The Adventurer’s Guide to Southern Iceland

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At Men’s Journal, we’re big proponents of veering off the beaten pathOpens in a new Window. (at break-neck speeds, in an ATVOpens in a new Window., if we can help it). So when planning a trip to a major trending tourist destination like Iceland, the obvious choice wasn’t to hunker down in the capital of ReykjavíkOpens in a new Window.. Or to tell you to go to the milky-blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. We set out to find a basecamp that felt remote yet homey, putting you at the center of extraterrestrial landscapes, heart-hammering exploits, and local haunts. So we ventured to southern Iceland.Thermal Baths, Alpine Cuisine, and Hiking in the Swiss Alps: The 4-Day Weekend in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland Opens in a new Window.

Know this: Your guides and hosts will become friends. Close friends. In the first five minutes of meeting, our Midgard Adventure guide, Jón, an affable hulk of a man—who identifies as 50 percent Viking, 10 percent troll, and 40 percent something I can’t say out loud—turned to me and said, ‘Do you trust me?’ I nodded, then mimed him as he instructed me to hold out my arms, turn my thumbs down and rotate my palms out, then bend over and stick my arms through my legs. I trusted him less now, but acquiesced. He waddled closer, hunched his body over mine, then grabbed my hands and counted down from three before flipping my body in one fell swoop. It’s his trademark. So is grilling Icelandic-style hot dogs on a portable grill at the mouth of a Game of Thrones-worthy canyon. (Editor’s note: They’re beef hot dogs topped with white onions; ketchup; yellow mustard; and pylsusinnep, a sweet brown mustard. But dammit if it’s not the best hot dog you’ll ever scarf down.)

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