Nauthólsvik Beach, Reykjavík

Nauthólsvik Beach, Reykjavik

Perhaps inspired by Ian Brown on Manchester — ‘it has everything except a beach’ — Iceland created Nauthólsvik, a sandy beach just down from The Perl. Icelanders are keen to point out that the country is not as cold as people think as it benefits from warm air transported by the gulf stream from Florida. In the summer expect a norm of 15C (around 60F) rising to as much as 20C (almost 70F).

Round here that’s sunbathing weather, but the Atlantic ocean is not so forgiving so they decided to heat up the sea.

Anywhere else in the world a stunt like that would have environmentalists protesting in droves, but the idea is not as decadent as it might seem. More on the geysers and thermal springs later, but bore down almost anywhere in Iceland and you’ll soon hit hot water; really, really hot water of around 240C (464F). By directing that free and clean hot water into the ocean they’ve created hot spots of up to 35C (95F), a very pleasant temperature indeed (the recommended temperature for a UK swimming pool is 28C). Unfortunately, as the photo shows, we arrived out of season but we did enjoy a fabulous coastal walk.

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