i-Meet has re-started destination features to assist meeting professionals as they begin to envision how, when and where face to face meetings will resume after Covid-19.
Iceland has always fascinated me, and I am sad that I have yet to travel there. It is on my bucket list once we get over this pandemic! I have several acquaintances who have been there and they all gush on about how fabulous a destination it is. There is so much beauty there, boundless activities with warm-spirited residents. Some say Iceland is magical in all that it has to offer. After researching Iceland further now, I am sold.
Iceland is a Nordic nation within the European Union. It is stuck out in the Northern Atlantic, not in the US and not in Europe. It often is referred to as “Fire and Ice” due to its active volcanoes and glaciers. There are over 300,000 living there, with most located in the capital city of Reykjavik or along the coast. The interior of the country is uninhabitable. There is beauty all around; in the volcanic mountainous areas, the ice glaciers, lagoons and rolling hillsides.
Not only is Iceland known for its pristine beauty and friendly residents, it is also considered a green country using natural resources as renewable energy. It also is fast becoming a hi-tech country yet still maintaining its Viking heritage. The major highlights of Iceland are nature, agriculture, fishing and of course, natural beauty. It is easy to get around and most of the population speaks some English. The Ring Road encircles the island and is 831 miles. If you travel along the roads, expect to see hundreds of waterfalls, jagged seaside cliffs, active volcanoes, lava fields, glaciers, and fjords along with sheep and horses grazing. 11% of the country is covered by glaciers. In fact, Iceland’s Vatnajokull is the largest glacier in Europe. The climate is temperate, warmed by the Gulf Stream despite a higher latitude outside of the Arctic Circle. Due to this, many travelers experience seeing the Northern Lights. How magical is that?
Before the COVID pandemic, Iceland was quite a popular destination for tourists, conferences and incentives. However, Iceland and particularly the capital city, Reykjavik welcome travelers and are currently open for business with no quarantine needed. Groups up to 500 are permitted to meet in Reykjavik and social distancing is now a societal norm. Restaurants and bars are open until 11 pm. Venues around Reykjavik can accommodate up to 3500. I know many groups are not meeting now but please planners, keep this in mind for when you do start conducting face-to-face meetings and conferences again. In fact, you can go ahead and book something now! One meeting option is the Reykjavik Harpa Convention Center, an architectural wonder, as well as other traditional and unique venues for groups.
The Keflavik International Airport is 50 km or 31 miles to the city center. Iceland is a 3-5 hour flight from Europe and 5-7 hours from the US. 25 airlines provide service with direct flights to 80 destinations. On flights from the US to Europe stopovers are allowed in Iceland with no additional cost If traveling on Iceland Air or Iceland Express. Why not consider spending a couple of days there, seeing and experiencing as much as you can on your way to a European destination? I have friends who have done this and were not disappointed. This is a great option for individual tourists but also a consideration for incentive groups. Iceland is a safe destination with a low crime rate and one where single and/or female travelers feel very safe. Iceland is cool and hip and the “it” destination. It offers incredible scenery, boundless activities, incredible cuisine (including fresh seafood and lamb as popular food choices), many nice and upscale hotels and an awesome nightlife. (It is rumored the locals love to party until wee hours of the morning!).
There are many great restaurants, lots of shopping, culture and of course nightlife. Even if there for a few days, one can find numerous things to experience and be immersed in the Iceland culture. Visitors can enjoy many delectable foods including fresh seafood and lamb dishes.
Some popular activities to consider if traveling as a group or individually are:
- Glacier Climbing
- Boat rides around a glacial lagoon
- Driving on ice and up a glacier
- See an Ice Cave at the Langiokull glacier
- Whale watching
- Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
- Helicopter tours
- Jeep and ATV tours
- Ice climbing & hiking
- Spa Experiences and Geothermal Baths
- Dog sledding
- River rafting
- Fly fishing
- Horse riding
- Skiing and Heliskiing
Please consider Iceland for your next trip or join me when I eventually go! It is easy to get to and offers so much in beauty, adventure and even magic. For more information, contact the Iceland Convention Bureau and the Reykjavik Convention and Visitors Bureau, Meet in Reykjavik.
Other useful resources are: