5 Great Attractions in Iceland
Poll a dozen Americans for ideas of where to go on vacation, and you’ll probably hear a lot of the same suggestions. Party people will tell you to check out Las Vegas or Amsterdam. The cultural travelers will probably suggest New York City or London. Those that prefer natural beauty will say New Zealand’s where it’s at, while locals will lean towards Colorado or New Mexico. While all of those suggestions are valid, you might be surprised to find that Iceland has all of those things and more. This tiny island country may bring up images of frozen tundra and long winter nights, but Iceland is actually one of the best places to vacation in the world. It’s off the beaten path, but with an amazing population, cultural vibrance and epic natural vistas, it should have everything you’re looking for in a unique vacation. Here are just five of the great attractions in Iceland.
If you can plan your trip any time between the months of September and April, you might just catch one of the most spectacular natural wonders in existence, the northern lights. Basically, all you have to do is look up when you’re outside of the city and you’ll find an explosion of color. The brightness and variety will blow your mind, and it’s almost impossible to believe that this isn’t some sort of fireworks show. But it’s one of the best things nature has to offer, and Iceland is one of the few places in the world where it can be seen.
Continue your appreciation of natural beauty with a trip to one of the many glaciers in Iceland. You can see them even in the warmer months, with the two most popular being Jokulfirdir Glacier Fjord and the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. In Iceland you’ll be able to see these up close and personal, with many tours actually taking you straight across them. You’ll also check out incredible glacial pools, and if you’re truly adventurous you can climb down underneath them. Conservationists can also check out glaciers that are receding, and take in a first hand look at climate change they can tell the folks at home about.
Mix more of Mother Nature with the feel of a luxury spa trip and you’ve got the blue lagoon. This is a geothermal pool, naturally heated by subterranean activity. It extends downwards more than 6,500 feet, and gets it’s name from the blue hue imbued by mineral deposits. Lounge in this heated natural pool with a view of the mountains and your cares will never feel further away. Finish off your trip with a lathering of silica mud, possessed of a rich mineral construction that will do wonders for your skin.
For one more incredible natural stop, check out Thingvellir National Park. This is a historic site, the home of the longest running Parliament the world has ever seen. But since it is also located at the meeting point between the European and North American continental shelves, it’s also an astounding spot for geology fans. It’s a gorgeous park that you’ll enjoy regardless of the time of year.
Since your entire trip can’t be about nature alone, make sure you stop in Reykjavik for at least a few days. This is the largest city in the country, so chances are your first destination will be a reykjavik airport hotel when you arrive in Iceland. More than 60% of the country’s population lives in Reykjavik, and after a few days you’ll know why. It’s absolutely gorgeous, with small town architecture in a large city environment. The museums, cafes and arts scene are second to none. But more importantly, Reykjavik is known as a booming party town. You’ll find live music all over the place, often lasting until the wee hours of the morning. After all of that hiking and swimming, you’ll deserve a little bit of debauchery!