Iceland: A taste of northern Europe.

Iceland: A Taste of Northern Europe

  • Travel Team
May 14, 2012

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In recent years, travel news in Iceland has centered around the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, whose column of ash snarled flight plans for travelers around the world. The island, located on geologically active Mid-Atlantic Ridge, is famous for its unique landscape, marked by jet black volcanic rock and near-neon grass and water, a product of volcanic minerals.

Flights to Iceland are generally affordable, and vacationing on the island nation is increasing in popularity. In Reykjavik, the country's capital, visitors enjoy a bustling nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and a unique, burgeoning music scene.

The culture of Northern Europe has always been a draw for many travelers - from the architecture of Copenhagen, Denmark, to the majesty of the Norwegian fjords - and a trip to Iceland offers a little bit of every aspect of the ideal Northern European adventure.

Many visitors choose to rent cars, according to Frommers, using the city of Reykjavik as a home-base and taking trips through the surrounding countryside. The travel guide notes that unlike many places in Europe, Iceland was not locally settled with safety or defense in mind, and homesteads are not clustered on high ground, as many European towns are. Because of this, as soon as travelers exit city limits, they are met with vast expanses of landscape, rolling hills and pristine farmland.

Weather in Northern Iceland is particularly temperate, despite its relative closeness to the arctic circle, and the landscape is somewhat different from southern Iceland, where glacial flows are a motif. Many visitors in Northern Iceland enjoy a whale watch or exploring the small, desolate island of Grimsey.

Iceland's interior is a famous wasteland, though Frommer's notes that it is not a natural desert, once a dense forest that was cleared by shepherding settlers. Much like the somewhat mythical American Wild West of the 19th and 20th centuries, Iceland's interior was once an area thought to be a haven for outlaws.

Whether you're visiting Iceland for the metropolitan atmosphere of Reykjavik, the mystical northern coast, the timeless fisheries of Hofn or the desolate, mysterious interior, the country offers some of the best sightseeing in Northern Europe.

Before booking any trip, travelers should be sure to invest in the best travel insurance.

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