Whenever I tell people about my #Europe12in12 challenge (my personal challenge to visit 12 countries in 12 months) I always get asked the same two questions; which countries I’ve visited and which one was my favourite. I’ve loved all the countries I’ve visited but one wins every time; Iceland. It’s unlike anywhere else that I’ve visited in the world. Why is it so special? Let me tell you…
It Feels Like A Different Planet
There’s no other way to describe Iceland; it feels like another world. I’m already planning a return trip in Summer, where the country transforms into a lush and green landscape, totally different to the snowy, chilly country I visited in February. As the season changes, the sights to see change and there’s always something new to explore. Check out the Blonde Abroad's guide for the best time to visit Iceland (spoiler: it's always a good time of year!)
Every part of the country is fascinating, with huge rocky lava landscapes, powerful glaciers, incredible waterfalls and of course, the volcanoes. I loved the cool and crisp landscape we enjoyed in February but I’d love to see the green plains of Summer and the heavy snowfall of Winter too. Another fascinating part of Iceland is the hours of daylight; in the Winter months, there are just a couple of hours of daylight to explore but between May and August, the light completely flips to just a few hours of darkness!
You’ll Never Finish Exploring
There are so many tours and activities to try in Iceland. I’ve already written about the tours to try in Iceland and whether they were worth it; whale watching, the Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. You can experience the Strokkur Geysir, float underneath the sky in the Blue Lagoon and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to go on the Northern Lights tour we had booked – so although we managed to catch a fleeting glimpse of the lights on our bus ride back from the Blue Lagoon, I want to go back and experience the lights as a tour! I’d also love to try some more adventurous activities; an ice cave tour, a horse riding tour or snorkelling between continents in Iceland. They are all amazing ways to explore the beautiful and unique country - whether it’s your first visit or your fiftieth (you lucky thing!), there’s sure to be more to see.
The Cinnamon Rolls Are Worth The Trip Alone
Charlie Distracted’s recent Iceland trip has given me all the memories of the amazing cinnamon rolls from Braud and Co! Food is expensive in Iceland, but if you do your research you can grab a bargain and Braud and Co is the perfect sweet treat. We hunted out the colourful, patterned building near the Hallgrimskirkja for their famous cinnamon rolls. The smell was so delicious, we couldn’t resist waiting any longer and ate them straight away in the street… before heading straight back in to buy some more for dinner! They are the perfect quick and affordable snack to keep you going during your Icelandic adventures.
Another bargain foodie finds include Reykjavik Fries, which offer delicious chips with a huge variety of flavours including an incredible vegan sauce and a super spicy chilli sauce. Also, Svarta Kaffid has daily queues down the street for “soup in bread,” a filling and tasty meal which is sure to keep you fuelled to explore more of the beautiful country.
It’s One Of The Happiest Countries in the World
Some countries make you feel instantly welcome and Iceland is one of them. In fact, it was listed as the third happiest country in the world earlier this year in the UN’s World Happiness Report. You can see why; the amazing landscapes, the beautiful nature and the pace of life which comes with that. I would certainly love to live there if I could!
Every waiter, bus driver or tour guide went above and beyond to make our stay special. Iceland ranks highest as the population who says “they have someone to rely on in times of trouble” and the friendly and supportive community is obvious even as a tourist. From our waiter who served us huge bowls of soup in bread at Svarta Kaffid to our tour guide who excitedly guided us around the Icelandic landscape as we explored the Golden Circle, everyone in Iceland was fantastic. It’s one of the top countries to travel solo for a reason!
If Iceland isn’t already on your bucket list, then you need to add it right now. The country is getting more touristy but for good reason; it’s somewhere you really must visit. Whether you are a nature lover or an adventure junkie, there’s something to explore in Iceland for anyone. If you haven’t booked your visit in 2018 yet, get planning now!
This post is in collaboration with Guide to Iceland