WHY ICELAND IS THE PLACE TO VISIT IN 2018?

Hikers under the northern lights in Iceland.

A few weeks ago, Iceland made the headlines with a law requiring companies with more than 25 employees to pay men and women equally. More than being a good country to live and a world champion of equality rights, these past few years Iceland has become a trendy destination for international travelers. Here is why!

THE PEOPLE

Don’t be fooled by the extremely cold weather, Icelandic people are so warm and welcoming that all they all call each other by their first names, even the president. Using titles such as Mr., Mrs., Miss or Dr. is not common either, even for foreigners. Don’t get offended if an Icelander calls you by your first name they are not disrespectful. Another thing that could be surprising for visitors, attitudes towards nudity in Iceland are very casual. Also,  swimsuits are mandatory in all public swimming pools, but women are not obliged to wear tops. It’s not uncommon to share a bath with other people completely naked. Before entering a wet area locals take a shower completely naked and vigorously scrub their body in front of other people.  

 

WHAT TO DO?

 Iceland is the perfect place for people who enjoy winter sports, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain climbing as well fishing, cycling,  seals and whales watching during the “summer.” All year long people can experience therapeutic Blue Lagoon spa, take a boat trip or scout for seals through the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, beside the Ring Road between Höfn and Skaftafell. See the spectacular icebergs drift and admire all the ice sculptures striped with layers of volcanic ash. The lagoon is only 80 years old and still expanding in size. If you a looking for tours and activities in  Iceland visit www.tourmega.com.

WHAT TO SEE?

East Iceland has the country’s largest forest, lush farmlands, and many natural harbors with fishing villages. The South coast is home to some of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions, including the Golden Circle. Dettifoss Waterfall is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. West Iceland is one of the island’s most geologically diverse regions with one of the highest concentration of geysers in the world as well as the famous Snæfellsjökull glacier. Iceland has many geysers. Skaftafell is the crown jewel of Vatnajökull National Park, the country’s favorite wilderness area. It has a breathtaking collection of glaciers and peaks, waterfalls, and rivers, and twisted birch woods. Gullfoss, also known as the Golden Circle, is Iceland’s most famous waterfall with its double cascade pushing up magnificent walls of spray as it thunders down a rocky ravine. The mist is full of shimmering rainbows on sunny days. Above the falls is a small cafe and shop. Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site east of Reykjavík.

WHAT TO EAT?

If you are used to Michelin star restaurants, tasty French cuisine, subtle Japanese sushi or Spicy Mexican food get ready for a serious change! Iceland is one of the few places worldwide where it is possible to eat whales, but these days this delicacy is more consumed by tourists than the locals. If eating whales is not your thing, Iceland also has interesting local specialties that visitors may find off-putting such as hákari (putrescent shark meat), súrsaöir hrútspungar (boiled and cured ram’s testicles), and lundabaggi (sheep’s loins cured in lactic acid). Don’t worry they also have great seafood dishes.

HOW TO GET THERE?

With 40 Airports, Iceland is pretty accessible and well connected to other countries. A lot of airplane companies propose affordable direct and one stop flights from major cities around the world. One of the most popular is Wow, a low-cost airline that offers direct flights to Iceland and other European capitals starting from $99.  Icelandair is also a good option if you prefer a more comfortable trip. Recently, American Airlines added Iceland to its route. Delta Airlines was one of the pioneers to deserve Iceland in 2011. Air Canada. From Europe, you can find good deals on EasyJet, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), Air France, KLM, Air Berlin,  Norwegian.com, Primera Air, Air Greenland, Vueling, British Airways, Iberia, Lufthansa.

Finally, if you want to make some money to fund your next trip,  you can sell your best shots on platforms like Shutterstock, iStockPhoto, Getty Image or Fotolia. But if you are an altruist person and in with this country, share your experience on popular social media like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and, Instagram. Monetizing or not, you will never forget Iceland.

By Mariam Bulin-Diarra

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