10 Reasons to Travel to Iceland This Year

ViaHero · May 17, 2018

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.

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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.

#1: Northern Lights

travel to iceland northern lights aurora borealis

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. 

#2: Cheap flights

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.

#3: Ice caves

travel to iceland ice caves

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.

#4: Puffins

travel to iceland puffins

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. 

#5: Active volcanoes

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.

#6: Hot springs

travel to iceland hot springs blue lagoon

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.

#7: Explore 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! 

If you want to know more about Iceland, Gunnar is a local expert and can help you out.

#8: Reykjavik

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.

#9: Leirhnjukur 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.

travel to iceland leirhnjukur lava fields

#10: Waterfalls

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!

Have more questions about your first trip to Iceland? Here is a list of local Iceland Travel Experts who can help you or you can message us any questions you have. And before your trip, make sure to check out: