This week we toured around Iceland during their New Year’s celebration and it has been incredible.
Iceland travel was never really on my radar, but when we found a screaming deal to London through Icelandic Air, we took the opportunity to stop in.
Reason 10 To Visit Iceland
The Icelandic people are notoriously friendly and speak excellent English.
Whether driving, hitchhiking, or stopping to ask a question at the bus stop. We always encountered someone willing to help.
The grumpiest person we found was a teenager managing a tourist trap pit stop. And I only say ‘grumpy’ because she wasn’t smiling and spoke very little.
Even all the Icelandic drunks are nice! (It was New Year’s after all)
The ease of communication is huge! It takes such a load of stress off when you don’t have to struggle to explain “BATH-ROOM” all the while gesticulating like a crazy person.
Many Icelanders will just start talking to you in English unprompted. May well be the easiest to travel “foreign” country I’ve been to yet.
Reason 9 To Visit Iceland
Navigating is easy!
It’s a relatively small Island, go in one direction and you’ll find something.
As a foreigner, sometimes navigating a big city or new place can be stressful.
Iceland is a small country, and their capital city really isn’t all that big either. All the streets are clearly marked and their public transportation is dead simple to figure out.
Except for a few 1 way streets in the Capital of Iceland, Reykjavik, driving around is simple. And for North Americans they drive on the right side just like us.
If you need directions, see reason 10.
Reason 8 To Visit Iceland
Get a taste of Europe without the bill!
Iceland wants tourism so the flights into there can be had for relatively cheap through Iceland Air.
If you are traveling to Iceland from North America you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a round trip ticket, and about the same for a one way to Europe. Or, less that it might cost to cross the USA.
Iceland is comprised of both the european continental plate and the north american continental plate so if you travel around Iceland you can literally be in Europe!
Bonus Tip: Where the tectonic plates meet is a great natural wonder to visit. You can even scuba dive between them.
Reason 7 To Visit Iceland
All your favorite foods!
Whether you are from Europe, the UK, or the Americas, Iceland has it.
The weirdest thing we found was puffin and whale on the menu. Other than that, burgers, soups, lamb, potato, hearty northern Europe influenced foods are the traditional fair.
Plus, if you are a fish fan, much of the city is coastal and fishing is still a large industry (but don’t worry, it didn’t smell fishy).
Reason 6 To Visit Iceland
All your modern comforts and luxuries.
While Iceland still has it’s rough and hard working ‘backwoods’ individuals, the overall sensibility of Iceland is upscale. (And the prices reflect that)
Most everywhere you go is either very modern and accommodating or old in a quaint historic sort of way.
Because Iceland relies heavily on imported goods, you can find a wide selection of products that you will recognize.
Reason 5 To Visit Iceland
The Northern Lights!
While it is not the only place in the world where you can see the Northern Lights, it is certainly a fantastic place to.
Amid the natural beauty that is everywhere, the Aurora Borealis shines bright.
But keep an eye on the forecast. The Aurora can be reclusive and you’ll want to be outside the city on a clear night.
Reason 4 To Visit Iceland
You might think this a weird one to add to the list, but hear me out.
Iceland is the only country in the world that can boast 100% renewable energy for it’s electrical consumption.
That’s amazing, and cool if only for the nerdiness factor. Take a factory tour and check it out.
Plus, about 85% of total energy usage is from renewable sources.
Cold water is pumped fresh from the source and directly to your tap. Hot water is derived from geothermic activity and smells a bit like eggs in the process.
This leads to cool things like heated roads to keep them ice-free in the winter, and country-wide indoor heating from their geothermic heated water sources.
Reason 3 To Visit Iceland
Does not feel “touristy”.
There is nothing I dislike more than visiting a country to discover it’s culture and natural beauty only to be overwhelmed by kitschy tourist shops.
Don’t get me wrong, tourists shops definitely exist here, but the Icelanders have struck a good balance.
While it is all very expensive, most of the items I saw for sale where actually interesting or useful.
Not only this, but there aren’t giant signs for tours, or street vendors begging for your attention.
Iceland is simply there, patiently waiting for you to notice it. It is relaxed, and it is wonderful.
Reason 2 To Visit Iceland
VIKINGS! (And other amazing historic facts)
Iceland as you may well know, was founded by Vikings. And this heritage shows.
Icelandic itself is the closest you can get to hearing the old Viking language spoken today.
Site’s around Iceland hark back to and tell the tales of the Viking people. The feudal kings that followed, the verbal law declarations each year till written languages were used…
The history is rich, fascinating, and the people are proud of it.
Reason Number 1 To Visit Iceland!
The absolutely stunning natural beauty.
How to describe Iceland? A lunar landscape, another world?
Active volcanoes, roaring oceans.
Mountains jut up out of the flat ground and push right up to the ocean where they sharply fall away.
Molten lava fields that have frozen in time.
Gigantic and majestic waterfalls.
Natural hot springs…
It is an outdoor lover’s paradise, and almost indescribable in it’s particular brand of natural wonderment.
It truly is a place like none other on earth. But you have to come to Iceland twice. Once in the winter to see it covered in snow with 5 hr days (just imaging being a Viking back then). And once in the Summer where the sun shines all day and it’s full potential is unleashed.
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