Blog written by Martyn Cook with the assistance and photography skills of Shauna Cook
Traffic is amassing already; with our hiking boots donned, backpacks loaded with provisions, the day begins. All roads lead to adventure; terra incognito awaits. Driving down the south coast’s single-lane highway reveals a different side to the country; one of a lifestyle of working people living off the land that tried once to reject them. Now communally they thrive, working with nature. Sheep farms line the sides of the road. Icelandic horses, barely tamed, roam the pastures of this wild country. The sub-tundra foliage now gives way to grasses. Read More >
Written by Martyn Cook on his adventures with Shauna
Iceland sucks in so many ways. First, it sucks at meeting your expectations; it exceeds them. Iceland also sucks at embracing your idea of beauty, for it shatters it, instantly replacing it with a new meaning for the word. It also sucks at allowing you to maintain your own self image; the blossoming idea of beauty makes you examine what is important to you.
The instant you break through the clouds it’s almost like entering the wardrobe to Narnia. You are about to enter a beautiful new world. You are to be born again, as you will leave the old person you once knew and meet a new version of yourself. The runway rushes up to meet you; the journey begins. Tires hit tarmac. Smoke rises up cleansing you for the experience that awaits. You are filled with a sense of adventure. Leaving that sense of longing to find what you miss in your day-to-day life, having it fill your spirit with that missing piece. Like the last puzzle piece, it will fit right in. Iceland takes the familiar and replaces it with a sort of ‘through the looking glass’ idea of a world. The volcanic rock looks like giants took a roll of moss and sub-tundra plants and covered the landscape. Clouds play hide and go seek amongst the peaks as the rain washes away your misconception of a world you once knew and replaces them with a raw truth. Contrast dominates the landscape, everyday. It really is the land of fire and ice. Black sand beaches, lined with white caps riding upon waves crashing amongst the beaches. The world changes from moment to moment in an intoxicating wonderful way. Our senses are alive. Read More >
So you want to go to Iceland? Who wouldn’t? Iceland is one of the most beautiful destinations we travel to, full of incredible scenery, culture, food and more. The big question is – how do you plan a trip to Iceland. Shauna Cook is one of our Travel Consultants here at Great Canadian Travel Group who has been to Iceland four times, ate the fermented shark (yes, this is a real delicacy in Iceland!), and has answered hundreds of traveller questions about trip planning. Here are some of the more common questions and answers to help you plan your Icelandic adventures with us.
*Revised May 2018 to update prime booking times and photos to show the beauty of Iceland*
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Iceland is beautiful in all seasons, and each season has a standout reason why you should visit. It is the land of ice, fire and deserts. From glaciers to geothermal hot springs, Iceland has a vast array of activities in any temperature. The average temperature in Reykjavik in spring hovers around 8ºC, in summer it’s around 12ºC. The average high temperature in the fall is around 9ºC and winter, the temperature goes down to an average high of 3ºC. Here is a list of why I like to visit Iceland in every season: Read More >
Where else in the world are you able to go into a glacier – other than Iceland! I was lucky enough to visit one of Iceland’s newest attractions recently, and it is so incredibly unique!
We were picked up in Reykjavik from our hotel in a smaller sized mini-bus, and driven a few hours to the base camp at Husafell. On arrival, we switched to another bus that took us a short distance to meet our modified glacier vehicle for the journey onto Langjokull (Long Glacier) – the second largest glacier in Iceland. Read More >
I was so excited to visit West Greenland. I departed Copenhagen airport, and flew with Air Greenland to Kangerlussaq, Greenland. Kanglerlussaq is a nice little village in the heart of Western Greenland. It has a well-equipped international airport as it was formally a US Airbase. For the larger planes arriving from Denmark, this is the only place in Greenland they are able to land. Once we arrived in Kangerlussuaq, we had about 3 hours to wait until our next flight north to Ilullisat left. There is not much in the way of airport security if you are travelling domestically in Greenland – nothing at all in fact! We went outside and did a little walking tour of the area including some really unique gift shops and the local police station. When it was time to meet our flight, we made our way back into the airport and readied ourselves for our flight north! Read More >
Norway in a Nutshell is advertised as one of the most scenic trips in the world, and now that I have been able to take this tour, I absolutely understand why!
This tour is a flexible FIT tour that is designed to be customized to best fit your needs. It can be done either Bergen to Oslo, Oslo to Bergen, round trip Bergen and round trip Oslo. Each direction has its pros and cons. It is designed to be anywhere from 1 day to 4 or 5 days or more!
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I had the opportunity to spend one night (one night is never enough!) on board the MS Spitsbergen, a Hurtigruten ship based on Tromso, Norway, and it was a fantastic experience!
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Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis are a natural phenomenon that are generally seen in high latitude locations – Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Northern Europe, etc. They are generally spotted in the Northern Hemisphere between September and March. Depending on weather conditions, they can be seen as early as August and as late as April, however they may be faint, as you need true darkness in order to get the full effect. Read More >
We booked an All-Inclusive package to Varadero and everyone was telling us to make sure we visit Havana! We are very interested travelers, and have lots of questions. We like learning about the people, the economy and history of a place, and sometimes like to have a guide all to ourselves! We booked a private tour for a day trip to Havana. We booked this prior to leaving Canada, however with the government restrictions, we were unable to pre-pay it, we needed to pay cash (either USD or Cuban pesos – USD preferred) on the tour day.
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