Beach of the Week: Reynisfjara, Iceland
I love a wild beach – and you don't get much more dramatic than the epically beautiful, black stone Reynisfjara. Just outside Vik, the most southerly village in Iceland, it's a spectacular landscape of crashing breakers, circling puffins and guillemots, gleaming back stones and striking basalt columns. Don't be tempted to get too close, as rogue waves can sometimes power right up the beach.
Just out to sea, lashed by waves, stand three eerie stone columns, above, which, according to local legend, are the remains of masts from a sailing ship trolls tried to drag to shore.
Where to stay; Dyrhólaey Lighthouse
About ten minutes drive from Reynisfjara, and probably the most stylishly unusual place to lay your head in this weird and wonderful country, Dyrhólaey Lighthouse has been turned into a pop-up hotel by the Icelandair group of hotels, as part of their brilliant Iceland stopover programme. Artistically designed, with soft wool cushions and cool Icelandic furniture, the three compact bedrooms (two twins, one snug single), with their half metre-thick stone walls, are some of the most memorable I've slept in.
Clamber up to the lamp, below, for views over the ocean and the surrounding wilderness, which starts right outside the front door.
Chef Guðmundur Björnsson, from the nearby Vik hotel, pops over to whip up innovative creations for dinner and breakfast, with fish straight from the Atlantic and organic veg: Atlantic salmon and whitefish roe, smoked shallots and burnt spring onion, and for dessert, skyr (the distinctive local yoghurt), with blueberry meringue, crispy white chocolate and liquorice. Snooze it off in the little living room to a sound track of Icelandic reggae ( yes, really) from Amabadama.
Want to book? Be quick as it closes November 1.
With an Icelandair Stopover you can stay in Iceland for up to seven nights, at no additional airfare, when flying on any transatlantic route, from 1st September to 1st November 2015, from £1533.
The Full Package: One night each in a suite at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina, and in the lighthouse, B&B, plus luxury airport transfers, a helicopter tour of Reykjavik with Norðurflug Helicopter Tours, private guided tour in a Super Jeep from Reykjavik to the lighthouse, exploring Gljúfrabúi, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, a hike on Sólheimajökull glacier or horse riding at Skálakot, a trip to the black beach at Reynisfjara and a trip to Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths. From £2,284pp, for a group of four
The Light Package: One night each, B&B, in a suite at Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Marina and in the lighthouse, plus a trip to Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths and airport transfers in a luxury vehicle. From £1,533 pp for a group of four
Bespoke Packages available
For more information on Iceland, see Visit Iceland