10 Reasons To Make Iceland Your Next Adventure
1. GETTING FROM THE AIRPORT INTO TOWN IS A BREEZE
The country of Iceland has dedicated itself to making sure that you, as a visitor, have a stress free and enjoyable journey. Traveling into town is an extremely easy process through which you can use one of the following:
a. Taxi [estimated fare: $120-130 or 15,000 ISK ]
b. FlyBus [estimated fare: $21 or 2.100 ISK]
c. Renting a car [estimated base fare of rental: $136 per day or 15,474 ISK]
The FlyBus system is a bus that can be booked either in advance or easily at the Keflavik Airport. Most hotels in Reykjavik have a FlyBus drop off nearby. They do note, however, that they don't drop off at Air BnB's. To see a full list of hotels serviced or if you'd like to buy a FlyBus ticket before your trip click here.
2. WOW AIR GETS YOU THERE IN A JIFFY
WOW Air is a brand new (and bright pink) airline that slings mind blowing deals both to Iceland and Europe with rates starting at about $90 one way. The flight definitely gets you where you need to go on a budget and has a delightful staff. Watch out for additional fees which can quickly rack up to make this go from a budget flight to an expensive one. You can read through additional charges here. Baggage and food were the two major additions that mattered to me!
3. WIFI IS EVERYYYWHERE (LITERALLY)
To put things into perspective, I somehow managed to connect to a 4G network in the middle of a blizzard while standing on a glacier. The Icelanders don't mess around with the art of wifi. Nearly all cafes, hotels, shops, bars, and venues will all have free and/or open networks to access. You can easily FaceTime the parentals, who I assume you have left back home worrying about your adventuring.
4. ICELANDERS SPEAK FABULOUS ENGLISH
For those beginner travelers who are uncomfortable with the idea of not understanding a foreign language or place, Iceland is a great spot for you! Icelanders have impeccably good English and have no issue using it. Not to say they won't love it if you respond to them with an Icelandic word or two!
5. YOU CAN EAT THESE FOODS (DEPENDING ON SEASON)
Goose, Gravlax (Salmon cured in salt + sugar + dill), Langoustine (Similar to a lobster bisque), Reindeer (I ate this as a burger on Christmas. I promise I made sure it wasn't Rudolph), Icelandic Hot Dogs (Purchase at a gas station. These are LIFE), Minke Whale, Puffin, Lingenberry jam (I ate this every single morning for breakfast)
A majority of produce in Iceland is grown in greenhouses due to the harsh weather conditions, which gives the local fruits and vegetables an incredible blast of flavor. Local cheeses are also divine and should be given a whirl!
6. AFTER YOU EAT ALL OF THAT FOOD YOU CAN TOTALLY WORK IT OFF
Regardless of the extreme weather, Icelanders stay highly active year round. If working out is a daily routine you'd like to keep up while abroad, I recommend the following locations:
a. Reykjavik Yoga: [estimated cost $20]
I found this yoga class (that just happened to be taught in English) online. The teacher's name is Bjarney and is an absolutely fantastic vinyasa teacher. I highly recommend a flow!
b. World Class Gym [estimated cost (day pass) $20]
This gym has all the amenities of a regular gym back home in the states. You can also purchase a locker for the downstairs locker room at the front desk. There is fully functioning showers, spa, free standing weights, weight machines, and cardio areas. The one I went to had a "Joe and the Juice" bar next door along with a hot spring pool!
c. Public Hot Springs [estimated cost (day pass) $50-70]
While on the treadmill at the World Class Gym, I could see locals jumping into this giant pool. After the plunge they would jump out and do a quick circuit workout in the snow. I was completely amazed. Iceland is famous for geothermal pools located all over the city. Day passes can be purchased for all day access.
7. THEIR WATER IS GLACIAL
Don't be worried about drinking from the tap! Iceland has the most refreshing water I've ever tasted. The water sources from melted sections of glacier that flow deep within the ground. Water is a massive part of the spectacular equilibrium of fire and ice that pulses through the island. This stark contrast makes Iceland a one of a kind gem. DRINK THE AGUA.
8. THE LANDSCAPE LOOKS LIKE MIDDLE EARTH
Exploring Iceland's natural wonders made me feel like Gandalf navigating the shire.
During the winter months, the country is blanketed by a thick sheet of snow that stretches far into the horizon. Underneath the snow are beds of lava fields, which I kept incorrectly calling magma fields. From what I understood, I'd be taking all of my lava dodging knowledge from the 90's and wielding them to my advantage in order to avoid being whisked away by an avalanche of fiery orange. However, never fear. My intel was wrong. No lava was dodged.
Sharp rocks dusted with snow jut out from the ground along the country roads. The expanse of land is overwhelming. The sun barely crests the mountains on the horizon this time of year, making the mountains look like they are set ablaze.
Sites I visited and loved:
Blue Lagoon (geothermal hot spring), Gullfoss (stunning canyon waterfall), Golden Circle (area that has the aurora, glaciers, waterfalls, and geyser parks), Hallgrímskirkja (incredible cathedral in the city center of Reykjavik), National Museum of Iceland (located in Reykjavik), Þingvellir National Park (you can walk in between the North American & Eurasion tectonic plates)
Guided tours through these sites can easily be booked through your hotel. If you aren't staying in a hotel and want to book tours on your own, the following companies are great starting points: Amazing Tours, Reykjavik Excursions, and Grayline Iceland
An additional list of companies can be found here.
9. ELVES, FAIRIES, AND TROLLS ARE REAL AF
The landscape of Iceland doesn't make it hard for one to assume there is a fairy or two lingering around the corner. Icelanders have folklore dating back thousands of years that weave tales of these mythical beings. My trip to Iceland was during the Christmas holiday. Within 30 minutes of my arrival, I was explained to that there were 13 types of Christmas trolls or "Yule Lads". These Yule Lads leave gifts or punishments in little children's shoes depending on how they've behaved in the 13 days leading up to Christmas. Don't scoff at these Scandanavian legends! You might not make it to the airport....
10. THE NIGHTLIFE IS BUMPIN'
If you want to throw back a few in this country, then you've come to the right place! Icelanders love dance, music, and late night eats. There are a wide variety of events to choose from starting with karaoke, sports, and dive bars. For a fancier night you can go out to a club or catch some local music. One of my best friends told me a story of her stumbling across an Icelandic rap battle in the street. There's a little something for everyone! Check this list via CNN of the 11 coolest bars in town.