Attracting droves of tourists every year, Europe promises the ancient, the diverse, and the completely fascinating. Most travelers scurry past the major sites and cram in as much as possible in order to get through a list of ‘must sees.’ Unfortunately, much is overlooked due to lack of time and money while the infinite unique treasures sometimes hidden for the resourceful traveler remain undiscovered and unappreciated. Not that visits to the key attractions should be dissuaded!
On the contrary, I’m simply inviting the European travelers to dig a little deeper into their destination country and find the gems that will make them smile as they recall them even decades later. Remember and celebrate the taste of a fresh German pretzel, the sweet smell of the air in a Tuscan vineyard, or the baby soft petals in a colorful field of Dutch tulips. Savor an entire spectrum of sensory bliss as you skip from one country to the next, searching for that tiny unique detail that you will fondly relish for the rest of your life.
Oozing volcanoes, thousands of earthquakes, and countless exploding geysers you can set your watch by – it doesn’t sound like a coveted vacation destination. However, Iceland is quickly becoming the newest hot spot for travelers. Just a hop from the U.S.’s East Coast or Western Europe, this little island country is easier to visit than one would think.
Iceland’s attraction is its untamed countryside. Considering that most of this rugged island is uninhabitable, this leaves much open space and fresh air to the brave adventurer for exploring. The landscape is forever changing as the shifting continental plates refuse to give this country a moment of rest. Stand in awe before raging waterfalls and frozen glaciers, hike deep volcanic craters and rocky lava fields, even enjoy ice fishing, whale watching, puffin and other sea bird watching, kayaking and jet-boating. Iceland can be easily discovered with the help of local tour companies – the only question the tourist must answer is if they prefer to go by bus, snowmobile, or gentle Icelandic horse.
Not into roughing it? Iceland will still satisfy – the country is rich in cultural treasures, indulgences, and a serious patron of the arts. Savor a gourmet meal at a world-class restaurant, take in the unique artistic styles at a museum, learn about the tectonic plates and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a geological center, enjoy one of many musical concerts by local, national, or international talent, or soak your cares away in the steamy Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is probably Iceland’s most famous destination as an oasis of heat amid its chilly surroundings. Heated by geothermal energy, the intense cloudy blue waters feel almost scalding at times and are chock-full of healthy minerals. Troughs of soft white silica mud sit warm in the water for visitors to slather on – all while enjoying the balmy sunbeams and the crystal clear sky.
Despite its seemingly cold and uninviting name, Iceland boasts a mixture of friendly people, fascinating traditions, and an unsurpassed landscape. Need to get out?
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