WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Goðafoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland / Image: Adobe Stock
Iceland is home to more than 10,000 waterfalls and 800 hot springs, so you’re never far away from the life-giving stuff.
THRILL CHASER: DIVE BETWEEN TECTONIC PLATES
The Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park is the only place in the world where you can dive or snorkel between two tectonic plates. The water is some of the clearest on Earth, too. With visibility to more than 100m you really can get a long, hard look into the abyss.
CHILL CHASER: SOAK IN A HOT SPRING, BE SOAKED BY A WATERFALL
So highly do Icelanders rate the health benefits of hot springs that even the smallest town usually maintains a roadside geothermal pool for a quick restorative dip. For something a little more sophisticated check out the sleek and stylish Krauma in west Iceland, complete with steam rooms, bar and restaurant.
And no Icelandic holiday would be complete without visiting some of its waterfalls. At 30m wide and 12m high, Goðafoss (pictured) in north Iceland is one of the most awe-inspiring.
Read more about Iceland’s hot springs and in-water hostesses.
THE HEAT IS ON
The Kerið crater is thought to have formed when a cone volcano collapsed / Image: Adobe Stock
Iceland has more than 30 active volcanoes and there’s usually an eruption every three or four years, so confine your explorations to the dormant ones and otherworldly lava fields left behind.
THRILL CHASER: JOURNEY INTO A VOLCANO
For something that sounds so dangerous, venturing inside Þríhnúkagígur volcano isn't too taxing, although it helps that it hasn’t erupted for 4,000 years. After a relatively easy 45-minute walk over a lava field, take a six-minute elevator ride down into the earth and you’ll arrive, dumbstruck, in a cathedral-like magma chamber with a giddy maximum depth of 700ft – that’s over twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
CHILL CHASER: JOURNEY INTO A VOLCANO, VIRTUALLY
If you haven’t thought about volcanoes much since school-time science lessons, pay a visit to the high-tech, award-winning LAVA Centre once it reopens, to get back up to speed. The equally fascinating Eldheimar museum – on Heimaey island in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago – focuses on the human impact of the enormous 1973 eruption that forced 5,000 residents to flee in the night and destroyed several hundred homes. And to get a real-world appreciation for the geographical changes left behind after a volcano explodes, visit the stunning Kerið crater lake in south Iceland.
LIGHT IT UP
The Northern Lights are a truly cosmic display of nature's beauty / Image: Ragnar Th Sigurdsson
The upside of Iceland’s long, dark winters is that they make it much easier to see the aurora borealis. Venture out from the towns and cities between October and April to improve your chances of witnessing this huge energy explosion, caused when solar winds hit the Earth’s magnetic field.
CHILL CHASER: WATCH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS FROM BED
Many hotels offer to wake guests when the lights appear, but for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience book yourself into one of The 5 Million Star Hotel’s transparent bubbles and watch them from beneath a duvet. If you’d rather a few more mod cons and designer appeal, check out the glass-walled cabins at one of Iceland's two Panorama Glass Lodges.
THRILL CHASER: MOSH AROUND THE CLOCK
The other upside of those dark winter days is that, come June, there’s close to 24 hours of sunshine. Make the most of it by dancing around the clock at one of the country’s fully-lit summer music festivals, such as Secret Solstice (taking place 25–27 June next year).
Fly to Reykjavik – book flights and holidays