When It Is Dark Enough You See The Stars Winter Vacation Ideas – Visit Iceland For Northern Lights and Wintry Snorkeling

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Winter Vacation Ideas – Visit Iceland For Northern Lights and Wintry Snorkeling

Iceland? in winter?

Okay, before you decide that visiting Iceland in winter is the worst idea ever and run to the nearest website promising suntans and coconuts filled with rum and paper umbrellas, give me a chance here. Remember Maria’s words from Mighty Ducks: D2

Greenland is covered in ice, Iceland is really cool

I know, this might not be the most profound thing you’ve ever heard. And, yes, especially in winter, Iceland will be covered in as much snow as Greenland. But, nevertheless, the truth still holds. Iceland is Really nice. Right in the middle of winter.

Even without the midnight sun, the sky is still lit up because Iceland’s northern location (along with Alaska, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Greenland) at night presents one of the world’s most amazing light shows: the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Those of us who live in the South will get to see them on rare occasions. I have seen them many times in New Hampshire and southern Canada. The further north you go, the more believable and stunning they become: shimmering curtains of green, yellow and blue light. Sometimes even red.

In the past, people came up with all sorts of explanations: my personal favorite is the spirits of single women who have died. Today we know that they are caused by solar radiation interacting with Earth’s atmosphere. This explanation does not change the fact that the northern lights are the most abundant

Beautiful places one can hope to see.

Every year, countless tourists come to northern countries hoping to see the lights. Not a small number take advantage of their summer vacations, head north for a week…

…and realized they forgot something. In summer, the sun barely sets. You can’t see the northern lights in Iceland (or anywhere else) until it gets dark enough that you have a chance to see them!

Now, you might be thinking, it’s all well and good that you can only see the northern lights in the middle of winter, but it’s not worth standing outside in the freezing cold just to see something. Flickr

That’s why Iceland is the best place to go! Iceland is teeming with volcanic activity. The pleasant result is that every village and even the smallest hotels have their own naturally heated outdoor hot tubs. Get out of Reykjavík (perhaps head to the northern capital of Akureyri) and get away from the city lights. Share a bottle of schnapps with your travel companion and keep an eye out for the northern lights, shooting stars and whatever else is in the sky as the steam wafts around you.

Is there anything else I can enjoy in Iceland?

It’s true that many of Iceland’s museums and other attractions will be closed or have greatly reduced hours during the winter. But, don’t let that stop you. Natural resources never run out. The Golden Circle becomes more impressive in winter. Gullfoss Falls is stunning at any time of the year, but when the waterfall has a frozen cataract, a serene waterfall, it fills you with wonder.

Geysers (the erupting water plume that all the others are named after) erupt 65 meters high from the frozen ground. It is impossible not to appreciate the contrast.

Þingvellir is amazing in winter, and if you come in winter it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Scuba diving or snorkeling the distance between Europe and North America while wearing a drysuit. The water is the clearest in the world with visibility up to hundreds of meters. Special tour

Easily arranged and you’ll have a story to tell your friends back home to dispel any doubt that you’re the most adventurous person they’ve ever met.

Iceland is notoriously expensive. Despite recent economic problems, Iceland is still not a cheap destination. That being said, you can really make money visiting Iceland in the winter. Many hotels have reduced rates by up to 50%. That means more money in your pocket to stay a few extra days or have a really nice meal. Also, by going in the off-season you’ll have Iceland to yourself. So, you’ll have more money–less other tourists. I feel like winning.

Let your inner Viking be fearless

January 22 to February 22 is when Icelanders return to their Viking roots and celebrate the midwinter feast of Þorrablót. Winter was half over and the feast originated as a celebration

People were saved. Traditionally, people save the best foods (most of which were set aside to ferment the previous year) and start consuming them during the holidays. Delicacies include putrefied shark, jellied sheep’s head, dried fish. These foods are eaten only on holidays.

This is the only chance to get a real taste of these traditional dishes. Sure, it’s unlikely to top any international menus in the near future, but as far as unique food opportunities go, it’s pretty high.

If you lose your taste buds, the good news is that there’s plenty of Brennivin (an Icelandic schnapps) to wash it down. The common nickname is the Black Death, and it is particularly powerful. You can be sure that after a few drinks, you’ll be ready to join everyone in the rest of the evening’s festivities of song and dance.

If you’re looking for sun, sand and a killer tan, Iceland is not the place to go in January. But, if you really want to go off the beaten path and have experiences that others only read about, why not explore this northern country. Treat yourself to an experience that you will truly remember for years to come.

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