The first word that comes to mind when I think of Iceland is magical! It is the "Land of Fire and Ice", along with myth, lore, Vikings, Northern Lights, and the midnight summer sun. Everything about Iceland is so unique that it is almost other-worldly. I've been to this little artic island several times, and there is still so much left to see and do. Upon your first visit, you will understand why I think this country is so special!
Depending on what time of year you visit, there are some different things to take into consideration. Summer is typically the most popular time to visit, as there is more daylight (20-22 hours of daylight in June!), the weather averages a temperate 55-60 degrees F, and the entire island is generally accessible. Travel is still possible (and quite enjoyable) in the winter and you have a greater chance of spotting the Northern Lights, but the weather is much more unpredictable, there is 5-6 hours of daylight, and most roads in Northern Iceland and the West Fjords will be impassible. Luckily, there is still plenty to see and do near Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, and south/east Iceland any time of year. Regardless of when you travel in Iceland, I recommend always packing plenty of layers and waterproof socks, shoes, pants, and jacket/coat. It is not uncommon to get caught in a quick rain shower, and high winds near the sea can make things a little misty! Staying dry is the key to staying warm.
One of my favorite things about Iceland is how easy it is to get around. It is a small country, but they have completely adapted to tourists and welcome them with open arms! There are plenty of day trips based out of Reykjavik to Iceland's most popular sights such as the Golden Circle, Snaefellness Peninsula, Kirkjufellsfoss, Skogafoss, black sand beaches, and much more. If you prefer to be behind the wheel yourself, you can easily rent a vehicle. Don't be intimidated to drive in Iceland! Almost all of Iceland's signage is in English, they drive on the right side of the road just like we do in the States, and you will never encounter a road with a speed limit higher than 90 kilometers (or 55 miles) per hour. Of course, if you are not comfortable driving in winter weather conditions, it would be best to err on the side of caution and stick to the group tours where you can be safely driven to popular sights and back.
A fun fact about Icelanders is that they LOVE their sweets. Particularly, licorice candies and ice cream! In fact, Icelanders have a specific word for hopping in the car and going on an ice cream run: bíltúr! Be sure to stop in any grocery store while you are there and check out all of the amazing selections. If you're feeling particularly adventurous, try the bitafiskur, or dried fish jerky. Iceland is a seafood lovers paradise, as most restaurants cook and serve the fish within kilometers of the boat it was brought in on. You'll notice plenty of interesting offerings on a typical Icelandic menu such as fiskibollur (fish balls, a must try!), plokkfiskur (fish stew, so hearty and delicious!), and even horse, puffin, and whale meat.
Iceland is truly a one-of-a-kind experience with breathtakingly varied scenery, interesting architecture (you'll likely be surprised to learn what the tallest building in all of Iceland is), and friendly, hospitable people- truly, a "bucket list" type of place. We would love to plan your trip to the incredible Land of Fire and Ice!