To say Iceland is a dream would be a gross understatement. This island country, barely southeast of its much colder, icy-er neighbor, Greenland, is wild, isolated, and full of wonder. Some call Iceland the land of “Fire and Ice”, for it is a country dotted with dozens of active volcanoes, most covered in strikingly beautiful glaciers.
I spent a short three days here en route to Paris, thanks to IcelandAir’s awesome free stopover program (up to 7 days free layover.) Here’s how I made the most of my time in Iceland:
It’s all about the season
Because Iceland is so far north, daylight hours vary immensely depending on what time of year you go. I decided to visit in early July, when the sun barely leaves the sky at midnight and returns before 3 a.m. That meant more time to play outside and slightly warmer weather (60 F), but it also made the Northern Lights impossible to see.
Prepare for the prices
Iceland is not cheap: the food, the souvenirs, the activities. It all comes with a hefty price tag, so be prepared, but also know that most of it is worth the cost (like scuba diving in a fissure!) The currency there is called ISK (Icelandic Krona) and at the time that I went was 134 ISK to every US dollar. (Imagine my surprise when my waiter told me I owed 3,000 for dinner!)
Iceland is rich in history and wild landscapes. Originally settled by vikings and owned by Denmark for many years before its’ independence, Iceland is a uniquely isolated country of 300,000 inhabitants, most with strong beliefs on magical creatures and a strong sense of community and respect (crime isn’t a common occurrance– there’s only one jail!)
I wish I had spent more time there and can’t wait to return!
-The Wandering Alligator