Iceland is an other-worldly island nation in the upper realms of the North Atlantic. A destination so majestic, even paradisiacal imaginations can’t live up to its real and raw beauty. The country of fire and ice, light and shadow, peak and sea, is one that has been slowly climbing the list of most popular tourist destinations of the world. And these geological contrasts are at the heart of the reason why.
Distinct natural surroundings have seen Iceland develop side by side with nature, bound to it, rather than destroying it with meaningless industrialisation. These forces of nature have shaped not just the land, but its people, culture and passion for life. This is what makes an Iceland tour truly worth the trip, any time of the year. Read on for more on what Iceland tourism is all about, to make planning your visit easier.
Iceland is Europe’s second largest island after Great Britain, located near the Arctic Circle of the Atlantic Ocean. Even so, you could drive around the entire island in just 10 days! People only occupy about 20% of the land mass, with the rest pure nature. The land mass itself is only 25 million years young, formed by a volcanic hotspot induced tectonic shift. Subsequently, the topography of the land consists of everything from active volcanoes to icy fjords and glaciers, bubbling thermal geysers to black sand beaches, towering mountain peaks to rolling fertile lowlands. Everything that promises an Iceland tour that’s truly spectacular.
Don’t let the name fool you! Iceland is actually not that cold, thanks to the warm gush of the Gulf Stream. The country experiences temperate climate, with four distinct seasons through the year. But you could just as easily witness four seasons in a day, so packing well is a must. There’s no real monsoon like the ones you’re used to, but precipitation runs high. The most rainfall coincides with winter, between October to February. But the real reason to layer up in Iceland, is the heavy wind. Still, the country remains a year-round destination, with plenty of indoor and outdoor things to do throughout. The highlights of course, are the near 24-hour daylight summer days and the northern lights in the winter skies. Spring and autumn meanwhile, offer ideal climes for a packed itinerary.
It’s easy to imagine an Iceland tour to be all about adventure and the outdoors, but this is a country with a rich cultural heritage. The people, arts, music, crafts and cuisine of this special island nation are just as alluring as its landscapes — and an integral part of the Icelandic experience. Earliest settlers can be traced to the Nords and Celts in the 9th Century, and it was one of the last places to be inhabited in Europe. Over the years, the culture has gone from Viking traditions, tribal or agrarian communities and pagan beliefs to a more settled, modern day society. But for a long time, Iceland remained outside of the American or European spheres of influence. That’s why even today, people still have a really strong connect to their early heritage.
On your visit, you’ll get to experience all facets of the country’s culture. Restaurants serving up traditional game meats alongside local produce, museums holding ancient Nordic artefacts to entirely preserved folk settlements and open-air music festivals to lively beer bars in Reykjavík. And that’s just the half of it!
An Iceland tour is perfect for every occasion and desire.
If the kids are off from school and you’re looking to take the family on an unforgettable journey, let Iceland treat you to the perfect blend of scenery, activity, adventure and friendliness. Get up-close with wildlife like the puffin birds in April or whale watching in June. Celebrate the summer solstice or marvel at the northern lights alongside locals. Go trekking, picnicking, kayaking, snowmobiling or lagoon hopping — if it’s fun in the outdoors, you can do it Iceland.
For couples, you can do all of those things and much more! Every experience can be tailor-made for two, even if it’s just watching the most magnificent sunset.
Also, there’s a big hostel culture so if you’re looking out for a solo adventure or backpacking trip, there are plenty of packages to choose from.
The following are some travel tips, do's and don'ts to keep in mind during your Iceland trip.
· Book as early as possible — Iceland is travel-world’s worst-kept secret!
· Give yourself ample time to explore the different regions of the country.
· Carry appropriate hiking gear if you’re planning to go unguided.
· Make conversation with locals — they’re some of the friendliest on the planet and have tons of folksy stories to tell.
· Pack swim-wear! The lagoons and thermal baths are irresistible.
· Don’t forget to pack sunglasses and sunscreen as you’ll be spending a lot of your time outdoors.
· Do not buy plastic bottled water — this is one of the eco-friendliest countries you’ll visit. The tap water is completely pure and safe to drink.
· Do not litter — you must abide by the sustainability-first philosophy of the land.
· Do not necessarily tip staff and waiters. Tipping is optional.
· Do not misbehave or disrespect natural sites like the geothermal baths, beaches and forests.
· Do not sleep early. Icelanders love a late night and it’s highly recommended that you join them on occasion.
With so much to look forward to from your Iceland tour, all that’s left is to sign up for the Iceland tour packages that’s got it all. With SOTCs group and single tours, you’ll discover the best of the country at the best cost.