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Mary experiences splendour of Iceland's geothermal landscape

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They were there on an official visit, but Denmark's Princess Mary and Prince Frederick also discovered adventure and romance in Iceland's spectacular scenery. One such moment came as the Australian-born princess and her husband visited the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall just a few hours drive from the capital Reykajavik.

Standing at the edge of the river Hvita, the royal pair watched mesmerised as a thundering torrent flowed down a three step 'staircase' before falling sharply into a crevice 105 feet deep.

Also on the day's agenda was horseback excursion and a ttrip to the famous Geysir hot spring area. The natural phenomenon, in which plumes of boiling water erupt periodically 125 feet into the air, lent its name to the English word 'geyser'.

Mary and Frederick are not the only well-known names to be attracted to Iceland. Sparsely populated, with only 280,000 inhabitants, the pristine island is becoming one of Europe's hottest travel destinations. It's popular with fellow royals Mette-Marit and Haakon of Norway, who visited in 2004, and Kevin Costner and Eric Clapton are also said to be fans.

The chief draws are the summer's famous white nights - when the sun never dips below the horizon - eery vistas of black volcanoes covered with moss, 3,000-year-old craters and dramatic forested plains surrounded by mountains. The country is also blessed with a surprisingly temperate climate, thanks to the Gulf Stream and south westerly winds.

Photo: PA
The magnificent landscape worked its magic on Tasmania-born Mary, who found herself sharing a romantic moment with husband Frederick at Gullfoss waterfall
Photo: Rex
During their visit to Iceland the royals also saddled up on a visit to a horse-breeding farm
Photo: Rex
The couple seemed fascinated by the Geysir area, which is the location of one of the country's best known hot springs

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