Although the name might throw you off of your desire to visit, Iceland truly is a beautiful country and a wonder on god’s green earth. And no, it’s not entirely covered with ice, and no, summer months are not the only days that you can visit it. Iceland proudly boasts of adventures all through the year, in every season, and literally, every day. From natural hot springs, to glacier lagoons, Iceland is a surprise at every turn, and it will never cease to greet you with its arms wide open.
Dare to go behind the falls, and this view is your reward
Not only the sites and adventures, Icelandic culture also has an equally big hand in attracting people from all over the world. And the people of Iceland are also very proud of their culture, because of the fact that it has survived through centuries of harsh conditions, so much so, that they never fail to celebrate it. No wonder why Iceland never promotes a particular time of the year or season to visit the country.
And here’s every reason why.
1) Iceland Knows How to Celebrate
Icelandic people love to preserve and celebrate their culture. And you can bear witness to these amazing spectacles irrespective to the time you visit Iceland. This is because the people of Iceland are always between festivals, leaving no chance of merriment. You can easily catch the locals preparing for one or another festival celebrating their music, art, fashion, and movies, the most famous of them being the Reykjavik Art Festival, the Design March, the Reykjavik International Film Festival and the Iceland Winter Games. All this, in addition to the traditional holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Eve makes the Icelandic population almost unbeatable when it comes to celebrating.
Iceland people love their art, which will make you love it too.
The summer events experience a good number of people flocking to the country because of days that can be as long as 24 hours on the day of summer solstice (Yes! An entire day of sunlight). Oh, did we forget to mention that the northernmost tip of Iceland lies almost at the edge of the Arctic Circle? This also means that during the winter time, the days are rather unusually shorter, almost as less as 4 hours of daylight during the winter solstice, making the after-hours as long as you like.
A breathtaking view in the long night
2) Iceland On Road; Well-Known Spots
You may know about the rough climate and terrain that is a distinct characteristic of the country because if its location and history with volcanoes. But Iceland is pretty well connected, thanks to their roads. These roads also are the best way to explore and experience. The ring road, which the people of Iceland call route 1, runs through the entirety of the perimeter of the island country, and is full of sites worth witnessing. If you wish to, it would take about 19 hours to drive the full length of the 830 mile long highway, but it takes way more than that (almost a week), because of what you will find on the roads (picturesque waterfalls, snowy peaks, real active volcanoes, and if you’re lucky, the northern lights).
Highway to heaven
You can drive a rented car or hire a cab with a driver to take you along the ring road and stop at the best spots along it all through the year. A cab should be your preferred mode because the roads become slippery in the winters. Also, in some parts, it is made of gravel and might cause trouble for many drivers. But remember that if you’re taking a road trip and driving on your own, off-roading is a big no-no. This is because vegetation in Iceland is a sparse thing and tire marks can render the land useless for decades to come.
A road trip in Iceland, that’s the dream
So driving off the road will not sit well with their culture. You want to know what awaits you on the ring road? It’s waterfalls, glaciers, ice caves, roads along the coast, a beautiful plane crash (ironic), geothermal spots, active volcanoes, and if you dare to drive in the night, the most beautiful phenomenon on the earth, the northern lights. You will also spot a lot of wildlife, living in their natural habitat.
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.” Right?
Looks like Santa was from here too!
The most tangibly beautiful attraction that falls on the ring road is Seljalandsfoss, It happens to be one of the highest waterfalls of iceland. What it also is, the answer to the curiosity that makes you wonder what is behind curtain of water. A path along the waterfall takes you right behind the thin stream of water falling from above, making it a perfect place to reflect on the world from the other side.
Winters add their own charm to Seljalandsfoss.
The ring road also provides you with the chance to strike off glacier hiking from your list of adventures. Sólheimajökull glacier is a hotspot for hiking and ice climbing activities. If you have never had a chance to hike on a glacier before, Sólheimajökull is the perfect place to get started throughout the year.
Time to put on your hiking boots, and don’t forget to pack your camera
Iceland never falls short of picture-perfect places. They are scattered all across the ring road. while some of them are a short distance away from the road itself, others require a little effort to find. One of the most famous, haunting and a rather difficult to find spot is the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash. You may have seen pictures of a small plane crashed onto the black sand with a beautiful landscape as the backdrop. It takes a short detour from the ring road to get to the elusive DC-3 plane crash. But it will be worth your while to find it because your camera sure will love this place. The winters add their own touch to the site, as the snow covers every inch of the ground around, making it all the more worth the adventure which is to find this spot.
