For some reason when Chris and I mention that we are going to Iceland, we often get the reaction, “Really?! Why Iceland? What’s there?” And my answer is an excited, “Evvveryyything!” Usually accompanied by a bit of jumping up and down.
Here are the top 10 reasons why we’re going to Iceland (please forgive the excessive use of exclamation points – I went back through and removed a few):
- Iceland is a photographer’s playground and paradise. The stunning views and varied landscapes I’ve previewed online and in books/magazines are beckoning me to bring my wide-angle lenses and go to town. Or to outside-of-town, as we will.
- It’s one of the adventure capitals of the world. Snowmobiling, scuba diving, mountain biking, and hiking with some of the most amazing scenery in the world. So this is right up our alley!
- It’s only a six hour flight from DC. Did you know that Iceland is the closest European country to the U.S.? I have plenty of must-see places in far reaching corners of the world, but I’m always happy to have a short, direct flight to somewhere new.
- The Ring Road consistently shows up on lists of the best road trips in the entire world. We are super excited to make this 800+ mile trek around the country with tons of adventures planned along the way. And I love the fact that we can pull over any time we want to explore and take photos.
- So many epic movies and television shows are filmed there, we just had to see it in person. Some of the on-location films and shows include Batman Begins, Die Another Day, Prometheus, Game of Thrones, and my new favorite, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I was so excited when that movie came out because I had already spent so much time planning and booking this trip, and seeing it made me even more excited to go.
- Glaciers! Iceland has Europe’s largest glacier, and I’m just fascinated with them. We’re going to hike on one and snowmobile on another to get the full glacier experience.
- Geysers! The original geyser for which all other geysers are named is just outside of Reykjavik and can be seen as part of the famous Golden Circle route.
- Volcanoes! Thrihnukagigur is currently the world’s only volcano in which you can enter the magma chamber. The volcano has been asleep for 4,000 years, so we’re going to give it a whirl with fingers crossed that it stays dormant for another season, or at least while tour groups are inside.
- Wildlife such as whales, puffins, lots of other bird species, reindeer, and Icelandic horses. We’ve already had an absolutely amazing whale-watching experience, and we probably won’t get to see a puffin since their nesting season was earlier in the year, but we will definitely see Icelandic horses since we’re going horseback riding.
- We seem to have a thing for islands, so we figured we might as well see this one!
And a bonus item: the Northern Lights. Unfortunately we won’t be there during the best time of year to see the Aurora Borealis because we wanted to drive the Ring Road with as few weather-related issues as possible (so that means not in the snowy/icy winter), but Iceland is one of the best places to view this beautiful phenomenon.
P. S. I recently saw someone mention on a certain social media site (rhymes with “Shmacebook”) that they wish people would stop posting Top 10 lists. I love making lists! And ten items seems like such a nice, natural number. So I hope you, dear readers, don’t mind yet another Top 10 list out there.