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Iceland is a veritable mix of geological activity, combining an otherworldly backdrop with a strong Nordic identity.

Nicknamed the Land of Fire and Ice, the landscape is largely a plateau of lava fields, interspersed with the odd volcano, river or waterfall, all with the potent smell of sulphur lingering in the air. It’s also a country of two faces, with two very disparate seasons. In the winter you're lucky to get 4-5 hours of daylight, but in the summer there’s effectively 24 hours of sunshine, leading to the natural phenomenon of a midnight sun.

Largely explorable via its coastline, the mostly uninhabited interior can be penetrated by guided tours during the summer months when, like a giant causeway, the snow and ice recedes to allow access to the mountainous and otherworldly region. Wherever you are, the weather can be volatile, switching from sun to rain and back in just a few minutes.

The cost of living arguably hasn't yet reached the dizzy prices of Scandanavian counterparts Sweden and Denmark, although it's still not the cheapest place in Europe to visit. Since Easyjet expanded its route to Iceland in 2012, the country has become a hot (or, rather, cold) spot for UK travellers, especially with fares starting at £35.  It's also popular as a stopover for Icelandair passengers, with onward stops across North America and Canada.

There is, however, not yet a public train line, despite frequent calls for one to be built. It's not something that you really notice when trying to get about; in fact, the absence of such a metallic monstrosity heightens the sense that you've just stepped into another world. Plus, with such good coach companies offering an ever-expanding list of tours, it'll never be the case that you're left stranded. 


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Destination: Iceland
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