Nordic but nice Icelandic picks

Icelandic Northern Lights - green for go
Icelandic Northern Lights - green for go

Northern Lights ... that's why mums - dads and kids - go to Iceland.

But, while there's unquestionable aura around aurora, there's so much more to this Arctic Circle contiguous isle than meets the night sky eye.

Glaciers to geysers, hot springs to cold hákarl, winter skiing to summer whale watching, Visit North Iceland and Geo Travel whisk you on Frozen adventures to rival Disney's storyboard.

Super Break's exclusive flights of fancy from 16 UK airports to previously directly unattainable Akureyri, in slipstream of Incredible Iceland package successes, make such memorable experiences eminently Ski-Dooable.

Short break specialist's Chris Hagan confirms: “We’re thrilled to announce our expanded programme of getaways so more people than ever can experience this magical destination. We take pride in offering very best bucket list activities for holidaymakers to experience this trip of a lifetime.”

What to do: Super Jeep tour, complete with snow shoes and mobiles, is perfect passport to icy paradise that is Námafjall's bubbling boiling mud pots, pools, solfataras and fumaroles at foothills of spectacular Krafia volcanic mountain within expanse of Hveraröndor hot springs. So sulphurous is their power, adjoining ground is acidic and sterile, unfit to sustain flora and fauna. Nearby Búrfellshraun and desert Mývatsöræfi are among similarly stand-out geological goldmines.

Waterfalls are key to region's rising tourism popularity. Dettifoss, 45 metres proud and 100 metres wide, powers Europe's greatest volume with 500 cubic metres plunging per second. Goðafoss, among most spectacular, sees Skjálfandafljót river descend dramatically from 12 metres, ever enshrined in local lore as 1,000 AD confirmation of official religion Christianity, converted Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði discarding Norse deities down the deep drop.

"Wonder of North Iceland" Lake Mývatn is well worth visiting, as is nearby Dimmuborgir, whose randomly strewn lava rocks and cliffs make myriad shapes, otherworldly formations including cavernous Church's dome-like ceiling. Here also lies winter lair of Yule Lads, 13 trolls who for 13 days individually descend towering mountainside, unlucky for errant infants who can awake to raw potato in their windowsill shoe. If Spoon-Licker, Sausage-Swiper, Window-Peeper and Doorway-Sniffer don't get them, Yule Cat or their mum Grýla will. And she's "big and scary with an appetite for the flesh of mischievous children". Happy Christmas kids!

The Nordics' first beer bath at the country's debut microbrewery is increasingly suds law for folk keen to simultaneously imbibe and ablute. Brits can drain tub-side ale draughts, soaking in skin-cleansing water awash with hops and yeast, while working out how to pronounce Böðböðin. "Blue Lagoon of the North" Mývatn Nature Baths meanwhile draws on centuries-old traditions, guests bathing in pools rich with unique mix of minerals and silicates, drawn from 2,500 metres below, amid clouds of steam rising from subterranean fissures.

Fishing is foremost among rich national heritage, The Herring Era Museum amounting to nation's largest seafaring exhibition, trawling century of history on which "Fishermen’s Eldorado" was built, community fortunes ebbing and flowing like biting Atlantic that surrendered "silver darlings". Traditional cod salting is order of the day at nearby Ektafiskur, equally entwined with fruits de la mer, where braver visitors can join "The Rotten Shark Club of Hauganes" after tasting fermented fare, washed down by welcome special brew.

Culture vultures can also share soaring success of Sigurgeirs Bird Museum, lake-side farm location of country's best private collection dedicated to feathered friends, majoring in duck species including rare Barrow’s goldeneye, interactive displays proving interesting and educational alike. Akureyri Art Museum, former Bauhaus architecture dairy turned gallery, has for quarter of a century been home to cream of home-grown and international talent, its acclaimed status making it Icelandic Visual Arts Awards host since 2006 inception.

Whale of a time is to be had setting sail from floating pier across Eyjafjord, where maritime majesty of humpbacks and dolphins can be seen in their natural habitat, those on board invited to name new specimens. Oh Blubber, Where Art Thou? And, last but certainly not least, skyscape spectacle that are Northern Lights, emerald encounters to be enjoyed middle of the night in middle of nowhere. Layers aplenty and hot tot are as essential as camera equipment to capture Mother Nature's illuminations that stay in memories long after returns to reality from this Frozen fairytale.

Where to stay: Nordic Noir fans will love to be "Trapped" in this cult TV murder mystery backdrop, Sigló Hótel built into very fabric of Siglufjordur harbour. Some 61 rooms present marina and mountain views from window seats overlooking winter wonderland, including Kaffi Raudka and Hannes Boy eateries, complementing on-site Restaurant Sunna and Lobby Bar. Water-side guests, afforded access to outdoor spas and sauna, can splash out for specials stays in any of four deluxe rooms with upgraded amenities and three suites boasting private balconies.

