x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Hot happenings in Iceland this month

Coming up Witness rare volcanic activity in Iceland, stroll through the Scottish countryside, get a taste of Sri Lanka or go on a plane tour of Dubai.

Wild Photography Holidays' nine-day tour of Iceland includes a visit to the geothermal areas of Hengill volcano.
Wild Photography Holidays' nine-day tour of Iceland includes a visit to the geothermal areas of Hengill volcano.

With a little bit of luck, photography buffs could get shots of rare volcanic activity on a tour of Iceland next month. The nine-day "Southern Contrasts - Glaciers, Volcanoes & Waterfalls" tour, organised by the Iceland-based Wild Photography Holidays from May 22, includes an overnight stay in the area of the recent eruption on the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier. The Eyjafjoll volcano ripped a fiery hole in the glacial ice on March 20, spewing out lava, flames, volcanic ash and steam visible for many miles. The last time Eyjafjoll erupted was in 1821 and 1823 and it is very possible that the current activity will continue for some months to come.

The Fimmvorduhals mountain hut, where guests will stay on their fourth night, puts them right on the glacier and in a prime position to take photos of the volcano's activity. Other snap-worthy stops on the trip are the geothermal areas of Hengill Volcano; unusual vistas in the Skaftafell National Park; the stunning rift valley of Pingvellir National Park; the Gullfoss waterfall; and glacial iceberg lagoons where seals bask.

Also included is a dip in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon, Iceland's famous outdoor spa. The package costs US$2,841 (Dh10,435) per person, including all accommodation, land transport, meals, transfers, the services of a mountain guide and photographic tutor, and admission to the Blue Lagoon. Flights are not included. See www.wildphotographyholidays.com or call 00354 5888 939.

The observation deck of the Burj Khalifa reopened this week, but the best bird's-eye view of Dubai is still from aboard a Seawings plane tour. The company is now offering more than 50 per cent off on last-minute bookings, which means a 40-minute flight costs just Dh600 instead of the usual Dh1,225. To take up the offer, also available on other tours, such as to Ras al Khaimah, register at the company's website and select the dates on which you would like to fly. Should seats be available on any of those dates, the company will call you the day before to confirm your booking (www.seawings.ae; 800 Seawings).

Take a walking holiday through the beautiful Scottish countryside as it emerges from one of Britain's worst winters in decades. UK-based HF Holidays is offering discounts on selected guided walking tours of Scotland, including seven-night packages in the Western Highlands starting on April 17 and 24 for $692 (Dh2,542) per person. Based at the Alltshellach country house on the shores of Loch Leven, the guided walks from here feature highlights such as the valley of Glen Coe, the remote Ardgour peninsula, and the Munro summits, including Ben Nevis, the UK's highest peak.

A five-night package starting on May 3, based at the Altachorvie country house on the east coast of the Isle of Arran, which offers superb views across Lamlash Bay to Holy Isle, costs $591 (Dh2,171) per person. Walking routes combine the beautiful coastline and moorland with mountain summits. Highlights include the standing stones at Macrie Moor, Goatfell - the highest point on the island - and the granite ridges in the north of the island. Prices are based on two people sharing and include full board, en-suite accommodation, transport to and from the walks, and the services of a walks leader. See www.hfholidays.co.uk or call 0044 20 8732 1250 for details.

The number of travellers to Asia's Emerald Isle from the UAE more than doubled over the past year, and the country's tourism board hopes to tempt even more visitors with a sampling of its spicy cuisine at the Sri Lankan food festival opening today at the Renaissance Hotel in Dubai.

For the next two weeks, the hotel's Spice Island restaurant will be offering classic Sri Lankan fare such as hoppers (rice flour pancakes), string hoppers, fish ambulthiyal (sour curry), devilled potato, seeni sambol (a caramelised onion dish) and kuttu roti (flat bread chopped and mixed with meat or vegetables). Diners could also win two tickets to Colombo on Sri Lanka Airways, which flies daily from Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

travel@thenational.ae