So you’re thinking about a trip to Iceland? If you’re the adventurous type and a fan of nature that rocks your socks off, I can help you decide when to go and how long you should stay.
WHEN TO TRAVEL?
Lots of material about Iceland mentions the harsh weather conditions there, so many recommend visiting the country in July and August. Don’t believe everything you read. I spent a full week in Iceland in brilliant sunlight and warmth at the beginning of October. Sometimes, it was over +20 degrees Celsius.
Fortunately, sometimes unfortunately, the weather in Iceland does not seem to follow any season or time of a day. The country is beautiful and brutally raw, so if you’re planning on going there, it is better to be ready for absolutely ANYTHING, both in terms of experiences and weather.
HOW LONG SHOULD YOU STAY?
One week is just enough to tour the main road by car around Iceland from Reykjavík, and see the natural wonders you may have previously seen in photographs. If you have a little more time there, you can get off the road and explore some of the fabulous fjords or walk around the island’s gorgeous interior. The so-called “Golden Circle” is the “must see” of all journeys in Iceland and can be done in 3-4 days. If you have less time, Reykjavík and Blue Lagoon give a window into Iceland’s world. To be honest, you need more time to see this amazingly special and diverse island.
WHY VISIT ICELAND?
For each minute spent and each mile travelled there, nature’s ever-changing, powerful and dramatic spectacle is flabbergasting. Throughout the tour, I had David Bowie’s “Is there life on Mars” running through my head. And if it’s not Mars, Iceland is certainly some kind of Earth 2.0
My first time seeing the Northern lights was in Reykjavík, which dimmed its lights to make for better viewing of the phenomenon. It was an unforgettable experience to see the Aurora Borealis capriciously dancing above Hallgrimmskirkja, the church of the capital (and also a landmark). This island carries us away, it enters our minds, it changes us forever. Iceland expresses the overwhelming kind of love that everybody who once lived on this earth must have felt, or the magnetic strength that keeps drawing people back there.
Iceland has an exceptional number of powerful waterfalls. The frequent, excited exclamations of “look at the waterfall!” of the initial days of our visit soon became rarer and we eventually receded into a resigned silence – waterfalls are everywhere.
WHO SHOULD GO?
I recommend Iceland to:
- Fans of nature
- Anyone who is willing to step out of their comfort zone.
It might not be for you
Iceland is “no country for old men” – not a place to rest or do nothing, but a challenging country demanding both good physical conditioning and tolerance. You should spend every day going on excursions in nature. You’ll have a busy, tiring, even cold(!) odyssey.
Taking that into consideration, I do not recommend Iceland to those who:
- prefer recreational holidays to outdoor expeditions, or are simply lazy,
- have limited mobility, or
- always travel with their young children – kids may not yet be rugged enough for the terrain.