Why Not Iceland?

October 2016- Panoramic View of Godafoss in Akureyri, Iceland

Almost everyone has been asking me why I chose to go to Iceland. Even the Icelanders I have met and the tour guides were curious as well. I can think of countless reasons to say but my response will always be a casual shrug of "Why not?" and return the question to them. 

"But what can you see in Iceland?!" - this was the follow up question. I don't blame the inquisitiveness. Iceland is not in every one's top picks for travel destinations. Some don't even know it exists until the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted back in 2010 which crippled the aviation across Europe and put Iceland on the map. While most people only know it for the Northern Lights, little did they know there is so much this country has to offer.

So after eight months of putting myself into a travel ban just to save up money for this trip, October has finally come and I have embarked on a 27-hour journey to Iceland!

Here are the reasons why I chose and will choose Iceland all over again:

1. It has an unspoiled, natural beauty. 

From its timeless landscapes, highlands, gorgeous waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs, glaciers - it is a vast wilderness of elemental forces, probably why it is called the Land of Ice and Fire. 

The picturesque Godafoss Waterfalls, Akureyri

Vatnajokull - the second largest glacier in Iceland.
11% of Iceland is covered in glacier.

Due to its geographical location and the fact that it has about 130 volcanoes, a lot of eruptions that occurred made most of its land infertile. This also created more lava fields across the country, adding more charm to its barren lands. 

Lava fields

2. Iceland is a whole different world waiting to be explored.

The likes of Namajfall Hverir, one of the numerous geothermal fields in Iceland, is like stepping into a deserted planet. Its immense Martian-like landscape with mud pots blowing off sulfur steam is how I have always envisioned what Mars would be like.

Namajfall Hverir
Namajfall Hverir

Icelandic Highlands

3. It is more beautiful to experience it than to see it in photographs/movies.

It was Ben Stiller's film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that inspired me the most to add Iceland to my ever growing-list-of-places-to-go. The peaceful landscape shown on the movie has piqued my travel bug and got me day dreaming of how much more wonderful it will be if I was to see it in person. And being there far exceeded my expectation.

Godafoss Waterfalls or the Waterfalls of the gods
There might have been a lot of TV series, movies and photos showcasing the beauty of Iceland but it is still better to be there to experience it. The feel of the wind, the sound of the rushing waterfalls, the warmth of the sun and even the smell of the rain add so much drama and effect to its already postcard-like landscape. It is more than just seeing the beauty of it, it's the actual feeling of being there that no one gets to experience from just seeing photos and watching movies.

Icebergs at Jokulsarlon Lagoon

4. You'll never run out of new things to see and discover.

Everywhere you lay your eyes upon, there will always be something to marvel at. While most of the spots I have been at are the touristy and popular ones, there will always be something new that even our tour guides will discover along the way like passing by unnamed springs and waterfalls. Even the simplest sight of Icelandic horses running free in the wild was just absolutely stunning.

Icelandic Horses are very friendly and love to interact with people.

Myvatn, Iceland

A full rainbow has greeted us upon arriving at Reykjavik, Iceland.

5. The Northern Lights

While most people have put this as their priority when visiting Iceland, I did not and would suggest you to do the same. Seeing the Northern Lights is very tricky because of the constant change of weather and we were quite lucky to have caught a few glimpses of it. There are still quite a lot of wonderful things to see in Iceland and the Northern Lights should just be an added bonus to the trip.

A glimpse of the Northern Lights in Akureyri, Iceland

If this will not convince you to start packing your bags to visit this incredible country, I don't know what else could.