ICELAND is on so many people's bucket lists – but is it worth visiting? The short answer is, yes – 100 per cent: I am actually excited to go back.
A land of beauty and mystery awaits travellers, with Iceland's breathtaking landscapes, unique culture and a blend of fire and ice. Nestled in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland has become a bucket list destination for adventurers, nature enthusiasts and those seeking a glimpse into some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
You can fly direct from either Belfast or Dublin: flight time is roughly three hours and you will be landing at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), which is 45 minutes outside Reykavik, the capital of Iceland.
I would recommend spending only one or two full days in Rekjavik. The real beauty of Iceland is outside the capital city.
Iceland is famous for its landscapes, which range from dramatic volcanic terrain and geothermal wonders to majestic waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs.
Iceland's remote locations and clear skies provide some of the best opportunities to see the Northern Lights. Unfortunately, while the Northern Lights might look fab in photos, my personal experience with the naked eye was completely different and quite underwhelming.
The best time to visit Iceland depends on your interests and what you want to experience during your trip. Iceland offers different attractions and activities throughout the year. I would avoid November to February, as it's going to be extremely cold, with short days and limited daylight hours.
Whether you're into hiking, glacier trekking, snorkeling, diving or snowmobiling, Iceland offers a wide range of exhilarating outdoor activities that allow you to explore its stunning landscapes up close.
Iceland has the most amazing geothermal hot springs and spas to relax and rejuvenate. The Blue Lagoon is world-famous, offering a unique opportunity to soak in warm, mineral-rich waters. The Sky Lagoon is also a fantastic option – it is on the outskirts of Reykjavik and not as expensive.
One of my favourite experiences was Flyover Iceland in Reykjavik: this was so much fun. Flyover Iceland is a simulated flight which takes you over Iceland and shows you the beauty of Iceland through all four seasons.
IS IT EXPENSIVE?
Iceland is definitely more expensive compared to other travel destinations, however it is completely worth the investment. Planning ahead, setting a budget and exploring cost-effective options for accommodation, dining and activities can help mitigate the impact of the higher costs.
TOP TIP: Stay in Reykjavik and book at least two full-day tours. From my experience, booking full-day tours is the most cost effective way of visiting the best spots. This can be particularly beneficial if you don't want to hire a car while abroad.
Tours often come with experienced guides who can provide valuable insights, historical context and local knowledge about the places you visit.
I typically use Viator.com when I book tours abroad.
Travel tips and offers for Q Radio listeners and Irish News readers
WANT to learn more money-saving tips, hear travel inspiration and stories of adventure, and get your travel questions answered?
Travel Wednesdays on Q Radio's Mid Morning with Yazz finds travel expert Rory King joining Yazz every Wednesday at 12pm to talk about all things holidays – at home and abroad. He will be revealing secret places to visit and answering listener's questions.
In print and online, Rory offers Irish News readers practical and down-to-earth travel tips, insights and tantalising offers in his new weekly travel column, which appears in our Weekend supplement every Saturday.
"I am extremely proud to be working alongside Q Radio and The Irish News, and I will do my best to add maximum value to listeners and readers," says Rory.
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Manor House Country Hotel, Killadeas, Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh
THE Manor House Hotel in Co Fermanagh is one of the best hotels in Northern Ireland, and one I really enjoyed.
This elegant hotel boasts stunning views of Lough Erne and offers luxurious accommodation, fine dining and great service. The hotel is only 12 minutes drive from Enniskillen, however, you will feel completely disconnected once you enter through the gates.
With its breathtaking views, charming décor and leisure facilities, the hotel is a fantastic choice for a staycation.
If you are looking for a hotel to unwind, then look no further. Enjoy leisurely strolls around the grounds, make the most of the pool and hot tub, and/or chill in the beautiful bedrooms and reception areas.
One of the stand-out features of the Manor House Hotel is undoubtedly its stunning lakeside location. This hotel would be perfect for either a romantic weekend or a peaceful escape from the bustle of everyday life.
You have the choice of fine dining in the restaurant or pub food in the bar. Last time I was there, I had the steak in the bar, and it was lovely. The next morning, you will be able to enjoy either a cooked or continental breakfast.
Onsite there is a nine-hole golf experience which caters for both beginners and seasoned players. There is also a marina which provides boating experiences in an idyllic destination.
There is a lot to see and do in the area: I would definitely recommend combining a walk up Cuilcagh Mountain with a tour of the Marble Arch Caves. Both are only 30 minutes away and together they provide a glimpse into Ireland's natural landscapes.
The hotel's attentive and friendly staff contribute significantly to the overall positive experience. From check-in to check-out, their professionalism and willingness to assist ensure that guests feel well taken care of throughout their stay.
In conclusion, the Manor House Hotel in Enniskillen is a charming hotel that promises a rejuvenating escape from the daily grind. Its stunning lakeside location creates a delightful place for anyone seeking a night away.
Whether you're looking for a romantic getaway, a peaceful solo retreat, or a quality time with family, the Manor House Hotel offers a place that can be enjoyed by all.
TOP TIP: The hotel's official website at manorhousecountryhotel.com is cheaper than third-party prices, so book direct.