At one time, Iceland was viewed as a northern place that would be interesting to visit but rarely graced the top of one’s must-see locales. Over the past ten years, investments in the tourism industry have built awareness about how truly awesome this isolated country is.
If you aren’t already convinced by the breathtaking photos of powerful waterfalls, glaciers and ice caverns, and miles of uninhabited roads, you’re missing out. Here are some compelling reasons why Iceland should top your travel bucket list.
Lots of DIY Opportunities:
Iceland is a relatively easy country to navigate, especially around the famed Golden Circle. This creates an opportunity for the most epic road trip of all time. Iceland Tours even offers self-guided tours that provide you with all of the spots to see based on your travel time and preferences. These tours give you the map and directions to see everything you want to see without the traditional tour setting.
As many of the attractions are free and natural in Iceland, you don’t need to worry about paying for a tour guide or joining a group. You can wander and explore, taking in the sights at your own pace. The exception is glacier hiking and visiting ice caverns, as these excursions are extremely dangerous without a skilled guide.
Miles of Untouched Earth:
Nature lovers and those who hate crowds will find their home away from home in Iceland. With just under 340,000 people in the entire country, half of which live in the capital city, Reykjavik, you can travel for hundreds of miles without seeing another person. This makes Iceland ideal for those looking to get lost for a while to find themselves, photographers who want images without hundreds of tourists milling about, and honeymooners who want some quality alone time.
The vast expanse of untouched earth also makes for some off-the-wall accommodations. Stay in a cottage on the shores of a glacial lake or pitch a tent at one of the designated camping sites to sleep under the stars.
Don’t let the name fool you. While Iceland certainly has some cold areas and powerful snow squalls, it’s a lot warmer than you’d expect. It’s not uncommon to be driving through a sudden snowstorm then instantly cross over into a lush, warm pocket of mist and greenery. Despite being so far north, Iceland is warmed by geothermal activity that not only creates amazing hot springs and pools (like the famous Blue Lagoon), but also powers nearly all of the dwellings in Iceland.
The Northern lights are another weather-related phenomenon that draws a lot of people to Iceland. These are most visible from late fall to early spring, particularly in the northern parts of the country. Iceland also experiences the midnight sun during the summer, creating more daylight travel time for those looking to tour the entire country. In the spring and fall, the sun barely skirts along the horizon before setting early in the afternoon.
The food options in Iceland are unique and diverse. While dining out can be costly, there are some culinary experiences worth having for those with an adventurous palate. There are plenty of seafood options that make for an interesting spread, including Hákarl, or fermented shark. Most of the locals no longer eat Hákarl (as it tastes and smells like turpentine) but enjoy sharing it with adventurous tourists.
In Iceland, you can also try a wide variety of lamb dishes, as well as various game meats like a goose, reindeer, and even whale and horse. The real delight is in the Icelandic hot dog, which is sold by numerous vendor carts around the main attractions. It’s unclear why they’re so delicious in comparison to other hot dogs, but perhaps it’s best not to ask.
Visiting Iceland is an adventure unlike any other. It will awaken your taste buds, fulfill your need for exploration, and satisfy your soul.