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Ten Reasons to Visit Iceland


Ten reasons to visit Iceland, ten best things to do in Iceland, one great TO DO list and our nice Honeymoon in Iceland video that puts together the best spots and moments spent there! Hope you enjoy it!




Every little corner of this amazing world has its beauty and for each person beauty represents a different thing. For us it's mountains, nature and the thin air, for others it may be the sea, the city or extreme sports, nevertheless there are places in this world that seem to be capable to captivate everyone's attention! 

How we decided to pick Iceland as a destination for our honeymoon is not at all hard to imagine. First of all we understood "exotic" does not end with the notorious sunny beaches and sweet warm days of endless summer, and trust me....Iceland is nothing if not exotic! We wanted something that keeps us close to nature, that allows us to explore diversity and that is not easy to forget so by far Iceland is this place!


Ten reasons to see Iceland


Iceland clearly is one of THOSE countries that literally take your breath away at every step. Once you go Iceland you never go back! :) So I will go on and start with ten reasons why we forever and ever will be in love with Iceland and why we recommend it with all our hearts!

The most extreme place in Europe


  • I said it before and I am going to repeat it: Iceland is the country of contrasts. The pearl of Europe, comes in front of us with fire and ice, rain and desert, green and black at the same time. This is a place where all the extremes seem to be attracted to one another in the most symbiotic way you can ever imagine, a place where history is written and re-written as we speak.
  • Iceland is the westernmost point of Europe (if we do not take into consideration the Azores) and more interesting, this is probably the only country where you can observe above sea level how the two major tectonic plates of Eurasia and North America are drifting apart.

 

Nature - nothing you ever imagined before!

  • The naming and the background story of these two neighboring countries is pretty funny: Iceland and Greenland. Greenland was named by Erik the Red, an Icelander of Norwegian descent who was exiled there for murder and hoped that the name would attract more man who were dreaming of fertile and rich lands. Unfortunately for Erik the trick didn't really work as not many arrived. Anyway this is why the ever white icy lands got the name of "GreenLand" and the green and fertile lands more south were named "IceLand".


  • The Icelandic nature is totally stunning and you really have to convince yourself at firsthand about it. Pictures will tell you a lot but the experience is unique. Things in Iceland are different than what we are used to in Europe and nothing can really prepare you for this encounter.
  • Even though mountains seldom rise over 2000 meters, hiking at these heights is pure mountaineering and it is comparable to condition you can expect at 3000 meter or more. Glaciers with deep crevasses that go down until sea level, 800 meters high peaks that are shrouded in clouds and evergreen slopes that seem to have no end are just a few of the landscapes here.
  • And the waterfalls... are incredible! Basalt columns dipped in clear waters, giant green canyons, sapphire colored waterfalls with rainbows everywhere - everything extremely impressive and exotic to the eye.

 
  • The black beaches and fjords, the endless moss fields and the delicate dandelions, the black desert and lava rivers are all magnificent Icelandic sights you will not forget any time soon.



The natural diversity of the country


  • And because we spoke about the Icelandic nature there is still one more aspect to cover here: the sheer diversity. This country won't let you get bored not even for 5 minutes because every 50 kilometers the whole landscape changes radically.
  • This moment you might be in the middle of some green hills flooded by waterfalls and the next you can find yourself in the midst of a volcanic field. Just a little further you might reach a geothermal area which illustrates all the colours of the earth and up next you might stand in a moss covered filed that has thousands of small volcanic cones. Up next you'll expect to reach the ever white mountains and a rive where huge blocks of ice make their way slowly to the ocean.
  • Nowhere else have I seen so many different landscapes in only 12 days and in only one country, which is relatively small compared to others.



Crazy weather - here it is! 

 

  • Iceland can offer an experience hard to imagine with its 22 hour long days and with its 19 hour long nights. Having at least one small rain shower a day or maybe never ending rain that will penetrate even the most waterproof equipment, winds that dictate where your next step will be and clouds so low in altitude you can actually touch, Iceland is clearly an extreme country that will offer unforgettable memories.
  • After a week with constant rain in Iceland you will start to accept nature in a different way :).

The Northern Lights magic


  • The Aurora Borealis "landed" on Earth from a fairy land of dreams and it stopped in Iceland to illuminate its long and cold nights. On my big list of things I want to do and experience in this wonderful journey called life, number one, as you might imagine, was to stay one night outside in the wild under the magic of the Northern Lights. I was lucky to get three such nights and I can honestly say that as the sky lit up the same happened to my soul. The Aurora was my personal zenith of the trip in Iceland!



The dramatic wonder of the volcanic landscape


  • I don't know how many of you had the pleasure to experience a volcanic landscape - furthermore one with active volcanoes, but I can honestly say that at times it is just like walking on another planet. Black sand beaches, mountains of cinder, deserts of volcanic ash and lava rivers for as far as the eye can see. Everything you see invites you to contemplate, to reach inner peace, because this is a sacred place where nature implements the rules of the game. Nothing I have seen thus far has any resemblance to it!
  • It is hard to say what I liked the most in Iceland, but if I had to I think, than the volcanic landscape would win.



Thermal waters everywhere


  • When I'm saying everywhere it isn't an exaggeration! Icelanders wash and heat their homes with thermal water even in the biggest towns. They have spring tap water and thermal water in the shower and for heating - wonderland!
  • Besides this we can also add to the list that most towns, regardless of how small they are, have thermal swimming pools. This country is the only place where I have seen an outside thermal water shower in the middle of nowhere, rivers and caves with hot water just right for bathing.
  • And let's not forget the SPAs like the Blue Lagoon or Mytvan Nature Baths. From the two I would recommend Mytvan because it is 100% natural and less crowded than what you can find at the Blue Lagoon. This is the place where we experienced the most romantic evening surrounded by blue waves and a perfect sunset!


