Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Land of FIRE and ICE; VOLCANOES, HORSE RIDES AND GEOTHERMAL BATHS - Erin Cardiff FINDS OUT WHY ICELAND IS IDEAL FOR A WELLBEING HOLIDAY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Land of FIRE and ICE; VOLCANOES, HORSE RIDES AND GEOTHERMAL BATHS - Erin Cardiff FINDS OUT WHY ICELAND IS IDEAL FOR A WELLBEING HOLIDAY

Article excerpt

Byline: - erin cardiff

THERE is a word in Icelandic - gluggaveour - that literally translates as window weather. You know, the type that's bracingly cold to be out in but comforting to watch from behind a pane? I think about it as I sit in the glass-fronted Northern Lights Bar of ION Adventure Hotel - an hour out of Reykjavik - looking out at the almost lunar landscape.

Sure enough, a feeling of cosy contentment washes over me and in that moment, I know that when it comes to wellness breaks, there's no better destination than Iceland.

Though Reykjavik - the country's capital - is only a three-hour flight from London Gatwick, it may as well be a different world. The remarkably flat landscape stretches for miles in every direction.

It's barren without being boring. And being somewhere so vast is oddly calming.

With so much natural beauty on offer, the perfect way to unwind in Iceland is to spend some time in the great outdoors - or several hundred metres beneath it.

I drive half an hour out of Reykjavik to embark on the world-famous Inside the Volcano tour. It starts with a 3km trek across a lava field, and with thick fog hanging in the air, I can't even see the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano until I'm mere metres away.

I'm attached to a rope and harness before climbing into the windowcleaner-style lift that takes me down to see the inner workings of the earth. After a six-minute descent, we're underground. Though it's still only 4degC, it's warmer down here and completely silent. Strategically placed lights illuminate the rich colours of the jagged rocks which were once magma.

I'm told by a guide that the chamber I stand in is roughly the size of three full basketball courts, and that the Statue of Liberty would comfortably fit here. This far below the world's surface, everyday stresses seem so far away.

Erin takes in Icelandic One of the oldest and most unique breeds in the world, Icelandic horses are famed for their strength and stamina. Tour company Solhestar takes me on an hour-long ride through a cluster of craters in a 5,200-year-old lava field known locally as the Raudholar (Red Hills). …

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