Just a quick flight from the East Coast, Iceland has become a must see for travelers interested in culture, geology, adventure travel and the bizarre. The national drink is called Black Death and after two shots you'll know why. Don't drink three. Reykjavik is an exciting city filled with nightclubs and attractive cobblestone streets. The nearby countryside looks like you've landed on the moon. Hot springs make you want to stay. And the white nights further emphasize the extra-terrestrial landscape. The fish is the some of the freshest in the world. All in all, Iceland enchants.
Icelandair (tel. 800/779-2899, www.icelandair.com) is almost the only game in town for package deals. From two-day quick hit tours of Reykjavik to 10-day trips to the countryside to long tours of the area just below the Arctic Circle, Icelandair offers many travel scenarios. A "Midnight Madness" trip starting from $499 includes round-trip air transportation from Baltimore, Boston, New York, Orlando, Minneapolis/St. Paul and San Francisco, two nights in hotel and a large Scandinavian buffet breakfast. The trip advocates taking advantage of the twenty-four hours of daylight by playing golf at midnight or touring the country at odd hours. While your accommodations are in Reykjavik, day trips to hot springs and spas are available. You need to book this trip by April 30, 2005. Travel is good for most of the summer, although costs will increase as the summer progresses. Airport departure fees and security charges are not included in the package price.
Wellness is big part of life in Iceland as the native people connect the healing powers of mother earth with their emotional and physical well-being. In accordance, Icelandair has offers a special Wellness package that includes round-trip airfare from several East Coast cities, two nights at the popular spa property Nordica Hotel, a "Feel So Fit" treatment at the Nordica Spa, a half-day of pampering at the LaugerSpa, and a visit to the Blue Lagoon, a frosty blue surreal looking gigantic pool believed to have curative properties. You've seen it in pictures. According to one website (www.geographia.com/iceland/bluelagoon.htm), the Blue Lagoon is the most photographed location in Iceland. The spa at the Nordica Hotel is luxurious, complete with salt baths, steam facilities, and a Finnish Sauna in an outdoor garden. Prices start at $939 for the April and May Wellness Weekend. Call Icelandair for questions or more details about the Wellness package.
For the adventurous looking to get a close-up look at Iceland's natural beauty and breathtaking coastline, the Exploration Package is a driving package starting at $1,329 that includes round-trip airfare, five nights at hotels along your predetermined route, a rental car, a CD guide that plays in your care stereo and serves as your guide, and a guided storytelling tour of the Hellnar area, known for its extensive hiking and gorgeous treks. Check out Hiker Central's Iceland page (www.hikercentral.com/regions/europe/iceland.html) for independent hikes and details on Iceland's hiking opportunities.
To experience the ocean around Iceland, the shivering seas where the Vikings roamed, Gap Travel (tel. 800/465-5600; www.gapadventures.com/tour/XDI) has a 14-day "Full Fjords and Viking Odyssey" aboard a true seafaring expedition boat, the Explorer. Starting at $3,515 without airfare, the trip includes all accommodations and meals on board as well as two nights in a four-star hotel in Reykjavik to cap off your trip. On the Explorer, you'll have the ear of eight professional naturalists who will guide you through the sites and answer any and all questions.
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