Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Travel Wish List - Iceland

Iceland has been on my travel radar (and my husband's) for about a year now. Our interest in the small island country in the north Atlantic was initially sparked after we watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) starring Ben Stiller. Earlier this summer, when a friend visited Iceland and shared pictures of her adventures, I developed a serious case of travel envy.

Although I have no immediate plans to visit Iceland, I do feel that my husband and I will visit it within the next five years or so.  Here are some things that I would love to see/do when we visit:

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is actually at the top of my husband's Iceland wish list   Me? Well, I'm not much of a fan of hot tubs in general, because sweating while submerged in hot, bubbling water makes me feel like I'm making "Ericka stew." Despite my aversion to steamy baths, I would make an exception for this quintessential Iceland experience.

Iceland's most popular attraction is approximately 40-45 minutes from the capital city of Reykjavik and 20-25 minutes from Keflavik International Airport, making it easily accessible to most visitors.  Visitors come to soak in the relaxing, milky blue, mineral rich geothermal seawater for its positive effects on the body and mind.

Glacier Hike/Walk
I haven't seen a glacier (yet), let alone walked/hiked on one.  I think taking a walk on a massive chunk of ice and seeing it up close and personal would be an uber cool experience.  I read somewhere that glaciers have a habit of melting, so one should never pass up the opportunity to walk on one.

There are a variety of tours that offer hikes that vary from mild to extreme intensity, so it seems there is an option for most everyone and for most ability levels.

Puffin Watching
My first exposure to these cute little birds was in one of my aunt's glossy travel magazines when I was a kid.  One look at these big beaked birds and I was hooked.  I knew I must see them one day.

The Atlantic Puffin is the breed that is found in Iceland.  These stout little black and white birds can also be found in northern Europe, Greenland, the Atlantic coast of Canada, and in Maine.  However, over half of the world's population of Atlantic Puffins (approximately 8 to 10 million) resides in Iceland making the odds pretty good that you will get to see these funny little birds.

White Water Rafting
Both my husband and I are white water enthusiasts.  Viewing the natural, rugged beauty of Iceland from a glacial river while rafting the rapids sounds like something that is right up our alley. 

Iceland has four glacier-fed rivers that are ideal for white water rafting: the Hvita, in the Golden Circle area about an hour from Reykjavik; the Eystri-Jokulsa and Vestari-Jokulsa, both in northwest Iceland; and the Holmsa, for more experienced and thrill seeking rafters, in south Iceland.

Ride an Icelandic Horse
I've never been a big fan of horses.  Okay, okay, I admit it...  I'm rather timid of them and the few times when I rode a horse when I was younger, I didn't really care for the experience.  My derriere didn't care for the saddle soreness that lingered well into the next day and the day after that.  Despite my lack of enthusiasm for equines, I would like to ride one of these short, furry horses.  Apparently there is something special about their gait (called a fifth gait) that makes their ride ultra smooth and (I'm assuming) more comfortable in comparison to riding a regular horse.  Skipping or at least minimizing the saddle soreness sounds good to me.  And, given that Icelandic horses are known for their friendliness and for being docile, they are perfect for this hesitant gal.

Aurora Borealis
Viewing the elusive, dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights, is one of my bucket list items.  It's not necessary that I see it in Iceland, but I definitely wouldn't pass up the opportunity to see it there if the timing was right.  

Only viewable between September to mid-April, the Aurora Borealis can also be seen from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.

Dog Sledding
Although not an authentic Icelandic activity, dog sledding still sounds like a fun outdoor pursuit that I would like to experience.  Advertised as a quiet, non-polluting alternative to snowmobiles and ATVs, dog sledding is available all year and takes place on both dry land and glaciers, depending on the season.

Have you been to Iceland?  If so, what would you recommend?  Is there anything you would love to do in Iceland?

Disclaimer:  1) None of the pictures used in this entry are mine.  I have included the website where each photo originated in the caption (via).  2) I do not endorse any of the tours or tour operators that may be included as links (under pictures).  3)  At the time of this writing, the information was accurate to the best of my knowledge.  4) This entry is for general information and entertainment purposes only.


  1. This all looks amazing. I want to book a trip tomorrow! My cousin and her husband went last year and said it was unbelievable! I hope you get there someday!

  2. oh my gosh I would LOVE to go to Iceland. I want to do all of those things, but mostly see a Puffin. haha.
    did you know you can do a free stopover in Iceland with icelandair? if / when we go we will most likely do it that way.


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