5 Things I Love About Iceland

Jun 2, 2018

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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The verdict is in: I love Iceland. The fact that I can visit a place with freezing temperatures in the dead of winter and still be impressed means something — this is a special place. After a trip here earlier this year, I realized that Iceland is not only amazing in summer (I also visited in July 2013), but in the winter as well.

I booked a tour through Iceland Luxury Tours, and though it wasn’t cheap, it was an incredible experience and well worth it because they did all the grunt work of organizing. Our guide, Geiri, was amazing. (You can hire him via Activity Iceland.)

Here are just a few of the reasons I’ve fallen in love with this country.

1. You Can Be Outdoorsy in Winter

There are so many outdoor activities to do in Iceland, even in its frigid winter. Some of my favorites included snowmobiling on glacier sand and riding ATVs on black-sand beaches and icy rivers. (Summer activities I enjoyed during a previous trip included horseback riding and hiking.) Of course, the Blue Lagoon can be visited year-round, but it’s especially relaxing in winter, when you really appreciate warming up.

2. You Can Get Your #AvGeek On

Back in 1973, a US Navy Douglas Super DC-3 had to make an emergency landing on Sólheimasandur beach. Everyone aboard survived, but the aircraft remains abandoned. The wreckage, standing out against the desolate landscape, is a sight to see, especially for a plane geek like myself.

3. Unreal Landscapes

Glaciers to my right and the crashing ocean to my left — now that’s what I call epic scenery! Black beaches, the Blue Lagoon, bones of sperm whales, waterfalls, mountains covered in ice … Iceland is just one Instagrammable shot after another. Even if outdoor activities aren’t your thing, the country is incredible for anyone who loves photography or simply enjoys stunning scenery. Seeing the country in a helicopter is one of the best rides I’ve ever taken!

4. The Northern Lights Are Worthy of Your Bucket List

I’d been wanting to see the northern lights my whole life, and they were everything I’d hoped they’d be. They’re what happens when charged particles from the sun crash into the Earth’s magnetosphere, lighting up gases in our atmosphere and wreathing the night sky in ribbons of colored light that are otherworldly and hauntingly beautiful. This is something everyone should view at least once in their lives, and I feel so lucky I was able to cross them off my own bucket list. It was worth braving the winter elements, that’s for sure.

5. There Are Plenty of Fun, Funky Hotels

I loved my stay in the quaint Skálakot Lodge, sandwiched between two waterfalls: Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. The Hotel Grimsborgir was another special spot, located just outside of the Thingvellir National Park. I spent a night at the Hilton Canopy Reykjavik, which was a funky spot to stay in if you want to explore the city. For my next trip, I hope to check out the ION Adventure Hotel at at Nesjavellir, an unusual hotel that overlooks lava fields.

Featured image courtesy of The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.