Many think Iceland is a very cold place with frozen landscapes, which is partly true. However, this island in the North Atlantic has much more to offer. To get you started, here are five reasons to visit Iceland.
Iceland – the land of fire and ice
Iceland is a country of contrasting landscapes and is therefore called the Land of Fire and Ice. Indeed, you will find many glaciers when you visit Iceland, especially in the western parts of the country, including the largest in Europe – the Vatnajokull, but at the same time, you will also find dozens of volcanoes, both active and extinct, along with numerous lava fields, hot springs, and geysers. Iceland has even more hot springs than any country, while the term geyser itself is derived from the Icelandic Great Geysir in Haukadalur.
Apart from this, Iceland also has many waterfalls, including Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe and the beautiful Black Falls. It also has many lakes, rivers, fjords, mountains and small islands, such as the Westman Islands, all of which are worth exploring. To experience the best of Iceland’s natural wonders, head to the Golden Circle, trek into the Highlands or pass through the country’s national parks – Snaefellsjokul, Vatnajokull and Thingvellir – and prepare to be impressed to be.
Iceland is not only rich in natural wonders. It also has an interesting wealth of cultural heritage, which is especially evident in the family saga and folk tales of wizards, ghosts and mythical creatures such as dragons, elves, dwarfs, trolls, and ogres. If you want to hear these stories or learn more about these creatures, head to Lambi and Hafnarfjorour, where the elves live or just ask one of the locals. You can also visit the Icelandic Wonders Museum to get a glimpse of the life of elves and trolls or take a class at the Icelandic Elf School.
Winter is a magical season in Iceland when the mountains and plains are covered with fresh snow, the lakes and waterfalls freeze over, and the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights put on a heavenly show, illuminating the sky in many parts of the country. This is especially true during the Christmas period when entire towns, villages, and villages are lit up with twinkling lights and the thirteen Christmas boys roam to spread mischief and Christmas cheer. You can even visit the Yule Lads in their caves near Akureyri. Although many roads are closed, many activities are still possible, especially winter sports such as skiing, skating and bobsleighing. Iceland’s largest ski resort is Blafjoll, just minutes from the capital, Reykjavik.
Horse tours and other exciting outdoor adventures
Iceland is also known for its unique horse breed, which, while small, is known for being hardy and easy to ride, and the chance of riding one is one of the reasons you should visit Iceland. Riding an Icelandic horse is indeed a rare and amazing experience that you should try out and it is definitely a great way to explore Iceland’s beautiful natural landscapes, especially as Icelandic horses are solid in most terrains. For this reason, many horseback riding tours are available in Iceland, with different routes and durations.
Aside from horseback riding, there are many other exciting outdoor activities to try when visiting Iceland, such as golfing under the midnight sun, cycling around Reykjavik and hiking in the mountains and fjords. Water sports are also plentiful, such as rafting, swimming, sea kayaking and sport fishing. Among the things not to be missed is the wildlife that Iceland has to offer, such as bird watching in Latrabjarg and glimpsing the minke whales, blue humpback whales and killer whales off the coast of Husavik.
Icelanders are music lovers, so look out for an interesting music scene when you visit Iceland. Here you can hear folk songs from small villages and local pubs, classical music from concert halls and theaters, rock music that pulsates in the different night clubs and many other types of music. Iceland even has its own metal scene, while jazz fans like to hang out during the Reykjavik Jazz Festival. Of course, Bjork’s albums are also sold in almost every music store, and if you’re lucky you might even get to see one of her concerts.