Because If Not Now....When?
01.13.2016 34 °F
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am madly in love with Iceland, so this blog may be a bit biased. Iceland is one of those places that is so breathtakingly surreal, you feel as if you are on another planet. Aside from her captivating beauty, Iceland is also home to some of the happiest people on the planet ( with a population of over 300,000 people-most Icelanders reside in/near the capital city, Reykjavik), gourmet restaurants (for you foodies), dramatic, unspoiled, otherworldly landscapes (Iceland has over 100 volcanoes as well as glaciers covering 11.1% of the land area of the country (hence the name the Land of Fire & Ice)-and is home to one of Europe's largest glaciers, Vatnajökull). Very little crime is committed in Iceland (where you gonna go?!!), so it is safe for solo travelers like myself. Iceland also has the midnight sun (in the summer) and the aurora borealis a.k.a. the northern lights (in the late fall/winter)....The list goes on, but I only promised you ten! As you may have gathered by now, there is something truly magical about the Land of Fire and Ice that should be experienced at least once in your lifetime. In case that killer introduction didn't convince you, here are 10 reasons to visit Iceland:
1. It's not that expensive to visit!
Thanks to airlines like WOW Air https://wowair.com/, you can fly to Reykjavik for as little as $99 USD one-way. Flight time from BOS or WAS is approximately 5 hours.
2. The Blue Lagoon!
Known for it's healing properties, the geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.
3. The Midnight Sun!
Boasting 20 hours of daylight in the summer, the secret solstice festival, and the opportunity to golf at midnight. The fun never ends!
(Although it was overcast the week of my visit, you can see that it's still light outside at 12:30 a.m., and I have yet another reason to return!)
4. The Gourmet Food!
Icelandic people are big on food! With almost 100 restaurants in Reykjavik (maybe more by the time this is published), you won't go hungry!
P.S. you must try an Icelandic hot dog (all of their meat products are organic) and the waffles with whip cream!! If you enjoy beverages of the adult persuasion, stop by Lebowski Bar for a Cocoa Puff white Russian. Breakfast in a drink!
5. Do go Chasing Waterfalls!
Iceland boasts and extensive list of impressive waterfalls! Majority of the waterfalls are named but there are so many that a large amount are nameless. So if you're ever on a tour and you ask your guide what the name of a water fall is, and he/she says "Foss", that means the waterfall does not have a name (foss means waterfall is Icelandic).
6. The Dramatic Landscapes!
Icelanders have a great respect for Mother Nature. They are very big on conservation, allowing us to witness the most spectacular and dramatic vistas.
7. Iceland in the Winter Looks like a Postcard!
Who doesn't love "Walkin In A Winter Wonderland"?! That's exactly what Iceland is during winter, and if you're lucky, you will get to see the Aurora! (tip: you need a clear night away from light pollution to see the Aurora. Also, if you plan on taking pictures, bring a tri-pod and make sure your camera settings are set beforehand. HAPPY HUNTING!)
8. Game Of Thones Films Here!
WINTER IS COMING! Some of the scenes in Season 4 were filmed at Thingvellir and in the Highlands (some scenes from Season 2 was filmed in the North) Take a GOT tour and you can visit the stomping ground of the White Walkers and the trail of the Wildlings from "North of the Wall." You also get to visit Thjorsardalur and the "Settlement Era Viking Lodge" – the location of the greatest massacre and most elaborate scene of the series so far. Game of Thrones Tour-Grayline Iceland (From Reykjavik) http://grayline.is/tours/reykjavik/game-of-thrones-tour-8706_88?currency=USD Game of Thrones Tour (North of the Wall)-Myvatn http://www.ttv.is/en/winter/myvatn-mystery-magic
9. Ice Caving!
If you're adventurous enough you can walk on glaciers or journey into the ice caves! http://goecco.com/winter_tours/iceland_ice_cave_winter_tour_-_2_day_tour?gclid=CKWn48nnp8oCFYUYHwodsNMEhw
10. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park
Home to the world's first Parliament (established in 930 A.D.), it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The geological beauty of Þingvellir is the reason I fell in love with Iceland. Strolling through Almannagjá, a canyon formed between two tectonic plates provides a visual representation of continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates which is otherworldly and phenomenal. The plate boundary (continental divide) which lies across Iceland from the southwest to the northeast(and is an area of volcanic activity and geothermal heat), is visible only here and in the Reykjanes peninsula, and it truly shows you what a tiny place you occupy in this vast world of ours.
Are you ready to pack your bags on go to Iceland yet? I know I am! Just in case, here's a bonus:
- Leif Eriksson, the Viking who discovered The New World "America" a half a millennium before Christopher Columbus is from here!!!