Iceland for a summer break

By | Category: Travel destinations

Iceland is described by one PR agency as having the following benefits. “The seafood is better than Malta’s and the beaches quieter than Ibiza’s… Plus the volcano is putting on better nightlife than Magaluf!”

The Northern Lights is the attraction that many people think of when considering Iceland as a holiday destination. Image Visit Iceland

Given that many of us think of Iceland as an airport hub to get to the USA on cheaper flights or as a place to go to if you want to see the Northern lights, those seem pretty good reasons for visiting.

But the strongest reason is that Iceland is on the UK’s green list, not even the green watch list which many destinations were put on last week. Hoever the rules allowing entry into Iceland altered so now only essential travel from the Uk is permitted. And guess what, holidays aren’t essential!

But when you can go, do the PR suggestions stack up?

Looking at the suggestions made by the agency, the Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue has created a website about the continuing eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in the UNESCO Global Geopark, Reykanes. Does it offer a better night show than Magaluf? Since the eruption began on March 19th, there have been an impressive number of images of the eruptions, not every day, but on many days. Except yesterday and the day before when mist shrouded the area and you couldn’t have seen much at all!

You can walk close to the volcano for a better view but the warning the association issues is stark, “Do not walk on the lava – even though you can not see it, there could be more than 1.000°C hot lava just beneath.”

Yes, for the adventurous and those that have planned the journey and notified the association of their travel plans just in case, the volcano can be a big attraction. So in that case it is like Magaluf. Just without the bars And the crowds. And the revellers! And you can watch it, courtesy of Visit Iceland on a live feed.

Incidentally, the website run by the association is useful in letting you know the state of driving conditions if you hire a car to see more of the island. Even in July some areas are impassable.

Beaches in Ibiza can be busy but only the hardy would venture into Icelandic waters.

Many beaches are black – like Lanzarote – because of the volcanic activity in the past. But there are lighter coloured beaches but compared to Ibiza they are undeveloped. You won’t have to race to put your towel on the chairs because there aren’t any. And if you fancy a beer or a cold drink you probably are in the wrong beach anyway. But if you like unspoilt, Iceland is for you.

Finally is the seafood better than that found in Malta?

Discounting Hakarl – an acquired taste – which is shark that has been left to cure for a couple of months, it would be hard to beat the fish for freshness. Most is cooked on the day of catching with salmon and halibut being simply cooked so that the fish isn’t smothered with all sorts of unnecessary ingredients and then only in restaurants designed to appeal to visitors.

On the whole then, the PR agency is right and wrong in its claims; right in that what it says is true but wrong in that you can’t compare Iceland with something in the Med. It is a very different scenery, a very different food and a very different beach life.  

A bit like comparing chalk and cheese!

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