, which takes an in-depth look at the volcano's 2010 explosion that halted European flights. The Skogar Folk Museum gives the perfect overview of all things Icelandic with its collection of domestic and farm artifacts, as well as turf-built houses. Nearby are the natural rock formations at Dyrhólaey and the black volcanic sand beach at Reynisfjara.
Next up, the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, which is filled with floating icebergs, and the Vatnajökull National Park, Europe's largest national park, which is known for having Iceland’s highest mountains and Europe's largest glacier, Vatnajökull glacier. Finally, no trip to Iceland would be complete without a trip to the famed Blue Lagoon, where guests can take a dip in warm, mineral-rich waters.
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Inspiring Iceland (Starting at $2,769 pp). This 9-day tour starts and ends in Reykjavik, where depending on one's fancy, travelers can explore the Old Town by bike or take a more leisurely pace and opt for a personal walking tour of the city.
From there, the tour sets off for the Golden Circle, a route that takes in one of the country's best-known natural wonders--the 100-foot double cascade Gullfoss (Golden Falls) waterfall.
From there, it's on to Thingvellir National Park, the nation's most historic area where in 930 A.D., the earliest Icelanders gathered and established what is thought to be the world's first parliament. Thingvellir is also home to a UNESCO World Heritage site that marks the point where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Next stop is Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the ancient fishing village of Grundarfjordur. On the way, visit Hallmundarhraun, the largest lava field. From there, head north to the home of Erik the Red, before a stop in Akureyri, the "unofficial" capital of northern Iceland. Enjoy a few days taking in the natural wonders by horseback and then relax in the Myvatn Nature Baths.
Once back in Reykjavik, it's time to visit the famed geo-thermal Blue Lagoon and explore the city further before heading home.
More by Kristina Rundquist
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