Seven Reasons to Visit Iceland
Iceland. It’s a land of sheep, the northern lights, volcanoes with unpronounceable names (try saying Eyjafjallajökull), majestic waterfalls, craggy mountains, and otherworldly landscapes. To me, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. How can such a tiny island have such a diverse and beautiful terrain? It changes every few feet — from verdant fields, snowy mountains, and brilliant glaciers to looking like Mars. It never ceases to amaze me. I had high expectations when I first visited. I’d seen movies and pictures in magazines of a land with jagged mountain peaks, volcanoes with desolate lava fields, rolling hills with grazing sheep, and glaciers that stretched for miles.
Iceland lived up to all those expectations. Now, a year doesn’t go by when I don’t visit (see ya again in September!). Sure, the country has seen an explosion in tourism in recent years and it’s gotten a lot more expensive but most of the tourists concentrate in the south near Reykjavik. Once you head out of the capital region, it’s mostly you and nature (I only saw three other tourists in my week in the Westfjords…during peak season)!
So, in honor of the Iceland guide I just published today, here are my favorite things to see and do in Iceland that will convince you to book your ticket (because, thanks to WOW air, flights are dirt cheap):
This hip capital is awash in thriving cafes, high-energy clubs, friendly pubs, and a brightly colored old town with rows of wooden houses clustered together. It’s more like a giant small town than a city. Though it’s super small, it’s worth a few extra days to really get a feel for the art and café culture of the city. And if you’re a night owl, you’ll love the party life (Icelanders know how to drink). I love this city and never find myself bored here. From reading in cafés to wandering the coastline to enjoying drinks with my friends, Reykjavík sucks me in during ever visit.
The Westfjords is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland with tons mountains and a coastline heavily indented by fjords. It’s one of the most raw parts of Iceland and my favorite region. Few people live here and fewer visit, though Icelanders make their way here on summer vacation.
It’s an area of tiny towns, fishing villages, mountains, waterfalls, and lakes. In the summer months, puffins and whales call it their home. In the winter, many of the roads are closed by ice and snow for several months. But you’ll find tiny towns, deep fjords, and beautiful hikes all to yourself. It’s not easy to get around but locals will let you hitch rides with them easily because bus service here can basically be non-existent. Be sure to eat at Tjöruhúsið in Ísafjörður for an all you can eat, catch of the day buffet. Delicious!