Shakespeare obviously didn’t visit Iceland. If he had maybe there would been words to describe the tiny Nordic island, words to do it justice.
The terms brilliant, breathtaking, raw or vast natural splendour come to mind and maybe come close to an accurate description.
The landscape of fire and ice is a true visual degustation. Geysers,cascading waterfalls (endearingly known as ‘foss’ to all tourists), staggered cliffs; the black beaches, snow capped volcanos and the centre of the island itself, the glaciers, all combine to createwhat can only be described as a stunning encounter with nature.
Topping worldwide travel bucket lists it has been predicted Iceland will be the biggest travel destination over the next five years. Don’t believe me? Head to Instagram, maybe the mass of travel bloggers, photographers and grammers alike will convince you.
Speaking from personal experience, Iceland isn’t a place you visit once and make a photo album. Iceland is somewhere you visit (a consistently cold somewhere) several times to explore every coast in depth, somewhere you go to experience the summer, which brings nearly 24 hours of sunlight, vivid green and bright blue skies which contrast the icebergs of Jökulsárlón.
It is somewhere you go in winter to experience 2 hours of sunlight, below freezing temperatures, a vast snow and ice covered landscape and the Northern Lights.
Get yourself a van and follow the Ring Road. Visit Reykjavik and experience happy hour at 11am, eat sheeps brain, visit the striking Hallgrimskirkja church and soak it all up in the Blue Lagoon.
Stop at every foss, each one has its own surprise (Skógafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Svartifoss cannot be missed). Take the trek to the black sand beach Reynisfjara and climb Dyrholaey for the panoramic views. Follow the footsteps of Justin Bieber and visit the Iceberg Lagoon, Jökulsárlón and the magnificent Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. Take a drive to Vestrahorn and if you feel like a walk visit the Sólheimasandur Plane Crash (DC-3).
For anyone dreaming, thinking or planning to visit Iceland remember these four things:
1. Do not think your pronunciation is correct – I can assure you, it’s not.
2. If you’re driving, stop everywhere and anywhere. If you see a canyon, glacier or small foss, stop, get out and walk. Please go and explore. (Take comfy shoes, you’ll need them).
3. Do not be fooled by ‘Summer’. Icelandics’ would consider the Australian winter a heatwave.
4. And finally, try the food. Eat the fermented shark, sheeps brain, the reindeer burgers, horse meat and obviously, Skyr. Some scary and some surprisingly delicious – I just won’t tell you which.
Visit Iceland, fall in love with the landscape, with nature, the wildlife, the weird and wonderful food; the people, the sweaters and the fresh, lung cleaning, mind clearing air – the only thing you’ll regret is not staying longer.