Rock On in Iceland
As the temperatures in the Northeast drop and we head into sweater weather, many of us may be looking for warmer places to visit. However, this October we recommend Iceland for your next travel destination. Traveling to Iceland in fall is ideal for prime viewing of the northern lights, for which we recommend taking an evening ride to get the full experience. In The Saddle Worldwide Riding Holidays has two northern lights trail packages in Iceland where tourists get to ride purebred Icelandic horses, the same breed the Vikings rode over a thousand years ago. These tours include seeing other iconic sights in the country such as the Geysir Hot Springs, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and the Secret Lagoon. Iceland loves their homegrown horse so much—they even have an annual festival held in honor of the Icelandic horse!
Many will describe Iceland as more of an adventure than a vacation, as there are many locations that attract active hobbyists. Though there are an abundance of options for hikers, cyclists, runners, and ice climbers, Iceland also accommodates cave explorers. Through safe tours, cavers can explore some of the most active volcanic regions in the world. A popular tour by Summit Adventure Guides is the Vatnshellir Cave Tour. This 8,000-year-old lava tube is one of the most easily accessible in Iceland and is pretty tame for even beginners, so bring the family along!
For those who wish to take it easy on this trip, there are some great rejuvenation options and spas. Iceland is big on renewable energy, a trend that has bled into self-renewal as well. Glacier World in Hoffell II offers not only geothermal baths, but also Jeep tours and comfy housing. A less traditional spa for those looking to mix it up is the Beer Spa—yes, it’s a beer spa. For 25 minutes, customers lie in a bathtub filled with beer, water, hops, and yeast. After another 25 minutes in the relaxation room, the benefits of the yeast should take effect!
Being an island, seafood is a common delicacy in Iceland. Geitafell Seafood Restaurant is only seasonal, however all of their fish is caught locally and well worth a stop. Iconic dishes such as the pan-fried lobster with homemade bread and the “Skyr” cake are two that keep this restaurant thriving. For another great local experience, Haust Restaurant has a buffet for dinner, where the chefs prepare many Icelandic dishes such as grilled leg of lamb, variations of fish and shellfish, freshly baked bread, and salad—all with local ingredients to boot!
Iceland might be small in size compared to many countries, but is very much full of life and culture. From festivals to galleries, there is always something new in regards to the arts. Among the many festivals the country produces, one of the more popular ones is Iceland Airwaves, which started out in an airplane hanger in 1999 and showcases local and international pop/rock/electro music. This year’s Cycle Music and Arts Festival, held at the end of October, is extra special as it celebrates Iceland’s first 100 years of independence from Denmark with multiple local artists.