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Planning a trip to Iceland? Don’t miss these vacation spots

With New Delhi-Reykjavik direct flights starting this year, courtesy WOW Airlines, here is what to do in Iceland

The northern lights in Reykjavik, Iceland.
The northern lights in Reykjavik, Iceland.

New Delhi: Watching the Northern Lights dance across a winter sky is on every bona-fide world traveller’s bucket list. But there’s more to the bewildering, exquisite landscapes of Iceland, with something to discover through the year, be it icy winter or summer’s 21-hour days. With India set to get its first direct flights to Iceland via WOW Air from December (with prices starting at 13,499 for one-way flights), here are some experiences you will find only in the “land of fire and ice".

Watch out for whales

Whale Watching in Husavik, Iceland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Iceland’s most famous whale may be Keiko, which portrayed Willy in the movie Free Willy, but the country abounds in cetacean life, which makes it a popular spot for whale watching. Húsavík, a town on the northern coast next to Skjálfandi Bay, is touted as the whale capital of Iceland— more than 20 species of whales can be seen in the waters. Look out for minke, humpbacks, and, of course, orcas; the very lucky might even spot a blue whale. For trivia, head to the Húsavík Whale Museum.

Play midnight golf

Iceland’s first golf course was built less than 100 years ago (the Reykjavik Golf Club, opened in 1934) but Icelanders have taken to the sport with fervour—the country has over 60 golf courses. The best time to hit the big tee shots is from May-September, when one can literally play 24x7. The Akureyri Golf Club, one of the world’s northernmost 18-holes, is a local hot spot that also hosts the The Arctic Open, an annual tournament where golfers start playing in the evenings and continue till past midnight. Other golf courses to try: the Brautarholt Golf Club and Vestmannaeyjar golf club.

Take an intercontinental dive

A rift between tectonic plates in Þingvallavatn lake is a popular diving spot. Photo: iStockphoto

Scuba divers and snorkellers love Þingvallavatn lake, the biggest natural lake in Iceland, but there’s more to this spot than crystal-clear waters. Travellers and professional divers alike flock to Silfra, a rift in the lake, between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Take a plunge here and bear witness to a singular geological marvel—the earth gradually drifting apart (at an annual rate of 2cm). Add this to your itinerary when touring the country’s Golden Circle route.

Descend into a volcano

Inside the crater of Thrihnukagigur volcano in Iceland. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Iceland is known for its volcanoes, totalling over 130 in number, perhaps none more than Thrihnukagigur. The volcano, whose name translates to “three-peak crater", has been dormant for over 4,000 years, so you can descend into one of the craters. A hike across the lava fields leads to an elevator designed to take travellers down the crater. Illuminated by artificial lighting, the place reveals ancient formations coated in an intense mix of colour—solidified lava.

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