“Iceland? Why Iceland?” That’s the exact thing my husband said to me when I told him I wanted to visit Iceland. Followed by, “Of all the places to go, you want to go to Iceland? In the winter?” Yes.
Iceland is so much more that arctic temperatures and glaciers, albeit these are two of the big things it’s known for. So I went through my list of reasons with The Husband. He’s pondering the adventure and with some of the amazing deals to get there, we may get there sooner than later. I’ll share a FEW of my reasons to visit Iceland as well, have you been? Other things I need to add to my list? (Here’s a new guide I came across with 100 things to do in Iceland in case you need more ideas.)
Aurora Borealis aka The Northern Lights
Iceland is one of the top places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The mystical green lights – and at certain times of the year, pink lights – were thought to be “magic”. Alas, the northern lights can be explained scientifically…those amazing green lights are actually a result of the upper atmosphere being blitzed by highly charged electrons from the solar wind. I kinda prefer to believe in the mystical explanation. The best time of year to see the northern lights is during the winter months.
The Icelandic Whale Watching Association report there are 23 different types of whale that can be spotted from Icelandic waters. You’re likely to see minke whales, white-beaked dolphins, harbour porpoises and even the majestic humpback whales, telling them apart might be more challenging. From what I’ve been told, it’s best to do a whale watching tour if to really maximize the experience. (This is something I can’t do in the winter though, whales head out when the water gets cooler.) Have you been on a whale watching tour in Iceland? How was it?
My kids are obsessed with horses so we’ve been learning all kinds of things at our house regarding these creatures. I came across the Icelandic Horses and couldn’t wait to show my kids a picture of this unique, pony-size breed known for its sure-footedness in rough terrain and shaggy hair covering its eyes. Now, I can’t wait to take them for a ride on one.
Glaciers and Ice Caving Tours
There are 4,500 square miles of glaciers in Iceland. That’s a lot of ice to explore, which also means there’s a lot of ice caves. The one that sounds absolutely wonderful is the Crystal Ice Caves. It’s located under Iceland’s massive Vatnajökull Glacier and was formed by rivers of meltwater. When you see pictures, it’s hard not to think back to the Superman movies, remember his “Fortress of Solitude”? It looks like it’s in the Crystal Ice Caves. One thing, the caves can only be visited during the winter months; warm weather poses threats to collapsing. Seems like most of my activities are requiring cold weather!
Iceland’s Ring Road encircles the entire country covering over 800 miles on Route 1. You can technically drive this route in a day, maybe two, but why? Ring Road looks to be an epic road trip that promises to provide stunning views of glaciers, waterfalls, horses, volcano’s, Puffins and so much more.
Blue Lagoon in Iceland is one of the 25 wonders of the world. So, if you’re in Iceland it’s a must. This crystal-blue lagoon is filled with geothermal water that hovers between 98 and 102 degrees year-round. The sulfur- and silica-rich water is known for its natural, age-defying healing powers. I’m all for natural, age-defying healing powers!
I mean just look at these guys. To see a hillside filled with them? Yes.
The Mountains of Landmannalauger
I’ve seen colorful mountains throughout Colorado but nothing like the Landmannalaugar mountain region. Landmannalaugar is home to multicolored rhyolite mountains that have a fantastic array of colors, including pink, green, yellow, purple, black, and brown. To hike through these colors would be incredible! (I may not be able to do this one in the winter…)
The Elf School in Reykjavik
With two little Princesses at home it’s hard not to get caught up in fairy tales filled with elves, fairies, and all sorts of mystical creatures. Well, in Iceland – the land of elves – we can learn all about them at the Elf School in Reykjavik. The school teaches its “students” about 13 types of elf, four kinds of gnome, three species of troll and three varieties of fairy. These mystical creatures are believed to still exist in Iceland, ok, at least that’s what some people think. Regardless, it would be a fun experience and this is a subject that my kids would LOVE!
So these are just a few of my reasons to visit Iceland. Have things I need to add to my list?
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