Why 2018 Looks Like a Good Year for Iceland
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When you think of holiday destinations, the same few places come up over and again: Paris, London and New York are hot city breaks and the Greek and Spanish Islands are perfect for family beach holidays in the sun. A few other destinations like Budapest, Prague and Brugge are getting some attention from travellers - especially those making the most of interrailing tickets, but otherwise, options seem to be quite limited.
As a more adventurous traveller, you are probably looking for something a little more off the beaten track. While you should certainly try destinations in Asia and Australia, Europe also has a lot on offer a little closer to home.
If you are willing to go north instead of following the migration south, you could be in for a real treat. Scandinavia and Norway offer some fabulous trips and though you won’t reach temperatures much higher than 20*c (a delight for those of us who can’t stand being hot and sweaty), there is still plenty to of. But, what about heading away from mainland Europe and instead explore Iceland this summer?
Iceland is often overlooked by tourists seeking sun and sand but it is a fabulous destination that deserves another look.
What to Wear
For your usual summer holiday plans, it’s likely that you would go for mainly shorts and t-shirts but since the very warmest it will get is around 20*c - and 15*c is much more likely - you should definitely go for layers instead. For Icelanders, this time of year is regarded as really hot, but for us southerly lot, it’s still a bit on the chilly side!
Light jumpers are a good idea and you should also pack your mack, a scarf and a hat. If you are planning to go walking, you should also pack some sensible boots. However, you should also pack your swimwear for the Blue Lagoon Geothermal spa which really is a must-do holiday activity.
A Bold and Beautiful Landscape
There are few places on Earth that offer such a diversity in landscapes. From black sandy beaches to geysers and glaciers, Iceland is a must-visit for any budding photographer. This landscape changes throughout the year but there is always drama to be enjoyed.
In the winter, you can sit in the hot springs while the snow comes down, take dog sled rides and hope to see the northern lights. In the summer, you can visit some areas in the centre of the large island that only open come July and make the most of the midnight sun.
Iceland’s geysers are one of its most stunning attractions. The hot water is pushed up through the earth’s crust and shoots up into the air creating a rainbow of steam and water droplets. Geysir, thought to be one of the oldest geysers in Iceland, is a hot tourist attraction as water is spouted 30m high into the air every few minutes.
As you might expect from a mostly coastal nation, fish and seafood is big in Iceland and small Icelandic langoustine are a good recommendation. You are also likely to have heard of pickled and smoked shark or Hálarl which is still available though more as a tourist trap than anything else. It was once eaten as one of the few foods that would last through the harsh winter but is now mainly there as a reminder of the food heritage. Try at your own risk!
The drinking culture in Iceland is a bit strange and you are best advised to buy any alcohol at the airport where it is cheapest! They don’t have off-licences like we do, so be prepared to search quite hard for state-owned liquor stores known as vinbúð which have limited opening times. That said, the Icelandic people are quite happy to drink hard when they want to, especially on the August Bank Holiday!
Though it is unlikely that you will spend this holiday lying by the pool, slowly cooking under a hot sun, a holiday in Iceland is certainly an alternative trip you should try at some point. If you aren’t really a fan of sunbathing, this is the ideal holiday as the weather is perfect for exploring without getting too hot or too cold.
Iceland is at its busiest in the winter due to the magnificent northern lights and snowfall, but the quieter summer months are gradually getting more popular as people discover this land holds even more secrets. You have to go to find them all for yourself.