Looking over downtown Reykjavik

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Reykjavik on a summer day

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There are few places where Mother Nature is still as hard at work as Iceland. This is a land where snarling geothermal vents explode into towering geysers, where dozing volcanoes might sneeze at any minute, where gushing waterfalls spill from silent glaciers, and where two colossal tectonic plates – the North American and Eurasian – are crawling steadily away from one another.

It’s a level of activity that the Icelandic people are able to match only at night, when the country’s largest and most populous city, Reykjavik, bursts into life with infamous exuberance, often in the afterglow of the greatest lightshow on earth, the Northern Lights. Perhaps it’s a celebration of their glorious surroundings, or simply a reminder that this isolated island is not to be ignored.

Such a breath-taking spectacle comes with an equally breath-taking price tag, of course, which has been something of a deterrent to tourists in the past. But that trend is changing, and there’s never been a better time to visit the country that gives heightened meaning to just about every superlative in the book.

Did you know

  • Beer was banned in Iceland until 1989.
  • Reykavik is the greenest city in the world due to its use of geothermal heating from the volcano’s and natural springs.
  • Icelanders consume more Coca-Cola per capita than any other nation.
  • Iceland’s water is unbelievably clean. Over 95% of Iceland's drinking water is untreated groundwater extracted from springs, boreholes and wells.
  • Iceland has no army, navy of air force. It does have a coast guard.

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"If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport" - George Winters