While places like Italy, Egypt and Tahiti have long been placeholders on traveller’s bucket lists, a rather unassuming spot is suddenly getting all the attention: Iceland. From soaring glaciers to spectacular ice blue lagoons and just about every natural wonder in between, the tiny country packs a punch when it comes to epic scenery. Here are 5 reasons why you should go to Iceland now.
To see the Northern Lights
Ah, the Aurora Borealis. It’s hard to beat the mesmerizing sight of green, purple and pink skies dancing in the night, and Iceland is one of the best spots in the world to take it in. While there’s never a guarantee that you’ll be lucky enough to see them, time your visit between September and April when the sky is darkest. It also helps to stay in the country more than a few days, as the Northern Lights will sometimes put on a show for a few days, then simply disappear for the rest of the week.
To soak in the Blue Lagoon
Undoubtably Iceland’s most popular attraction, the Blue Lagoon which is about 45 minutes from the capital Reykjavik is full of geothermal seawater that stays piping hot all year round. Not only is it perfect for a scenic soak, but it’s also said to have healing properties for those who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
However, it can wreak absolute havoc on your hair, so be sure to bring a swim cap if you have long locks! Also, pre-book a ticket if you plan on going, as the Blue Lagoon is rightfully popular.
To go on an epic road trip
While Iceland may be tiny (at least compared to my country, Canada) that doesn’t mean you can zip around it in a day. That’s why self-drive tours are highly recommended for anyone heading to the so-called Land of Fire and Ice.
Most packages last anywhere from three days to two weeks, and include accommodation, car rentals and a well-planned itinerary. The 300-kilometre ‘Golden Circle’ route is always a crowd favourite, as it features a national park, waterfall, volcanic crater and geysers, just to name a few highlights.
To eat crazy food
Icelanders may not think anything of their choice cuisine…but it’s safe to say the rest of us get queasy at the thought of some the country’s most popular dishes. For example: horse meat, puffin and Svið, which is essentially a sheep’s head cut in half—gross! Oh and how about Hákarl, which is fermented shark that has been described as “the world’s most disgusting food”—a statement at least two celebrity chefs agree with. While Iceland’s culinary creations may leave something to be desired, there’s no question it’s the perfect place for an eating contest!
To get in touch with nature
Finally, the reason pretty much everyone should go to Iceland: the scenery. The country is a land of contrasts, with everything from barren landscapes with jagged rocks to rolling green hills, and black sand beaches to towering glaciers. Fjords, bursting geysers and lava fields are just some of the sights that lure visitors from around the world, and there’s no shortage of rugged coastline where waves from the north Atlantic or Arctic oceans crash against the shore.
With just one lingering look at the untouched, impressive landscape, it’s clear to see why a trip to Iceland belongs on every bucket list.
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This post was presented in part by Guide to Iceland. As always, partners have no editorial influence on articles.