WHY YOU WILL LOVE ICELAND!
Iceland is a place like no other. If you’re looking for adventure with a side of history and more than a sufficient helping of natural beauty, look no further. Here’s why you will LOVE Iceland…we are already itching to get back.
We recently spent five days exploring this amazing country and we’re already planning to come back.
Here’s how we fell head over heels in love with the land of fire and ice…
Iceland just gets it.
Sustainability. Functionality. Consciousness. The Icelandic population is extremely forward thinking and put the planet first. Which is more than can be said for far more powerful and influential nations. Seems we can all learn a lot from this tiny island.
The murder rate in Iceland is 20 times lower than the world average at less than 1 per year. Violent crime is practically non existent despite the fact that many Icelanders own guns. There’s also no class system here, which means everyone counts, nobody is ‘less than’ and everyone feels like they have a voice. Equality rules here and that is pretty damn rad in our book.
Glaciers, waterfalls, wildlife and lava for days
Volcanos, glaciers, lava tubes, geothermal pools. Iceland has it all when it comes to some seriously mind blowing natural landscapes. Iceland sits across the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. In fact, you can even snorkel or scuba dive between the two!
Lava fields cover a large area of the country, a result of several volcanic eruptions, the most recent being in 2010. Seeing these lava fields up close is pretty amazing. Even more impressive is the glacial pools we saw on the south coast.
Iceland is the third windiest place on the planet…and nobody lives in the other two places! You feel the chill of the wind all year round too. Plus, let’s not forget about the endless days in the summer months and the super short days in the winter time. When we visited we had daylight for pretty much 24 hours! Crazy. You can really make the most of the time though, one day we did a 12 hour road trip which was totally doable with that much daylight.
Incredible fresh food and clean water!
It is rare for us to visit a new place and be blown away by the food. Call us biased but Australia is one of the best places on earth to eat and drink…especially coffee. So we didn’t have very high expectations for Iceland and were more than gobsmacked when we sampled the local food.
Firstly, the coffee is amazing! Massive win. A local Icelander informed us that Starbucks isn’t welcome here and they pride themselves on good quality coffee with a bustling cafe culture to boot.
Then there is the food. Iceland is very self sufficient and locally sourced produce is the norm. Fresh seafood and sustainably farmed meat and veggies are the staples here and even the fast food is amazing. One thing that was so refreshing to see was a country with no sign of the Golden Arches. That’s right peeps. No Maccas here! MacDonald’s opened in Iceland but didn’t last. Reason being that no sane Icelander would want to eat that crap.
Even the fast food they do have is crazy good. We ordered a felafel kebab one night as it was too late for restaurant food and were totally expecting it to be pretty average…but it was SO GOOD! Even the fast food here is fresh and delicious.
Iceland is also very proud of its tap water. No need to buy bottled water here! You can drink straight from the tap and enjoy icy cold and super clean drinking water. Not a hint of chlorine!
Elves and 13 Santas
Iceland folk lore is fascinating. 90% of the population believe in elves. This was so exciting for me as I LOVE fantasy novels and movies so I was totally on board from the get go. If you want to build anything in Iceland, you’d be wise to consult the elves first! To the point that huge rocks, or elf houses, have been left in the road for people to drive around so as not to disturb the elves. You can even find an Elf Whisperer to help you negotiate with the elves if you have a particularly tricky matter at hand.
And then there’s Christmas. Celebrating Christmas in Iceland is a big deal. From the 1st December the festivities begin and they really go all out! Not only that but Icelandic Christmas takes things to a whole new level with 13 Santas who are in fact trolls that bring their own cheeky traditions to the festive season. The Yule Lads include Door Slammer, Pot Licker, Sausage Swiper, Window Peeper and Candle Stealer to name just a few.
The lads doting mother is called Gryla and has been know to eat naughty children who she likes to cook up in a stew! The stuff of nightmares I’m sure you’ll agree.
Proud yet humble and refreshingly honest, the Icelandic people are some of the most welcoming and lovely people you’ll ever wish to meet. They have a lot to be proud of. A rich history, sustainable lifestyle and more creativity than you can shake a stick at.
They are also super laid back. Not fussed by fame and fortune, many a Hollywood star has walked the streets of Reykjavik without being hassled or hounded. Even the president of Iceland has his office in the centre of town with no security. Yep. We could all learn a lot from this lot!
In short, Iceland is one of the most fascinating places we’ve ever visited. We can’t wait to go back and experience winter and the Northern Lights! Stay tuned for our top tips on what to do in Summer in Iceland coming to the blog soon!