Move Iceland Up Your Bucket List and Travel Here Now
Iceland is a hot destination right now and it’s no wonder. With all of the unique landscapes, glaciers and elves, who wouldn’t want to visit?
However, sometimes people put a destination on their bucket list only to never actually make it. We want to encourage you to put Iceland on the top of your bucket list and visit soon. There are some practical reasons why now is a good time for you to visit, but we also have some perennial reasons why Iceland should earn a top spot on your travel wish list.
Iceland’s Folkloric Culture and the Crazy Landscape
Firstly, come for the elves. Elves live in Ireland too, but in Iceland, the elves are an active part of the culture. Over fifty percent of Icelanders believe in the elves, or at least in the possibility of elves. Elves have appeared in Icelandic records dating back to the Viking era. The elves are very much part of the landscape, living in homes made of the volcanic stones. They are seriously territorial and will cause mischief if their stone homes are disturbed. There are many stories of construction projects gone awry because of elvish disturbances.
When you visit, you can learn more about the elves by attending the Elf School a Friday afternoon primer on the myths and habits of the elves. Even if you don’t attend Elf School, it is worth remembering that elvish lore is kept alive partly through the curious visitors who come and explore Icelandic culture.
Even if you are a sceptic, the elvish lore is relevant because it is also a proxy for Iceland’s reverence for its unique landscape. Placating mischievous elves with minimal land disturbance could be considered an alternative form of nature conservation.
Conservation of Iceland’s crazy landscape makes it reason number two for why you should visit soon. The island is one large volcanic rock with thirty active (and many inactive) volcanic systems. This creates a stark, spare landscape that is distant and alluring. That quiet beauty is interrupted by the more than 10,000 waterfalls that crash and slide down the volcanos and into the ocean. The loud, pushy waterfalls and the quiet simmering landscape are an odd couple worth hanging out with.
The waterfalls are generated by a combination of rain, snow and melting glaciers. Those glaciers are reason number three why you should prioritize Iceland. Vatnajokull glacier is one of the largest in Iceland and a very popular spot for tourists who want to experience glacier hiking. Like many glaciers around the globe, it is retreating at the rate of approximately a meter per year. So, if you would like the singular experience of hiking on a live, moving glacier, sooner is better than later.
Practical Reasons to Visit Iceland Now
If melting glaciers, fragile landscapes and mischievous elves aren’t reason enough, there are also several very practical reasons to prioritize travel to Iceland.
The first is that Iceland’s popularity is on a steep growth curve and tourism is up 40%. This means that the popular tourist spots are getting more crowded and hotel stays and restaurants are becoming more expensive. You can stay ahead of that curve by visiting soon. You can also hedge against the crowds by visiting in winter, which is a less busy time of year.
Another reason to visit now is that WOW Air has been expanding into Europe and North America. They are fueling that growth with frequent fare sales and cheap flights to Reykjavik. So, you can snag a cheap fare and come to just to Reykjavik, or you can plan a long stopover here while on your way to elsewhere in Europe. These great fares may not last forever.
FOMO is a real thing and if you don’t want to feel it every time you see a picture from Iceland in your Instagram feed, then plan a trip soon. HI Iceland has 35 hostels all over the country and we will make you feel welcome once you arrive.
Carol is a travel writer. She is an experienced traveler with an independent streak and she is always on the look out for something extraordinary when travelling. You can find her itineraries, travel advice and Iceland content at Wayfaringviews.com