You had no end of questions for our speakers last night, so we ran out of time before we got a chance to answer them all! Luckily, our experts have taken the time to answer everything here...
Do you think trips at the beginning of September will go ahead?
Paavo: As things currently stand, we are expecting our holidays to Iceland to continue operating throughout the remainder of the year and beyond. You can keep up to date with the most recent information here.
Is Iceland a good place for a Christmas trip?
Paavo: Yes, but it depends on what type of holiday experience you are looking for. If you’re after a family break with snow-related activities, plus reindeers and huskies, then we would recommend Swedish or Finnish Lapland instead.
Christmas and New Year in Iceland is magical, from beautifully-lit decorations to festive feasts, Icelanders take their Christmas celebrations seriously. Expect familiar traditions like carol singing and more unusual Icelandic traditions, such as the mischievous Yuletide Lads.
Wonderful Christmas lights are everywhere – in the streets, adorning windows, on balconies and covering gardens. Choose a festive stay in Reykjavik or combine with a countryside escape where you can experience traditional Icelandic hospitality and meals, cosy accommodation and beautiful scenery. Like the rest of the Nordic region, Christmas is celebrated on 24 December.
How are Icelandic people reacting to tourists visiting? Are they happy for us to be there due to COVID-19?
Paavo: As all visitors have to take a COVID test on arrival, the locals feel relaxed and welcoming as they know the test has been negative if a visitor is travelling around Iceland.
Is Iceland a child-friendly destination?
Paavo: Yes, Iceland is a living geography lesson and perfect for a family holiday. The hotels are very child-friendly with many of them offering family rooms. You also have the option of farmstays, and self-catering summer houses.
Will Gray: We took our twins to Iceland when they were 10 years old (and travelled with another family who had an eight-year-old). Our itinerary involved flying to Akureyri, collecting a hire car, spending time in the Lake Mývatn/Húsavík area, then driving back to Reykjavik, via the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Golden Circle and south coast.
We found it extremely family-friendly. The kids loved the mix of adventure activities – we did everything from whale watching and horseriding to a glacier hike and puffin-watching boat trip. The accommodation picked by Discover the World was a mixture of hotels, farms and self-catering properties – all ideal for families. We’ve since been back to Iceland twice with our children!
Is Snæfellsnes best in the winter or in the summer?
Paavo: Both! In the winter, between October and March, you have a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights and between January and March, orcas gather in the bays and fjords of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to gorge on overwintering shoals of herring. You can watch them on our exclusive Orcas and Aurora holiday.
In the summer, there are long hours of daylight perfect for exploring and hiking. We have even created a range of self-guided hiking routes that you can enjoy from our Glacier Lodge House on Snæfellsnes.
Can you take your dog on a self-drive?
Paavo: All pets arriving to Iceland have to go into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and this could be longer depending on the country of origin. Therefore I don't think many people would consider this as a holiday option. More information and guidelines can be found from here.
I want to go horseriding in Iceland and I am looking for a group trip as I am on my own. What would you recommend?
Paavo: Horseriding group tours are widely available in Iceland. There is a great selection of locations and skill levels with durations varying from a couple of hours to multi-day excursions. Discover the World has close partners and we can organise a tour based on your requirements, just give us a call on 01737 218800 or complete our enquiry form.
Which lesser visited natural spas would you recommend?
Paavo: You’ll find geothermal pools all over the country. We talked about The Secret Lagoon in the Golden Circle area, and Mývatn Nature Baths in the north of Iceland. We would also recommend a brand new spa in east of Iceland called VOK which is very special and built on a lake. Another new addition in the north of Iceland is the Geosea Spa in Húsavík.
In west Iceland, right next to Hotel Husafell you'll find a new spa called Krauma. Then there are the many hot springs around the country where you can go for a dip. One of them is the hot spring river in Reykjadalur Valley in the south of Iceland and the other is in Hellulaug in the Westfjords area.
What is your favourite place in the whole of Iceland?
Will: The Snæfellsnes Peninsula condenses everything that makes Iceland special into one area with a stunning coastline of sandy and black-pebble beaches, sea cliffs, arches, blowholes, sea stacks… and a snow-capped volcano at its tip. It’s great hiking country with coastal walks and mountain hikes.
And the wildlife is excellent. I’ve seen white-tailed sea eagles pirouetting above the mountain slopes; sperm whales offshore, and tracks of arctic foxes. In winter, huge shoals of herring overwinter in the bays and fjords along the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula – attracting large pods of hungry orca. It’s one of the most incredible wildlife spectacles I’ve witnessed. For getting off the beaten track, I also love Eastfjords.
Paavo: My absolute favourite is the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the north tip of Westfjords, which is only accessible during the summer season by boat. No one lives there anymore, but there used to be a fishing village with a herring factory. You still see old abandoned houses in the fjords and some are kept in good condition as summer houses by the family members.
This is an excellent location to go on a multi-day challenging self-supported trek. It is so remote that you can walk for the whole day without seeing another person and can enjoy the incredibly scenery to yourself. In fact, you are more likely to see Arctic foxes than fellow hikers! There is hardly any mobile phone reception, no 3G or WiFi so it is the perfect place to disappear.