Journeys and Flights
During their holidays, Icelanders really go in for travel to other countries. Sun-seeking trips have long ranked high in terms of popularity: the Icelandic summer is short and beach life is unknown in the ice-cold country. If the weather happens to be good in Iceland, it is often called “Majorca weather” or “Bongo mild.” City Breaks are also popular, spending a long weekend in Paris, Copenhagen or Boston visiting museums, theatres and shopping or watching a football game in Manchester.
However, inland travel is getting more and more popular. The country is an island and when people speak eagerly of plans to make a circuit during the holidays, they mean that they will drive the ring-road around Iceland. Various types of accommodation are available. The most courageous are happy with just a tent, but considering that all kinds of weather can usually be expected in Iceland, it is best to be prepared for everything. Wind and rain often strike, forcing changes to be made. Others travel with campervans or caravans, and stay in the camping grounds which are to be found throughout the country.
Summerhouse ownership is high and people often feel it important to build a good summerhouse for themselves. They keep summerhouses so as to have a chance to escape the city as often as possible. Urban development is, relatively speaking, very new: the country was a rural society long into the twentieth-century and the tie to the regional areas is often quite powerful. In some respects, one can look on summerhouses as a kind of connection with a time past.
Still, the connection with the past and the country is, perhaps, no better demonstrated than in horsemanship. Throughout the ages, the horse was Icelanders’ most prized servant and it has proved to be difficult to let that relationship go. Horsemanship, and all kinds of riding trips, are always popular and horse rental has popped up all around the country and has enjoyed a great deal of popularity.
Love of Nature
Icelanders are great nature lovers and many people put up opposition to attempts to tamper with the nation’s nature. One may, perhaps, see that the nationalism which was formerly concentrated on literary matters and language (and which characterized Icelandic protectionism and at times a certain amount of narrow-mindedness) is, to a high degree, now focussed on the nation’s natural environment. Environmental protection is probably the issue about which Icelanders will most readily agree. This considerable concern for the environment manifests, amongst other things, in the fact that Icelanders often look for all kinds of outdoor activities for their holidays. Hiking and mountain climbing are pursued greatly, and angling in salmon and trout rivers is a popular sport in Iceland.
More and more people set out to see the Icelandic highlands. Highland trips are possible in specially equipped jeeps, whether in summer or winter. Travel in the highlands must be undertaken with care, and one must go with the greatest consideration for the nation’s nature, which is most sensitive to any disturbance. Driving outside the road or marked track is strictly forbidden in the highlands. It is a non-negotiable rule that travellers must let people know about their travels before setting off on such trips and provide an exact journey plan to the next police station: this is on account of the unreliable weather conditions and other dangerous environmental factors. If all the regulations are followed, highland travel can be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience.
Likewise, snowmobile trips can be taken both in winter and summer and various trips on the glaciers are offered with a travel guide.