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Located at the edge of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is the place where nature will reign supreme forever. Excluding the modern capital, Reykjavík, the population (about 330000 people) is mainly distributed in small towns, farms, fishing villages and little houses scattered along the coast, while the interior remains substantially uninhabited. This is mainly due to Iceland being located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, which is one of the most volcanically active zones on Earth.

Because of its peculiar location next to the Arctic Circle, Iceland does not experience a true Midnight Sun, however the sun never fully sets during the whole month of June. Nevertheless, especially between September and January, this is one of the best places where to admire the Northern Lights, a phenomenon visible often throughout the entire country.

Although very small to be a European capital, Reykjavík is a vibrant city hosting two out of three Icelanders. It is characterized at the same time by the laid-back nature of their people and a buzzing nightlife with elegant shops, cosy cafes, high rated restaurants and fancy cocktail bars. Aside of its hedonistic fame, the city is quite famous for its rich museums which deserve at least a quick stop by. The increasing number of visitors going to Reykjavík nowadays is mainly due to the expansion of the airline operations between the island and the rest of Europe, but also to the collapse of the banking system in 2008 which caused also a significant depreciation of the Icelandic Krona.

The biggest tourist attractions outside the capital are the Geysir, the original geyser from which all the others take their names, Lake Myvatn, where many species of ducks and other birds choose to nest every year, and the Blue Lagoon, the most famous Icelandic geothermal spa. A little curiosity about this latter: the Blue Lagoon is actually an artificial lake whose milky bluish water gets heated by the nearby thermal power plant before arriving in this characteristic expanse of black lava blocks. The highly priced ticket to access to this undoubtedly expensive tourist trap is really worth it though!

In a country where the natural scenery is so astonishing, the best way to get along with the spirit of the place is to get outdoors. Iceland’s hiking trails in particular are very well-designed and well-marked, yet it is highly advisable to be properly equipped to face any natural hazard that might appear on the way. After a long walk, the best way to restore themselves is definitely by soaking the cold skin in one of the numerous hot pots offered by this unique landscape. The top three spots for an outdoor bath are definitely Krossneslaug (located on the West Fjords), Landmannalaugar (in the South-West of the island) and Grettislaug (situated in the North-West side).

 

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