The world’s economy is crashing, and no country is feeling the pain of this global credit meltdown more than Iceland. The country’s overextended banking industry has collapsed, and the country has declared bankruptcy. Yes, I said the COUNTRY. The last few weeks have seen its currency completely freefall. Thecurrent exchange rate is (as of April 2011) now 13 Krona to a dollar, up from 77 in May 2008. Compared to last year, you’re getting double your value, and the winter deals are making accommodation and flights even cheaper.
So with the currency in the toilet, now is a great time to travel to Iceland – the country is finally cheap(er) to visit. Here are seven things to do in Iceland that will convince you book your ticket:
This hip capital is awash in thriving cafes, high-energy clubs, friendly pubs, and a brightly-colored old town with rows of wooded houses clustered together. It’s more like a giant small town than a city. However, this city is one of the trendiest in the world, as Icelanders are obsessed with design, technology, and architecture. Reykjavik is one of the most expensive cities in the world – but it just got a lot cheaper. Take advantage now.
2. The Blue Lagoon
Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool is the country’s top tourist attraction. It might be crowded and expensive but there’s nothing like it in the world. This huge, milky-blue spa is fed by mineral-rich heated seawater from the nearby geothermal plant. Add the silvery towers of the plant, rolling clouds of steam, and people covered in white mud, and you’ll think you are in the twilight zone — in a good way.
3. Thingvellir National Park
This national park and UNESCO World Heritage site is interesting for two reasons: It is the original site of the longest-running parliament in the world, and it’s also where the North American and European continental shelf plates are being torn apart. Pretty cool, huh?
4. Watch the Northern Lights
From September to April, the Northern Lights become more visible here. These dancing lights are one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. From the clear, dark northern skies of Iceland, nothing will impede your view of nature’s greatest dance.
Iceland’s most famous waterfall tumbles 105ft into a steep-sided canyon, kicking up a wall of spray. On sunny days, the spray creates shimmering rainbows over the gorge. This is a truly amazing spectacle, and a rewarding scene after a nice hike.
6. Jökulsárlón (The Jökulsár Lagoon)
Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier retreated very quickly from 1920 to 1965, leaving this breathtaking lagoon behind, which is up to 190 meters deep. Icebergs float in the lagoon all year, and you can watch as chunks of ice crash into the water.
7. Glacial Trek
During the winter months, the glaciers get a bit sturdier, and groups of tourists are led across them. There’s no better way to see the glaciers than to walk on them. Release your Arctic explorer across the glaciers of Iceland.
So go take advantage of the new exchange rate, and visit a much cheaper Iceland. The locals are friendly, the nature is stunning, the exchange rate is the best in years, the midnight sun hasn’t arrived yet, and the weather isn’t too cold. Now is a prefect time to visit Iceland!
By Nomadic Matt