Cute Icelandic animals


  • Puffy, woolly and almost always curious the Icelandic wildlife is another point of attraction and if you also add the fact that the largest predator is the arctic fox then you will find the perfect recipe. Curious and friendly souls, the horses here are really special and photogenic - as a bonus you can find many places that organize horseback tours across the country for a unique experience.
  • A bit more shy but equally amusing are the sheep that roam the country side and you can be sure that no matter where you are you won't ever be alone - be at ease because they are not accompanied by any sheep dogs or predators.
  • The less domestic side of the country is strongly coveted by tourists, photographers and amateur wild life enthusiasts. You have good chances to stumble across all kinds of birds, arctic foxes and moose everywhere but the best place is in the Western Fjords region.

 
  • If you want something more you can opt in for a whale watching tour to meet the humble sea giants, but also dolphins and seals.

The Icelanders


  • Because all the planets seem to have aligned when Iceland was created the people living here are also wonderful. Having a pretty big surface for its 320.000 inhabitants, Iceland and its people make things work perfectly, mostly because of their love for nature and for their homeland.
  • The Nordic minimalism and architecture dominate every corner of their civilization and I can say that the western opulence is totally missing from this place. The people here are modest in the most sincere way because I think they understood that the beauty of life resides within simple things.
    • Smiles and politeness are free so they will offer them unconditionally wherever you might be. 
    • The trust and warmth with which Icelanders look at you will make you feel right at home.
    • Their care for nature can be seen everywhere - you won't have any taxes for visiting natural site and at the same time all of them are carefully cared for and preserved.
    • Their whole society if built on trust and mutual respect - probably that is the reason why they only have 112 people behind bars (might be a world record)!
    • The towns are rather small and simple - even the capital, Reykjavik, is rather small but very stylish and full of life.


Food and the Icelandic kitchen


  • Until recent the greatest part of Icelandic economy was based on the export of fish - taking in consideration that Iceland is a volcanic island and that most of the establishments are situated at the seaside you can guess that their main cuisine is fish. Besides fish it is worth mentioning that Icelanders have a great love for sheep meat and that they are quite skilled in preparing a large array of dishes.
  • For those who prefer a less traditional, but still authentic dish, you can rest easy as this is the hamburger kingdom. Everybody here seem to have a great passion for burgers and after trying some out I can say they are really delicious!
  • In terms of desserts, even though you would have never guessed, Icelanders love ice-cream - so don't be shocked if you will see people eating it even if there are negative degrees outside!



10 amazing things to do in Iceland


Here are some of the most interesting things you can do or better said experiment while visiting Iceland. Of course the list could be a lot longer and detailed but those are the first ten recommendations I have for you.

  1. Helicopter tour over Iceland - where you get to land on top of the glaciers, on active volcanoes, super remote places in Iceland and even journey to Greenland!
  2. Northern Lights hunt
  3. Glacier Trekking and highly remote hiking 
  4. Explore caves and ice caves
  5. Snowmobiling, ATV and Super Jeep tours - volcanic safari
  6. Puffin watching, whale watching and bird watching tours
  7. Cycling (a bit extreme if you count the wind)
  8. Ring Road road trip with a camper van
  9. Discover Iceland while horse back riding 
  10. Learn about the Icelandic culture, history and traditions


TO DO list for Iceland


And now sharing with you the initial "To Do" list I made before this trip and the video that puts together the best Icelandic moments from our honeymoon.

  • Catch a night under the magic of the Aurora Borealis

  • Rent a camper van and hit the (Ring) road!

  • Climb a volcano

  • Yoga day on the black sandy beaches

  • Photograph Kirkjufell peak - the most photographed mountain in Iceland (you bet I needed this)

  • See the Hvitserkur elephant - later on I found out that this was somehow a dragon but it doesn't really matter, it's all about your imagination. So elephant or not, I saw it!

  • Touch the notorious basalt columns

  • See the great Geysir and witness and "explosion"

  • A walk in the black volcanic desert

  • See the glaciers and breathe the cold air around them

  • Termal bath at Myvatn

  • See the traditional Icelandic houses

  • See that iconic place with a house that has a mountain with a big waterfall right in it's backyard. Later I found out that this is a regular landscape in Iceland, many houses have this privilege.

  • Visit Reykjavik, the capital and biggest city of Iceland and take a photo with the Sun Voyager

  • See puffins and seals

  • See the lighthouse from Akranes

  • Visit the amazing waterfalls: Haifoss, Glymur, Sellfoss, Detifoss, Gullfoss

  • See where the tectonic plaques meet - at Thingvellir 
  • Check the Grjotagja cave - the place where a scene from the Game of Thrones was filmed
  • Summit KristĂ­nartindar peak (1126 m) - unsolved point, we have to go back :)



Iceland for us


Was:
  • The best choice for our honeymoon
  • The most beautiful country we ever visited
  • The most special journey
  • The most magical night we spent - winner: the northern lights
  • The most stunning encounter with Mother Nature
  • The most close to our hearts experience
  • The best present!






This being said, we reached the end of our journey to Iceland and I can only hope this will inspire you to pack your things and go, start you own adventure on this magic little volcanic country! For us it was amazing with every step we took and definitely something we won't forget soon! And hope this won't stop here, because we might celebrate our 10th or 25th wedding anniversary in Iceland as well! 

For more details about our itinerary please read the Complete tour of Iceland in 12 days or use the label Iceland. :)

Happy travels!







Ten Reasons to Visit Iceland Reviewed by Karina Isar on 09:44 Rating: 5

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