Ever had that niggling sense of wanderlust? The yearning for a destination that offers both serene landscapes and thrilling adventures? Kevin Erickson has explored the chilly yet enchanting realms of Iceland and is here to spill the secrets!
TL;DR: Why Trips to Iceland Are A Must
- 400% surge in visitors from 2010-2017. Yes, Iceland’s trending!
- Meet history at the world’s oldest parliamentary institution, the Althingi.
- The country isn’t just ice – experience cosmopolitan Reykjavík and quaint coastal towns.
- Geo-thermal spas, Northern Lights, and a rich Viking heritage await.
- Insider tips to make the most of your Icelandic voyage.
Why Iceland Has Become A Trending Travel Gem
According to the Icelandic Tourist Board, there’s been an astonishing 400% rise in international visitors from 2010 to 2017. That’s right, from nearly 490,000 wanderlusters in 2010 to a whopping 2 million by 2017!
Natural Wonders: A Feast for the Eyes and Soul
Imagine diving between two continents or basking in a geothermal spa under the Northern Lights. Iceland is a treasure trove of natural wonders, from erupting geysers to vast glaciers, from volcanic landscapes to majestic waterfalls.
Brushing Shoulders with History
And if nature isn’t enough, how about a rendezvous with history? Established in 930, the Althingi isn’t just any institution; it’s the world’s oldest functioning parliament!
From Reykjavík to the Remote: Iceland’s Multifaceted Charm
Lonely Planet puts it perfectly, “Aside from the cosmopolitan Reykjavík, the country is a mesh of tiny towns, fishing villages, and farms along the coasts.” Whether it’s the bustling city life or the tranquility of coastal hamlets, Iceland offers a unique blend.
Insider Tips: Kevin’s Top Recommendations
When in Iceland, do as the Icelanders do. Make sure to:
- Relax in the Blue Lagoon, but also explore lesser-known geothermal spas.
- Chase the Northern Lights but remember, they’re elusive! Check forecasts.
- Visit during off-peak seasons for fewer crowds and discounted rates.
A Dive Into The Icelandic Culture and Traditions
While Iceland’s landscapes are certainly a draw, the country’s rich tapestry of traditions and cultural nuances only adds to its allure. It’s a land where ancient Norse legends come alive, and where traditions rooted in the sagas are still very much a part of modern life.
The Language of the Vikings
Icelandic, spoken by the entirety of Iceland’s population, is a direct descendant of Old Norse, the language of the Vikings. This means that modern-day Icelanders can still read the ancient sagas in their original form. And yes, children here are taught these tales as part of their curriculum, ensuring the legends live on.
Festivals: An Expression of Icelandic Zeal
From the Winter Lights Festival in Reykjavík, celebrating the end of the long nights, to the quirky Þorrablót mid-winter feast where traditional foods (think fermented shark) are consumed with gusto, festivals here are a blend of old and new. And let’s not forget the summer solstice celebrations, a nod to the pagan traditions of old, where the sun barely sets and Icelanders party through the ‘night’.
Music: The Soul of the Icelandic Terrain
Music runs deep in the Icelandic soul. From the traditional ‘rímur’ (epic poems) to modern post-rock bands like Sigur Rós, music is as much a part of the landscape as the geysers and glaciers. And who hasn’t heard of Björk, Iceland’s most iconic musical export?
A Sustainable Approach to Living
Given its remote location and harsh climate, Icelanders have always had to be resourceful. This ethos extends to their pioneering use of geothermal energy. Over 90% of homes in Iceland are heated with geothermal water, reflecting a harmonious blend of innovation and respect for nature.
Concluding the Icelandic Tale
So, considering a trip to Iceland? Let the numbers, history, and raw natural beauty convince you. With its blend of historical significance and ethereal landscapes, Iceland isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience!
When is the best time to visit Iceland?
While summer offers long days, winter is perfect for the Northern Lights.
Is Iceland expensive?
Yes, it’s on the pricier side. But with planning, you can manage a budget-friendly trip.
Can I see puffins in Iceland?
Absolutely! May to August is puffin season. Head to the cliffs!
Is Icelandic food worth trying?
Definitely! Don’t miss out on Skyr, fermented shark, and Icelandic lamb.
- Icelandic Tourist Board
- Lonely Planet: Iceland
- The Official Gateway to Iceland
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