In the middle of the North Atlantic a strange land emerges. The home of one of the most beautiful and peaceful lakes in the world: Myvatn. But deeper inside, the fires of hell roar. This is Iceland, a land of extreme beauty.

This is a land of extremes. After the countless huge glaciers comes an explosion of thermal fountains, effervescent mountains, towering waterfalls that seem to appear out of thin air and black fields of lava. Far away, on the horizon, there’s the contrasting light of the midnight sun and the dizzying cliffs. An incomparable natural spectacle.

Located between America and Europe (in fact, it encroaches into both continental masses), Iceland’s land mass is larger than Portugal’s, but its population would fit in the province of Burgos. The modernity of its native singer Björk, the tradition of cod and medieval literary sagas have made it famous throughout the world. It is known for its inhospitable and yet extremely beautiful landscape, which mixes ice and fire in equal parts. It’s an island without trees, but with the largest natural park in Europe: Vatnajökull. While it is usually cold, its heart feels warm. Pure contrast.

There lies its secret. The paradox of confusion. The opposition of the differences. The attraction of extremes. Contrast in its most literal sense. Maybe that’s why it drew the attention of people like Jules Verne, who started the spectacular Travel to the centre of the Earth through an Icelandic volcano, or illustrator Hergé, who made the island the star of the Tintin adventure The shooting star. Reagan and Gorbachov confronted one another for the first time here, when the world was still enduring the last gasps of the Cold War. And Adolf Hitler was astonished by the Icelandic athletes when he saw them in the parade of the 1936 Olympic Games, due to their Nordic stature and Scandinavian beauty; however this land has always defended freedom and has always elected its parliament (which is considered to be the oldest in Europe).

This might be why Iceland also had an impact on the Vikings who were its first inhabitants, and Oxford Professor J. R. R. Tolkien, who was inspired by Iceland when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. You may find this funny, but half of the Icelandic population still believes in elves to this day. It might not be a coincidence. The great Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges always said that the novel as a literary genre was born in this faraway corner of the Atlantic as a vital way for the island’s inhabitants to cope with the sensory contrast of the summer’s midnight sun and the endless night of the winter.

Iceland is a curious place. In reality, it is still a young land, only a hundred million years old, that emerged when the America and Europe broke apart and the two separate continents were formed. This displacement of the tectonic plates created the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that today lies under the ocean. However, a volcanic eruption affected this submarine ridge and today’s island was created. Due to its latitude, the land was quickly frozen and its glaciers were created. But, at the same time, earthquakes and volcanoes cracked the island, its hills and its volcanic fields; as a result, the hot springs and amazing ice-cold waterfalls that now take our breath away were created. Iceland, a place of extreme beauty.

This island has the purest waters in the world, but the weekend nightlife in Reykjavik has become famous everywhere and not necessarily because of this pure kind of liquid. Strangely, over the last few years, the trendy pubs and bars in the Icelandic capital have become a regular meeting place for London executives and New York brokers that are attracted to its fast pace, liveliness, buzz and relative accessibility by plane. This is Iceland, between America and Europe. Is Iceland, a land of a strange beauty.


  • Fire, cold, water, volcanoes, ice… Iceland, a land of contrasts. This island surprises all with its glaciers and the thermal waters , its breathtaking falls or the plumes of hot water that burst from the Strokkur geyser. 
  • Its capital city, Reykjavik, is a lively and uninhibited city that is home to half of Iceland's population. It's mostly made up of low houses, with large curtainless windows, its cafes, pubs and other meeting places are busy and stylish.
  • Bathe in a thermal-water lagoon, go deep into the heart of the island in a 4x4, go salmon-fishing, spot whales, photograph spectacular landscapes, cross glaciers on snowmobiles. Iceland can be anything but boring.
  • Searching for the midnight sun is the perfect reason to travel to Iceland. Between May and July, the island experiences twenty-four hour daylight in an endless sub-arctic sunrise.
  • The capital city offers an excellent range of hotels and restaurants where you'll enjoy local and international cuisine, fresh fish and lamb are the main attractions. Outside of the capital, and only during the summer, some countryside farms offer visitors the opportunity to stay in rural cabins with access to activities like fishing, horse-riding and 4x4 excursions.
"We waited for the northern lights for a long time. Then suddenly something surprising happened, like we were witnessing the creation of a galaxy. It was marvellous, a unique event, the climax of an Icelandic dream."

Xavier Moret, La isla secreta, Ediciones B (2003)



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