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Travel After 50: What to Do in Iceland

Travel After 50: What to Do in Iceland
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BY SUSAN HORNIK

Iceland’s position between North America and Europe, makes it ideal for a short holiday. In just a few days you can experience the best Iceland has to offer, including extraordinary nature, unique culture, fascinating history, shopping, nightlife and world-class cuisine.  Here are some wonderful places to visit:

Relax at The Blue Lagoon!

Named one of National Geographic’s “25 Wonders of the World,” Blue Lagoon has developed an exclusive range of products and services based on bathing in its geothermal seawater which is known for its healing effect and active ingredients including minerals, silica and algae. This beautiful spa is among Iceland’s most well known and unique attractions. Guests energize in the natural geothermal seawater known for healing power and active ingredients minerals, silica and algae. The lagoon holds six million liters of geothermal seawater all of which is renewed in 40 hours. In addition to relaxing in the lagoon, guests have access to steambaths and sauna. In-water massage and spa treatments are also available.

Massage and spa treatments take place in the lagoon itself under the open air. “The Blue Lagoon offers an atmosphere of tranquility and peace, accompanied with rich presence of elemental forces, where people bath literally in the heat of the earth itself, in a place of openness and spaciousness where the mind can relax into, surrounded by lava fields and nature,” said in water masseur, Ólafur Aron Sveinsson. “The lagoon has a balancing and rejuvenating effect for both body and mind.

Olafur added: “Water massage offers even deeper relaxation than normal massage and has particularly calming effect on the nervous system. Floating in the water offers a unique sensation of weightlessness and fluidity for the body, which deepens the efficacy of the massage and the experience.”

Take A Scenic Bus Ride!

Whether you want to rent a car or just hop on a bus, there is so much to see in Iceland! There are beautiful scenic roads almost everywhere you look, where you can admire stunning views of glaciers, black sand beaches and impressive rock formations. Along Iceland’s south coast, you can stand behind the plummeting Seljalandsfoss waterfall and walk up to Skógafoss waterfall and admire its impressive 60 m drop. The bus tour then heads to Vík in Mýrdalur, Iceland’s southernmost village, surrounded by cliffs which are home to a flourishing birdlife.

The Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland is almost like a miniature version of the whole country. In addition to its emblematic Snæfellsjökull glacier, you will find white and black sand beaches, bird cliffs, spectacular mountains and volcanic craters, incredibly rich trout lakes and salmon rivers, lush valleys, and unique harbours in charming fishing villages.

The stunning landscapes of the peninsula have captured the imagination of people all over the world ever since Jules Verne wrote the famous science fiction novel “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” in which the amazing Snæfellsjökull glacier is where the journey begins. Snæfellsnes continues to inspire great works of art to this day, most recently when Stiller filmed parts of “Walter Mitty” here, notably in the charming village of Stykkishólmur, through which the tour will take you.

There are also day tours that take you around the Golden Circle to see three of Iceland’s highlights Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park, before heading to Fontana’s natural steam baths.

The original sauna was built in the 1920s and was little more than a shack with two compartments, built above the hot spring that bubbles and gurgles below the ground. Today, a modern complex welcomes you to relax with various hot tubs and steam baths naturally heated by Icelandic hot springs.

Look at the Sky!

From September to April, the Northern Lights become more visible in Iceland. These dancing lights are one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. The northern lights, one of several astronomical phenomena called polar lights (aurora polaris), are shafts or curtains of colored light visible on occasion in the night sky.

Whale/Bird Watching

For an exciting sea adventure, try one of the many whale-watching tours that are available from Reykjavik. The ocean around the city is a natural habitat for many types of whales (dolphins and seals are often seen too.) Tours also pass by the Puffin Island. The charismatic puffins arrive in Iceland in April and depart at the end of August. Near Reykjavik you can find two puffin islands, Akurey and Lundey. The whale watching season runs from late March to late October. Another exciting option is to catch your own fresh fish on a sea-angling cruise, which is now offered by some of the boat operators.

And if you want to investigate other birds?! “The Eider is the only duck species in Iceland, which is dependent on the sea all year round,” Walter Mitty’s location manager, Hinrik Olafsson. “It sometimes nests by rivers and lakes inland but takes the young to sea right after hatching. Where farmers have taken good care of their eider colonies for long period of time the females get quite tame and do not leave their nest when the farmer comes to harvest the down.” Olaffson is working on a documentary about the bird for SkyVisionUK.

Want more info?

Check out:

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/iceland/things-to-do

http://www.bluelagoon.com/

 

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