Given its incredible culture, stunning scenery and natural phenomenon – not just the northern lights but the 24-hour days/nights, geysers and hot springs for starters – we assume any travel fiend worth their air miles would have visited Iceland already. It’s made all the more easy for visitors thanks to its routed Golden Circle tour, which takes in the original geyser, Gullfoss waterfall and Thingvellir National Park. But for those who’ve been there and done that, we unveil the Purple Pentagon. It’s was devised by airline Wow Air to rile up extra self-drive business, but we doff our caps to their inventive thinking. So wyhat’s on this road less travelled? Let’s take a look.
Ice Cave Langjokull
New for 2015, this is an essential first stop and had to be given a place on Purple Pentagon. Within the second largest glacier in Europe, the ice cave allows travellers to walk 300 metres into the glacier at a depth of 30m, making the cave one of the largest man-made ice structures in the world. It opens on 1 June.
Hike to Glymur waterfall in Hvalfjordgur
For a different perspective of one of Iceland’s top features – waterfalls – then try the hike to Glymur. With a cascade of 196 meters, the waterfall is the second tallest in Iceland and offers magnificent views of the water streaming down the Hvalfell volcano into the mossy canyon below, a hidden treasure that is usually unknown to tourists.
The Highlands of Iceland – Kjalvegur
Further toward the centre of the country, the Highlands of Iceland are found 150km north east of Reykjavik. Accessible during good weather, the drive requires a sturdy vehicle but offers a glimpse of the magnificent untouched sites in Iceland. This desolate, uninhabited region offers unmissable views with landscapes filled with cloudy blue waters and bright green volcanic mountain regions. The area also offers a clear view of several glaciers.
Well known to many travellers to Iceland but often missed during an initial visit, Silfra is a diving spot within the Thingvellir National Park. Claiming the clearest waters on Earth, Silfra is between two tectonic plates, the Eurasian and North American continents. The glacial water, although cold at 2-4˚C, allows for visibility up to 100m having been filtered for 30-100 years between underground lava after melting from the Langjokull glacier. Get neoprened up and into the world beating waters of Silfra from £200.
After getting into and around ice caves and tectonic plates it is time to head high into the sky for perhaps the scariest moment of the tour – a skydive over Hell(a)! Hella is a town around 70 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik, near the south coast. As the brave drop out from the airplane the sights are aplenty with Eyjafjallajokull (yes, that volcano that caused all the flight disruption in 2010), as well as the black beaches of the south in the distance. For those that prefer to keep their feet on the ground, there is a cheeky museum nearby dedicated to the volcano and it’s infamous eruption.