10 Reasons To Visit Iceland Right Now
The land of fire and ice has attracted travelers for centuries. Located just below the Arctic and only a five hour plane ride from New York City, the glacial fields, and lush meadows are just a short hop from your daily life into a whole other world.
Once you arrive, all you have to do to see a great view is open your eyes. There are beauty and magic around every corner. Whether you visit in the summer to see the midnight sun and lush green meadows filled with wildflowers or in winter to see gigantic ice caves and the Northern Lights, Iceland will be full of delightful surprises.
The Northern Lights are an elusive, bright phenomenon on many travelers’ bucket lists. After this winter though, the northern lights will be much more difficult to see because the sun will be in a dormant phase for about a decade with fewer solar flares and storms that cause the Aurora Borealis. Even at their most intense, it takes a bit of luck to see the Northern Lights. Make sure to plan at least a week in Iceland during fall, winter, or spring to have the best chance of a light show.
Both IcelandAir and WOW Air offer cheap roundtrip flights. You can fly round trip between NYC and Reykjavik for less than $300 per person. So even though Iceland isn’t the cheapest destination in Europe, you can still take a cheap trip there by saving big on airfare.
Crawl through long tunnels into wide open caves of beautiful blue and white ice. From November to March, majestic ice caves throughout Iceland are safe to tour with the help of a knowledgeable local guide.You can book private tours, group tours, and specialty tours like photography trips.
Atlantic Puffins are tiny seabirds with coloring similar to a penguin with bright orange beaks. While they mostly live at sea, they nest and breed on land. You’ll find nests of Atlantic Puffins along the coast of Iceland in spring and summer. They prefer to nest in rocky cliffs so spots like the Westfjords and Dyrholaey are best for Puffin spotting.
About 30 active volcanic systems are located in the small country of Iceland. Some of Iceland’s most famous volcanoes like Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted in 2010 and wreaked havoc on airplane flights in the area, are accessible by day trip from Reykjavik. Other are further afield and accessible from the Ring Road or a jaunt into the center of the country.
Regardless of the time of year, you can enjoy swimming outside in one of Iceland’s many hot springs, or ‘hot pots.’ These can range from the world famous Blue Lagoon or the local secret spots that can fit 2 people. Either way, enjoy the soothing nature of the milky blue water. Do yourself a favor and go to a couple free ones, they aren’t hard to find and often less crowded than the likes of the Blue Lagoon, with tremendous views. If the weather is bad, every little town in Iceland has a pool and adjacent hot tub, all fueled by geothermal heat. Our favorite is the infinity pool overlooking the fjord in Hofsos.
Road trip the Ring Road
Iceland’s Ring Road is a trip unto itself. It spans over 800 miles and rings the entire country. Give yourself about a week to explore the Ring Road. You’ll make lots of stops along the way to see lagoon, volcanoes, waterfalls, glaciers and even reindeer!
Iceland’s capital city is small and some complain it’s too touristy, but under the surface, there is a rich, vibrant culture to explore. Get an overview of Iceland’s history at the National Museum, explore the historic city center on a walking tour, and try traditional Icelandic dishes and plenty of seafood in the many restaurants.
Leirhnúkur Lava Fields
Want to see a landscape eerily similar to the moon? Make a stop at the Leirhnukur lava fields and you’ll wonder whether you’re still on planet Earth. Follow the walking trail to see the rock formations and colors up close.
You’ll see many majestic waterfalls as you travel through Iceland, but one of the most popular and magical is Seljalandsfoss. Walk through lush green meadows to reach this waterfall that plunges into a deep lagoon. Follow the path along a stone wall that goes behind the waterfall...just be prepared to get wet!