7 Reasons To Add Iceland To Your Bucket List

Whether it’s steps from your car or deep in the Highlands, Iceland packs in the thrills like no other.

By: Christin Healey
September 9, 2015

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It’s no secret that traveling to Iceland right now is hotter than the geothermal waters bubbling beneath its’ surface, but let me assure you that it’s for good reason. This little country is just one of those places that grabs hold of your heart and doesn’t let go. From the jaw-dropping scenery to the seemingly endless adventures, it’s just one of those places that you must see to believe. Of the many reasons to pack your bags and book the next flight to Reykjavik, these are tops on my list….

1. Epic Adventures

Whether it’s steps from your car or deep in the Highlands, Iceland packs in the thrills like no other. Imagine standing on dizzyingly high cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, looking up at hundreds of tons of water rushing overhead in one of the many waterfalls, hiking across lava covered in soft moss, or finding your way though glacial-carved canyons, and you johstart to get an idea of some of the fun that awaits you. And with weather so unpredictable and dramatic the loss of your car door is never covered by insurance (that’s a story for another time…), the truth is sometimes just going through four seasons in one day is an adventure all on its own. The bottom line? You are sure to go home with memories of some of the best exploring you can possibly have.

2. Dramatic Light

As a photographer, there is something about the light in Iceland that I just can’t get enough of. While it’s true that with its position in the Atlantic it’s often stormy and gray, when the sun does make its way out, it’s pure magic. With constant daylight in the summer months, and the sun only peeking out for a few hours in the wintertime, there is something for every photographer based on the mood you are trying to capture. And did I mention the sunsets and sunrises that last for hours? No rushing around for that 10 minute window of perfect light here; especially in the summer months you will have ample time to get that perfect shot.

3. Waterfalls

Iceland has been called the land of a thousand waterfalls, and I think that may be a serious understatement. Some are big tourist attractions where you may find a hard time finding a parking spot, and some are hidden gems that you will only be sharing with the sheep, but all of them are magnificent, unique, and are such a special part of the landscape. I mean who wouldn’t want to fill their agenda for an entire day with “chasing waterfalls”?!

4. Glacial Lagoons

Yep, this gets it’s own category because, well, it’s a glacial lagoon! There’s Jökulsárlón that most people know and love, but if you do a little searching and exploring, you can find a few more hidden lagoons off the beaten track. No matter which lagoon you choose, there is nothing quite like coming upon giant hunks of ice bobbing around in that deep blue water. Just standing there and listening to the icebergs crack and turn in the water or float out to sea is an experience that everyone should have once in their lifetime. Bonus: this glacial lagoon also comes with a beach complete with giant icebergs dotting the seascape. I mean really, what more could you ask for?

5. Natural Hot Springs

Everyone knows about the Blue Lagoon, but most people don’t know that just about every town in Iceland has their own geothermal swimming pool and hot tub. Reykjavik has tons of options, and there are entire websites devoted to ranking the pros and cons of each one. Bathing in the natural pools is deeply ingrained into the Icelandic culture, and visiting a local favorite is a must-do for any visitor. Imagine sitting in a steaming hot pool with snow, or if you’re lucky, Northern Nights (!) swirling overhead. Strike up a conversation with your hot tub neighbor and you will feel right at home.

6. Northern Lights

This is not a guarantee of course (the lights are often referred to as the “tricky lady”, and for good reason), but the very idea of the night sky dancing with bright and colorful lights is enough to spark a sense of wonder in any adventurous soul. If you are lucky enough to see them it will be one of those moments that shoots right up on your personal “best of” list, and if not, sometimes the anticipation and hunt is half the fun :) You will need a fully dark sky, so September - mid-April will be your best bet. Check out this adventure to learn more about chasing Iceland's northern lights.

7. The People

I don’t think you will find nicer people on this planet than Icelanders. They are friendly, welcoming, deeply proud of their country, and always ready to tell you all about their favorite adventure or secret spot. Not only that, but Icelanders are hearty! They are descendants of Vikings after all, and you have to be kind of a badass to live in a place with weather that always keeps you on your toes, and months and months on end when you don’t see the sun but for a few short hours. So want to find an adventure that no one else knows about? Ask a local for the very best tips and venture to places far away from the guidebooks.

Happy adventuring friends, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any specific questions or even better, plan a trip to this wonderful locale ;-)

Discover all the amazing adventures in Iceland.

All photos taken by Christin Healey.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.