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Iceland: a cool place to go.

With most tourists escaping the winter chill by heading for hotter climes, why should anyone set their sights on Iceland? Just beneath the Arctic Circle this volcanic country gained notoriety for collapsing banks and the pesky Eyjafjallajokull volcano that caused travellers so much disruption last spring.

Certainly Iceland is not like other countries, reports the Daily Mail. Technically an island, it’s the highest and only above-water section of the planet’s longest mountain range, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Dubbed a ‘magical place’ by Yoko Ono, she chose to install her ‘Imagine Peace Tower’, dedicated to John Lennon, here in 2007.

What it does offer is Northern Lights hunts; a chance to see the iridescent, heavenly display of aurora borealis, visible five months a year between early October and mid-March. Occurring when particles emitted by the sun hit the magnetic fields above the earth’s poles, it’s the stuff that captures the imagination of writers and film makers alike.

The main sights of the centre and south of the country can be seen by taking a Golden Circle tour, a 200 mile drive that includes Gullfoss, an incredible three-step waterfall, the geyser Strokkur, which erupts once every five minutes and the Thingvellir national park.

Reykjavik, the world's most northerly capital, has an art culture that can be enjoyed in the warmth of its host of museums and galleries and a must-visit place nearby is the Blue Lagoon, a hot geothermal pool where you can rejuvenate in its misty steam and mineral-rich waters.

Short breaks to Iceland, previously only for the wealthy, are now affordable with the Krona having suffered from the collapse of the local economy. Not as cheap as the ‘Costas’, it’s nonetheless a once in a lifetime experience.

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