It is a one-of-a-kind island of glaciers, volcanoes, and waterfalls, yet Iceland’s most photographed geothermal wonder is the surreal Blue Lagoon. Turquoise in hue, the massive thermal pool not far from the capital, Reykjavík, is hot-tub warm (about 104 degrees) and particularly enjoyable in a blizzard. Clearly this is an island of surprises.
Take golf, for instance. They play it here 24/7 (at least in summer, under the midnight sun). Mountain bikers will appreciate the fact that many roads are unpaved and that almost every small village has a heated pool and saunas where they can soak away the aches and pains of overdoing it. Sure, you can go skiing, ice-fishing, and snowmobiling to your down-jacketed heart’s content, but the landscape is greener than Greenland, the locals note, and in January the temperature in Iceland is, on average, about the same as in New York.
When it comes to city pleasures, Reykjavík is home to a major symphony orchestra, a national theater company, top-flight ballet, more than a dozen museums – including the Art Museum of Iceland and the National Gallery of Iceland – and a mind-boggling bar and disco scene.