Winter holidays are always popular, whether going on a solo adventure, heading off on a romantically snowy getaway, or spending some quality family time on the slopes, skiing really is the perfect Winter activity for everyone, yet some destinations can be overlooked. European, Alpine or American winter breaks are very popular for several reasons, with fantastic snow conditions, convenient package deals to include transfers, hotels and restaurants, childcare if required as well as the popular night life culture that many of the resort towns have to offer.
One destination that is often overlooked, however, is Iceland. Whether an avid skier or a newbie, Iceland has all the wonders of the slopes you require, along with so much more that cannot be found anywhere else. If you’re reading this whilst day dreaming at your office desk, then drift off to this;
You’re riding up the chair lift in sub zero temperatures, you’re wrapped up warm and snuggly. The snow is falling softly onto the chair beside you, and the light winter breeze brings a flurry of crisp white snow flakes past your goggles. For six minutes, you sit and relax into this beautiful atmosphere, and then it’s time to depart. You shift your bum forward on the seat in anticipation, and gently glide off onto the mountain top that awaits. You’re relaxed, but also excited to set off back down the mountain. Then, as if the scene couldn’t become more magical, you turn around to make your descent, only to find the view that awaits is absolutely breathtaking. The Winter light is low, but below you, the town of Akureyri glistens, the reflection of which skims off the frozen fjord, and everything is serene. With only the faint murmur of the chair lift and the odd swoop of fellow skiers gliding by, you are at one with the mountain. Surely there is nothing that can beat this? Think again. This is Iceland, after all, and it really does love to entertain. So just for you, the skies slowly but surely begin to dance above your head. At first you wonder if your eyes are playing tricks on you with the low light and the continuing flurries of snowflakes glistening past your goggles. Perhaps it was just a cloud. The unmistakeable green glow of the aurora borealis then comes to life, and you suddenly feel like you are the only person in the world, stood up on that beautiful mountain top, entertained by your own private show of the spectacle that is the northern lights.
OK! And your back in the room. If this isn’t enough to entice you, and if you’re still reading and haven’t skipped to another web page to book your holiday already, then here are some things to consider, depending on what sort of holiday you are looking for;
- The Solo Adventurer
If you’re travelling on your own, then you’ll be pleased to know that Iceland is a very safe place to be, in fact, it was named the safest country for the sixth year running in 2016 by the Global Peace Index, so you really have nothing to worry about when it comes to travelling alone. It’s highly likely that you’ll end up making great friends along the way!
2. The Party Animals
If you’re looking for somewhere that has good skiing and amenities, but also a great night life, then look no further. Icelanders work very hard, but in order to keep a balanced lifestyle, they like to party hard, too. Unlike most other destinations, Icelanders tend to start later and finish later, with locals heading out no earlier than midnight, and clubs closing around 4am in Akureyri. This means that pre-drinks are kept in the warm and cosy comforts of your home or local bar before heading out into the clubs. If you’re looking for some real excitement, the best time of year to head to this town is during one of the first weekends in April. The town plays host to a festival called AK Extreme, a fantastic mixture of snow sports, music and partying. You can check it out on the AK Extreme website, or head over to youtube to see some clips – you won’t be disappointed, and thousands of people, from locals to travellers all gather up once a year for this festival, so the atmosphere is immense. If the locals are flocking, it must be good!
3. Family Holiday
If it’s that time of year again, and the debates about where to go on your annual family holiday have begun, then Akureyri has something to offer you, too. With wonderful skiing on offer for all the family, from beginner slopes, ski school, private ski lessons for all ages and helpful staff, right up to the bigger slopes and even off piste possibilities, there’s something for all the family. As well as this, the town has many offerings to keep the children busy, whatever their ages, from cinemas and shopping centres, to horse riding and even the infamous Christmas House.
4. The Romantics
So, you’re looking for a romantic getaway, but want something a little different this time. Well, after a day of skiing on the slopes, let me assure you that North Iceland has plenty in the way of swarve restaurants, sumptuous hotels, spa days and luxurious natural baths to indulge in. If relaxing in a natural hot spring, with snow flakes falling on your head, a glass of wine in hand and the northern lights dancing above you doesn’t sound romantic enough, then perhaps spending a spa day together to recover from the slopes will do the trick.
Now, stop day dreaming and get back to work. You can book your trip when you get home!