Prime position Sel-Hótel Mývatn proves perfectly placed base camp to explore local lake's amazing surrounds. Accommodation is available among 58 rooms at ideally located bolthole whose restaurant overlooks Skútustaðagígar pseudo-craters, serving up amazing vistas to south and north alike. Venue management's mission statement mantra "good rest is important for tackling a full day's activities and we have the key elements with our fine facilities, plus the many things to do, ensuring a great group experience" is as good as its Norse word.

Modern Icelandair Hotel Akureyri, home to just shy of a hundred rooms, has laid out Northern Iceland capital welcome mat for just seven years, providing highest standards of sophisticated service and quality comfort in equally impressive measure, Aurora restaurant reinforcing its stylish status with winning recipe for success, offering culinary adventure well worth taking. Based at beating heart of this fjord-port community, within walking distance of fine selection of shops, restaurants and museums, it fronts famed refreshing thermal waters.

Way to go: Uncover Akureyri with Super Break’s ‘original’ Incredible Iceland break. Including accommodation in choice of hotels, plus experiences at such attractions as Lake Myvatn, Goðafoss Waterfall, boiling mud pools of Namafjall and stop at Vogafjos working farm, no corner will be left undiscovered. Also included is excursion to see Northern Lights, making your Icelandic escape even more memorable. Take advantage of opportunity to visit Myvatn Nature Baths – Blue Lagoon of the North - or take part in Snowmobiling Experience, Whale Watching or Fishing Experience, extra charges applying. From £499 per person includes three nights’ accommodation at Hotel Akureyri Skjaldborg, Lake Myvatn Adventure Land of Fire and Ice full day escorted excursion, Search for Northern Lights escorted evening excursion, return airport transfers and flights from choice of 16 UK airports departing until March 15. To book visit or ring 0800 042 0288.

Other Iceland picks - Super Break deals

Lake Mývatn Iceland’s Winter Wilderness – from £1099 per person: Experience the true magical wilderness of Iceland with this break that combines the very best experiences with nature. Giving customers the opportunity to bathe in the Myvatn Nature Baths and see the largest private collection of birds in Iceland at the Sigurgeirs Bird Museum, holidaymakers will also have the opportunity to see the sights in Akureyri, visit to the impressive Godafoss Waterfall and join tours Lake Myvatn and the Northern Lights. A range of optional excursions that include whale watching, a visit to a beer spa, snowboarding are also available at additional cost. PRICE: From £1099 per person including three-nights’ accommodation at the Sel Hotel Myvatn including breakfast, Akureyri Sightseeing and Godafoss Waterfall, Lake Myvatn Highlights and Hidden Gems and Search for the Northern Lights Tours, visit and entrance to the Myvatn Nature Baths and Sigurgeirs Bird Museum, transfers to and from Akureyri Airport and return flights from a choice of 16 UK Airport’s departing between 10th December 2018 to 8th March 2019. (4 night options also available from £1199.)

Luxury Northern Iceland Escape – from £1119 per person: Experience pure luxury with a 5* break in Siglufjordur, a cosy and friendly fishing village town with a relaxed atmosphere. With a prime Northern Lights viewing opportunity from the hotel’s outdoor hot tub as well as brewery tastings, walking tours and signature smoked lamb sampling all included in your stay, you’re sure to feel relaxed and refreshed as you take in the wonderful surroundings that Iceland has to offer. PRICE: From £1119 per person including three-nights’ accommodation at the 5* Siglo Hotel, Siglufjordur, visits and tastings at Kaldi and Segul 67 Breweries, entry to the Icelandic Pottery Centre & Saga Fotografika Museum, a local sheep farm visit with smoked lamb tasting, meals at Ekta Fiskur and Hannes Boy Restaurant, transfers to and from Akureyri Airport and return flights from a choice of 16 UK Airport’s departing between 10th December 2018 to 8th March 2019. (4 night options also available from £1249.)

Freedom of North Iceland Self Drive – from £999 per person: For those wanting to get off the beaten track and experience Iceland at your own pace, the Freedom of North Iceland break is for you. With 4* accommodation and a Suzuki Vitara 4WD to use throughout the duration of your getaway, you’ll be able to see all the sights of this incredible destination. What’s more, with unlimited mileage also included, there’s no end to the adventures possible in this amazing part of the world. PRICE: From £999 per person including three-nights’ accommodation at the 3* Fosshotel Husavik, Suzuki Vitara 4WD for the duration of your break including unlimited mileage, theft waiver, collision damage waiver and personal added insurance, and return flights from a choice of 16 UK Airport’s departing between 10th December 2018 to 8th March 2019. (4 night options also available from £1149).