Iceland is a great place to visit. For those on the East Coast of the US, it is not even that far AND Icelandair offers a great deal for stopovers on the way across the Atlantic!
Caleb and I have been there 3 times and are going for our 4th time in November for my 32nd birthday! We always fly via Icelandair; it is an easy 6 hour direct flight from Chicago to Reykjavik. I don’t mind the flight in the slightest because the seats are comfortable, there is sufficient leg-room, and Icelandair provides impeccable on-air free entertainment and food + drink service. We’ve always purchased our tickets at least 6 months in advance and they have never cost more (even during busy tourist season) than a trip to California from Wisconsin, sometimes less than $500 round-trip per person!
Whenever we travel there I try to share as many photos as possible on instagram, and I’ve had several people tell me they booked trips to Iceland because of all my photos. That is such a huge compliment and I am so excited for everyone who has trips planned!
I honestly cannot say enough great things about Iceland. I highly highly highly recommend it and I am happy to share 10 reasons why I love it so much!
10 Reasons You Need To Visit Iceland
1. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) natural park. This is the site of Europe’s first Parliament, although the modern Thing does not meet here but in a building in Reykjavik. It is also right on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. You can literally stand and get your photo taken with one foot on in Europe and one in America.
2. Waterfalls. Iceland has many, many waterfalls. Goðafoss is the most famous, but there are others. You can take a day to see them all, or do the Golden Circle tour (Þingvellir, Goðafoss and Geysir). Take a rain jacket so you can get right up to the spray.
3. Geysir. The third stop in the Golden Circle is Geysir, from which we get the word “geyser.” The most active geyser is called Strokkur. It sprouts boiling hot water as high as 30 meters into the air every few minutes. Be sure to watch the wind direction for spraying water or just wear a rain jacket with a hood.
4. Hot dogs. You might not associate hot dogs with Iceland, but you need to try them. Icelandic hot dogs are a mixture of beef and lamb that is just delicious. Caleb and I probably have a hot dog every-other-day when we visit. AND we always stop for one last hot dog on our way to return our rental car – yes, they are that good!!
5. The Northern Lights. You need to go in winter to see them properly, but Reykjavik at Christmas is well worth the trip (and the cold).
6. Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon). Take an amphibian boat tour and see the glacial lagoon. If you are really lucky you might be able to say hi to remarkably tame seals. This may be the prettiest spot on earth. When I saw it for the first time after the brief hike from our car I gasped out-loud and I think my eyes doubled in size. I recently got the coordinates for Jökulsálón tattooed on my right forearm. It is by far, my favorite spot on the island.
7. Vik. Vik is a small village that might not seem to be much, but it is the gateway to Reynisfjara, a beach of black volcanic sand that looks absolutely gorgeous. Also, a great place to watch puffins and other seabirds in the summer. Vík is my FAVORITE city in Iceland – we even named our German Shepherd pup after it!
8. While in Vik, check out the wreckage of a DC-3 that was forced to land. It’s about 8km away, but worth every step.
9. The Horses. In the 10th century, Iceland closed its borders to horses because of a plague in continental Europe. The restriction was never lifted, meaning that Icelandic horses are a reservoir of pure Medieval stock. They are short and gaited (meaning they are incredibly comfortable to ride) and can carry full grown men despite their small size. Go for a ride or just watch.
10. Murals in Reykjavik. Reykjavik has some gorgeous graffiti murals as well as painted houses and wonderful architecture, including the “Lutheran cathedral” that helps make sure you never get lost.
Iceland is well worth the visit. Take in these sights (Doing the Golden Circle tour on your first day is highly recommended), soak in hot springs, and go hiking in wonderful scenery. Your only problem will be running out of time and wanting to go back!
So there you have it, 10 great reasons to visit Iceland. I could go on and on, and perhaps I will write another blog post with more incredible reasons to visit, but until then if you are interested I would recommend:
- spending some time on the Guide to Iceland Website
- renting or purchasing the Lonely Plant Iceland Travel Guide. We bring it with us every time we go because it is a great resource & easy to read.
- look at flights on Icelandair AND sign up for their email list because then you can be alerted about any flight deals they are having
- follow our instagram, House_Fur because I am frequently posting Iceland images