Have you been living on a tight budget in order to afford the trip of a lifetime? While most people’s idea of a dream vacation involves lounging on the beach sipping margaritas, you may have something different in mind.
Iceland has captivated the interest of travelers from all over the world for their unique culture and stunning natural beauty. But when you tell your loved ones of your plans to vacation in Iceland, they probably look at you with confused faces and ask, “Why visit Iceland? What would you even do there?”
But don’t let them change your minds! Traveling to Iceland is an adventure you’ll never forget.
Do you need a little extra convincing (or help convincing your loved ones)? Then keep reading to discover 9 reasons you must visit Iceland.
1. The Northern Lights Are Stunning
The Northern Lights make their way onto bucket lists across the world. Many people dream of witnessing this natural phenomenon of colorful lights, but few ever see it.
Iceland is one of the best locations in the world to get a good view of the Northern Lights. Although it’s not a guarantee, traveling September through March greatly improves your chances. You can even find hotels that continuously check the sky and will wake you up if the Northern Lights make an appearance.
2. There’s a Unique Scuba Adventure
Scuba diving may be the last thing you think of doing in Iceland. After all, who wants to dive in such cold water?
However, certified divers (and avid snorkelers) can’t miss the chance to dive between the American and European tectonic plates. The best part is that this diving takes place in the country’s largest natural lake, Pingvallavatn, which is located inside the natural park and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pingvellir. So, if you’re traveling with non-scuba divers, they can explore the beautiful natural park while you go diving.
3. You Can Explore a Glacier
Exploring glaciers is a common must-do in many northern destinations. What’s unique about Iceland is that you can explore inside a glacier!
About 2 hours away from Reykjavik, is Langjokull. Here you’ll find a huge glacier that has been dug into to form tunnels. The magnificently blue ice will take your breath away, and it’s sure to be a unique experience.
4. …Or a Volcano
Speaking of unique experiences, Iceland also gives you the opportunity to explore volcanos. These volcanos are the reason Iceland exists, so, naturally, they play an important role in the country’s history.
Although there are many active volcanos in Iceland, your chances of seeing one erupt are slim. However, there are volcano tours that let you get up close to these natural wonders. Touring the dormant Prihnukagigur volcano gives you a chance to step inside a magma chamber where you’ll be able to see residual red shades from where the magma used to be.
5. You Can Warm Up in the Blue Lagoon
All that exploring is bound to put a little chill in your bones. But, no worry–Iceland has the perfect way to warm up.
The Blue Lagoon is widely-considered the most famous attraction in the country–and for good reason! This geothermal spa is filled with milky-blue water and healing mud. It’s always packed with tourists from all over, so those traveling to Iceland alone can meet new people and may even find a travel buddy.
6. They’re Known for the Whale Watching
There’s no denying that whales are one of Mother Nature’s greatest creations. And there’s no better place to spot them than Iceland.
There’s such a huge concentration of whales that some tours claim there’s a 99% chance of spotting them. Depending on where you go, you may see humpback whales, minke whales, and even other sea mammals, like harbor porpoises and white-beaked dolphins.
If you really want to spot something unique, make sure you find a whale watching tour that includes a trip to the seaside cliffs where you can find puffins.
7. The Food is Unique and Amazing
Who doesn’t love trying the local food when they travel? It’s a great way to learn more about the culture and try something new.
With the help of modern technology, Iceland is now able to grow more fresh foods to use in their dishes. However, the key elements of their diet have remained the same. Expect to see a lot of seafood and sheep, and be sure to try some of their signature dishes.
8. You Can Ride on Icelandic Horses
If you’re a fan of horseback riding, you can’t miss a trip to Iceland. It’s home to a special breed of horse called the Icelandic horse. Viking settlers brought over horses when colonizing Iceland, and the strongest have been bred over time to create a horse hardy enough to survive the harsh weather.
While that description may make them sound like giant beasts, the Icelandic horse is actually quite small (sometimes even pony sized) adorable, and gentle. They are well adapted to cross rugged terrain, making them perfect for horseback riding tours so you experience the natural wonder around you without breaking a sweat.
9. The Beaches are a Must
“Go to the beach…in Iceland?!” This might sound a little bizarre, but you can’t forget to hit the beach while in Iceland.
While you won’t want to bust out your swimsuit and go for a dip, the beaches are amazing for their unique appearance.
Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach complete with black cliffs, huge rock formations, and giant caves. Djupalonssandur is another amazing black beach you can visit. But what makes it so special is the visible shipwreck that has remained there for decades.
But if you’re really looking for something out of this world, you need to visit Diamond Beach. Large ice formations which glisten under the sun like oversized diamonds are scattered across this black sand beach giving it the most unique look out of the three.
Why Visit Iceland
If you’re looking for a trip that’s filled with unique foods and stunning scenery, Iceland is a must. From the Blue Lagoon and Northern Lights to whale watching and horseback riding, there’s no shortage of things to do. So, the next time your loved one asks, “why visit Iceland?”, just show them this list!
Don’t let a nasty cold ruin your trip. Check out these tips on staying healthy when you fly.