One Week Notice: Iceland

Iceland may not seem like a natural choice for a last-minute November getaway — but it’s worth the flight (especially from the Northeast) for Iceland Airwaves, one of the best music festivals on the continent. Bonus: Iceland is one of the cleanest, safest and friendliest destinations on Earth. Double bonus: they know how to party. Triple bonus: Icelanders are preternaturally good-looking.

Reykjavik’s hotel scene is strangely weak until you consider the fact that it’s a small city: How many great hotels are there in Olathe, Kansas — also home to around 110,000 inhabitants? Private rentals are cheaper, better and more flexible; try a four-bedroom house in the city or a three-bedroom beachfront cabin with a sauna and fjord views.

Despite a distinct paucity of (A) non-Icelandic acts or (B) the life-giving warmth of the sun, Iceland Airwaves is one of the best music festivals in Europe, with a few notable foreigners (Ariel Pink is one this year) peppering a locals-heavy docket. Keep a look out for the next Sigur Ros or Of Monsters and Men — or, perhaps, Kraftwerk, who closed the 2013 edition.

The closest landmass to Iceland is the Faroe Islands. Don’t go there (at least until the summer). Spend your extra days exploring Iceland’s southern coast or waiting out the Northern Lights. If you’re traveling with a ladyfriend, she’ll probably want to check out the Blue Lagoon (it’s Iceland’s version of Disney World, with spa robes and in-water massages), but convince her to detour to the Secret Lagoon, with a sand-floored hot spring, beer service and considerably fewer crowds.

Photo via Flickr