Iceland is rich with culture, wildlife and extraordinary nature. There are a lot of reasons to visit this chilly island country but listed below are five really great ones.Credit: Kristin Groa Thorvaldsdottir
Most people will agree that Iceland‘s nature is nothing less than breathtaking. From the strange lunar landscape that awaits you when you touch down at Keflavik airport to the majestic mountains, cool glaciers, black beaches, rugged lava fields and stunning waterfalls Iceland really has it all. If you‘re pressed for time your best bet is to take a drive along the south coast to see a bit of everything. The southern ringroad will ultimately lead you to the famous Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon which is just over a four hour drive from Reykjavik and is really not to be missed.
Icelandic wildlife consists mainly of birds, arctic foxes, reindeer and whales. Going on a whale watching tour can be an unforgettable experience but be advised that going when the sea is rough can be very uncomfortable so try to plan your tour on a day when the weather is nice. Whale watching tours mainly operate from Reykjavik and Husavik.
Even though Iceland has a population of only 325,000 the vibrant Icelandic music scene has bred world-renowned artists such as Björk, Sigur Rós and Of Monsters And Men. You should be able to stumple upon small gigs at any given night but to truly experience Icelandic music at its finest your best bet is to buy a ticket to one of Iceland‘s music festivals. The largest and most established is the annual Iceland Airwaves festival but in recent years new festivals such as Sónar Reykjavik, Secret Solstice and All Tomorrow‘s Parties Iceland have gained attention.
Iceland‘s capital is not a large city as it only has a population of about 120,000 but that does make it easy to explore. When staying in the town center most of the attractions and sights can be reached by foot, provided that the unpredictable Icelandic weather is on your side! Famous for its nightlife, Reykjavik has an impressive array of bars and cafés. Whether you‘re into craft beer bars, hip cocktail lounges or hard rock dives you will definitely find something to your liking. Just remember to leave your neon colored winter parka at home or the locals will not think you‘re cool.
The spectacular northern lights or Aurora Borealis can be elusive as they can only be seen during certain weather conditions. Even though your best bet is to see them during the dark winter months there really is no guarantee that they will appear. If you‘re lucky enough to be in Iceland when the northern lights do make an appearance then try to get out of the city (either on a tour or on your own) as the city lights make them more difficult to see.