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Iceland Travel Tips: 11 reasons why you will fall in love with Iceland instantly

Iceland is unique, Iceland is unforgettable, in short: you will fall in love with Iceland instantly! Even when the weather is kind of nasty, the wind blows under your coat and the rain whips across your face you still have an amazing time!

In Iceland the most beautiful picture book motifs lurk behind every corner. Be it places where fire and ice clash, glaciers that are decades old, active volcanoes, naturally hot springs in the middle of nature or a abandoned plane wreck. Iceland is a true paradise for nature lovers and adventurers!

But Iceland is just as perfect if you are looking for some solitude and relaxation. Depending on where you are looking for accommodations, there might be no other house in sight for miles and you are surrounded by nothing but nature and pure silence. There are many hot spots that promise relaxation and unforgettable moments.

Here are our 11 reasons why you will fall in love with Iceland instantly!

“One of the most extraordinary islands in the world!”

11 reasons why you will love Iceland

1. Every car trip is fun

If you want to drive around the island within one week, you do have a very tight schedule and have to accept five or six hour long drives, but even that is simply incredible in Iceland and by no means annoying. Sometimes you travel through and over mountains, then you drive along the coast or even across the sea and other times you see steam and smoke in the distance.

One moment the sun is shining and in the next rain is lurking behind the corner and you find yourself driving through a rainbow. Landscape and weather change so quickly in Iceland – you will never get bored, no matter how long you are on the way! By the way, here is my full review of my roadtrip through Iceland.

Island Highlights / Regenbogen

2. Breathtaking natural wonders

Have you ever seen mountains that shimmer bright green, blue, orange or pink? These can be found in Iceland! They gleam in almost surreal colors due to various minerals. One of Iceland’s most beautiful hiking trails goes through this amazing landscape in Landmannalaugar.

The region around the Myvatn Lake however is a rather explosive one. The geothermal energy here is clearly noticeable and visible. Bubbling and steaming mud holes, white smoke ascending from the ground and fumes from the inside of the earth breakout from whistling pits with a slam. You cannot escape gazing in amazement!

Myvatn / Island Highlights

Unfortunately with this phenomenon also comes the quite icky sulphurous fume that smells of rotten eggs, like in Rotorua in New Zealand. Unless you stick your nose into such a mud pool first thing in the morning and if you have a rather strong stomach you should be able to stand it.

Fire, ice and the ocean meet in the south of Iceland. This is where the ocean’s waves break on impressive icebergs lying on a black lava beach. What an incredible picture!

3. Iceland’s solitude promises pure peace

If you make yourself aware of the fact that Iceland only has 323.00 inhabitants of which 120.000 live in Reykjavík alone, you realize how much open and free space there still is. Sometimes you can even drive through the country on the ring road for minutes without encountering another car, let alone a gas station or a house.

Some accommodations are located completely isolated at the bottom of a mountain, the next restaurant or grocery store being half an hour away. But this is precisely what makes Iceland special: you can wind down completely and enjoy nature and the tranquility to the fullest. You open the window and all you take in is fresh air – no exhaust fumes, no noise.

Einsame Orte / Island Highlights

4. Deserted places awake your curiosity

An old bath in the middle of the mountains where changing rooms haven’t been used in a long time or an old plane wreck that keeps falling apart right on the beach. You can’t get to either of these places by conveniently tracking trail signs but rather by following your nose and your urge for adventure!

Seljavallalaug is the name of the pool in the south of the island which was rebuilt by volunteers after the volcanic eruption in 2010. In order to get there you have to cross a river valley. After about 20 minutes you reach your destination: a natural swimming pool from 1923 whose water gets heated up to lovely 30 to 35 degrees by the volcano. So get rid of those clothes and hop into the warming water!

verlassenes Bad / Island Highlights

Not far from Seljavallalaug but on the other side of the street by the sea the plane wreck Solheimasandur is located. In the 70s the US Navy plane had to make an emergency landing due to lack of fuel. Bow and stern of the plane are completely destroyed which makes it possible to take a look into the inside as well as climb in. Wires are hanging out everywhere, far and wide nothing but black sand and the mountains. This place is spooky and fascinating at the same time!

5. You experience the most amazing adventures on the island!

There are plenty of activities in the fascinating landscapes of Iceland – no matter if it’s on water, land or in the mountains – moments of happiness as well as adrenalin kicks are guaranteed!

For instance, have you always wondered what a volcano looks like from the inside? Well, that’s super easy to find out in Iceland. During a guided tour you will explore the inside of the sleeping volcano Thrihnukagigur, which is the only place in the world where it’s recommended to enter the magma chamber. The tour starts in Reykjavík and takes about half a day.

Tours on a volcano, namely the second most active volcano Hekla, are possible as well if that tempts you more. Hekla is also called the ‘gate to hell’ due to its destructive potential. The nickname already promises a thrill-packed tour!

Furthermore almost 11 percent of the island are covered with glaciers that invite you to adventurous ascents. Equipped with crampons you explore the crevasses and tongues of the glaciers and are rewarded with panoramic views over and over again. The tours start with one hour duration, but you can also enjoy your time on the glacier to the fullest and book a day adventure.

Starting in Husavík you can also trace the giants of the sea and observe how whales appear and disappear slowly while blowing out air with enormous pressure!

Another animalistic activity is possible all over the island: riding on Icelandic horses. Even if you’re not a horse freak this breed is kind, small and extremely relaxed. Beginners too can dare to try it because even when trotting and galloping Icelandic horses are very comfy to sit on. So definitely discover Iceland from the comfort of a saddle – even if it’s just a short ride!

