L et me preface this post by saying one thing. I do not dedicate my “10 reasons why you should visit” series to just ANY place, it needs to be really special. In fact, I only write these kinds of posts under one specific circumstance, that is when I am so ANNOYINGLY EXCITED about a trip I’ve just returned from that my friends basically want to murder me and I’m forced to take my yapping somewhere else: the Internet.
And oh boy, was Iceland exciting! So much to see, so much to do!
If the idea of visiting Iceland in 2021 has even remotely crossed your mind, then you need to stop with the thinking and start with the booking asap. Give me just 5 minutes, and I will also explain to you why:
1. First of all, Iceland looks like Mars
Well, I never actually visited Mars because I’m pretty sure my head would explode and all, but Iceland landscapes are truly nothing like you’ll ever see in the rest of the world. This is probably the single thing I loved the most about this country: it doesn’t look like anywhere else. Every single day you’ll drive through snow-covered volcanoes, steamy hot rivers, glaciers, black beaches, iceberg lagoons and lava fields. The scenery is crazy beautiful, full of extremes, it really doesn’t make any sense. In the end, Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice for a reason – aren’t you just a bit curious to see for yourself why?
2. It’s home to Europe’s largest glacier (and you can hike it!)
11% of the land in Iceland is covered in glaciers. Vatnajökull, the largest of them, is about the same size of the islands of Cyprus or Corsica. Cherry on top? Parts of it can be “easily” hiked!
For safety reasons, glacier excursion can only be arranged with the support of a local guide, who can make sure that a) your ass doesn’t fall into a crevasse 5 minutes into the hike, and b) you have the proper equipment, which includes crampons and a badass ice axe to channel your inner viking.
I really struggle to articulate how it felt to be up there (although I desperately tried in this blogpost) but I’ll tell you this for sure: hiking a glacier will be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. If you only need one reason to visit Iceland, this is it!
3. There are more than 10.000 waterfalls
Forget TLC – you should, by all means, go chasin’ waterfalls. Thanks to the sheer number of glaciers, in Iceland there is also an abundance of waterfalls. Skogafoss, Seljandfoss, Gullfoss, Godafoss to name just a few, you’ll never see water dropping over rocks so majestically.
4. Northen Lights, helloo?!
If you’re planning on visiting Iceland between late September to mid-March, you might have the chance to see the incredible show of the Aurora Borealis. Due to the high latitude and the presence of vast open skies free from city light pollution, Iceland is regarded as one of the best places in the world to catch the famous light show. It’s a rare light show nonetheless – the conditions have to be just right – but if you get lucky, grab a seat (and a blanket!) because you’re in for a treat.
5. Midnight Sun is non-stop fun
The proximity to the Arctic Circle gives Iceland another special feature: bright summer nights. Never-ending days can be experienced from mid-May to late July, but the peak is reached during the summer solstice, when the sun sets a few minutes past midnight and rises before 3 AM. This experience can feel out of this world, as you can arrange all kinds of activities at midnight – whale watching and horseback riding to name a few – but hey, if you just wanna sleep, make sure to put an eye mask in your luggage!
6. There’s a lot of geothermal stuff
Need some relax? Iceland will happily welcome you with some BOILING MUD FROM HELL, then STEAM THAT ERUPTS FROM THE GROUND YOU’RE STANDING ON, and finally some SMELLY SULFUR FUMES. Ah, geothermal energy! But seriously, it’s so exciting to be able to feel earth’s power and witness all its cool manifestations, like geysers and natural hot springs.
7. Icelandic horses, puffins and foxes are the cutest thing ever
Iceland does not only have a special landscape, but it also has some very special animals! In fact, let me present you…
The Icelandic horse
the Icelandic puffin
aaaand the Icelandic artic fox
It is scientifically proven that if none of those pictures made you go awwww at least once, you are a psychopath.
8. You can hike mountains with unpronounceable names
All mountains are beautiful in their own way, but Iceland mountains are really something else. Besides, anyone can hike Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Fuji, but how many out there can say they’ve hiked Fimmvörðuháls? And what about Hvannadalshnukur? And Kerlingarfjöll?? How many can say that huh? Nobody! Pronouncing Iceland names involves making our tongues do things that human tongues are simply NOT designed to do, which makes getting to know this region twice as fun. And if you need to brag with your friends, just throw a few vowels together and hope for the best!
9. Icelandic volcanoes are SO HOT RIGHT NOW
Can anyone recognise the subject of this photo? This is Eyjafjallajokull, the Icelandic volcano that with its eruption in 2010 messed up all your European flights plan and caused almost $2 billion in losses for airlines. What a jerk! And he’s not alone. In fact, there are 130+ volcanoes in Iceland, 30 of which are still active, and therefore potential jerks. The country is basically a giant volcanic laboratory sittin’ right between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. Remember tectonic plates? Me neither, shoutout to my 8th grade science teacher (hi Carla, wassup). Anyhow, whether your goal is to check out some badass volcanoes or catch up on some geoscience, Iceland is the best place to start.
10. Reykjavik is actually pretty cool
When planning a trip to Iceland most people are focused on all the natural adventures, which is quite normal and honestly correct. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how cool Reykjavik is – the tiny and colourful houses, the badass street-art, the live music and entertainment culture. I immensely enjoyed my time there and I highly recommend not to skip it when planning a trip to Iceland!
So, did you book your flight? Did I at least convince you to visit Iceland in 2021? Aren’t artic foxes the cutest?? Let me know!