Many people I have met tend to only travel to the same place each time they have a vacation. I never really understood this. I always crave to do something different – to see something different. I have a motto of spending enough time in a place to see everything I would like to see, as I know it is unlikely I will return – not because I didn’t enjoy the place, but because there are just so many places in the world I want to visit.
I never found a place that inspired the desire to return over and over and over again….
Iceland had always been high up on my list of places to travel to. It really ticks all the boxes of what I look for in a destination. It’s got beautiful landscapes, cool cultural vibes, a long and interesting history, while also being both accessible and isolated at the same time. But I never got around to visiting until recently, when I stayed for one week on a free stop over between Toronto, Canada and London, England.
One reason that it took me so long to visit Iceland was timing. I didn’t want to go in the winter. In the end, we did visit in winter (November) and it was fantastic. In fact we even wrote an article about why you should consider traveling to Iceland in the winter. Another reason I had put off a trip to Iceland was that I was worried about the cost of traveling there. Iceland has a reputation of being one of the most expensive countries to travel in. But we actually found Iceland to be quite reasonable – perhaps even cheaper than traveling in Canada or Australia.
Now that I have finally visited Iceland, I can’t believe I put it off for this long. Iceland has become, hands down, one of our favourite places in the world.
Iceland is beautiful
Iceland is one of the most beautiful, wild and rugged places I have ever been. Visiting in winter really added to it’s beauty in my opinion. In Dans words, “you can’t take a bad picture of Iceland. As long as your camera is in focus, you can’t go wrong.” It is so true. We were constantly pulling over in the car to take photos of anything and everything.
To see more photos from Iceland you should check out our photo essay which we published here.
Vibrant towns and cities
Even the capitol city of Reykjavik is pretty small when it comes to cities, which makes the amount of art and culture available truly astounding. The entire city is like a hipster paradise with amazing cafes and bars, incredible design, one of the world’s best music scenes, and of course, plenty of art.
We didn’t catch any music shows while we were in town since we only stayed in the capitol our first and last nights in Iceland, but we did manage to find a bunch of really cool bars and restaurants, as well as be tempted by some pretty interesting home design stores.
Everything about nature in Iceland is full on. Geothermal wonders are at every turn, with most towns having their own little hot spring nearby. Of course you can’t beat the beauty that is The Blue Lagoon, and we can’t forget the iconic Geyser… the geyser from which all others are named.
Waterfalls are another feature at every turn, and each one is mind boggling in it’s own right. From three tiered Gullfoss, to light and airy Seljalandsfoss, each and every one of them is worth a stop.
But some of my favourite sights in Iceland were just random spots of beauty. Like the sunlight reflecting off the snow in the early morning, or the almost blue way that the ice shone. Or the black sand beaches, or the old farm sheds being slowly consumed by the hill sides.
We can’t wait to go back to Iceland
We loved our winter visit, but I think next time we will aim to travel Iceland in the summer. Without the snow, it will be like an entirely new landscape to explore. And of course, warmer weather means that more trekking and camping opportunities will open to us… and maybe…just maybe… the roads will be more driveable.