Maybe you’ve heard of Iceland, but thought, “Why would anyone go there?” There are plenty of good reasons to go to Iceland and here are only a few of the many reasons you should go visit.
- It’s a shorter flight from the United States to Iceland than to Europe. Yes, that’s true! From Boston, it’s only a 4½-hour direct flight to Keflavik Airport (KEF). By the time you are beginning to get comfortable in your seat, it’s pretty much time to get off the plane and enjoy Iceland.
- The Northern Lights: Sure, you can see them in several places around the world, but you can definitely see them as well in Iceland. In fact, it’s considered one of the world’s most accessible spots in which to view the Northern Lights. Although there’s no guarantee you will see them, the best time to go is anywhere from September to October through March or April. The three times I went out to see them, there was no sighting, but that doesn’t prevent me from going back hoping I might.
- Iceland is part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge: This is a divergent tectonic plate boundary located along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, which separates the Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate. The average spreading rate for the ridge is about 2.5 cm per year. Rifting and accretion through volcanism along the ridge is how Iceland was created.
- Want to see a volcano? Go to Iceland: You’ve probably heard of Eyjafjallajökull, the famous 2010 volcano that erupted in Iceland and stopped air traffic worldwide. It’s not the only volcano in Iceland and there is even one, Thrihnukagigur, and is the only volcano in the world where you can actually enter a magma chamber.
- Love outdoor life? Go to Iceland: Between the waterfalls, geysers, fjords, and volcanoes, among other things, the beauty of Iceland is beyond words at times. You can climb a glacier or rappel down one, you can hike across the country, hike, bike, fish, swim, and a million other activities that appeal to anyone who loves the outdoors.
- Don’t call their horses “ponies”: Icelandic horses are somewhat shorter in stature than other horses you might have seen. Iceland is protective of their horses’ bloodline and as such, if a horse leaves the country to compete, it’s not allowed back in Iceland. It also is known as a five-gaited horse with the additional tölt, a natural gait present from birth and the skeið, flugskeið or “flying pace.”
- You’d like to study and learn a new language: If you’re strong willed and determined, try Icelandic on for size. A North Germanic language descended from Old Norse, it’s not a language I suspect people will pick up easily. But don’t worry as Icelandic students are taught English and Danish in schools.
- You like to try new foods: In Iceland, food is definitely different than what you might find in the United States. For example, don’t be surprised to find hákarl (cured shark), sheep heads, puffin, and yes, horse, on the menu.
- Despite it’s name, Iceland is not all ice: Have no fear because it’s not so cold in Iceland. In fact, a few times when I visited, it was actually warmer in Iceland than it was back home! Thanks to the North Atlantic Current, you can expect warmer temperatures and very little snow. Yes, it does snow, but it doesn’t snow hard, especially in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
- Long days, short nights in summer: If you want to squeeze in as much activity as humanly possible during daylight hours, consider a trip to Iceland during the month of July when the sun rises around 3 am and sets close to midnight. Conversely, winter months can be dark as the sun rises around 11 am and sets around 3:45 pm.
If you’re ready for a change and you’re feeling adventurous, I highly recommend a visit to Iceland! IcelandAir serves 38 gateways in Europe, the United States, and Canada. Out of the United States, you can fly from Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Orlando, Minneapolis, Denver, and Seattle to Iceland on IcelandAir. If you’re flying to Europe, consider a stopover in Iceland either to or from Europe and experience a little Iceland. I promise that once you go, you’ll definitely want to go back again and again!
Marian Krueger is the Founder of the Travel Shop Girl blog, a blog that simply states, “Travel musings by a girl who loves to write and travel the world.” Functioning on high-octane coffee most days, her straightforward and honest approach has resulted in a worldwide following and a desire for global domination. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.