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.
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.
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.
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.