When travelers hear about Iceland, their thoughts wander from the beautiful waterfalls to the impressive volcanic rock formations. The dramatic landscapes are located just south of the Arctic Circle, but don’t let the cold stop you. With otherworldly natural wonders such as the northern lights and lagoons, Iceland is even in winter times a travel destination to put on your list. Here are a few extra reasons why Iceland should be your next destination.
Iceland isn’t that far actually
It takes less than a three hour flight from European capitals like Brussels, Paris, or London, or a five hour flight from the North American continent. So it’s kinda fair to say that Iceland isn’t that far. There are plenty of direct flights heading towards the Icelandic capital Reykjavik. Best news is, that tickets are well-priced in contrast to the high prices a few years ago. Reason enough to finally make that trip.
The Midnight Sun
Since Iceland is located high in the North, just below the Arctic Circle, during the summer months, nights are bright with 24 hours of daylight from mid-May to late July. The midnight sun offers a big advantage if you want to maximize your stay. With many hours of daylight you can explore the biggest attractions of the country in a small number of days. Even better if you can find popular and unique tours in Iceland.
The Northern lights
If midnight sun is an advantage to travel to Iceland during the summer months, the Northern lights are a pretty good reason to spend your winter holiday in Iceland. The northern lights or aurora borealis as they are often called are a spectacular natural wonder commonly seen in the period between September and mid-April. Witnessing the mystical green lights dancing high up in the clear sky are an event that easily will become one of the highlights of your life. Your chances of actually experiencing them increase when you head out of the capital.
With the many unspoilt mountain and glacier streams, combined with the volcanic activity, Iceland has wide range of natural pools and geothermal baths are found all over the country. The most popular ones are located in Landmannalaugar, but let’s not forget the Blue Lagoon just outside Reykjavik.
The oceanic waters around Iceland provide ideal conditions for several species of whales. Over the years, Iceland has gained a reputation of being Europe’s whale watching capital. Most whale watching trips start from Reykjavik and they promise a 99% chance of spotting minke whales, harbour porpoises or whale beaked dolphins. If you travel along the northern coastline of Iceland, you might even spot a humpback whale as well. Despite being much smaller in size, there is another popular creature to be found on the seaside cliffs, the puffin. This colorful small bird is Iceland’s ambassador and is one of the most popular bird species for photographers.
The Silfra Fissure
How many places do you think there are where you can see the continental divide? Exactly there is only one and it’s located in Iceland. The Silfra Fissure is situated a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik in the Þingvellir national park, one of the country’s must see attractions. This national park in the south-west of the country has a great geological significance. It’s the only place in the world where you dive between two tectonic plates. If you aren’t certified to dive, you can snorkel and experience the fissure as well.
Seeing the great force of what’s on the inside of our planet is a phenonemon on anyone’s list. I know it was on mine. The reason why you can travel to Iceland is because of volcanic eruptions. Nowadays, most of the Icelandic volcanoes are still active. However, it’s not very likely that you will experience a volcanic eruption during your stay, still you can go on a volcano tour and see the volcanic force that has created Iceland to begin with.
We already mentioned the many glacier and mountain streams to be found in Iceland. In some cases these streams end up in huge waterfalls falling down from steep rock faces. The Icelandic waterfalls offer some of the best photo opportunities for amateur as well as professional photographers. Svartifoss, Godafoss and Skogafoss are some of the most renowned falls in Iceland, but our personal favorite is without doubt Gulfoss.
It’s even perfect for a short-break trip
The great thing about Iceland is that you don’t have to spend much days in the country to have some amazing views. Since most of the best tourist attractions are located at a close distance to Reykjavik, you can make a short trip to Iceland and still have seen some of the best things. The famous Golden Circle is a popular touristic route of 300 kilometers, showlighting three of the most popular natural attractions of the country. Since the route starts at Reykjavik, it can be done as a long day-trip (especially with the aid of the midnight sun!)
It’s great to have adventures!
I like adventures. I really do. And Iceland is one of the most adventurous destinations in the world for sure. Vatnajokull, Seljalandsfoss, Eyjafjallajökull.. just trying to pronounce these Icelandic landmarks right offers quite a challenge, the country offers even more. Trekking in the Icelandic Highlands, diving between continents, exploring ice caves, horseback riding, river rafting, elf hunting (look it up!) or hiking on a glacier. Iceland offers a wide range of adventurous outdoor activities. It’s one of my favorite destinations, and I’m sure it will be yours too.