14 Oct 2013 - 12:58 pm

Perhaps you’ve noticed Iceland in the press lately – it’s become one of the hottest destinations in the last few years, thanks in part to its natural geographic splendor and up-and-coming design scene.  The latest campaign from Inspired by Iceland, a public private act to promote the picturesque country, launches a new microsite to expose its hidden gems – from the best in food, design, music, shopping, and adventure.  Check out an interactive Google map for local favorites, from the best record stores to the best spots to view the Northern Lights. This illustrative digital platform, complete with short interviews with the natives, encourages lucky travelers to arrive with the spirit of adventure in hand.

“In the very northeast of Iceland there?s a peninsula. It looks like a bird when you look at it on a map. Sometimes, when I go there, I wonder what it?s like to fly. You know, really fly, but not just on a plane or something. Then I sit and watch the locals soar in the sky. It makes me feel calm. Photograph by Hróbjartur Sigurðsson.”

“You find yourself in Lake Mývatn in north Iceland. Imagine being surrounded by towers of snow; the gale circling around the treetops guarding the way; the frost claiming the slopes. You have but one choice to look for sustenance ? the lake beneath your feet. Schools of trout become your salvation that see you through the fickle season and the experienced fisherman prepares for the unexpected; the days where Winter guards his realm with all his might. To survive, you must think ahead. You must find out how your catch will last longer than the season. In a shed, in cover from wind and weather, you light up a fire, allowing the smoke to work its magic. The taste is incomparable. It?s the taste of life. Close your eyes and see if you can taste it too.”

“Rauðasandur, or (Red Sand) is a beach with, yes ? you guessed it, red sand. And a lot of red sand as well. It?s pretty much an untouched red, sandy diamond full of tranquillity (exept for one weekend each summer when the small but beautiful Rauðasandur Music Festival visits). If you drop by be sure to instagram the ever-changing hues of yellow, orange and red until your thumbs wear out. With no-filter it?s still amazing. “
“If you?ve ever wanted to go looking for a treasure, you have the chance in the town Skagaströnd. Spákonufell, or Soothsayer Mountain, towers over this town northwest Iceland. Even though you shouldn?t judge a book by its cover, or a mountain by its looks for that matter, this mountain seems to harbour some truth to go along with its looks. According to legend, it earned its name when Þórdís the Soothsayer, a settler who pops up in a selection of Sagas, hid her treasures somewhere in the foothills after foreseeing her death on the mountain. Look at the peak. You?ll see her treasure chest quite clearly, not as hidden as you might think. Whether it conceals gold and gems ? well, we don?t know. Can you find out?”

“We are a nation of fish. Not just cod or haddock, salmon or trout, though. This may surprise you, but we in Höfn on the southeast tip of Iceland have built a lasting tradition centered on a catch more associated with less frigid climates. Now we come together every year for a festival that celebrates this welcome addition to our livelihood. You?re invited. And no matter whether you?re here during our festival or in the darker months, we will welcome you. And serve you lobster. Bring your spoon.”

“You know, they say we see a little further than normal folk here in the Westfjords. Where others see only rock, we see creatures. Between Hvesta and Hringadalur there?s a beach. According to lore, it?s where sea monsters came to die, to be turned into stone by air and wind. We still see the creatures for what they truly were. Do you?”

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More posts on Iceland here

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