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Reykjavik, Iceland


Reykjavík, the world's northernmost capital, spreads across a peninsula on the southwest coast of Iceland. Massive glaciers, erupting geysers, majestic waterfalls and active volcanoes play to the idea that Iceland is truly the "land of fire and ice." Reykjavik serves as your gateway to this jagged and rugged land, still in the process of formation.

The mineral-rich, geothermal water of the Blue Lagoon is a pure pool located in the middle of a lava field, with 100-degree temperatures year-round. The water's soft and milky feel comes from blue-green algae and white silica, natural skin conditioners. Perhaps the pool's relaxation and healing effects has something to do with Icelanders having one of the world's highest life expectancy rates.

Gullfoss Waterfall, also known as the Golden Falls, is the most famous of Iceland's many waterfalls with an impressive 105-foot double cascade. Take in the breathtaking views of the falls as it plunges down into a deep gorge creating mist clouds and rainbows for an unparalleled spectacle.

Situated in a rift valley and covered with pahoehoe lava, willow trees and blueberries, Thingvellir National Park is as significant for its typical Icelandic vegetation as for its political ties. For centuries, Iceland's Althing, one of the world's oldest legislative bodies, met at the base of the valley's 120-foot West Wall.

In a land of thermal pools and basins sits the Nordic version of Old Faithful, Strokkur Geyser. Shooting a 60-foot column of water skyward at 5 to 10 minute intervals, Strokkur Geyser is Iceland's most famous and predictable geyser. The Great Geyser, located nearby, became active again after earthquakes in the year 200 A.D.

Built between 1906 and 1908 in traditional Icelandic style, the Culture House is home to the manuscripts from the Arni Magnusson Institute. The manuscripts include the famed Icelandic sagas -- fascinating documents that tell the tales of Iceland's past.

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