There are simply not enough superlatives in the English language to describe the phenomenon that is Iceland. More so an adventure than an actual destination, this mystical island—widely dubbed as “The Land of Fire and Ice”—is one of the youngest landmasses on the planet and subsequently home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes and largest glaciers. Only 25 million years old and still under formation, an infant by geological standards, this volcanic laboratory lies stranded near the top of the globe, serving as a symbolic and literal bridge between Europe and America and playing host to an extraordinary symphony of elements.

Roughly 11-percent of Iceland is covered in glaciers (approximately 4,500 square miles total) with another 70-unpopulated-percent blanketed in gushing geysers, gurgling mudpots, stunning waterfalls, active ice-covered volcanoes, vast plateaus and lowlands, and countless geothermal hot spots. With this type of naturally-carved playground, the standard activities of hiking, swimming, cycling, and climbing are traded in for more exciting types of recreation warranted by the once-in-a-lifetime landscape, like epic glacial treks, soaks in geothermal lagoons, volcano rappelling, and two-week bicycle tours around the country. The long summer days with nearly 24-hours of sunshine certainly lend themselves to such amusements, while the contrasting short winter days, surprisingly mild in temperature, offer their own reward: front row seats to one of the planet’s most spectacular exhibitions of beauty, Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights.

Beyond its natural wonders, a visit to Iceland should be just as much about the people as it is about the landscape. Despite being Europe’s most sparsely inhabited country with only 320,000 residents total, for Iceland, population is more about quality than quantity. Since settling on the country in the 9th century, the Icelandic people have taken their insular existence and transformed it into a rich, warm, and progressive society where literary tradition, visual art, and live music are as prevalent in the cities as the unspoiled, often-violent forces of nature are in the rest of the country. The result is an unparalleled creative community, fueled by the surrounding beauty to produce the likes of Björk, Sigur Rós, and multiple Icelandic authors who have collectively published more books per capita than any other country in the world. The Icelanders also enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world, and while there is no true explanation for this, the unpolluted environment, the rich, farm-to-table food, and the healthy outdoor lifestyle certainly don’t hurt.

Iceland luxury travel has something for everyone. Join Ker & Downey on an unforgettable journey to Iceland to experience firsthand a beautiful country legendary as much for its dramatic scenery as it is for its genuine hospitality, hosting close to triple its collective population each year.