A visit to a new land is so much more than sightseeing. It’s about unearthing hidden secrets. Enhance your soul and test yourself with an abundance of unique Icelandic traditions and natural wonders. Words: Francesca Lee-Rogers
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” said the renowned theologian St Augustine. This famed refrain reminds us that by going on new adventures, not only are we opening up our worlds and expanding our horizons, but we are actively welcoming new experiences and the excitement that goes beyond our typical everyday lives.
Known for its glaciers and volcanoes – Iceland is often referred to as ‘the land of fire and ice’. The landscape is a sight to behold and can help to fuel our imaginations outside of the ordinary. While this piece of land might be famed for the magical Northern Lights that can be spotted from September through to mid-April, there is so much more to uncover on this sparsely populated Nordic island.
Witness the brightness of the midnight sun – a phenomenon where the sun never fully sets from mid-May to mid-August. With the sun in the sky for 24 hours, there are even more minutes in the day to push yourself with new challenges. Hop on horseback or hike up a glacier while watching the changing reds, pinks and purples that paint the sky.
Elsewhere on the south of the island, experience first-hand what a typical volcanic eruption is like at the Icelandic Lava Show. The show recreates a volcanic eruption by pouring molten lava (1100°C / 2000°F) into a showroom and over ice. It is an epic battle between the elements and a unique opportunity to safely see, hear and feel the intense heat of red hot lava up close. Located in Vík village, there’s nowhere else you can experience two of the coolest and most natural phenomena’s on earth; you’ll realise that there’s a bigger, more beautiful world out there.
Those who like to go off the beaten path can don their walking boots and trek to the spectacular two-tiered Langifoss waterfall, a sight not often mentioned in guide books. Feel the exaltation of a new adventure take over with every step and absorb in the history of the landscape. Afterwards revive your senses with a serene soak in the Sky Lagoon, where the geothermal lagoon meets with the dramatic Atlantic Ocean. Embark on a seven-step ritual based on the traditions of Icelandic bathing culture, rooted in wellness, wholeness and wonder, with cold pools, water mists, body scrubs and relaxing saunas.
For a unique insight into local life, the annual sheep roundup from early September until early October, named Réttir, is a must-do. As one of the country’s oldest cultural traditions, Icelandic sheep farmers invite locals and visitors alike to the countryside to help out with rounding-up their flocks from their summer grazing period in the mountains and valleys. Afterwards, you can celebrate your new-found shepherding skills at the ‘rounding-up’ shindig, the Réttaball. Meet new people, hear new stories, and add more pages to your book of the world and its hidden secrets.
Coming soon, Six Senses Össurá Valley will be a place for those who are passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and the Aurora Borealis by night. The 70-guestroom resort and private cottages will be dotted on the surrounding land that will serve as a shining example of sustainable living. You can enjoy the facilities that include a yoga studio, fitness centre, farmhouse with an organic garden and a cooking school where chefs will showcase farm-totable seasonal recipes.