Things Heat Up 'Geothermally' and Affordably in Iceland

Posted October 29, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Iceland-reykjavik-perlan-def With most of the country using hydro-power and geothermal energy, Iceland places a major emphasis on preserving the environment. Come to this European island, where you can see sweeping views of its capital city, Reykjavik, from atop a geothermal water facility, drink pure vodka made from spring water, and stay in the heart of a glacier. Plus, you can find ways to afford the high life.

Play
Perlan: Situated high above Reykjavik on Oskjuhlid hill, you'll find the Perlan, or pearl, of Iceland. This massive glass dome sits atop geothermal tanks that provide water storage and environmentally safe energy to the city and its surrounding area. Head to the outdoor observation deck for free, or spend a little extra money to dine at the spinning restaurant that makes a full rotation every two hours. The upscale menu features a choice of gourmet and Icelandic dishes, including marinated tenderloin of venison, and you can order a la carte or from the four-course prix fixe for 6,990 ISK (about $57.50 US; check XE.com for current exchange rates).

Drink
Reyka Vodka: Reyka Vodka is not only the first and only liquor to be distilled and bottled in Iceland, it also happens to be one of the only "green" vodkas in the world. Several natural elements play into the spirit's production, including pure glacial spring water from a lava field, pollutant-free air, and geothermal heat. The distillery is located in the small town of Borgarnes, about 50 minutes outside Reykjavik, and doesn't offer tours at this time. However, you can still sample the vodka at Cafe Oliver in downtown Reykjavik. Or, you can order bottles online for about $23 for 750 ml.

Stay
Hotel Hellnar: At the heart of the Snaefellsjokull Glacier, about two-and-a-half hours from Reykjavik, you'll find the first Green Globe 21 certified hotel in Iceland. Hotel Hellnar adheres to environmentally friendly practices such as reusing and recycling waste, conserving water and energy, and using eco-products throughout the property. The hotel offers twenty country-style twin rooms. You can enjoy a glass of organic wine and dine on organic cuisine as you take in the views of the Glacier or Mt. Stapafell.

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(Photo: iStockPhoto/ Lukas Hejtman)

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