One of my best decisions ever was visiting Iceland. It was a spontaneous trip, but it turned out to be the most memorable one. The diversity and beauty of the island, from its rugged mountains and cascading waterfalls to its geysers and warm springs, left me spellbound.
Now, you might be asking yourself why you should visit Iceland when your preferences differ. The answer is clear: Iceland is a nature lover’s dream come true, where you’ll find everything your adventurous heart desires. Curious about the “how”? The details are just a bit further down.
Before your trip to Iceland, be sure to read our guide on the worst time to visit Iceland.
Why Travel to Iceland?
Iceland is a must-visit because it guarantees that everyone can unearth their perfect escape – history buffs, adventure seekers, nature lovers, and those captivated by wildlife, scenic beaches, and the eye-catching Northern Lights. If you find yourself still pondering why Iceland should be your next destination, give these compelling reasons a shot to satisfy your curiosity.
1. Historical, Geological, and Natural Marvel
No matter if it’s the exciting stories, interesting traditions, or something else that grabs your attention, Iceland provides a unique and remarkable travel experience. Several factors contribute to why Iceland is a fantastic destination for history enthusiasts, with a few key reasons being:
Thingvellir National Park: It’s more than just a park; it resembles a magical book filled with stories of the past. Back in 930 AD, the Icelandic parliament (Althingi) was born right here. When you walk through these old landscapes, it’s like taking a time machine back to those ancient days.
Sagas of Icelanders: You can deeply explore the stories of early Icelanders, known as sagas. These ancient tales uncover the history and legends of the first Icelanders. You’ll find their writings, old items, and places connected to the sagas in museums and cultural centers.
Viking Heritage: Iceland also opens a window into its Viking heritage, which you can still see in its language, traditions, and celebrations. You can explore historic landmarks, and archaeological sites that vividly showcase the Viking way of life and history.
2. Adventure with Big Ocean Friends
Iceland offers a truly special whale-watching adventure. The ocean around Iceland provides an ideal habitat for over twenty different whale species. In recent years, Iceland has earned its reputation as Europe’s whale-watching capital.
What sets Iceland apart is that you’re almost guaranteed to watch these creatures. When I joined a whale-watching trip from Reykjavik, I spotted the charming whale-beaked dolphins and minke whales. Later, I headed to Husavik (a town in the north of Iceland) for a more traditional whale-watching adventure. There, I had the chance to see the massive humpback whale.
Many tours also took me to the lively seaside cliffs where I met Iceland’s colorful puffins. They made their homes in rock cracks or little holes in the ground, adding more magic to my Iceland trip. I’m sure just reading these experiences has amazed you, right?
3. Dance of Northern Lights
Iceland is like a mystical theater where you can watch the Northern Lights. The enchanting spectacle of these lights illuminating Iceland’s skies from September to mid-April serves as a fantastic incentive for travelers to explore this beautiful island. Regrettably, I haven’t been lucky enough to witness them myself.
The place becomes even more exceptional thanks to the experienced guides who specialize in Northern Lights tours. These skilled individuals excel at discovering the ideal locations for nightly displays, transforming the quest for the Northern Lights into a profoundly personal and thrilling journey.
4. Glacial and Volcanic Symphony
Iceland wears its nickname with pride because it’s a place where glaciers and volcanoes coexist in harmony. These massive ice formations cover an impressive eleven percent of the island, a unique feature you won’t find elsewhere. The largest one is called Vatnajokull, which covers both the southern and central parts of the island.
Enormous icebergs like beautiful sculptures, peacefully glide across a calm lake. These icebergs start from the edge of Breidamerkurjokull glacier and create a unique world of ice and wildlife that’s genuinely unlike anywhere else.
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5. Mountainous Majesty
If you’re a mountain lover and hiking is your passion, then Iceland is calling your name. Here, you’ll find a whopping 4,145 mountain ranges to explore. The wide range and ease of reaching these peaks provide a lifetime of adventure for even the most devoted mountain enthusiast.
