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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.
Embrace the traditional Icelandic character of Eskifjördur, a sleepy fishing hamlet tucked into a dramatic fjord of the same name. As you sail into the harbor, marvel at the towering silhouette of Hólmatindur Mountain, an immensely picturesque feature that watches over the town from the opposite shore. Gain a deeper understanding of the region’s fishing heritage at the Maritime Museum and, in the home-turned-museum of a charming local couple, study an astonishing collection of gems, geodes and minerals gathered throughout Iceland. While exploring the surrounding countryside, rejoice at the breathtaking scenery of craggy mountains that rise from vividly green meadows.
Stroll through this picturesque fishing town and admire the views from the headland. Take a drive around this stunning, craggy island of majestic waterfalls, beautiful fjords, farms, villages, enigmatic sea stacks and panoramic views of the neighboring islands. Or visit an ancient Viking settlement in a valley of lakes.
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.
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.
Take a trip up to London and get a bird’s eye view of the city from the London Eye. See sights like Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Piccadilly. Stroll along Lower Regent Street or visit the British Museum.