Direct Flights from KCI to Reykjavik This Summer

The first time I went to Iceland, I had to fly from KCI to Denver and then catch Iceland Air to Reykjavik. Not any more! With the announcement of IcelandAir’s new summer route out of KCI, we can all get there easier, cheaper and faster.

Iceland is a series of volcanoes in various stages of activity. There are places where the ground literally bubbles and spews, somewhat like you might experience in Yellowstone National Park.

As a result, geothermal spas can be found everywhere in Iceland. Every community has one or two and the traveling public is welcomed to join in this very Icelandic ritual. It’s a great way to get to know the locals.

Don’t fall into the tourist trap that is the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa. It’s the big one located between the airport and downtown Reykjavik. It’s expensive and filled with tourists. No self-respecting Icelander ever goes to the Blue Lagoon.

Instead, take a good long soak at the Laugarvatn Fontana, about an hour north of Reykjavik. The facility has a number of saunas, pools, steam baths and the beautiful Lake Laugarvatn, as well as a number of services for children.

This is an important note for us modest Midwesterners: You’re going to have to take a shower before you get in these pools and, although there are separate locker room for men and women, it’s a very public experience. In some saunas, a supervisor makes sure you are bathing properly. Just grin and bare it – literally. I promise you, it will be a highlight of your trip.

A restaurant and drink station allows you to make a day of it at Laugarvatn Fontana. While there, you have to try one of the more delicious treats unique to Iceland – geysir bread. The people of this region actually bake their bread by burying a pot in the ground and letting the earth’s heat bake it. It comes out with a warm, molasses-like crust, that, with a slathering of fresh butter from genetically pure sheep, will easily erase the memories of having to shower naked in front of strangers.

Trolls, elves and other mystical creatures? Yes, the majority of people in Iceland believe in these things. It’s very much a part of their culture. An Elf School in Reykjavik offers classes every Friday afternoon that explains it all.

The best place to see elves and such in their natural habitat is in their mountain home of Dimmuborgir near Lake My’Vatn. Visit on the night of the summer solstice for the best chance of finding elves and trolls. Special festivities that night are meant to introduce visitors to this Icelandic folklore and lure the mystical people from their hidden homes.

For Game of Thrones fans, the area around Lake My’Vatn is the land beyond the Wall. A number of Game of Thrones tours begin in Akureyri.

Another magnificent spot visually, historically and culturally is the Þingvellir National Park (pronounced Thingvellir). This is where the country was founded in the year 930 A.D. and served as the governing seat for nearly 800 years. It is where Icelanders accepted Christianity and were baptized in the lake and where every significant national celebration has been held for a millennium.

Þingvellir is equally fascinating from a geological perspective. The tectonic plates that are Europe/Asia and North America come together here. At one point on a hiking trail, you can jump between both continents. Scuba divers, plan a dive to the Silfra Fissure that allows you touch the two continents underwater. 

Spend a full day at Þingvellir to truly absorb the heart of this beautiful land.

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