For our Holiday 2018 campaign, we ventured around the world to Iceland to shoot and explore. Its icy hues and rich greens set the stage for our winter campaign. A mystical country—home to breathtaking landscapes and rich culture—Iceland has something for everyone. Exploring a new place can be daunting, so we curated a list of a few things to add to your Iceland bucket list.
Nature (Not So) Far & Wide
Much of Iceland’s appeal lies in its breathtaking geography. From hiking trails to glaciers, Icelandic terrain is rich and diverse.
If you’re short on time in the land of fire and ice, but you still want to see some of its glorious natural wonders, drive just a couple of hours northeast of Reykjavik to Gullfoss, a huge waterfall situated along the southern coast. If it’s sunny, you might even see a rainbow. Afterward, head to Geysir Glima for some seriously delicious Icelandic ice cream.
Steam rises over the still water and lush green hills. Geysers bubble in the distance. Meet the Secret Lagoon, Iceland’s gem of the Golden Circle. This hot spring is part of a naturally occurring geothermal area — one of many in the country. Although it’s not so “secret” anymore, it’s far less crowded than the famous Blue Lagoon and gives you a more locals-only experience with mysticism that’s just over an hour outside of city limits. Pro tip: grab a beer at the concession stand to quench your thirst mid-float, and spring for fish-and-chips post-soak. The temperature of the spring, combined with the minerals your body soaks up, will make you hungry!
On the coast of Iceland’s western highlands lies an immense glacier that dates back 700,000 years. Snæfellsjokull is one of the country’s great destinations for hiking, giving you breathtaking views of the ocean, the plains and, of course, the glacier itself. If the name sounds familiar, it got its claim to fame as the entrance to the subterranean passage in Jules Verne’s 1864 novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Explore the great outdoors, but don’t forget your coat. Pack one that’s roomy enough to layer—we suggest at least one sweater underneath. A water-resistant outer layer assures you’re prepared for whatever this Nordic climate can throw at you—sudden rain, geyser splash zones…
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the nearby restaurant, VIDVIK. Our Photo Director, Jen, describes her love of this spot: “I had one of their salads—it was so good I wanted to take it home with me. I still have their business card in my wallet.”
Small City, Big World
After exploring the great outdoors, take your time experiencing Icelandic culture in these spots.
Icelanders are known for being the “jack-of-all-trades” types, especially when it comes to literature. It’s estimated that one out of every ten Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime, meaning the publishing industry continues to thrive—and makes the country’s bookstores some of the best around. Curl up with a book in soft knit sweaters.
Right by the Port of Reykjavik, Kolaportid is a vast flea market with an awesome food section. If you’re into cooking—or sampling—this is the place to get fresh fish and delicious local snacks, like the dried fish jerky, or try delicacies such as fermented shark.
This is your comprehensive history to settlement in Iceland. Go back to Viking times for a look at how people lived around the year 871, and learn about the country’s fascinating natural history. The most amazing part: the exhibition gives you a real look at life in the early ages with its centerpiece, an excavated home foundation from one of Iceland’s famous “longhouses.”
Situated at the Port of Reykjavik, this venue is part events hub, part work of art, and every bit a modern-day landmark of the city. Whether you’re enjoying the sounds of one of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra’s annual concerts or just popping in to observe the sky through the scalar glass tiles that make up the building itself, you can enjoy this masterpiece in many different ways.
Depending on the time of the year you visit, you’ll experience something truly unique. Visit during the middle of winter, and you’ll experience a perpetually dusk-like feeling during the day, turning to night quite early. In the middle of summer, it’s the exact opposite, with light for nearly 24 hours of the day and the midnight sun burning bright in the north.
Now that you have our first-hand experience, it’s time to have your own. Plan your trip, pack your bags and share your adventures with #BRontheRoad.