What a beautiful tragedy!
A part of the ring road, and a beautiful detour is what Icelandic people call The Golden Circle. The golden Circle is a must visit if you are taking your own time traveling through Iceland. You can go snorkeling in the part of sea where the Eurasian tectonic plate is slowly drifting away from the North American plate. Haukadalur is another geothermal area famous for its two famous geysers; Geysir and Strokkur. Strokkur shoots the steaming hot water 100 feet into the air at a fixed interval of 10 minutes, almost like clockwork.
That looks like our excitement shooting up!
The Kerid Crater Lake also falls on the Golden Circle, and it is famous for the perfect combination of natural hues of the surroundings; a deep blue of the water at the bottom, the deep red of the volcanic ground, and the green of the vegetation that grows on it. Winters only add further to its charm by bringing in a couple of more shades of white and blue into the mix. You can sit on the less steeper slope and take in the natural beauty of this lake in the crater.
Neon blue, Crimson, Green, Yellow, Red… Keep spotting.
3) The Secret of Iceland
Well known spots are okay, but what brings you really close to a destination is exploring the secrets of that place. Something that is not very widely known and experienced, yet is similarly, sometimes more, picturesque and beautiful. If you are visiting Iceland, the one place you dare not miss is the glacier’s lagoon. It is a water body with chunks of icebergs floating in it, and is gaining an immense of popularity owing to its stunning beauty.
Floating icebergs look like diamonds
This lagoon is the reason behind the nearby beach being renamed to diamond beach, because the chunks of ice glisten like gems on the sandy beach. In winters, although there are no tours to the glacier lagoon, or Jokulsarlon, as the locals call it, you can still enjoy staring at it spellbinding beauty from black sandy shores. Black beaches, you ask? Yes!
It is the photographer’s paradise
Also, did you know Iceland also is the home to the world’s largest man-made ice cave? It is an entirely unique adventure in itself. Also, the northern lights, or as it is more commonly known as, the Aurora, is a bewitchingly beautiful phenomenon, which you can see at its very best in Iceland. Imagine yourself just taking a casual stroll in the streets of Iceland, and you look up to find a cluster of beautiful lights in the sky.
This is the northern lights for you
4) Winter has Already Been Here; Game of Thrones was Shot Here
While many may not be privy to the information that Iceland also happens to be one of the secret filming spots for the wildly famous HBO show Game Of Thrones, the travel guides and firms here have seen a huge influx of people demanding to visit the places where many of the iconic scenes from the series were shot. The most commonly asked about is the lake Myvatn, where the fans saw the characters Jon Snow and Ygritte connecting on a different angle.
You know nothing? Now you do
Also famous are the lava outcroppings at Dimmuborgir, where we saw the wilding camp set up by their leader, Mance Rayder. So if you’re a die-hard fan of the series, Iceland will leave you with huge number memories to cherish for life.
5) Bathe in the Feeling of Iceland
One of the most welcoming attractions of the capital city of Reykjavik is the seven public pools scattered across the city. These are naturally heated by the geothermal springs of Iceland and are a huge delight in all seasons of the year. What is even better is that you can choose between the pools, as they are maintained at different temperatures ranging from 28 degrees to 45 degrees celsius. They form a part of the Icelandic culture and make for a great way to receive some natural therapy. Not only pools, you can easily find spas and saunas around them, so you have got a lot of options in case you feel like not stepping into the water. Go for whichever way you choose to blow some steam.
There are seven of these in the capital city
Iceland brings together all the elements that make up the earth; be it fire, water, wind, or land, you will be amazed to find them in here, working in tandem with one another. It is truly a wonder of nature and it deserves to be witnessed by more and more people. If you are looking for a destination that is full of scenic beauty created by both man and nature, Iceland should be on your bucket list. And you should not really think about the time, for the Icelandic people do not advertise a certain time of the year. That is why Iceland is easily the most evergreen and overall travel experience in the world and why you should not wait for the summer months to pay it a visit.