Coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to have a long-lasting effect on our feelings towards traveling and quite understandably so. We will want to look for places with open and vast spaces, clean air and water, a place where you have good access to healthcare and a place where you can truly relax and find calm. I know that it is hard to plan ahead, amidst all the chaos but one very successful way to cope with being cooped up in our homes is to daydream about the glorious adventures that await us.
Our mind wanders to a post-pandemic world. After weeks of truly getting to know what it means to have cabin fever, we will all be wanting to touch grass, have meaningful moments with our loved ones and find true excitement for activities and experiences.
During this time, Icelandic nature has had time to recover and rejuvenate from a harsh winter and the many travelers that have visited in the last couple of years. It is ready to welcome you again with open arms in all its natural beauty. Let’s escape the somber urban life and get back in touch with the wilderness. Because let’s face it, open roads, amazing vistas, and stunning attractions are just what the doctor ordered.
But enough with this prologue, it is time to get to the good stuff. Here are 10 reasons why Iceland should be at the top of your list when you start traveling again:
10. Iceland is the country of self-discovery
Sometimes it takes a crisis for people to realize that they want to change their path or reset things. For many, Iceland is exactly the place to do so.
It not only offers splendid opportunities to reconnect with nature but also a chance to take on new and exciting challenges and through it get to know yourself better. We have all really tested our limits within quarantine confined walls these last couple of weeks so we kind of owe it to ourselves to find strength outside them and really go full throttle with whatever comes next.
Hike Laugavegur the trail that National Geographic calls one of the best treks in the world or take a road trip around the ever surprisingly beautiful terrain of Iceland. Whatever floats your boat. If there ever was a time for you to do you, it’s now!
9. The short airplane ride
Iceland is an island conveniently located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and therefore has very close connections to the USA, Canada and Europe. Therefore giving you a chance to enjoy a short flight, limited time difference, and very likely, when this is all over, low prices!
Airlines are going to do anything in their power to get travelers back into the sky as quickly and smoothly as possible. And, one of my guesses on how they are going to do just that is by offering discounted airfare prices, maybe through free check-in bags and possibly if we are lucky great-value package deals.
8. Fewer people
It will take some time for the tourism industry to get back on track, so those spots in Iceland that once could get crowded with tourists are now pretty much empty. However, the natural beauty, incredible architecture, kind local spirit and incomparable hot springs all remain the same with the only change being way fewer people enjoying them.
It is the time to spread your arms, take space and not hold back. Most of us will be attentive to our closeness to one another for some time now but there is no reason for you to have to worry about that on your holiday.
In Iceland, you’ll find that even the streets downtown in the capital are wide and spacious. It’s always a short walk to the next open square or viewpoint and most of the time only a few streets to the sea. Once you leave Reykjavík the airiness only increases but when driving along the countryside you can go for an hour without even seeing a house. Now that’s 6ft apart to the extreme!
7. Cleanliness, Icelanders are all about hygiene
I mean, there is a reason why swimming pools are found just about everywhere. Icelanders are bathing fanatics!
Coming out from all this we are likely to be more health-conscious so this is a good thing to note. If you visit you should do as the locals and take long showers and dip in a swimming pool or a hot spring any chance you get!
6. Enough space for everyone
Seriously, now that we have all experienced being cooped up in our home we are all wanting to recreate our own version of “The Hills are Alive” scene from Sound of Music. It can’t just be me. Let’s enjoy the vast open spaces, let’s run and jump about, let’s take deep breaths of fresh air and, perhaps most importantly, enjoy the gorgeous natural beauty Iceland has to offer.
In Iceland, you can indulge in space. Icelanders are 360,000 and the country is 103,000 km² or 39,768.5 mi². In comparison, New York state is 141,000 km² where around 8.34 million people live!
5. Everything in miniature
Finally, being such a small nation is a win for us.
In Iceland, you won’t find enormous hotels or people living in high-density or close living quarters. As my first point mentioned here, there is plenty of space to go around for everyone. Surplus even. And, as a result, hotels usually have few rooms and those they do have, tend to be big and roomy. The same goes for restaurants, museums, theaters, bars and other public places. Our nation’s smallness transfers onto the rest. If you are looking for big crowded places, Iceland really isn’t your spot.
4. The charm of every (read both) seasons
Iceland really only has two seasons; a long but glorious winter and then the summer dazzling us with the midnight sun to make up for the dark months. However, the cold winter nights aren’t all that bad. If you dress appropriately, there are so many amazing things to enjoy. You can go snowmobiling on glaciers, visit natural ice caves, see the dancing northern lights, bathe in a hot spring where the hot steam meets the brisk frosty air and even go on road trips to see snow-covered waterfalls.
In the summer you have brightness all day and all night. You can truly make the most of your time with strolls around quirky Reykjavík after midnight, nigh- time visits to geysers, hiking in the colorful highlands or maybe even visit the inside of a volcano. The majestic and remote Westfjords are ready to greet true nature lovers and the Ring Road one is a gateway to adventures you’ll never forget.
One of the best things about Iceland is that it doesn’t matter when you visit. Iceland does not really have an offseason, only different versions. I usually tell my friends that you can’t check Iceland off your travel list unless you have seen both winter and summer. The country’s seasonal dimensions are like two different planets, equally gorgeous but complete opposites. So, when all this is over, no matter when we can travel again. Iceland will be ready.
3. Rejuvenated Nature
Iceland has had a lot of visitors in the past couple of years and nature, well, she was starting to feel it a bit. Although she is one tough cookie who regularly faces volcanic eruptions, avalanches and earthquakes, she needed a break. She’s taking this time to rejuvenate and regrow. Furthermore, the locals are using this time to strengthen the infrastructure and come up with better ways for all of us to live in perfect harmony. Iceland is better prepared than ever to welcome you!
Now that we have all had time to rethink and reset, many of us are finding an eager desire to spend quality time with the ones you love. Traveling together with your relatives, your friends you call family or maybe to catch up on lost relationships will be at the top of people’s minds. In Iceland, you can find something for everyone and numerous activities that suit a group with large age gaps. You could go horseback riding, see some wild whales in their natural habitat or perhaps join for a guided day tour and all learn something together.
For further inspiration see Iceland with Kids.
1. How Iceland handled the pandemic
Icelandic government and health experts were quick to make decisions on how to handle the coronavirus and no other country has done more extensive testing. We are a small population, which made it easier than most places to get people to follow instructions and take on this pandemic together, united as one. For this reason, and others, the whole ordeal is likely to be over sooner than it will be in other countries. Iceland reached its peak in early April and they are already starting to loosen restrictions.
Iceland is likely to heal sooner, and you visiting will take part in the recovery.