The Ultimate Guide to Holidaying in Iceland

Are you tired of the same old beach vacation? Do you crave adventure and breathtaking landscapes? Then I have the perfect destination for you: Iceland. Yes, this country may be cold, but it's also full of hot springs, volcanoes, and glaciers. And who needs a tan when you can see the Northern Lights?

Getting There

First things first, you need to actually get to Iceland. Luckily, there are plenty of airlines that fly there, including Icelandair and WOW Air. Beware of the latter, though, as they charge for everything except breathing (and I wouldn't be surprised if they started charging for that too).

Once you arrive at Keflavik International Airport, you can take a bus or a taxi to Reykjavik, the capital city. The bus is cheaper, but the taxi is quicker and more comfortable. Just be prepared to mortgage your house to pay for it.

Where to Stay

Reykjavik has a range of accommodations, from fancy hotels to hostels. If you're feeling adventurous (and cheap), you can even try couchsurfing. Just don't be surprised if your host offers you a fermented shark, a traditional Icelandic delicacy that smells like death.

If you want to be closer to nature, you can rent a cabin or a campervan and explore the countryside. Just make sure you bring plenty of warm clothes and a good sleeping bag, because Icelandic nights can get chilly. And by chilly, I mean freezing your butt off.

What to See

Okay, now that you're settled in, it's time to explore. Iceland has so many natural wonders that it can be overwhelming, but here are some must-sees:
  • The Blue Lagoon: This geothermal spa is probably the most famous attraction in Iceland, and for good reason. The milky-blue water is rich in minerals that are said to be good for your skin, and the silica mud is perfect for a DIY facial. Plus, where else can you soak in a hot tub while it's snowing?
  • Gullfoss: This impressive waterfall is located in the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that also includes the Geysir geothermal area and Thingvellir National Park. You can even go snowmobiling on the nearby Langjokull glacier.
  • The Northern Lights: This natural phenomenon is best seen from October to March, and the further away from Reykjavik you go, the better your chances. You can book a tour or just drive out to a dark spot and hope for the best.
  • Vatnajokull National Park: This park covers 13% of Iceland and includes Europe's largest glacier, as well as many other geological wonders. You can hike, climb, or even ice skate on the glacier.

What to Do

Aside from admiring the scenery, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Iceland:
  • Whale watching: There are several companies that offer whale watching tours from Reykjavik or other coastal towns. You might spot humpback, minke, or killer whales.
  • Horseback riding: Icelandic horses are a unique breed, known for their small size, shaggy manes, and five gaits. You can take a guided tour and explore the countryside on horseback.
  • Caving: Iceland has many lava caves that you can explore with a guide. You'll need a helmet, a flashlight, and a sense of adventure.
  • Midnight sun: If you visit in the summer, you'll experience the phenomenon of the midnight sun, when the sun never sets. This means you can stay up all night without feeling guilty.

What to Eat

Icelandic cuisine may not be as famous as Italian or Japanese, but it's worth trying some of the local specialties:
  • Plokkfiskur: This comfort food is a mix of mashed potatoes and fish, usually cod or haddock.
  • Lamb: Icelandic lamb is free-range and grass-fed, resulting in a tender and flavorful meat. It's often served as a stew or roasted with herbs.
  • Skyr: This dairy product is similar to yogurt but thicker and richer. It's a staple of the Icelandic diet and can be eaten as a snack or used in cooking.
  • Brennivin: This clear spirit is also known as "Black Death" and is made from fermented potatoes and caraway seeds. It's an acquired taste, but worth a shot (or two).

Final Tips

Here are some things to keep in mind when visiting Iceland:
  • Money: Iceland is expensive. Very expensive. Be prepared to spend a lot on food, activities, and souvenirs.
  • Weather: Iceland's weather is unpredictable and can change quickly. Make sure you bring waterproof and windproof clothing, as well as warm layers.
  • Driving: If you plan to rent a car and drive around Iceland, be aware that the roads can be narrow, icy, and challenging. You'll also need a valid driver's license and a credit card.
  • Respect: Icelanders are friendly and welcoming, but also value their privacy and personal space. Make sure you follow the rules and respect the environment.
So there you have it, the ultimate guide to holidaying in Iceland. Whether you're a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or just looking for a unique experience, Iceland has something for everyone. Just don't forget your woolly hat and hot water bottle.

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