What’s fantastic is that you don’t have to go far to find them. You can start your mountain adventure with just a short drive from Reykjavík. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely hike or a more challenging ascent, the choices are as numerous as the landscapes themselves. And the best part is, whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or a newbie, Iceland has guided mountain tours that suit everyone.
6. Amazing Waterfalls
Iceland is blessed with crystal-clear water from its mountains and glaciers. The clever part is that they’ve been using Earth’s heat for a long time, so you can enjoy warm water even when the weather is cool. Isn’t that smart? And the cherry on top is that you can find these natural pools throughout the entire nation.
Blue Lagoon: The most famous one is the Blue Lagoon, and I got why it’s on everyone’s list when they visit Iceland. The water is a clear blue, and the black lava fields around it make the place feel unreal.
Landmannalaugar: Landmannalaugar is famous for its colorful mountains. And guess what? You can also find warm pools for your enjoyment here. So, while you relax in the warm water, you get to see these amazing mountains.
Super Jeep Tour: If you’re up for an adventure, I suggest the Landmannalaugar Super Jeep Tour. You’ll visit incredible places like Iceland’s second-highest waterfall (Haifoss), and the Ljotipollur explosion crater lake.
According to my research, there are around 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland. Some of the most famous ones I’ve heard include Dettifoss, Gulfoss, and Seljalandsfoss. To put it simply, Iceland is packed with hidden treasures, and one of the best reasons to go there is to see its amazing waterfalls.
7. Dark Sand Beaches
It’s fascinating to know that there are only twenty black-sand beaches in the world. From my personal experiences, I can confidently say that Iceland’s black beaches are well worth a visit. Although they may not offer the usual sunny and warm tropical beach conditions, they compensate with their unmatched and unspoiled magnificence.
Black Beaches that contribute to making Iceland a best travel destination encompass:
Reynisfjara: One of the most famous is Reynisfjara’s black-pebble beach near the village of Vík. It’s known for its massive caves, towering black cliffs, and giant rock formations. The element that makes it extraordinary is the relentless power of the North Atlantic Ocean.
Breidamerkursandur: Another hidden gem is the Diamond Beach at Breidamerkursandur in Southeast Iceland. It gets its name from the Ice Diamonds that decorate the black sand all year round. Small icebergs travel from the nearby glacial lagoon, and the waves smooth them out before leaving them on the black sand.
Djupalonssandur: Last but not least stunning spot is Djupalonssandur’s black sand beach on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Here, you can also discover the remains of a shipwreck from long ago that inject a touch of mystery into the landscape.
8. Never-Ending Daylight
As I ventured to this unique land, the benefit of experiencing 24-hour daylight from mid-May to late July became apparent. This remarkable moment allowed me to witness the Midnight Sun, which is Iceland’s ethereal crown jewel. I remember standing in awe as the sun dipped below the horizon just after midnight, only to rise again just before 3 am.
One remarkable advantage of the Midnight Sun is the ability to make the most of every moment. For me, this meant going on nighttime adventures to see Iceland’s amazing landscapes in a completely different way. I decided to join various midnight sun tours, such as hiking a mountain, Golden Circle, and even horseback riding during the Midnight Sun. Among these adventures, I discovered the real benefit of having daylight all the time.
In Iceland, whether you’re a mountain enthusiast, an animal lover who adores horses and whales, a fan of waterfalls, or someone who enjoys the endless daylight or dancing Northern Lights, there’s something extraordinary for everyone. As previously mentioned, Iceland is celebrated for its untouched beauty. When you explore this land, it’s vital to travel responsibly and treat this environment with respect.
Why Travel to Iceland - FAQs
People come to Iceland due to its natural beauty, which features geothermal wonders, waterfalls, and unique black sand beaches.
If you aren’t a fan of nature, or you are looking forward to enjoying bustling city life, Iceland should not be your go-to destination.
The best time to experience Iceland’s beauty is during the summer months from June to August.