6. Colorful skies

A particularly special spectacle can be observed in the winter months: Northern Lights. From about mid September to mid March the sky turns into the most vibrant colors like yellow, green or purple in some nights, causing a surreal atmosphere like in a science fiction movie.

By the way, Northern Lights arise from the fact that the sun emits winds which collide with air molecules causing the winds to glow. You still need to be a little bit lucky since the Northern Lights are not visible under a cloudy sky.

Nordlichter / Island Highlights

7. Iceland has the most beautiful hiking trails

If you like hiking, Iceland is a paradise. Active volcanoes, turquoise crater lakes and black lava beaches alternate with blue shimmering icebergs, glacier lagoons and gigantic waterfalls. You can explore these natural wonders by foot and feel them even more intensively. There are endless options to choose from. There are hikes that only take one day as well as ones that require your endurance for a couple of days but reward you with breathtaking views and amazing adventures.

Really every part of the island offers beautiful routes. You can climb the stratovolcano Snaefelljökull in Snaefellsnes for instance. This one is about 1450 meters high and the ascent takes approximately five hours. Make sure to get a guide in any case since the icecap is a class of its own!

You are spoilt for choice in the Myvatn region where you have many different possibilities to hike. One of the prettiest hikes is the one from Reykjahlid to Dimmuborgir. The route of 11 km passes black lava rocks, hidden caves, ring wall craters and hot water caves.

Iceland’s most well-known hike and one of the most beautiful worldwide is located in Landmannalaugar. You pass mountains in all colors of the rainbow, hot springs, rugged glaciers and blue lakes on the course of 55 kilometers you should be able to hike in about four days.

8. Everything is surreal and yet somehow true

As soon as you’re leaving Reykjavík behind you find yourself already in the middle of Iceland’s mystic nature where elves, fairies, gnomes and trolls are at home. Besides an elf school Iceland also has an elf representative who is often consulted by Iceland’s building authorities when a new construction project is coming up. If she finds out elves and gnomes living there the construction project is cancelled and everyone waits until those supernatural beings have moved on. Road closures are no rarity for this reason!

There is also an elf school in Reykjavík where you can even get a diploma. Excursions to secret places where those creatures of natures are supposed to live in caves or behind rocks are part of the schedule. And it is actually the case that you get to at places again and again that are so mythical and magical, it wouldn’t be a surprise if an elf actually appeared at any moment.

The stories revolving around these creatures have been passed on for generations. 60 percent of Iceland’s inhabitants are convinced of the existence of the supernatural beings. So are you? Then try to find one, but be careful!

9. Relaxation in nature everywhere

Icelanders love their hot pots and that’s what we love the Icelanders for! A hot pot is an outdoor bath tub that is naturally filled with hot volcanic water. The water is not only nice and warm but its minerals are very healthy and make your skin super soft! You can find natural hot pots in almost all of Iceland’s corners. Sometimes the holes are just big enough for one person to fit in, so you can lean on the edge on the grass. However, there are also streams where you can just let yourself drift away. You can find a great overview of hot pot locations here!

Besides the popular blue Lagoon Iceland offers several more intimate and moreover nicer baths such as the Myvatn Natural Bath. It is just unforgettable to watch the sunset from there!

sehenswürdigkeiten island

Also pay attention to hot pots when booking accommodations. Some have their own hot pot and there’s nothing better than sitting in one at night while looking at the stars!

10. Gigantic waterfalls as far as your eyes can see

There are thousands of waterfalls spread over the 100.000 km2 big surface of Iceland. What an unbelievable number for such a small area! If you watch out carefully you really see one around every corner. Often the smaller waterfalls can be observed from the distance. They are at least as beautiful as the ones Iceland is known for, since those are the ones you have to yourself.

The Godafoss is situated in the north of the island and impresses by its width. It is only 12 meters high, but in exchange 30 meters wide. You can already hear the masses of water plunging into the deep from afar and see the foam evolving from it.

A really cool waterfall is located further in the East: the Dettifoss. It’s the waterfall with the most water in all of Europe. No wonder since the masses of water fall from 100 meters width and 45 meters height – gigantic!

Dettifoss / Island Highlights

The Skógafoss in the South was formed like many of its colleagues not until after the ice age. The perspective here is a different one since you can approach it from the bottom while the fine whirled up water particles spray in your face. After a 62 meter ascent taking numerous stairs you arrive at the upper end of the waterfall. From there the people at the bottom look like figures out of a Playmobil set.

11. The most beautiful sunrises and sunsets

Is there something better than starting the day with a sunrise or ending it with a sunset? There are many beautiful spots in Iceland to experience unforgettable sunrises and sunsets!

The beach in front of the ice lagoon Jörkulsárlón is an extraordinary spot where fire and ice meet. Black sand in the front, sparkling icebergs where the sea breaks in the middle, the ocean in the background and the almost surreal colors in which the sky is tinted by the sun. You can experience an especially gorgeous sunset at the Myvatn Lake or on the peninsula Snaefelsness for instance. Either way getting up early and a little planning around the sunset at night pay off!

Sonnenaufgang / Island Highlights

Time for you to fall in love with Iceland as well!

Iceland has something indescribable, something fascinating that will capture you from the start and will never let you go. The diversity of natural wonders, the Icelanders relaxed way of living, the amazing activities and adventures and the piece that will give you relaxation make Iceland one of the most beautiful places in the world!

Go there once and you will be infected with the Iceland virus and will wish to come back more than once!

Why did you fall in love with Iceland? Tell us in the comments!

Sebastian Canaves
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