In addition to creating brand new itineraries and traveler experiences, a recon trip can mean taking a fresh look at what you currently offer. Lindblad has had a long presence in Iceland, and has therefore been witness to the rapid changes the country has experienced in the tourism sector over the last decade. Dagny and I spent the day visiting the most frequented sites in western Iceland to better understand what those experiences are like for today’s travelers, while also checking out some new places that haven’t yet made their way onto the pages of Iceland’s popular guidebooks.
We departed Hotel Husafell after spending two wonderful nights in the valley. We started by visiting the Golden Circle, stopping first at Thingvellir National Park, then Geysir Geothermal area, and ending at the impressive Gulfoss waterfall. This route is one of Iceland’s most popular, which was clearly felt as we made our way through lines and large crowds at each destination. After completing the circuit, we decided to see what other types of experiences we could find in the area. One of the places we happened upon was a lovely restaurant perched on “troll waterfall”, which offered a delightful family-run dining experience overlooking a lush river and small waterfall. Surrounded by hiking trails, we found this to be a true gem that offered a blend of Icelandic folklore, verdant trails, charming camping pods, and local cuisine. We then made a stop at a small geothermal spring where we found a stand of fresh vegetables grown in nearby geothermal-powered greenhouses. We ended our day by checking out another possible geothermal spring and lunch destination, although it quickly became clear that the first two places were better suited to the Lindblad style and tempo.
Tomorrow we have an early departure for what is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the extension we’re planning: heli-hiking! Dagny and I are very excited to see what kinds of trails we can drop into, including hiking on a glacier. So far we are extremely pleased with what we’ve been able to find for this new extension in Iceland.