1) Natural Beauty
Volcanoes, cliffs, glaciers, fjords, lava fields, waterfalls, hot springs and a blue lagoon, Iceland seems to have a never-ending supply of breathtaking landscapes that could make any newbie photographer’s photos look like pure gold.
From the photos I’ve seen online, it’s otherworldly beauty reminds me more of something you’d see in a sci-fi film than northern Europe.
2) Northern Lights
Okay, so obviously the Northern Lights could have been included in #1, and yes, they have been beaten to death in the media lately, but how could I leave this off the list when they’re so eerily and spectacularly beautiful?!
Especially considering the Northern Lights will apparently be getting dimmer after 2016 for about 11 years, this makes my intense yearning to see them that much more dire.
3) Local Culture
Rumor has it that Icelanders are friendly, outgoing people that are happy to dish out advice to tourists about what to do, where to eat, etc. (It’s been said that they’re warmer than most other Scandinavians!)
After reading the post “The 10 Weirdest Things About Icelanders“, I’m convinced they’re practical, have an awesome sense of humor, are proud of their homeland, and have a serious appreciation for BBQ and beer. What’s not to love?!
Epic road trips (sometimes on dirt roads) make for unforgettable sightseeing. As with most things in life, the more effort you put in, the more you appreciate the reward.
Personally, renting a car and doing a self drive tour of all of the Game of Thrones shooting spots would be an absolute MUST.
Jumping in one of the many natural hot springs to warm up when you’re chilly is another obvious, but necessary stop on the list!
Considering I’m a huge lover of wildlife, there’s no way I could leave Iceland without a horseback ride and a bit of puffin/whale-watching.
5) Sustainable Travel
According to this video from Wolter’s World, Icelanders are extremely focused on local production and sustainability.
Local handmade Icelandic sweaters aren’t just for tourists (apparently everyone loves them!) and it would make a great comfy keepsake that also supports the local economy.
Restaurants frequently use locally sourced produce and meats, and the menus often boast that the barley/veggies/etc. has come from a farm only 5-6 kilometers away!
With only around 323,000 people living in Iceland, the country is made up mostly of small towns and villages rather than large cities, meaning that visitors generally stay in guest houses instead of large chain hotels. This way you boost the local economy while getting a cozier, more authentic experience – a total win-win.
Here’s a sweet short film from Mike & Jay Explore that would get anyone psyched to head to this majestic place:
Photos: Þingvellir, Dalvik, Iceland, Sunset at lake Mývatn, South Iceland, Trey in Hot Water, Icelandic Lamb Entree, Salt Eldhus Cooking Class, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2013, Dalvik, Iceland, When the Songs Were Forlorn, Gullfoss Iceland, ‘Flame Aurora’ – Suðursveit, Thórsmörk, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik