19
May-2017

We’re Obsessed With Iceland – And We Haven’t Even Been

Iceland   /  
Solo travel to Iceland: Kirkjufellsfoss

Kirkjufellsfoss Mountain | Photo courtesy of Iceland Tourism

STALKING THE LAND OF FIRE AND ICE

 

I have a confession.

I’m an Icelandic Stalker.

I stalk Iceland photos and Instagrammers and YouTubers.

I obsess over things to do with anything remotely related to the Land of Fire and Ice.

I read and follow every Icelandic blogger or travel blogger who’s had anything to do with Iceland.

I blame my Nordic bloodline.

And finally, I’m planning a trip to Iceland in 2017.


SOLO TRAVEL TO ICELAND…AS A MARRIED WOMAN

 

You may notice in that last sentence I said I’m planning a trip to Iceland, not we.

I can hear two distinct crowds shouting in the background.

The first, the chorus of pro-solo female travellers fist pumping into the air in full support of venturing off my own, full of wisdom and advice about empowerment.

There’s another, smaller chorus in the background, shaking their heads as if to say, how I could possibly travel to the other side of the world without my husband?

Well, quite simply, we would both love to go, but coming from New Zealand, it’s a heck of a long way. Right now, it’s not practical for us both to travel 17,000 km across the world. John is also in full-time employment in NZ so it’s not easy for him to take time off for travel.

Financially, it makes better sense for me to go by myself. Because I’m a full-time travel blogger and freelancer, travel is my business and therefore a business expense.

But also, as well as being my business, travel, in my opinion, is an important personal development journey. I believe solo travel to Iceland (which coincides with my Ireland trip for TBEX) will be a huge learning experience, challenging at the least and a time of wonderful personal growth.

And, well…it’s ICELAND!

Solo travel to Iceland: Öxarárfoss waterfall Þingvellir National Park

Öxarárfoss, Þingvellir National Park | © Ron Kroetz / Flickr

IS ICELAND STILL COOL?

 

Tourism to Iceland has exploded. Visitor numbers in the first two months of 2017 were up 59% compared to the same time last year. 

We don’t need to have seen it for ourselves to know that Iceland is filled with spectacular natural beauty. As a travel photographer, I couldn’t ask for much more.

It seems both safe and dangerous at the same time. Safe from world political disagreements, dangerously attractive with its rumbling underbelly, rugged landscape and geothermal activity.

We’ve always been a little off-the-beaten track with our travel plans, and while Iceland’s tourism is going through a huge phase of growth, it still has that raw, mysterious and mystical feel that gets right into my core.

Tourism may change the face of parts of Iceland, but it will never change its root beauty and power.

 

THE ICELAND BUCKET LIST

 

DIVE OR SNORKEL THE SILFRA

Diving the famous Silfra fissure has been sitting firmly at the top of not only my Iceland bucket list, but number one of my whole entire life bucket list. A scuba diver’s dream? Well, definitely mine.

Time to do some drysuit training cos that water is IIICCCCYYY.  

Silfra fissure | © Shriram Rajagopalan / Flickr

Silfra fissure | © Shriram Rajagopalan / Flickr

DRIVE THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Few surprises here; it’s a classic Iceland must-do. With the Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur geyser and Þingvellir National Park all jaw-droppingly beautiful sites to visit, it would be mad to exclude this from the Iceland bucket list. 

 

WHALE WATCHING

As a scuba diver, I’m passionate about all marine life, from tiny little nudibranchs to the big whales and sharks of the the globe’s harshest ocean conditions.

There’s something truly magnificent and inspiring about the idea of watching these beautiful giants of the sea breaching that gives me tingles.

Orca watching at Grundarfjordur | Photo courtesy of Guide to Iceland

Orca watching at Grundarfjordur | Photo courtesy of Iceland Tourism

THE BLUE LAGOON

I’ve seen a lot of articles asking whether The Blue Lagoon is worth the price, especially given how many tourists are heading there these days. At the end of the day, it’s still a stunning natural hotpot of geothermal activity and quite frankly, I don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks about it. I like the look of it – and that’s all that matters. I have heard there are some other great similar less crowded hot pools, so I’ll be keeping that in mind.

 

NORTHERN LIGHTS

Does this need an explanation?

The time of year I’ll be visiting, October, is apparently great Northern Lights hunting time as the nights are getting darker and the activity tends to be strong.

Solo travel to Iceland: Watching the northern lights

Northern Lights, Iceland | Photo courtesy of Iceland Tourism

 

SNÆFELLSJÖKULL GLACIER

Snæfellsjökull is probably Iceland’s most famous volcano, made all the more famous thanks to being the subject of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth

The Snæfellsjökull glacier, along with the peninsular’s spectacular waterfalls and black pebble beaches, send tingles down my spine.

 

ICELANDIC HORSES

With luscious platinum blonde manes and rockin’ bangs, these horses have serious style. How could I resist?

Solo travel to Iceland bucket list: Icelandic Horses

Icelandic Horses | © Jennifer Boyer / Flickr

 

HOW TO THROW IT ALL TOGETHER

 

I’m still in the early phases of planning and I’m yet to work out my itinerary. As I’ll be visiting in October, the roads potentially will be getting quite icy.

There are some exciting multi day tours in Iceland I’m eyeing up, which will allow me to tick off some of the above.

So there we have it – the beginnings of my solo travel to Iceland. I’m also very excited for my third trip to Bergen, Norway – the birthplace of my grandfather – but that’s a special story to be told another time.


DISCUSS: Does Iceland excite you like it does me?

Why my Iceland obsession means I'm planning solo travel to Iceland, as a married woman.

Oregon Girl Around the World

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  • Hey, I know what you mean about Iceland. I’m tempted to book a flight there all the time. Happy planning!
    #FlyAwayFriday

  • I’ve honestly never thought of Iceland as a snorkelling or diving destination – brrrrrr!!! 🙂

  • Iceland is and will always be cool! I understand why you might be a little reticent to travel on your own to Iceland, especially sine it’s such a long way from Iceland. But I’m sure that you’re going to love it since you seem to be so passionate about it!
    I was planning to get to Iceland while I lived in Europe, but my money didn’t stretch that far. I’ll be waiting to read all about your experiences though! #FlyAwayFriday

    • Well, given that I am going to Ireland in October, it seems silly to fly all that way and NOT visit anywhere else! I mean, it’s really just on the backdoor of Ireland…

  • Ha ha, YES! I’m totally the same as you. Two of our team at LWT have been to Iceland and Im insanely jealous. I will go, and possibly next year for my 40th… :s #FlyAwayFriday

    • What a great trip for your 40th! Every time I see a friend posting Iceland pics, my heart simultaneously flutters and sinks. Absolutely cannot wait.

  • Yes! I too am obsessed with Iceland even though I’ve never been. For a couple of years now, it seems every other person on earth has gone to Iceland (or you know, it feels that way because I’m not one of them haha). I’m dying to go but haven’t made it happen yet. #FlyAwayFriday

    • I know what you mean – it was definitely the hip place to go in 2016! But I don’t think it will have lost its charm. Natural beauty withstands everything and I think the locals will be working to mitigate any negative effects of tourism.

  • I am also obsessed with Iceland. It’s one of the top places on my bucket list. Good for you for doing it solo. I love the idea of solo travel (I am also married) but I haven’t quite worked up the courage to actually do it. But it is a goal of mine for some time in my life. #FlyAwayFriday

    • My first solo trip, at the age of 24, was not actually that fun. Parts of it were, visiting family in Norway was great but the rest I felt quite lonely and decided I’d never travel solo again. Fast forward 6 years and I’m ready to do it again. I’ve grown up and my expectations have changed, the type of travel has changed and my reasons for travelling are different. Back then it was about self discovery, now it’s because I have things I need to achieve!

  • Oh my gosh, I’m just like you – totally obsessed and haven’t been yet! I can’t wait to hear about your trip. #flyawayfriday

  • Audrey

    from reading your post I’m obsessed now! Good post

  • Edith Carolina Rodriguez

    Yes! I too get excited about Iceland! I don’t see myself going soon, but it’s one of those places that I won’t miss! I’m sure you will have a lovely time!

  • Jennifer Riley

    I feel the same way about Iceland. It’s like the crush I’ve had for years, but am too shy to ask out. I think it’s completely healthy for couples to have separate vacations (we do it too).

  • Jing

    Iceland is on my list, too. I’d love to see the waterfalls, the beautiful landscapes and of course, the Northern lights. Happy planning!

  • I’ve only been to Iceland for one day on my way to Greenland and didn’t do any of the things of your list but still had a blast! Iceland just is really charming and beautiful and I’m sure you’ll have the trip of your lifetime 🙂

  • Gokul Raj

    This is my dream destination. I will solo travel to Iceland one day.Love the photos and they are really pulling me there.

  • Miranda Knudtson

    I went to Iceland in January 2014 and though we couldn’t snorkel, everything else was GORGEOUS as a winter wonderland. I have a post up on my blog about Gullfoss, and I’m going to work my way through the Golden Circle. I’d also recommend seeing Eyjafjallajokull too when you’re there! 🙂 No matter what time of year you go, it will be beautiful.

  • Liana Moore

    It might just be the most photogenic place in the world. I haven’t been but have lived vicariously through friends. Have a wonderful trip! #FlyAwayFriday

  • Sandy & Vyjay

    I am sure you would have a great trip, and to our knowledge you would add some more points. Though, the Iceland is sure to give you some beautiful adventures and memories, I support you being a traveler myself. Sometimes Going Solo is all you need. Best of luck.

  • Carol

    I am glad you are finally going. Iceland is such a special place on earth!

  • so awesome! I haven’t been to Iceland yet, but everything there looks amazing and magical! And its really cool that you are doing it solo, as much as traveling with your person is great, getting out on your own can be super exciting.
    #farawayfiles

  • Kevan Toombs

    I’ve spent a lot of time as a solo traveler, but it was all before getting married a few years ago. I haven’t gone alone since and think it would feel odd to me now. I applaud your ability to try it. It does look like and amazing place and I can see why travel has exploded there. It would be amazing to see the northern lights.

  • LC

    I can’t see you being disappointed. I felt the same way – obsessed for years, finally got there in 2014 and have been back twice since then (and it was the first country I travelled to, solo). People do tend to rave about places for a reason! Enjoy your trip planning.

  • Elena Melamory

    Good luck with your trip! I also dream of Iceland (and my husband has been there before he met me, which makes me jealous). I believe you would make incredible photos there!

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