MY horse starts to gallop into the hills, and even though the air is getting colder and crisper, I’m too distracted by the views to notice.
That’s until our guide rides up beside me to instruct cheeky Sykur to slow down to a canter and return to the group.
I’m on a two-hour ride through stunning lava fields, grassy hillsides and small rivers on an Icelandic horse – one of the purest breeds in the world – which are both breathtakingly beautiful and gentle.
We’re only 25 minutes from Reykjavík, but it feels a world away from Iceland’s tourist hot-spot capital.
Riding tours start from £77 per person (Ishestar.is).
For years I’ve wanted to dip my toe into one of Iceland’s most famous attractions, the Blue Lagoon.
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So, the next day, I hit the famous milky blue geothermal pools, which are rich in minerals and naturally heated to around 38°C, and relax with a glass of champagne at the swim-up bar as I enjoy a leisurely soak – and a selfie!
I’m also lucky enough to bag a table at Lava restaurant, where the lamb served with pak choi, carrots and celeriac, £38, is divine.
Entry to the Blue Lagoon costs from £51 per person (Bluelagoon.com).
A two-hour walking tour, where you pay the guide whatever you think the tour is worth at the end, also takes my fancy.
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We drink in sights like the Harpa concert hall, Reykjavík Harbour and Skólavörðustígur, now better known as Rainbow Street thanks to its colourful, painted tarmac (Citywalk.is).
The panoramic views from the top of the Hallgrímskirkja Tower at the city’s iconic church are breathtaking.
Entry costs £5.50 per person (Hallgrimskirkja.is).
I’m now hooked on the idea of taking a soak surrounded by stunning backdrops, so book into the Sky Lagoon, a swish spa just outside Reykjavík.
Handily, it’s less of a trek than the Blue Lagoon and, from the infinity pool, there are incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Pure package takes you through seven steps of hot and cold healing rituals and costs from £56 (Skylagoon.com).
Dine like a Kardashian
There is no shortage of places to eat, but I join a quirky foodie tour to get some insider tips (Magicaliceland.is).
It’s a four-hour trail of some of Reykjavík’s finest eateries and the standout is Food Cellar, with delicious treats like pan-fried scallops, £23, on the menu (Matarkjallarinn.is).
Uppi is a hidden gem, too, and offers tasty Japanese dishes such as tuna tataki, £20, and miso black cod, £40 (Uppi.is), while nearby Skúli Craft bar has more than 14 craft beers on tap and around 130 bottled beers (Instagram.com/skulicraftbar).
On my last day, I visit the legendary Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand in Reykjavík’s centre – and, yes, these guys have served everyone from Madonna to Bill Clinton and Kourtney Kardashian.
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The queue winds down the road, but they only cost £4 and are well worth the wait (Bbp.is).
A bit like Iceland itself…
Plan your trip at Visiticeland.com.
Apartments at the Reykjavík Residence cost from £220 a night (Reykjavikresidence.is).
Return flights from the UK to Keflavík Airport cost from £135 per person (Icelandair.com).
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