Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, is only a five-hour flight from New York City yet most people miss the opportunity because of a misconception that it's a land of ice and frozen tundras. The truth is that Iceland is known as the land of "fire and ice" because of its mix of volcanos and glaciers. In fact, the country is about 89 percent ice free and doubles as a magical land of rainbows, waterfalls, hot springs, and dancing lights.
THINGS TO DO:
Take the Ring Road (Route 1) to the Jokulsarlon lagoon to walk on icebergs and stop to see the numerous waterfalls along the way such as Gullfoss, Skogafoss, and Seljalandsfoss (say that three times fast!) Along the way, sample some of the local cuisine, including smoked sheep's head and if you're looking for something more palatable, visit Iclelandic Fish and Chips for fresh fish. Take a self-care day at the famous Blue Lagoon located in a lava field in southwestern Iceland and don't forget to make a reservation for a spa treatment.
WHAT TO PACK:
Guide to Iceland recommends the following if you plan on visiting the glaciers, hiking, horseback riding or whale watching.
A wind proof jacket
Rainproof jacket and trousers
One or two warm jumpers They have special ones in Iceland called lopapeysa
A set of thermals
A warm hat
Your swimsuit and towel
Good hiking boots
WHEN TO VISIT
The best time to visit is during the summer when average temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun sets at 1 A.M. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights, the best time to visit is in the wintertime - from September to April.
PLAN YOUR TRIP
If you fly Iceland Air to any destination across the Atlantic, you get a free stopover in Iceland for up to seven nights. Now, who doesn't like free?