Login | February 16, 2019

Wow to Iceland

Pete’s World

Published: February 5, 2018

Ever had a deep-seated desire to visit the far-flung isle of Iceland, but just couldn’t justify the cost? WOW. No, I’m not expressing astonishment for your predicament, I’m talking about WOW airlines and their nonstop flights from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport to Reykjavik, Iceland.

That’s right, if you haven’t heard, the Cleveland Hopkins airport added Wow airlines to their air-carrier stable back in August 2017, with nonstop services to Reykjavik on a four times a week basis starting in May 2018. 

Founded in 2011, WOW air is a low-cost carrier based in Reykjavík, Iceland. The airline, which began scheduled flights in 2012, operates from its hub at Keflavík International Airport (KEF). WOW Air’s expansion across the Midwest is now providing millions of Americans with affordable access to not only Iceland, but also to major European cities like Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris and London. 

Now I’m a huge Iceland nut - having been there four times already, with a fifth visit close at hand - and I can tell you that having firsthand access to a place like Iceland is a major coup for all of us outdoing buffs here on the North Coast.

With that being said, let me give you a little background beta on this obscure place. Iceland is situated in the Atlantic Ocean between Greenland and Norway, with its northern capes being a mere 25 miles from the Arctic Circle. It’s 40,000 square miles in size, the 18th largest island in the world, and contains 3,090 miles of coastline. Iceland’s one of the youngest landmasses on the planet and is home to some of the world’s most active volcanoes.

In fact Iceland actually exists because of a large volcanic fissure in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet. The country is growing by about five centimeters per year at the point where those two tectonic plates are moving away from one another. Heck, you can actually hike, as I’ve done, along this infamous and ever moving Mid-Atlantic Ridge line as terra firma is literally being added to the island right under your feet.

Yup, if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, well, Iceland is just an otherworldly destination with which to soak in some exotic outdoor scenery. It’s truly a nature lover’s paradise that includes an astonishing variety of stunning landscapes. Seriously, where else in one small place can you find 800 hot springs, 10,000 waterfalls, 35 active volcanoes, the Northern Lights and Europe’s largest glacier? Answer…nowhere else.

With roundtrip flights to Iceland on Wow airlines as cheap as $300-$400 bucks, you’re left with just one conundrum: Just how long of a vacation can you take? Seriously, though this place only about as big as the state of Virginia, it’s literally as big in diversity as ten or more different states.

Iceland is circumnavigated by the 831-mile ring road, and most of that asphalt/gravel track is interred by a deep green ribbon of cultivated farm and sheep grazing land. But this civilized fringe is extremely narrow, and just a few ticks north or south of it is an amazing collection of landscapes, from steep walled seaside cliffs, sea stacks and black sand beaches to dreamlike volcanic terrains that look like they’re straight out of a “Lord of The Rings” movie.

In Iceland, massive Niagara Falls-like waterfalls are the norm and many of them lie out in the vast interior, nameless and ignored. Such waterfalls, anywhere else in the world would stand as celebrated tourist destinations in their own right. Couple these with the icebergs, glaciers and fiords and you have a collection of landscapes that serve as epic backdrops for whatever activity you have in mind.

Okay, that’s Iceland in a nutshell. And though you might now be contemplating taking a bite from this mesmerizing apple that’s just been dangled in front of you, well, I’m not really done with my sales pitch. Next week I’m going to offer up a few pretty cool trip suggestions based on my own personal experiences.

Until then, go to the web and get Wowed by some fantastic air fares to this fantasyland of “Fire & Ice.”