This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Everyone’s talking about Iceland these days, so although I’d been back in 2013, I wanted to return and explore more of the country. I thought maybe I was crazy to go in winter, but visiting over New Year’s Eve was actually the trip of a lifetime.
Here’s why Iceland should be on your radar any season.
1. It’s Cheap and Easy to Get There
WOW Air’s been expanding rapidly in the US, and even more routes are coming for 2018. As of April 26, WOW will offer its famous $99 one-way flights between New York-JFK and Reykjavik (KEF), as well as additional routes of out Newark (EWR).
Icelandair is also operating a number of new routes in 2018. The carrier will begin flying between Kansas City (MCI) and Reykjavik on May 25, 2018 (Kansas City’s first-ever nonstop transatlantic route), between Baltimore (BWI) and Reykjavik starting May 28, 2018, and between San Francisco (SFO) and Reykjavik starting June 1, 2018.
If you’d rather burn points instead of paying cash, the three major US carriers fly to Iceland seasonally — American Airlines is starting service from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) in June 2018, and United will fly from Newark starting in late May 2018. Delta flies year-round from New York and seasonally from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) as of May 26, 2018.
You can also use your points to stay, with Hilton, Club Carlson and Starwood properties in and around Reykjavik.
2. The Locals Are Fun and Quirky
Icelanders are loads of fun. There are only 330,000 of them in total, and they’re all sorts of quirky. Icelandic folklore is very much a part of the culture, complete with trolls and magical creatures. And among the uniquely local things that distinguish Iceland, there’s also an app that tells them if they are related, which can be useful when trying to date in the small Icelandic dating pool.
But all jokes aside, local are friendly, welcoming and interesting, so make sure to take time to chat. If you happen to go during a holiday, be ready for fireworks — Icelanders love to set them off for any reason, and especially on New Year’s Eve.
3. It’s Worth Freezing to See the Northern Lights
Although right now is the end of a 11-year downstream when it comes to the northern lights, it was still an incredible experience for me. It’s one of the best parts of going in the dead of winter, when it’s dark all the time — those are the ideal conditions for seeing this amazing phenomenon. It’s a way to feel connected with nature, and it’s truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
4. Summer’s Also Amazing
Although you might not catch the northern lights, visiting in the summer can also be just as wonderful. The first time I went to Iceland in the summer, I was able to do fun outdoor activities like horseback riding and hiking, with lots of daylight — and without all the heavy coats. Really, Iceland is a special experience in any season, so just go!
5. It’s Like Visiting Another Planet
I love traveling places where you feel completely transported to another place. I recently felt that way at the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, which made me feel like ancient Chinese royalty, in the Wadi Rum desert, which made me feel like a Martian, and in Iceland, where the craters, glaciers and volcanic rock made me feel as if I were on the moon! If you need a true escape, Iceland is a great place to really get away.
Featured image courtesy of Southern Lightscapes-Australia via Getty Images.
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards