2020 has only just begun, but cabin fever is already setting in. So, I decided to start a travel bucket list for the year. There are so many great places to travel, but right now Iceland has my attention. I’ll tell you why it’s number one on my list and why it should be number one on your list too.
Iceland has so many unique attractions and must-see destinations that it’s hard to pick just a few. The country is full of culture and funky food like hákarl (fermented shark). It also has gorgeous architecture like the Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavík.
However, to me the secret to Iceland’s wonder is its nature. It is diverse, breathtaking, and incomparable. It is for this very reason Game of Thrones chose Iceland to shoot many of its scenes. So, in no particular order, here is a list of the 9 Icelandic sights I wish to see:
The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are the world’s greatest light show. Seeing them is something on everyone’s bucket list. But they are as beautiful as they are elusive. Even with online forecasts, you never know when or where you might see them. However, Iceland is one of the best places to catch the Northern Lights, so it’s worth a shot.
Horse riding is enjoyable no matter where you go, but the Icelandic horse is especially adorable. Riding around on one of those little guys makes enjoying the scenery even more fun. Look! They’re small like me.
Iceland has been named the whale watching capital of Europe. Húsavik by Skjálfandi Bay is an especially active spot for marine life. You can see humpback whales, dolphins, harbor porpoises, and more. Also, before you head out into the sea, you might see some puffin along the shore. For us land dwellers, it’s a great chance to see some exotic wildlife we might never see otherwise.
The Blue Lagoon Spa
Iceland is a hot spot for natural spas, but the most famous spa is the Blue Lagoon Spa. Travel is tiring, so a warm, steamy spa is exactly what you need after all the exciting adventures and long plane rides. Blue Lagoon Spa, other than being unnaturally blue, is said to have healing silica mud. Personally, I don’t have any health issues. Even so, it’s just one more excuse to relax in the warm, soothing water.
Lake Mývatn means “Fly Lake.” Apparently, the lake is swarmed with flies in the summer. Game of Thrones didn’t let it stop them. They traveled to this area to film lands North of the Wall. So, I won’t let it stop me either. Thanks to geothermal activity, the site has stunning landscapes with pseudo-craters and hot springs. Lake Mývatn makes up a part of the Diamond Circle, a group of sights to see in northern Iceland. Also, included in the Diamond Circle is Húsavik, Dettifoss Waterfall, and Ásbyrgi Canyon.
East of Lake Mývatn is Dettifoss Waterfall, the largest waterfall in Iceland. Iceland has several gorgeous waterfalls, but none can compare to Dettifoss’s sheer size and power. I can just imagine it thunder and roar as it sprays cool mist into the air. It’s as terrifying as it is beautiful.
The Ásbyrgi Canyon is a surreal horseshoe-shaped canyon. It is said that Odin’s eight-legged Icelandic horse created the canyon when one of its hoofs touched the ground. That’s a big horse! The story sounds a bit far-fetched to me, but the canyon itself is still a sight to behold.
The Golden Circle
Like the Diamond Circle, the Golden Circle is a group of sights that any tourist should see. This one is located on the west of Iceland, closer to Reykjavík. If you’re flying into Iceland’s capital, it’s one of the first things you can do. The Golden Circle’s major attractions include Haukadalur Geothermal Valley, Þingvellir National Park, and the Gullfoss Waterfall, which rivals even the Dettifoss Waterfall for its beauty.
The Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Finally, I have my sights set on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It is a lake often decorated by glittering icebergs from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. There is something that seems so peaceful about watching these icebergs meander towards the ocean. Besides, due to global warming, the glacier may not be there forever, and already the lagoon is growing in size. I want to see it in all its majesty before it is too late.
Iceland is home to numerous attractions, too many, in fact, to list in a single blog post. Regardless, it is clear Iceland deserves a spot on my travel bucket list for 2020. Whether or not I can make it there, Iceland is on my mind.
If you’re looking for more concrete travel plans, check out Guide to Iceland. They have tons of great tours and trips to please any traveler on the way to Iceland.
If you want to see some of my recent travels, check out my trip to Santorini. Do you need help funding your trip? Check out some of my tips to travel cheap on a student’s budget.