There are numerous reasons why Iceland has become such an attractive tourist destination in recent years, but at the top of the list are its astonishingly beautiful landscape and its surprisingly exotic food culture. Let’s start with the former.
Iceland is probably best known to tourists hunting for the elusive Northern lights, but the country has a whole lot more to offer. It’s a volcanic island with a lunar landscape that is both varied and full of natural beauty. Any mention of the highlights of this beautiful island is bound to be contentious amongst seasoned travellers, but there are at least two attractions that should be on everyone’s to-do lists; The Blue Lagoon and Thingvellir.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, which is naturally heated and surrounded by lava fields where visitors can relax and be pampered, which makes it the perfect activity whatever the weather.
Thingvellir is a national park and historical site where visitors can camp, hike and dive in two different sites; Silfra and Davíðsgjá. Both offer crystal clear glacier water and high visibility of up to 120 metres and people travel from all over the world for the chance to dive here. Be aware that it is forbidden to dive alone at these sites and you will have to buy diving permits before you travel.
One of the most interesting things about Iceland is its wonderfully exotic food. But remember, not everything is exotic: you could, if you were so inclined, get by on a combination of fish and hotdogs – but where would be the fun in that?
Here are a few Icelandic specialities that might just be worth a try. Skyr is a local ‘super yogurt’ that is made from gelatinous milk curds. Try it with milk and sugar: you might be surprised.
Then there’s the various sheep dishes on offer. Take your pick from svið, which in English means, singed sheep’s head, or how about hrútspungar? Which is best described as pickled ram’s testicles; and last but not least is, sviðasulta; a cheese made from a sheep’s head.
But names and descriptions are one thing and taste is another, so give lots of different foods a try on Iceland; you might be surprised with what you find.
So, there you have it. No more than a few lines, really, but something to whet the appetite before your next trip.
Image by Diana Robertson, shared under a Creative Commons Licence