7 Mind-Blowing Reasons To Visit Iceland

By Jack Yang / August 25, 2017
Northern Lights In Iceland

There are several reasons why Iceland should be on your vacation list. Think of the jaw-dropping natural scenery, amazing cultural heritage and the stunning Northern Lights! But sometimes, it just feels a little too far away to be worth the trip.

This list will convince you otherwise. Here are seven wonderful reasons to get on the next flight to Reykjavik!

1. Marvel at the Northern Lights

Iceland is a mystical place where the sun never sets – mostly due to its proximity to Aurora Borealis. See the Northern Lights in Iceland by booking a bus tour from Reykjavik – it’s by far the easiest way to see this natural phenomenon unless you want to try and explore the lights by yourself.

The Northern Lights are created as electronically charged particles interact in the sky. However, this astounding light show is also heavily connected to Norse mythology.

Early pagans believed that the green glow was the reflection of the shields of Valkyries, female warriors who chose who died in battle and those who lived. Other legends said the lights were the arch that led the way towards Valhalla or heaven.

For some amazing accommodation options in Iceland, visit this post on some of the most special and unique AirBnBs in Iceland. 

reykjavik concert hall iceland

2. Take A Cool City Break In Reykjavík

Iceland may not be part of Scandinavia, but it still possesses the enviable “cool” of other Nordic countries. Indeed, Reykjavík is famous for its vibrant nightlife and excellent cuisine.

As international flights arrive at the nearby Keflavik International Airport, you’ll have an ideal opportunity to explore this exciting city. Let the church of Hallsgrimkirkja impress you as you take in its escalating tower. Climb the steps to the very top to get stunning bird’s-eye views of the Icelandic capital.

Music aficionados should head straight to the anarchic Icelandic Punk Museum. Fans of Björk will certainly be in for a treat, as well as those who want to discover lesser-known Icelandic bands. The city’s ultra-modern concert hall is also worth a visit.

Reykjavik, Iceland

3. Explore Reykjavik’s Very Own Mountain

Although Reykjavik is a fully-fledged metropolis, you’re never too far away from Iceland’s spectacular natural wonders. The city skyline is dominated by Mount Esja – a mountain measuring 914 meters.

Bring your hiking boots and choose from one of the many hiking trails, depending on how much of a challenge you’d like. Amateur climbers prefer to stop at “Steinn”, a large rock about 200 meters from the summit. This viewpoint offers great panoramas of Reykjavik. It’s also possible to rent bikes.

As with all natural attractions, always stick to the beaten track. Be aware of large accumulations of snow on the upper slopes too.

4. Take A Plunge In Iceland’s Hot Springs

You could pay a lot of money for an indoor spa experience – or you could simply unwind in one of Iceland’s many hot springs! These outdoor pools are heated by Iceland’s latent volcanic activity, and provide a great opportunity to unwind after a day of adventuring.

Bathing together is a traditional activity in Iceland, but it doesn’t always have to be a soothing activity for adults. Bring the kids along to a pool with a waterslide for a fun family day!

Visiting Iceland’s hot springs is also a great opportunity to explore this country’s wonderful wilderness. The mythic landscapes of Reynisfjara, Drangey Island and Völvuleidi are just some of the natural wonders worth visiting.

5. Explore The Rich History Of Iceland

Like China and its famous Shaolin monastery, Iceland has plenty of hidden historical sites in its midst.

Thingvellir, in southwestern Iceland, is also a must-see. This UNESCO-recognised national park was once the seat of Iceland’s parliament, but is also home to some of the most beautiful mountains and lakes you’ll ever see.

Visit Skálholt, a monastery in South Iceland that dates back to the 11th century. Nowadays, you can attend classical music concerts in the striking Skálholt Cathedral, or visit the museum.

You should also venture to the volcanic fortress of Borgarviki, in North Iceland. According to Viking sagas, locals used it as a military base to defend themselves from attack.

Glacial Lake Iceland

6. Set Sail On A Glacial Lake

A trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Jökulsárlón. Located at the edge of Vatnajökull National Park, this massive glacial lake is best known for its luminous blue-white icebergs.

The huge ice structures have been described as a ghostly procession. Indeed, these imposing icebergs are striking when seen up close – consider taking a boat tour for the best photographs.

The striking lagoon has also featured in numerous Hollywood movies, including A View To A Kill, Die Another Day and Batman Begins.

7. See Iceland’s Great Geysir

Iceland is a wild and unpredictable place to explore, and nowhere is this more obvious than Geysir. The spouting hot water source in the southwest of the island has been active for around 10,000 years, and is a symbol of this country’s seismic activity.

At one point, the Great Geysir erupted every 30 minutes! Even though it’s more sedate today, it’s capable of pushing 122 meters of water into the air over two days. Another geyser nearby, Strokkur, is far more active – erupting as high as 30 meters every few minutes.

Need more info about visiting Iceland? Check out these tips from Brianna at Casual Travelist.

About the author

Jack Yang

Hey! We're Jack and Liu and we're on a mission to explore all the historical wonders of the world! You can call it luck, fate, coincidence, a sign... Whatever you like to call it, our stories started separately before merging into one beautiful experience. Before our paths crossed, we were both just random individuals, traveling the world, visiting historical monuments and ruins, imagining how those landscapes looked like centuries ago. Then, Beijing happened, we met, we fell in love, we found each other. Our love story starts in Beijing where we met one rainy day whilst exploring the magical city. Two months later, we dropped everything, quit our jobs and went to travel the world together. We are both big history nerds and love to geek out by playing stupid historical guessing games together... We are China Geeks! Travel the world with us as we history-our-way around the world!