After having seen many different world wonders in numerous countries and four different continents, I can still honestly say that Iceland is still my favourite country in the world to travel in.
That might sound strange to you - that my favourite place to travel in is my own home country.
But no matter how many times I visit the natural wonders of Iceland, they always look completely different then the last time I saw them.
That's why I think Iceland is the best place in the world to travel in, because it never seizes to amaze me.
It's also an adventure island, where you can go on all kinds of fun tours and activities that get your adrenaline rushing.
Plus, everywhere you go the people are kind. Iceland was recently voted the friendliest country in the world to travelers. That was by the world economic forum and Guide to Iceland proves it with Contact a local.
I'm guessing you still don't believe me and that you think that I'm probably being biased towards my own country. That is why I wish to show you here what other people, and travel specialists, have to say about Iceland.
And perhaps one day you will want to judge for yourself.
Best in Travel Readers Choice Awards, Lonely Planet
"And the winner of the Best in Travel Readers’ Choice award 2012 is… Iceland
But wait? Weren’t we supposed to come up with a country and a city winner? Well, we have. The winning city, not surprisingly, is Reykjavik, Iceland.
Clearly, in the view of voters, this is Iceland’s year for travellers. And with a showstopping (and plane-stopping) volcano, better affordability than ever for travellers and a pilot rock star (check out our Robert Reid’s interview with Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson), it’s not hard to see why. But enough analysis from us, here’s what the voters had to say:
‘Incredibly friendly, amazingly beautiful and one hell of a good time. Bars followed by geothermal hot springs.’
‘Iceland is the place to be in 2012 to see incredible displays of nature! The country of Iceland is currently experiencing two “maximum cycles”: One to do with increased volcano activity and another to do with the increased aurora activity for 2012.’
‘Its back-country areas are still largely undiscovered by the tourist hordes and it hosts a unique event…the transit of Venus, which starts before sunset on June 5 and ends after sunrise on June 6. Nowhere else does this happen!’
‘The wonders and creativity of nature at its best – untouched by humans…to this point. Geothermally heated pools to refresh the soul, literally seeing the rift valley between the American and European geological plates, visiting glaciers, seeing a real volcano, walking on terrain that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world…AND who wouldn’t want to see a puffin!!’
‘It has so much on offer, and so untouched compared to some parts of Europe.’
‘The nightlife is legendary and the numerous coffee houses and small museums are all situated within walking distance in the downtown area. For people who want to escape the hustle-and-bustle of city life, major natural attractions (like the Golden Circle route and the volcanic Reykjanes Peninsula) are as close as a 45 minute bus or car ride from the city centre. The city has also invested in cultural attractions, like the new Harpa concert and conference centre, and a number of new hotels and hostels. Location helps too: it’s just a 5 hour flight from NYC and 3 hours from London.’
‘It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s small but offers everything that large cities do. Good hotels, good food, good nightlife, good music and the nature is only few steps away. And it’s finally affordable to go there."
"Dusk falls on a primeval landscape on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. A final relic from the world’s last ice age, this North Atlantic island nation is a world of knife-cut valleys, gargantuan fjords, monumental cliffs, black-sand beaches, thundering waterfalls, and silent white glaciers. Recent volcanic eruptions remind us that Iceland is still a country in the making, with changed landscapes that even Icelanders continue to discover.
Three years of financial recovery have made Iceland more affordable, with consumer prices now largely pegged to the euro. The country’s return to a humbler attitude stems from a thousand-year-old tradition of self-reliance—a tradition that has preserved one of the world’s oldest living languages and harnessed some of the cleanest energy on Earth."
Strange land inspires devotion
Best for: Activities, off the beaten track, value for money
"Ask any tourist during your trip to Iceland and you’ll quickly see that everyone develops an unconditional love for the little island nation, whether it’s for the mind-bending scenery, the platefuls of delicious lamb and fish dishes, or the sincere local hospitality. The currency crash – which effectively devalued the króna by 75% – also helped make a trip much more favourable to the wallet. As the global economy starts to heal, prices are climbing once more. The spoils of Iceland are no longer a secret, but they’re still yours for the taking – and in 2013 you’ll still be well ahead of the curve".
"Iceland wins the crown this year, no doubt attracting visitors intrigued by all the footage of a landscape evolving and forming before our very eyes following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010, whose ash cloud forced the closure of European airspace."
Compiled by Ingólfur Shahin