Iceland, the name itself produces an image of a land of beautiful ice formations, but Iceland is more than just arctic temps and shiny glaciers. Though Iceland might be on top of the world, just below the arctic circle, it is neither here nor there, it’s not in America, but just a 5-hour ride away from America and technically, not in Europe, but just a 3 hours flight from London. The name suggests the place to be colder than the rest of the world, but its temperature in winters is even warmer than New York.
So, before you start planning your next trip, be sure to read these 10 reasons to visit Iceland.
1. The beautiful Northern Lights in Iceland:
Northern lights or aurora borealis, are spectacular natural wonders which can be witnessed in Iceland from September to Mid-April and are one of the top reasons to visit Iceland in the non-summer months. You can watch this celestial ballet of light dancing across the night sky on a still winter night, but your chances of witnessing the beautiful phenomenon increase when you head out of the town, away from disturbance and electric lights of the city. The hotels around also provide igloos to spend the night in and enjoy the beautiful play of Earth’s magnetism. Northern lights are truly magical and will give you a beautiful experience for your life.
2. The Icelandic Whales:
Over the last two decades, Iceland has become the whale watching the centre of Europe. Whales play a very important part in Iceland’s culture, history and economy. There have been legends based on whales.
There are high chances of spotting a whale in Iceland. On a whale watching trip, you are 99% certain of spotting harbour porpoises, whale beaked dolphins and minke whales. Many tours show whales in man-made habitats, but Iceland gives you the experience of watching whales in their natural habitat. Watching not one, but more than 10 species of whales is a fascinating experience. The waters of Iceland give a home to more than 20 species of these sea giants.
3. The shiny glaciers of Iceland:
Iceland, also popularly known as the land of ‘ice and fire’ because of the volcanoes and glaciers spread around the island. 11% of Iceland is covered with glaciers.
Drifting icebergs, steaming icebergs, black lava beaches, and erupting volcanoes, you’ll find them all in Iceland. A walk on the Solheimajokull glacier on the south coast of Iceland will make your trip all the more memorable. Or take a walk on your own around the ring road which mainly covers the boundary of the island, and witness even more natural wonders at your own pace, even the volcano Eyjafjallajökull, the jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, the east fojurds and Dettifoss waterfall.
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4. The special horses of Iceland:
The speciality of horses in Iceland is that they have a unique fifth Gait, whereas most horses have four, called tolt. The tolt is ultra-smooth and fast, and when the horse breaks into a told, you’ll feel as if you’re flying above the ground, sitting on a comfortable chair, and riding over mountains, beaches and claggy lava fields. The Icelandic horses are curious, docile and friendly. Stop by the side of the road where you see a horse and soon you’ll see more friends. Travel using Etihad Airways offers, and you can use the money saved on horse rides.
5. The lip-smacking food in Iceland:
Food is an important part to understand the culture of a place. The Icelandic food is the modern form of the gastronomic traditions of Icelandic forefathers. For a millennium, there were harsh living conditions in Iceland, and this was evident in the health of people. Earlier fishing and farming was done on the Atlantic volcanoes which caused the deterioration in the health of the people. Iceland started producing healthy food for its population using Greenhouse and farming technologies. They’ve established their own kitchen with a new cuisine names New Nordic Cuisine.
Icelandic chefs have produced drool-worthy lamb and seafood dishes, making the best of what they have with their fresh veggies.
6. The Black Beaches of Iceland:
Though Iceland lacks warm weather, stable amount of sunshine, year-long calm weather, the beaches of Iceland still attract tourists from throughout the globe, what the beaches lack is tropical features, but the Icelandic beaches make up for it by sheer extremity.
Vik, which is close to the southernmost village of Iceland, lies the world famous black beach of Reynisfjara. Its enormous caves, gigantic rock formations, black basalt cliffs make Reynisfjara a must visit the spot to experience how the full force of Atlantic Ocean is a reminder of the frailty of human existence. The other beaches are Djúpalónssandur and Breiðamerkursandur.
7. The Þingvellir National Park of Iceland:
Þingvellir National Park, in the south-west region of Iceland, is a must visit park due to its geological and historical significance. Þingvellir has been declared a national heritage site by UNESCO because of the natural beauty and the extraordinary natural features of the place.
The most adventurous part of the Iceland trip is diving or snorkelling between the American and European Tectonic plate. Iceland’s largest lake and the Silfra fissure allows you to add an underwater experience to your list. The Icelandic parliament was also found in Þingvellir in the year 930.
8. Iceland is more of a Quirky Island
The Icelandic language does not provide any word for “please” and the phone number of the Prime Minister is present in the phone book with his first name, just like the rest of the population. The people believe that elves exist. There are more broadband connections in Iceland than in any part of the world. (per capita). The country suffers Earthquakes every day and 80% of the energy consumed is from the Renewable resources. Moreover, Iceland is a super safe country and you can also just stroll around Prime Minister’s office. With the extremely low crime rate, you can roam around the island tension free.
9. You can be truly alone
After all the excitement and adventures offered by Iceland, you might find yourself in need of some time alone and some quiet relaxation. You can soak in the man-made Blue lagoon or hike out to the geothermal valley of Hengill and enjoy the hot pool there which has formed at a place where the boiling stream meets the cool river. Or you can visit the sparsely populated westfjords, where one-third of the Iceland population lives, i.e. three people per kilometre square of space. It’s so hard to escape the populated areas. Phew!
10. Reykjavik is full of party animals
Icelanders say they drink in winters to make them warm and let the dark days pass and they drink in summers to celebrate the sunshine. On weekends the town is hit by parties after 11 pm, well after drinking at home and playing games to save the exorbitant amount of beer in the club, and then spend the night in the club till 4 am. If you haven’t partied in Reykjavik you haven’t partied.
So, pack your fur-trimmed hats and your most comfortable and beautiful clothes and head out to spend your vacations in Iceland, because hey! The reasons above are pretty convincing. Go out with your friends and enjoy the horse rides and the parties and then enjoy the beauty of Northern lights with your loved ones. Hope you have a great vacation.