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*
Read More >
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 >
On my most recent trip to Iceland I had the great experience of descending into the earth on three separate tours that involved ice, lava caves and a volcano. You could think of it as experiencing the hottest and coldest places on the planet all in one comfortable day. Read More >
“Enormous playground of never skied colours, chutes and wide opened glaciers” is how National Geographic starts their article describing skiing in Iceland.
“Without a doubt Iceland offers some of the most mind blowing heliskiing on the planet,” says snow magazine’s “top 10 Heliskiing experiences in Europe.” Read More >
It is common knowledge that Scandinavians love to partake in the ritual of hot tubs and saunas. In Iceland, which is blessed with an unlimited amount of hot water, created geothermally, hot tubbing or “going to the pool” is a most common ritual. What is uncommon is the newly opened BEER spa! It opened in July 2017 in the northern part of the country, just outside of Akureyri in the Troll Peninsula, the spa is an amazing place. Hot tubs filled with beer that you sit in while simultaneously pouring yourself a craft beer to drink and enjoy. Read More >
There is a standing comment in Iceland – “if you don’t like the weather – wait 5 minutes.” I spent 8 days in Iceland in January 2018 and I can verify that the statement is accurate. In the eight days there was a blizzard and 100 mph winds; rain; sleet; fog; ice and glorious sun. But one thing that it was not, was COLD. The mercury did drop to a low of about -5C.
Read More >
Stopping over in Iceland is a popular way to get a glimpse into what the country has to offer on your way to other destinations such as London or Amsterdam. It allows you to get that one extra stamp in your passport and although it’s not always enough time to explore as much as you want, it still allows you to say, yes! I’ve been to Iceland. But humans aren’t the only ones to use this North Atlantic island as a place to rest their weary feathers.
Even if you’re not a bird brain or a budding ornithologist, Iceland has some spectacular bird life that both live and stop over to eat, rest, and raise their brood. In no particular pecking order, here are some pretty amazing feathered friends you can find while visiting, or stopping over, in Iceland. 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 >