The country may be below the Arctic Circle, but the temperatures in the winter are often higher than in New York. Iceland is so much more than freezing weather and The Northern Lights; so pack your bags, and enjoy natural wonders you won't find anywhere else in the world! Check out my 10 reasons to visit Iceland!
1. The Midnight Sun in Iceland
Who doesn't LOVE a good sunrise/ sunset? The Midnight Sun in Iceland offers travellers the opportunity to capture the sunset/ sunrise amongst spectacular views and above beautiful cities. Because Iceland is situated just below the Arctic Circle, the summer nights are bright with 24-hour daylight from mid-May to late July. The Summer Solstice occurs between the 20th and the 22nd of June; making the Midnight Sun after midnight and rises again just before 3 am.
There are various spots across Iceland where the Midnight Sun glistens across the Icelandic nature and landscape; meaning that from May to July, various midnight Sun tours are in operation.
2. The Northern Lights
If Iceland is well-known for anything, it's The Northern Lights. When you search 'Iceland' on Google, you can almost guarantee a picture of The Northern Lights will show up on the results, because if you are looking for the best place in the world to witness the Northern Lights, then Iceland is the place to go! Witnessing the Northern Lights is an activity on many peoples bucket lists because it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience to witness the Northern Lights.
The best times to see the Northern Lights is from September to mid-April; which is why many tourists visit Iceland outside of the bright, and warmer, summer months. However, there's never a guarantee that tourists are able to see them. Its always recommended that visitors stay in the country for a couple of days, as the Northern Lights will sometimes put on a show for a few days, then simply disappear for the rest of the week.
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3. The Geothermal Baths
While Iceland may be covered in hot springs, there are a few that are eye-catching; such as the Blue Lagoon. If you're into spa treatments and a populated feel, then the Blue Lagoon is perfect for you! However, if you are into a more secluded area, the Landmannalauger or Leirubakki Springs might be more for your style. Either way, geothermal baths are the perfect opportunity for relaxation in Iceland after extensive tours and walking.
The Blue Lagoon is another attraction that is on many peoples bucket lists. this may because of its luminescent hue of blue and healing waters of issues such as muscle aches, aged skin, and much more! The Blue Lagoon is located about 45 minutes from Reykjavik, which makes it possible to do a quick day trip. The lagoon is full of geothermal seawater that stays piping hot all year round.
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4. The Glaciers
The 'Land of Fire and Ice' has more than 4,500 square miles of glaciers, so there is NO WAY of visiting Iceland without walking on ice at some point. The largest glacier is Vatnajokull, which covers the greater part of the Southern and Central highlands.
Glaciers are directly responsible for many of Iceland's most astonishing attractions such as Jokulsarlon, a large glacial lake in the south-east Iceland which is filled with gigantic icebergs that have broken off from the tip of the tongue of Breioamerkurjokull glacier, creating a fairytale of ice and wildlife.
Glaciers can be explored through snowmobile tours, glacier hiking, or ice climbing.
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5. The Geysers and Waterfalls
Iceland is home to hundreds, upon hundreds of spectacular waterfalls and geysers. It has been said before, that when it comes to water, Iceland has an abundance of it- in all forms. This can be from swimming pools, hot springs, geysers, glaciers, rivers, or even waterfalls. Iceland is bursting at the seams. The waterfalls in Iceland are countless; every year, a new one forms from melting glaciers and almost every river have a few. The waterfalls can be seen from all over the country, many of them from the ring round.
Whereas the Geysers are all part of self-drive or golden circle tours. You're probably wondering what a Geyser is? A geyser is a vent in the Earth's surface that periodically ejects a column of hot water and steam. Even a mall geyser is an amazing phenomenon; however, some geysers have eruptions that blast thousands of gallons of boiling-hot after up to a few hundred feet in the air.
6. The Landscapes
Around every corner is a new, beautiful, piece of landscape in Iceland. There is always a great opportunity to take pictures of the beautiful nature in Iceland. Whether that be the Icelandic mountains or even the Icelandic cities; there's not a sight in Iceland that isn't beautiful.
One popular piece of the landscape is the beautiful mountains. Iceland is beset with so many mountain ranges that the most diligent of mountaineers could be kept busy for a number of lifetimes. Even the capital is surrounded by a remarkable variety of peaks and a twenty-minute drive can take you away from the city and onto a hiking trail.
6. The Wildlife
Wild mammals in Iceland include the Arctic Fox, Mink, Rabbits, Reindeers, Whales and much more. Believe it or not, there are only a few types of wildlife in Iceland that are native to the country and many that were brought to the country by humans. People love to travel to Iceland for the stunning landscapes and the animals in Iceland are often an afterthought, which is a shame because most Icelandic animals are cute and not that dangerous.
Unlike other Arctic locations like Alaska and Canada, there are no bears in Iceland! The last polar bears in Iceland were gone by the end of the last ice age; which is why Iceland is the perfect place to visit (amongst other things).
There are two overall types of animals in Iceland, domesticated/ farm animals and wild animals in Iceland! Domesticated animals are the animals you will see in fences or driving along the roads, whereas wildlife in Iceland may be a little harder to spot, depending on how long you are in Iceland and what time of year you visit. #
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7. The Culture
There is far more to Iceland than just nature. Icelandic culture is just as diverse as the landscape. The history may not be a long history, but Iceland is proud of it.
Iceland is a Nordic country, which means it has strong ties to the ancient Vikings. Icelanders are proud of this heritage and the many customers that come along with it, particularly in terms of the language.
Aside from Iceland's Viking roots, Icelanders have a strong culture of food, literature and the arts. The capital of Reykjavik has galleries, bookstores, theatres and a symphony orchestra. In fact, Icelandic music has become its own genre, combining pop and folk.
8. The Volcanoes
The volcanos in Iceland define the nature of the land, creating endless fields of moss-coated lava, sweeping plains of black sand, jagged peaks, and vast craters. the volcanic forces beneath the surface of the earth also create some of the country's most popular wonders, such as its naturally occurring hot springs, and its explosive geysers. Thousands of tourists flock to Iceland to witness the volcanos and the marvels they have (and continue to) create.
There are approximately 130 volcanos in Iceland active and inactive. About 30 active volcanic systems can be found under the island, in all parts of the country other than the Westfjords.
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9. The Cities
There are endless cities, towns and villages in Iceland. Some have easy names like Vik but other ones like Faskruodfjordur. There is an extraordinary simplicity to living in Iceland but yet, every community seems to have its own identity and own way of living. To talk about a list of Icelandic cities might be a bit of an overstatement. Although the island itself is quite big, the occupant is only around 360,000, making it almost impossible to make up one city, let alone a whole list of them.