“TRAVELLING – IT LEAVES YOU SPEECHLESS, THEN TURNS YOU INTO A STORYTELLER.” – IBN BATTUTA
A very true statement from a very wise traveller. Yet, it probably helps if the place you are visiting already looks like something from a storybook. When you visit Iceland you might as well just be stepping into someone's dream. Very surreal images of eccentric boulders and lava formations will have you hash-tagging Iceland in no time.
A- Breath-taking scenery
B- Exceptionally beautiful scenery
C- A & B
1. The Gullfoss Waterfall
Travelling along the Golden Circle, Iceland will reveal many beautiful landscapes, one of which is the Gullfoss waterfall. It looks like a beautiful mesh of waterfalls which Iceland just loves showing off about.
For those who don't know, fjord is not Icelandic for Ford.
Dictionary.com describes it as "a long, narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs: usually formed by glacial erosion." My definition: Geological awesomeness created by nature to humble human beings. The one closest to Reykjavik, capital of Iceland, is called Hvalfjordur - or more commonly known as the Whale-fjord - and is but only 62 km from the city.
Stepping onto these moss covered lava fields will feel somewhat like stepping into a Salvador Dali painting.
Oh yes, Iceland is definitely showing off. If ever you wanted to dance around a 60m waterfall then now is your chance. A pathway behind the waterfall makes it possible to admire it from all angles.
Getting tired of all beaches sporting the same trend? Then Reynisfjara Beach is for you. Ready for all your beach-needs, but with the added benefit of the more upscale black sand. Soon to be released in all your favourite colours (not really, it only comes in black).
Realising how many active Volcanoes there are in Iceland makes me wonder what kind of fearless people roam the lands of Iceland - Oh wait, Vikings. It all makes sense now.
There really is nothing quite as wondrous as the night sky lighting up with radiant colours. At Kirkjufell Mountain, far from the city lights, you will see Aurora Borealis as it ought to be witnessed.
On the remote Westman Island you’ll find only one house. The fact that Iceland has no trees makes it seem even lonelier. They say no one lives here. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if Merlin himself emerged from that door.
What can I say, I love waterfalls. This one in particular made the list, because of the remarkable basalt columns that surround it.
These gentle giants are hard to miss when in Húsavík. They’re also hard to miss on the local menus.
I’ve never really been a hiking person. Something about cramps and lack of breathing that always keeps me from really enjoying the view, although I’d risk it to go see the blue boulders at Stórurð.
Now if you really like to torture your body with endless outdoor activities, then this one is especially for you. Basically you are required to ascend a near-vertical rock which is, not surprising, rather difficult, but that’s all part of the adventure, right?
Ever thought, “I’d like a holiday on a lava field”? Well then today is your lucky day! Pack your bags and head to the Blue Lagoon – probably one of the most popular Icelandic attractions. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located on a lava field. Anyone who sees this and still haven't booked their flights to Iceland, probably already lives there.
If the Blue Lagoon is too mainstream for you then there are plenty of other hot springs in Iceland to help fix that problem. Laugarvallalaug is one of them, but getting there takes a 4x4 and some mandatory hiking. So, get those boots ready for some hard working.
If you’re big on birds or just wish to see something that looks like a colony of stuffed animal toys then Westman Island is the place to be.
Probably the best holiday destination if you wish to be surrounded by peculiar-looking birds on a beautiful lake. Also, I am positive that some of these “birds” are really pokémons.
For those of you who appreciate the outdoors, but prefer fewer activities that remind you, you are on an island of 30 or so volcanoes, fly fishing in the river of Langa might be a better option. Popular for its healthy produce of salmon and to top it off, you won't first be forced to hike across half a mountain as the pools are easily accessible by car (or motorbike) and little walking is required.
Known for its huge gap in the middle of the mountain, Door Mountain is popular for trekking, reaching an impressive altitude of 1136m. (For those who don't like mountain climbing, be happy Iceland provided you with a door).
If Iceland is this eccentric on land, then I can’t even imagine what creatures lie underwater. This is doubtless one of the clearest snorkelling spots you’ll find. Clear enough that some snorkelers have admitted to experiencing vertigo - you know, that thing that astronauts get after being in space.
For those who love winter and love speed. All those action movies with their chase scenes down the slopes, now you can also have a go at it.
The Icelandic horse is extremely adorable. Take a photo with the Icelandic horse and a Puffin and people might think you entered some Disney movie.
If you are a shopaholic then you might have to stay away from this side of town. These two streets (also in Reykjavík -Now the city is just teasing us), offer you some very chic stores, ranging from world trends to local designers.
You’ll be like:
Buying the lopapeysa, a traditional Icelandic sweater, is the equivalent of buy an ‘I heart NY’ t-shirt in New York. You have to do it. At Reykjavik’s weekend flea market, Kolaportið, you’ll find such souvenirs for cut-price and perhaps even some other gems.
When travelling, taking a picture with the tallest building and then sharing it on social media is almost a rite of passage. It is proof that you had the full tourist experience. In Iceland, that building is a church, based in the centre of the capital. To intrigue you even more, its design was inspired by the Black Falls.
The fact that this is a man-made structure just confirms my theory about Superman. When you see this building in Reykjavik made of geometrical glass shapes you will be having a few insta-moments.
If you like old school, grow that beard, get that motorbike and visit Bar 11. Bar 11 is situated about 5 minutes from the city centre, waiting for some curious traveller to stumble across (or into) this underground music scene where they have regular hard rock music performances.
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur – what a way to complicate the simplicity of a hotdog. Yep, you guessed it. I am referring you to a hotdog stand, but this isn’t just any hotdog stand. This stand, to be found in downtown Reykjavik, has been around since 1937. If a hotdog stand has been around for that long, you know these have to be some extraordinary hotdogs.
If you were hoping for something a bit more upscale than just your regular hotdog, then there are plenty of other tasty options out there.
Thingholt Hotel’s contemporary design will have you feeling like a modern-day Viking (and isn’t that all that we really want?)
If you are, like me, besotted with the strangeness of this country then Rangá Hotel is the place for you. On arrival you are greeted by a stuffed polar, your view is Mt Hekla and you get to choose a room that resembles one of the world’s continents.
Living in Iceland basically means living in, on or near a volcano. Okay, maybe not “in” a volcano, but you get what I mean. So, naturally when looking up Iceland tours a volcano or two (or ten) will probably be there somewhere on the To Do list. At the Volcano House you will basically get the lowdown on what exactly happened during the Iceland eruption in 1937 as well as the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.
Also, there is a boutique with lava jewellery and bottles of ash. Never before have I been so excited about ash.
Then, there are the people. I don’t know whether to be amazed or frightened. Descendents of Vikings, don’t go by a last name and live on a country that shoots fire. What are they?
Apparently, they don’t offer Defense Against the Dark Arts here. They are however the country’s largest academic institution and students can study anything from the Icelandic language to Engineering.
Vikings fans, groom your beards and pack your bags, you do not want to miss this one. These grass-covered houses are not a remake of scenes from Lord of the Rings, but once belonged to the very powerful Oddi clan.