Reasons to Visit Iceland
...all year round!
Iceland – a country synonymous with beauty, culture, nature and delicious cuisine. Most people who visit Iceland are adamant they will return as soon as possible, such is the allure of this stunning Nordic land. The people are extremely friendly and welcoming – probably because Iceland cares for its citizens, providing excellent healthcare, schools and work opportunities for all. Better still, it is easy to find cheap flights to Iceland, meaning this wonderful country has never been more easily accessible to tourists. So what are the main reasons for taking a trip to Iceland and why should visitors not exclude the fall and winter months. Read on to find out…
The Northern Lights
This is probably the top reason most people visit Iceland in the first place. The majestic, ethereal northern lights have been impressing visitors for decades. Anyone who has seen them first hand already knows the experience is truly magnificent. In fact, the Telegraph recently reported that record numbers of Britons have already visited Iceland this year in the hope of seeing a dazzling display of lights. The keen visitor will already be familiar with the Iceland Met Office and will utilize this source to establish the best weather conditions for optimum aurora borealis spotting, though the locals attest that the best time is as winter draws in.
Whale Watching is a Must Do Icelandic Activity
Whale watching is an equally amazing activity which brings scores of visitors to Iceland every month. The Icelandic Whale Watching Association report that there are 23 different types of whale which can be spotted from Icelandic waters. Seeing these immensely powerful creatures in their natural habitat is a truly staggering sight. The autumnal months are a good time to see these animals in their habitat - the sea isn't too choppy and the temperature is ideal, meaning the whales haven't yet thought about deserting the area for warmer climes.
Iceland has Incredible Food
Iceland hasn't always been famous for the high quality of food. However, owing to the country's environmental awareness and healthy farming practices, the meat and fish quality is often outstanding. As is the case with most countries, it is best to use local restaurants and shops when purchasing food because, unfortunately, as discussed in the Iceland Review, factory farming does happen in Iceland – although smaller venues are more likely to stock home grown organic produce. Fish lovers will adore the taste of Saltfiskur (Bacalao) and Harðfiskur (Dry fish) – two types of Icelandic fish which have different processes applied to them in order to bring out an intense flavor (like drying and salting). Delicious! Although these fish are available all year round, autumn isn't the most touristy season so you are far more likely to enjoy a slap up meal in a lovely restaurant rather than being disappointed to find your local food venue fully booked.
A Wide Variety of Entertainment and Events
Iceland has a jam-packed schedule all year round with festivals, outdoor activities and street entertainment offered in the main cities at different times. Iceland also has an excellent music scene and it is easy for the keen tourist to get involved, guidetoiceland.is has a list of the ten best Icelandic music festivals. Considering the array of musical talent spawned from this country, it is probably wise to try and attend at least one music gig whilst there. Sports fans can take part in the annual WOW cyclothon, a race around Iceland held in the summer and a must-do for those fit enough to take part. A visit to Iceland any time in the year will provide ample opportunity for fun and activity whatever your interests. As Iglu Cruise explain, many holidaymakers book trips specifically to align with sporting events but a visit to Iceland in the autumnal months will provide ample opportunity for fun and activity whatever your interests. Alternatively, those seeking even more adventure filled Icelandic activities during September or October could do worse than booking a cruise around the Nordic islands (or even just a day trip on a cruising boat). The scenery is spectacular and when coupled with the opportunity to see an abundance of wildlife, an offshore excursion or cruise to Iceland is the ultimate way to see the country.
Heavenly Hot Springs
People from all over the world visit Iceland just to have a dip in its world famous hot springs. The hot springs are created by water flowing near hot underground lava, resulting in pools of warm (sometimes hot!) water – in which tourists can happily wile away the hours. Apparently, the Vikings also bathed in the hot springs – though probably not for relaxation, more as a method of staying clean. The hot springs are best enjoyed in the cooler months – this is reputed to provide greater restorative health benefits (the implication being the sauna/steam room effect from hot to cold and vice versa). Lonely Planet offers tourists an excellent guide to the ‘best' hot springs in Iceland.
By Susie Flowers