A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor, and beautiful pearls are only formed through trial and adversity. If it’s true that trials build a person’s character, then its also true for Iceland as a country. Based in the north of the Atlantic Ocean and near to the Arctic circle, life can be tough in Iceland. Long, cold and dark winters, fierce snowstorms with freezing temperatures and a few active volcanoes all combine to make this a land for the brave.

But the steeper the climb the sweeter the vista. Iceland has some of the must stunning landscapes imaginable, and its outdoor sights and natural formations have made it a must-see on every adventurer’s bucket-list. From ice climbing to diving along a tectonic plate; from horseback riding below waterfalls to bathing in natural hot springs, Iceland’s scenery will keep you returning time after time.

A short video from the talented Patch Media showing some of the highlights of Iceland, using the lovely Greenhouse Hotel (in the South-West part of the island) as a base to explore.

Stunning landscapes like these become normal pretty quickly in Iceland, as do the lack of crowds. Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe with only 350,000 residents, and spread over a whopping 100,000 square kilometres – the worlds 18th largest island. Photo credit: Alan Patick / Patch Media

There are many ways to get out and explore Iceland, and horseback is one of the most popular. Iceland horses are quite small (about the size of ponies) but hardy and long-lived. Icelandic law prevents horses being imported onto the island, so these breeds have had no other genetic input for over 1,000 years and are considered one of the purest horse breeds in the world. Photo credit: Alan Patick / Patch Media
The Reykjadalur Valley
Exploring all the waterfalls, caves, beaches and volcanoes can make for a busy holiday, but don’t forget to leave time for relaxing in hot springs. In total Iceland has more than 45 hot springs and more than 200 swimming pools, many natural and outdoors. A few minutes from the Greenhouse Hotel Iceland are the beautiful landscapes of Reykjadalur Valley. Hiking through the mountains leads to an unmissable Icelandic experience of soaking in the hot spring-fed river. Throughout the area are unusual sites of steam rising in the air from thermal springs found throughout this area. Visitors will want to stop in the Reykjadalur River Lodge for a drink and lunch after their hike to complete the afternoon. Photo credit: Greenhouse Hotel
The Greenhouse Hotel is well located in the centre of the action, just a 35 minute drive from the capital Reykjavik and not far from the attractions of the Golden Circle and the South Coast, including the Reykjdalur hot springs, the waterfalls of Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss, the black-sand beaches of Reynisfjara and the Sólheimajökull glacier.
The 50 room boutique hotel offers standard rooms, twin rooms, family rooms (double bed and bunk bed) or suites (includes a separate living area, and located on the top floor with beautiful views). Prices range from USD 180 to USD 400 per room per night.
The Food Hall has 5 dining outlets offering casual food such as seafood, spicy chicken, Asian food, tacos and gourmet burgers. There’s always a lively atmosphere, helped by the ice cream parlour, the regular inhouse events, the bar and the rooftop lounge. More info at TheGreenHouse.is

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