The real land of fire and ice

This is my review of Top 10 Iceland (DK Eyewitness Travel Guide) by DK Travel.

I used this compact guide as a supplement to a four nights’ package holiday in the Reykjavik area of south-west Iceland, where four of the recommended “top 10 highlights” are located and lived up to expectations, namely: Þingvellir National Park (anglicised to Thingvellir) and the site of the original 36 chieftains’ annual national assembly; the Geysir Hot Springs including Strokkur, Iceland’s equivalent of Old Faithful; the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall where it is possible to get terrifyingly close to the thundering water and spray; Blue Lagoon with its warm continually replenished geothermal waters, cloudy with supposedly health-giving chemicals and good for floating

As is typical of Eyewitness Guides, it is beautifully presented with plenty of photographs giving an accurate impression of the country, useful maps (including one fold-out map of the whole island and a handy laminated pull-out map) and concise, relevant information. It is set out very clearly, by both area and comprehensive range of topics and would be helpful for a longer self-organised tour of say, 7-10 days.

Apart from emphasising that everyone working in the service sector seems to speak good English (at least in Reykjavik where there also seems to be a good deal of migrant labour) with credit cards readily accepted, an omission is the failure to mention the at times mind-boggling prices for British tourists, with items often costing two, even three times more than they would in the UK. Admittedly I changed my pounds into króna at possibly the worst possible time just after Brexit. It was ironical that we were able to explore free of charge the fascinating (if possible white elephant folly) Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Centre, baled out for completion with government money after the financial crisis of 2008, but decided not to pay the equivalent of more than £12 each for a 15 minute video shown there about Iceland.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 5 Stars

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