I never knew I wanted to go to Iceland until I got there. When I planned my amazing trip to backpack Europe after my senior year of high school, Iceland wasn’t even on my radar. I ended up there basically because of cheap flights, and the rest is history. I fell in love with the atmosphere, the landscape, and the sheer beauty of the country. So, stop making excuses and just go! Need some convincing?
1. Cheap flights!
WOW air is what I used to fly to and from Europe. Both times, we stopped shortly in Iceland. While I initially got a bad impression because of their lack of communication on our layover, everything else worked out perfectly. You honestly just get what you pay for. The planes are nice and fun (purple! how cool!). They don’t provide you with entertainment or a snack, but you’re not paying for it! For me, whatever got me to see the world was good enough. I can pack my own snacks, bring my own water, and play on my phone or read a book if it means I can afford to see Iceland!
- WOW air departs from major hubs in the US; Boston (BOS), San Fransisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Washington DC (BWI), New York (EWR), Miami (MIA), and now Pittsburgh (PIT). And of course, Iceland!
- Personally, I did a “stopover” flight. This meant I was flying to and from Europe, but my layover was extra long so I could see Iceland, too! This is no additional cost; all WOW air flights stop in Iceland.
- Prices for tickets vary day-to-day, based on when you buy them and for what day. If you have more flexibility in departure dates, tickets get as low as $99, but commonly found at $199. This could make your roundtrip ticket as low as $200! This is the same no matter what city you’re flying from!
- The ticket includes one small carry-on, but a checked bag is only $50.99. Anyone who knows about flying knows this is a crazy good deal. Especially for a flight that is possibly over eight hours long. However, the flight is beautiful!
2. Most everyone speaks English.
The Icelandic language is a beautiful language that is one of the oldest in European history. However, because of the immense tourism market and as a result of globalization, English is very widely spoken and understood. I noticed that nearly every sign was in English and Icelandic; some were not even in Icelandic. If you’re worried about a language barrier when you travel, you definitely won’t have that problem in Iceland. English is required at school, so young and old speak it.
3. The Northern Lights.
This is an incredible, amazing, unbelievable natural phenomenon. It’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World! There’s no guarantee that going to Iceland will get you a glimpse of the Northern Lights, but there’s a good chance! It’s important to do your research about when and where they’ll be most active. I didn’t get to see the Northern Lights on my trip, but I’m definitely going to have to return to see them.
4. It’s incredibly clean.
This seems like a silly reason to visit a country, but hear me out. I had just spent over a month in the hottest region in Europe—Cordoba, Spain. Everyday I was sweaty and sticky, and I had grown to accept it. Before that, I was in the dirty waters of Venice and the trash-filled streets of Paris. Stepping off the plane in Iceland from Spain was a breath of fresh air. It filled my lungs and it felt good to breath in. Just perfectly clean air. In fact, Forbes said the Iceland is the cleanest country in the world, based on water and air purity. Do your health a favor and visit Iceland.
5. You’d be supporting a worthwhile economy.
In 2008, Iceland’s economy crashed. Their money became worthless on a global scale. The history of the country is amazing—something you’ll definitely learn about when you get there! The fact that they had built themselves up to be a global player was incredible… and the crash was devastating for the country. In fact, half-built buildings stand, stopped mid-project when the money disappeared. Iceland is slowly rebuilding itself, and a lot of the new economic growth is due to tourism. China’s economy will be fine without you, but tell yourself that Iceland needs you to rebuild! Get on a cheap plane and go!
6. It’s easy to get around.
The majority of the population in Iceland live in Reykjavik; about half of the 300,000 people. If you visit, that’s probably where you would stay. The city is small enough that you could walk to any major city attraction. Strætó is the public bus system. I didn’t use it, but I’ve heard good things about it. I used a hop-on, hop-off tour which helped us get around easily and tour the near city without a set schedule. To travel to further parts of northern and southern Iceland, there are hundreds of tour and bus companies. You’ll find one that can get you where you want to go, and for a good price!
7. The history is amazing.
Like I said, Iceland is an incredibly unique country that has a different history than most other countries. Since it is an island, its had minimal influences from the outside. Also, vikings. Vikings are so neat. Iceland has tons of museums, like The National Museum of Iceland, that tells the beautiful story of its history.
8. Iceland’s nature is gorgeous.
Every time I look back at my pictures, I have to remind myself that this was an actual real place I got to go to. There are so many different tour options, but between the geysers, waterfalls, ocean, countryside, glaciers, and mountains, there is something for every nature-minded person. The Golden Circle Tour is a must, and I know you’ve heard of the Blue Lagoon. I didn’t get to explore any glaciers, and that’s number one on my list for next time!
So, what’s stopping you now? Iceland is an incredible country that you definitely have to visit! Go for it right now.