OFF THE BEATEN TRACK - the incentive travel planners paradise
Iceland has gained a lot of attention from incentive travel planners. Icelanders have for centuries braved the elements and in recent years developed vehicles, which expedite their efforts. Large four wheel jeeps that can reach the highest mountains and criss-cross glaciers. An expedition of such super vehicles has even reached the North Pole. A number of Icelandic Travel Agencies make use of these jeeps either in self-driving adventures or organized tours with expert drivers. These jeeps are perfect for driving in the Icelandic Highlands and get about in heavy snowfalls in remote areas in wintertime.
How the jeeps are modified is not only for show or brawn. It revolves around making good cars better and more diverse in their potential use. Icelandic mechanics concentrate on the weak spots making those stronger and lifting the jeeps higher. All amendments needed to fit in the large wheels are made in order to increase ground clearance to ease their passage over rivers, along difficult trails or through heavy snowfalls. A special technique allowing the driver to deflate and inflate the tires is tailor made to expand the cars versatility even further. This also adds to the driving comfort along problematic trails and through obstacles such as icy sections and snow banks.
It is an interesting experience to travel in these adroit vehicles, which pay tribute to the ingenuity of man. However, no machine is clever enough to function on its own. Iceland has expert drivers, adept in handling these cars and braving the highlands where it is impossible to know what lurks behind the next bend. Their aim is to introduce their passengers to the remarkable beauty of the mountains and get them safely home.
Iceland has been nicknamed the Land of Fire and Ice. That is an apt description and the Icelandic glaciers offer unique opportunities to explore and experience this natural phenomenon. Icelanders have specially made ice trucks on hand to drive along the icy surface but snowmobiles, super jeeps and dog sleighs are also means of transport worth examining.
For those interested in a more up close and personal encounter ice climbing up a wall of ice might be just the thing. A glacial lagoon some 380 km from Reykjavik is an ethereal place where the combination of black sands, deep blue water and floating ice create a sensational feast for the eye. Boat rides around the lagoon in between the icebergs are unforgettable.
BATHING IN THE WILD
Hot pools are many in Iceland and some are situated in remote places making them ideal for bathing in the wild after a vibrant day of activity.
The Icelandic horse is a beautiful and versatile animal. It is descended from the horses brought to this country by the first settlers and perfectly acclimatized. It has many interesting characteristics the most prominent being the fifth gait this horse possesses called “tölt”. The Icelandic horse is docile and easily tamed and short or long rides on its back near Reykjavik are a great option.
SPORTS AND SPA´S
One of Reykjavik’s greatest assets is the hot water. When the first settler, Ingolfur Arnarson, made his home by the bay he named it Smokey Bay, since steam rising from hot pools so characterized the environment. From early on the pools became a convenient place to do the laundry or in effect an outdoor Laundromat. As time passed a swimming pool was built and now an Olympic size swimming pool, gym, and sports arenas adorn the area. Reykjavik has some great spas and in many hotels well-equipped gyms and spa services are available to guests.
CYCLING AND RUNNING
Along the coastline of Reykjavik runs a pathway where all day long cyclists, joggers, power walkers, runners and rollerbladers enjoy their sport and the view. Russell Crowe made use of this promenade during his stay in Iceland as he cycled 22 km each day. Bicycles for hire are available as well as guided cycling tours.
Sailing out to observe some of the largest mammals in the world is one of the most popular amusements available to visitors in Iceland. The industry has grown fast and there are a number of boats to choose from as well has different tours that many include bird watching.