The land of Sigur Ros, soft moss, elves and giants offers the perfect place to recharge in 2014.
If you’ve come to realize that you need to refresh your creative outlook, book your next trip to East Iceland. This quieter and less-visited region is a place where the people and nature are juxtaposed, but live in striking harmony. Sure, Iceland is a go-to destination in the summer – with the endless days, beautiful scenery and vibrant culture – but only on a recent trip spent exploring the secrets of the East did we realize what a perfect destination it is in the colder months, especially for those seeking to refuel those creative juices.
Below we list the ten things we found surprising and thought-provoking on our recent trip to the chilly clime.
It’s desolate and quiet with some towns inhabited by less than 150 people. The silence forces you to find the noise inside, and listen to yourself as you experience a landscape that is otherworldly.
There are numerous hikes and trails laced across magnificent scenery of mountains, glaciers and waterfalls providing the perfect opportunity to breathe in much-needed oxygen and come face to face with your creativity stifling demons.
Feel the magic and power of the elves. The townspeople’s tales of run-ins with the elfin world could re-spark any imagination.
Lush vegetation that not only provides medicinal benefits but mattress-like comfort. Lay back and take in the big sky.
Charismatic farmers, seafarers and chefs will open up their homes and businesses to offer unique perspectives on living a beautiful life.
Beyond what the locals and elves offer, visit Reyðarfjörður for the war museum and its stories of romance. This place provides a collection of mementos from the time the British soldiers set up camp in this provincial town during WWII. Of note was the memorabilia of the soldiers charming the Icelandic women with their worldly ways.
7. Hot pools
While the Blue Lagoon deserves its merits as a premiere spa, we were equally relaxed and restored by the pools that took you by surprise, randomly dotted around the landscape. In the winter, after a snowfall, the hot springs melt the ice above to create a magical snow cave.
There probably is no better way to release your creativity than to experience a little danger and thrill. ATV-riding through the enchanting forests of the East is an exhilarating activity. Any fear quickly turns into empowerment.
9. Small Horses
Enjoy Iceland on horseback. Adorable pony-like horses offer an additional two gaits, the tölt and the skeið, to the standard three (walk, trot and gallop).
10. Sound Tracks
East Iceland’s landscape is the stage for music heroes Sigur Rós. Their music instantly resonates — the sound echoes through the forests, up the mountains and along the coast.
See more gorgeous and inspiring imagery below:
Photography by Ingibjörg Torfadóttir and Hedyeh Parsia.