5 unique ways to be inspired by Iceland

Iceland enthralls all who visit it - but how to escape the crowds? 100,000 people offered up their top secret tips - trust us, you won't want to miss these experiences...

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1. Help round up some sheep

Rettir is an Icelandic farming tradition, where sheep and horses that have spent the summer roaming free in the highlands are collected together by a long line of horsemen (which can extend more then 20 miles), and driven back down to the lowlands for winter. While gathering the animals is serious business for the farmers, it’s a day of fun for other Icelanders and visitors alike. 

Spectators flock to see thousands of sheep and horses being herded down the mountain slopes. The first round-ups start in early September and continue across the country until early October. You can experience Rettir by walking or on horseback. The animal round up is always followed by a ‘round up’ of the locals for traditional songs and dancing.

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2. Walk through Europe's longest Ice Tunnel

At 500 metres, the ice tunnel will be the largest in Europe and amongst the largest in the world. When the ice tunnel opens in May 2015, visitors will be able to walk around 500 metres inside and 30 metres below the surface of the glacier. 

The tunnel will feature exhibitions, and visitors will also be able to dine in the tunnel, as well as book it out for special events. The tunnel will be open for eight months of the year and daily measurements will be taken to monitor any unexpected movements in the glacier. 

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3. Take a knitting holiday

Want to blend your love of knitting and sight seeing? Knitting holidays in Iceland let you do just that. Learn about the various Icelandic knitting traditions, meet the knitters, spinners, farmers and designers, while exploring the sights that the Icelandic sheep call home. With more sheep than people in Iceland, there has always been an abundance of wool! 

The fleece of the Icelandic sheep varies in colour and tone from white to a range of browns, greys and blacks. Icelandic fleece is dual-coated, with the longer outer coat and finer inner coat creating different woolen products. Take a knitting tour from The Icelandic Knitter and you may return home from Iceland with a lopapeysa you knitted yourself.

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4. Clamber inside a volcano

Ever wondered what a volcano looks like on the inside? The only place in the world you can find out for yourself is Thrihnukagigur volcano. Descend through the top of the crater to the bottom of the volcano’s magma chamber where a world of vivid red, burnt orange and golden yellow rock awaits.

Thrihnukagigur lies in the Blafjoll mountains, just a 30 minutes drive from Reykjavik. Don’t worry! The volcano has not erupted for 4.000 years and shows no signs of coming to live again anytime soon. This unique volcano tour is only available from May to September.

Clare Wilson from Wanderlust did the trip. You can read her account here.

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5. Hike Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is famous for its spectacular hiking trails. This hiking hub is situated in the southern part of Iceland’s highlands, near the volcano Hekla. Hiking here allows visitors to take in the vivid multi-couloured mountains and vast lava fields in the area. Laugavegur is a popular trail in Landmannalaugar. This trek is usually 4 days long, talking in the rugged glaciers, hot springs, epic waterfalls and panoramic view of the North Atlantic Ocean. 

For a shorter trip, the two-hour hike through the Laugahraun lava field to Mt.Brennisteinsalda ('Sulphur Wave') and the 1 hour hike up Mt. Bláhnjúkur ('Blue Peak') are well worth the trek.

Inspired By Iceland created the Ultimate Tour of Iceland, a journey curated by 100,000 people online who all contributed tips, secrets and suggestions about visiting Iceland. Jennifer Asmundson from Seattle won the trip - watch a video of her trip below...

Main image: Ice Cave in Vatnajokull, South Iceland (Shutterstock)

Other images: supplied

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