There are few natural phenomena as awe-inspiring as the magical northern lights. When the skies open up and flares of charged particles & energy from out of space come pouring in, it creates a display of light so magnificient it takes your breath away. Massive green curtains dropping down with purple tips on their edges, shifting and changing in all directions. It is literally out of this world. The northern lights will completely overwhelm you, to an extend where you can only utter sounds of sheer admiration, with a fading voice due to being blown away. But when can you see northern lights? Read about hunting the elusive Aurora Borealis in Iceland in this story.
The hot spring valley of Hveradalir in the Kerlingarfjöll mountains is something out of this world. Breathtaking views unfold into a steaming geothermal valley padded with snowfields clinging to the slopes, and shapes and colours so magnificient that you wonder if it’s even real. It’s like you’ve stepped into a surrealistic painting. Find out how to get to this otherworldly landscape and hike around the steaming valleys in the Icelandic highlands.
Mount Rjúpnafell is one of the steepest mountains in the valley of Thórsmörk. It sits on the north side of the Krossá river, and the walking track to the top is quite challenging. But you will be rewarded with sweeping views of glaciers and colourful folded mountain ranges all around. There’s also a sweet litte river valley hidden along the track below its slopes.
Útigönguhöfði is that ridiculously steep mountain you see looming everywhere in Thórsmörk and on the way down from Fimmvörðuháls. Climbing it is as challenging as pronouncing its name… The impressive Hvannárgil canyon runs below its slopes and together they form a beautiful circuit, with jaw-dropping views from one end to the other. See how to get there, and combine this walk with Hvannárgil canyon or the lower part of the Fimmvörðuháls route. Be prepared for some serious crawling up the rocks on either side!
The Fimmvörðuháls hike between Skógar and Thórsmörk is nothing short of epic. This 26 kilometer walking route takes you over the fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull and into the fabled valley of Thórsmörk. On the top of the pass you can see the giant lava flows and new craters from the 2010 eruption. But is it possible to do all this in one day? Read all about Fimmvörðuháls the easy way, the hard way, and an unexpected grand encore on that ridiculously steep (but utterly beautiful) Útigönguhöfði mountain.
This title may look a bit bewildering… It’s Icelandic for ‘Where the heart beats’, the anthemic song of Vestmannaeyjar. I was drawn to the Vestmannaeyjar islands at first sight, when I saw their mysterious shapes shimmering on the horizon. It was as if there’s an unexplained energy emanating out of it. I just had to go there. Heimaey is a spectacular island of volcanic peaks and jumbled rocks and the landscape is out of this world. Vestmannaeyjar is also home of the Þjóðhátíð festival in August. ‘Þar sem hjartað slær’ is the ultimate Þjóðhátíð song that captures the atmosphere of the Iceland National Festival like no other.
The Aeolian Islands in south Italy are the stuff of legends and a geological paradise. Stromboli, the ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean, is famous for its fountain eruptions. Vulcano gave its name to the eruptive mountains we now know as volcanoes. Regular ferries from Naples or Milazzo on Sicily to Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano make it easy to go island hopping between volcanoes on the Aeolian Islands.
The epic trial & tribulation that is the Vierdaagse of Nijmegen. This long distance walk is internationally known as the Walk of the World. Four days of walking 40 kilometers per day. Why do people even want to do this? It’s hard to explain, or even understand, if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. As you crawl along the Via Gladiola on the final stretch of the last day, the euphoria that comes over you causes a natural high that may well turn into a recurring virus. You get itchy feet, and you’ll want to do it again. The Vierdaagse virus is real.