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Discover this fascinating land where the forces of nature hold sway as you visit the modern capital with its thermally heated outdoor swimming pool, remarkable botanic gardens and folk museum. Explore the starkly beautiful countryside of lava formations, glaciers and incredible waterfalls and the site where the first parliament sat in 930 A.D.
Although remotely located in northwest Iceland and surrounded by ruggedly beautiful fjords, Isafjordur is surprisingly cosmopolitan. The capital of the Westfjords has long been a cultured oasis in the midst of this haunting beauty, fueled by the rewards of being one of Iceland’s largest fishing centers. The first merchants lived in wooden houses now preserved in the Neöstikaupstaöur section of town, which is alive with shops and restaurants. Two museums are of particular interest – the West Fjords Folk Museum for tools and heritage items and the Maritime Museum for a look at the 19th century fishing industry.
Nestled along the shores of one of the most breathtaking fjords in Iceland, Akureyri is the nation’s second largest city and a center of Icelandic folk culture. Visit the museums and art festivals, hike along the extraordinary vistas, or explore the botanical gardens. Also of interest is the most northerly 18-hole golf course in the world.
Runavík is a comparatively urbanised village in Runavík Municipality, Faroe Islands. It lies on the south half of the isle of Eysturoy.
Enjoy a taste of the Highlands here in the rugged landscape and heathered moors, the ruined castles, steep cliffs and sea air. Drive through beautiful valleys and flower-filled meadows with romping Shetland ponies to quaint villages like Scalloway with its ruined castle, or explore the fascinating Jarlshof prehistoric site, occupied for more than 4,000 years.
Stroll through this village and enjoy the views of Lews Castle before exploring the remote, wild Hebrides countryside dotted will old crofts. Visit the breathtaking Standing Stones at Callanish, a megalithic avenue of 19 stones and 13 stone circle and Carloway Broch, a 2,000-year-old circular fortified tower. Shopping: Buy superb Harris Tweed here, woolens and local crafts. Dining: Enjoy local fish, lamb and delicious breads and pastries.
Offering some of the finest Victorian architecture in the UK, Glasgow is a major center of commerce and culture. Glasgow Cathedral is one of the only cathedrals in Scotland to have survived the Reformation in tact and houses a celebrated collection of stained glass windows. The Burrell Collection showcases a range of work by major artists such as Rodin, Degas and Cézanne, as well as examples of late medieval, Chinese and Islamic art. When exploring Scotland’s culinary culture, be sure to taste some of the famed single malt whiskies.
A wealthy port city since the 19th century, Liverpool is noted for its rich architectural heritage, diverse communities and innovative infrastructure, as well as being the birthplace of The Beatles. The history of the city as one of the world’s greatest seaports unfolds at The Merseyside Maritime Museum, and the exhibitions at The Beatles Story take you on a journey through the lives and times of the Fab Four. For a spectacular panoramic view of the city, climb the tower of Liverpool Cathedral.
The coastal suburb of Dún Laoghaire is popular for strolls on the East Pier, and locally caught fish and chips. The National Maritime Museum of Ireland has nautical art and artefacts inside a 19th-century sailors’ church, while the harbour is a busy hub for fishing, water sports and cruises. Nearby Sandycove is home to the James Joyce Tower and Museum, as well as the sheltered beach and bathing spot at Forty Foot.
Enjoy the beautiful Welsh countryside with its charming towns and farms and visit the imposing Caernarfon Castle begun by Edward I in 1283. This mighty fortress was a residence and seat of government as well as a military stronghold. The current Prince of Wales received his title here in 1969.
Cheerful Cork sprawls about the River Lee in one of Ireland’s most stunning settings. Bridges crisscross the city leading to landmarks like St. Anne’s Church and the Old City Gaol, where you’ll see the 19th century prisoners’ graffiti. Make time to kiss the Blarney Stone in Blarney Castle.
Joined to the mainland of Dorset by narrow Chesil Beach, Portland is in the heart of England’s dramatic Jurassic Coast, so called because its rock bed dates back 185 million years. The coastal cliffs and area’s unique flora and fauna are awe-inspiring; the perfect complement to the town’s rich history. Portland Castle overlooks the harbor and is one of Henry VIII’s best-preserved coastal fortifications. Portland Bill Lighthouse is another landmark, literally, and has been guiding sailors for more than 300 years. You may also enjoy walking to the abandoned Tout Quarry, which has been turned into a delightful stone sculpture park.