I love exploring new places, whether that be here in the UK or abroad. When I’m heading off on holiday I’m always full of excitement and anticipation to explore somewhere new, enjoy new experiences and soak up the culture.
There are a lot of amazing holiday destinations all over the world and it can be extremely difficult to choose where to go if you’re not sure where to start or what you want to get from a holiday. If you haven’t considered Iceland as a holiday destination before then here are a few reasons you should!
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
There’s something truly magical about the Northern Lights, it’s nature at it’s most beautiful and a sight on most peoples bucket list. Can you imagine a more beautiful sight than the moonlight glistening on the pristine snow, while green and pink lights dance across the sky?
Iceland is lucky enough to be able to enjoy the Northern Lights for 8 months of the year, from September to April is the best time to enjoy this spectacular natural phenomenon. Unfortunately, it’s not guaranteed and there is a bit of luck involved as to whether the lights will be visible on any given day but if you are lucky enough to see them it’s a sight you will never forget.
There are many guided tours available to search for the Northern Lights, it’s a great way to enjoy an evening – just wrap up warm! You could even choose to enjoy a husky ride tour to search for the lights, sit back, relax and take in the sights and sounds of Iceland after dark.
From beautiful snow topped mountains to giant glaciers, geothermic spas to volcanoes, the country is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world. If it’s natural beauty you’re looking for you will not be disappointed with a trip to Iceland.
More than 10% of Iceland’s landmass is covered by glaciers so if you’re looking to explore why not hop on a snowmobile and visit some of the glaciers of Iceland. Vatnajökull glacier is not only the largest glacier in Iceland but in Europe, so if it’s glaciers you’re looking for then make sure you add this one to the top of your list. As time passes these floating glaciers can adapt and change shape with some even forming ice caves which are incredible to explore and enjoy. The ice caves are accessible between November and March with the warmer months bringing a thaw which can make them treacherous and unsafe.
If you want to enjoy double the beauty why not visit one of Iceland’s many volcanoes where you can also see glaciers which have formed on top of the volcano. The most active volcano is Grímsvötn which is located in south-east Iceland, other active volcanoes include Katla, Öræfajökull and Bárðarbunga. Just last year Öræfajökull showed signs of awakening and has been the focus of peoples attention ever since. With over 30 active volcanoes in the country and 269 named glaciers, if natural beauty is what you’re after then look no further.
When exploring a new country it’s always good to try some of the local cuisines, immersing yourself in the local culture includes trying local delicacies, you might even find something you love.
The fundamentals of food in Iceland has changed very little over the last few years with fish, lamb and Icelandic Skyr still being among the most popular food items. With the Atlantic on its doorstep, it’s really no wonder fish is a popular choice – it couldn’t be any fresher.
Other foods you should consider trying include Flatkaka (a traditional thin, round, rye flatbread), stockfish (dried, unsalted fish) and of course, you must try some traditional Icelandic chocolate and candy.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon was named one of National Geographic’s “25 Wonders of the World” in 1012 and with its crystal waters, stunning backdrop and range of spa treatments it’s easy to see why it’s one of Iceland’s most visited attractions.
The water in the Blue Lagoon contains properties which are rich in minerals and active ingredients such as silica, sulfur and algae which can help replenish and rejuvenate the skin and body.
The Blue Lagoon is the largest man-made geothermic spa in the world, it’s fed by water from the nearby geothermal power plant Svartsengi and maintains an average temperature of 37-39 degrees in the bathing and swimming areas.
If you plan to visit as a family it’s worth checking the rules and regulations at the lagoon, children under the age of 2 are not permitted while children ages 8 and under must wear armbands which are provided free of charge. Everyone must also adhere to strict hygiene rules and shower prior to entering the lagoon.
If you fancy a trip to the Blue Lagoon then it’s worth noting you have to prebook your visit in advance, don’t leave it too late because it can get booked up very quickly.
A must for animal lovers, step aboard one of the many boats offering whale watching tours and head out into the North Atlantic for the chance to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. The best time to enjoy whale watching in Iceland is during the summer months when you could see species including Orca, Blue Whale, Humpback and Minke to name but a few.
Whale watching trips are available throughout the country so no matter where you choose to holiday in Iceland you should be near to a trip departure area. Not only could you see some of the many incredible species of whale, you could also be lucky enough to come across other animals such as dolphins, porpoise, basking sharks, seals and of course many species of birds, all while enjoying the breathtaking views this stunning country has to offer.
Now you’ve had a small glimpse into what Iceland has to offer why not add it to your bucket list and start planning your next holiday there, you could even use my money saving tips for travelling solo and head off on a one man or woman trip. Take it at your own pace, clear your head and enjoy some me time, what could be better?!