Seven Reasons to Visit Iceland.
From volcanos and waterfalls to glaciers and the Northern Lights, there is something for everyone in Iceland. With great airfare deals, a close proximity to both the United States (4-7 hours) and Europe (3-5 hours), and stunning cinematic landscapes, Iceland should definitely be on your travel list. I love the country so much that I've actually visited twice and am already planning another trip for 2018!
From the North to South, East to West, and everything in between, the magic country of Iceland is not to be missed.
Here are seven reasons to visit Iceland:
Iceland is a paradise for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. No, really. It totally is! Just drive half an hour in any direction and you'll find adventure waiting. The hillsides are perfect for skiing, hiking, snowboarding, ice climbing, caving (which I didn't even know was a thing), and just about a million other fun activities. I've never been a big fan of treadmills or hours spent at the gym, but love staying active in ways that feel more fun, so let's just say that Iceland was a dream come true. One of my top recommendations? Explore an underground ice cave in the winter!
Think that Iceland is just covered in ice? Think again. Iceland is known as "The Land of Fire and Ice" for a reason. The country is one of sharp contrasts and is the home to some of the world's largest volcanoes and the largest glacier in Europe. Expect anything from moss-covered lava fields to barren highlands depending on the time of the year you visit.
3. The Northern Lights.
There are only a handful of places in the world where you can see the natural phenomenon of Aurora Borealis dance across the skies and Iceland is one of them. On a dark and clear night in the winter, the Northern Lights can often be seen in all of their glory.
4. Geothermal Activity.
If you're looking to kick back and relax, you absolutely must go to a geothermal pool (there are over 170 in Iceland!) or natural hot spring during your stay. I will never forget hiking four miles in the midst of a snowstorm to visit a natural hot spring nestled in the mountains under the Northern Lights. The contrast of the hot spring water gently flowing downstream and the crisp night air filled with flurrying tuffs of snow below the green glow of the aurora borealis is easily one of the most magical experiences of my life so far.
5. The Midnight Sun.
This natural phenomenon occurs in the summer months from late May to July north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle. Iceland is located just below the Arctic Circle, so say hello to longer summer days with almost 24 hours of sunlight. If you're someone who (like me) wishes there were more hours in the day, this is almost a dream come true because the whole country of Iceland seems to come alive under the seemingly never-ending sunlight, especially as the beautiful colors of the sunset light up the skyline. Go on a hike to watch the sunrise or enjoy an evening dip into a geothermal hot spring. Either way, you'll be feeling awake and refreshed in no time.
6. Culture and Festivals.
Iceland's culture is strongly rooted in traditions and customs, while also remaining modern. The country is home to tons of festivals celebrating music, fashion, and film all year round. Notables include Iceland Airwaves, a five-day music festival in November featuring hundreds of musicians, and Secret Solstice Festival, Iceland's midnight sun musical festival in June.
Anyone else think about food more than pretty much everything else? Me too. That's why I was so excited to experience the Nordic cuisine of Iceland. The country's amazing location and clean natural environments provides Icelandic restaurants with some of the freshest ingredients available. Get ready for delicious fish, the most delicate lamb and amazing organic vegetables. The salmon and Arctic char are must-haves. Also, the Skyr. You need to try the Skyr in as many flavors as humanly possible. Yes, it's really that good. And yes, I also wanted to take home a whole suitcase full of it.