It was quite hard stopping at five…
We don’t like the phrase ‘Bucket List’ but we did, it’s no surprise what would be top of ours – a visit to Iceland. It’s fair to say that prior to the turn of this century, Iceland wouldn’t have made many people’s lists of must-see places. Its growing profile owes as much to its status as a popular location for films and photography as it does to the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano which made headlines after causing huge disruption to European air travel in 2010.
But what makes Iceland unmissable?
Iceland boasts a remarkable variety of things to see and do, as you might expect given it’s a land of contrasts. It earned its nickname ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ as it is home both to some of Europe’s biggest glaciers and also the continent’s hottest volcanic springs. Summer brings midnight sun and winter guarantees snow. Whilst Iceland is famous for its jaw-dropping natural landscapes, the capital Reykjavík has cultural and historical high points that any major city would envy.
For somewhere with so much unspoilt natural beauty (and only about 1% inhabited) Iceland is remarkably accessible – it only takes three hours to fly to Iceland from many major airports in Europe and less than six hours from the East Coast of the U.S. Flights are no longer as expensive, with more carriers and budget airlines opening up routes. Although Icelandic is notoriously difficult to master, Icelanders all speak English impeccably.
Iceland has the smallest gender gap between men and women in terms of political empowerment, educational attainment, economic participation and health worldwide. It’s a great country to visit as a lone female traveller.
You might think we’re guilty of more than a little bias when we say that Icelandic people are the friendliest in the world, but don’t take our word for it - foreign visitors to the country voted Iceland the most friendly in a recent report by the World Economic Forum.
5. Breathtaking, Other-Worldly, Once In A Lifetime, Jaw-Dropping Beauty
Legend has it that Iceland was deliberately misnamed by Norwegian Viking settlers in an effort to keep it all to themselves and who can blame them? There is some ice – in the form of spectacular glaciers - but there are also volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls, beaches, beautiful wildlife, beautiful people and quirky architecture to soak up. Could be they just couldn’t fit ‘Feast For The Eyes Land’ on the map