I shouldn’t have been surprised. My husband and I agreed he would choose our honeymoon (since I chose our wedding location in Mexico) — and I consider myself lucky we’re not going to the north pole.
Nevertheless, it’s time to put away the bikinis and flip flops from our gorgeous Puerto Vallarta wedding and pull out the heaviest parka, forget about those endless hours at the gym getting wedding dress-ready, and put on my game face … we’re going to ICELAND!
All jokes aside, I am, of course, incredibly excited to visit the land of fire and ice. Where else can you climb to the top of an ancient crater, swim through the crack dividing two continental plates, hike through lava fields and then ice pick your way to the top of a glacier — all in a day’s adventure.
Hence, the planning has begun. Here’s what we have on our *Iceland Bucket List*
1. The Northern Lights
Seeing the spectacle of aurora borealis, or the northern lights, will be a once in a lifetime experience. The peak season is September through April, usually between the hours of 10:30 and 2:00am. The Aurora Forecast is key in tracking weather patterns so as not to miss the best night for viewing the lights.
2. The Blue Lagoon
I’m particularly excited for this because, you know, Iceland in December. This should be a warm and welcome break from the cold where we can relax and enjoy this geothermal wonder.
It seems a worthy cause to check out some of the other hotspots, as well. Hotpoticeland.com shows a detailed map of the many hidden hot springs around Iceland, including temperatures and how to find each one.
3. The Golden Circle
If there’s one thing we plan to cover with our 3.5 hours of daylight, it’s the 300 km loop known as the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle features some of Iceland’s most beautiful and diverse landscapes, from the tectonic rift at Þingvellir National Park to the famous Gullfoss waterfall and exploding geysirs.
4. Volcanoes and Lava Fields
Would you hike through a lava field? Iceland is one of the rare places where there are multiple opportunities to do so. The Laugahraun lava field is spotted with natural hot springs throughout the volcanic dessert. It’s even possible to descend the magna chambers of the dormant volcano Thrihnukagigur, just 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik.
5. Glacier Climbing
Many of the glaciers can only be explored during winter months, as they are very unstable and could collapse at any time. This type of extreme activity definitely requires a tour guide and is not for the faint of heart!
6. Icelandic Horses
Have you ever seen a more majestic, beautiful animal?
If you’re a sucker for a good weiner and prefer to skip the fermented shark, Bæjarins Beztu (The Best Hot Dog in Town) may be for you. Apparently it’s the most famous hotdog stand in all of Iceland and locals say the 80% lamb / 20% pork dogs are best served with all the toppings: mustard, remoulade (mayonnaise sauce with sweet relish) and crispy onion.
What better way to cover the endless miles of untouched snowy mountains and icy glaciers?
9. Dog sledding
At first, I questioned how humane dog sledding might be. But sled dogs have long been a part of Icelandic culture and history and this family-owned pack seems to have some of the happiest, smartest dogs. They are born to run and truly love their sport.
A popular way to explore Iceland’s rugged landscape is by cruising it’s fjords, or narrow inlets of water, formed by glaciers during the last ice age. The beautiful, steep valleys offer a unique and incredible view of the country’s coastline.
Photos by @InspiredbyIceland unless otherwise noted.