In the days of viral videos and insta-celebrities, we are used to things catching the world's attention in a matter of hours, but Iceland may be the first country to achieve this feat. Seemingly out of the blue, Iceland became THE place to see and the tourism industry in Iceland has been growing exponentially.
With so many travel bloggers heading to Iceland you have probably heard about the main attractions. The Northern Lights, The Golden Circle, Ring Road, and Icelandic ponies just to name a few. But what aren't those flowery travel blogs telling you? Read on for some Icelandic secrets that you (probably) don't already know.
Everything smells like eggs
Due to the sulfur in the water, every time I took a shower the bathroom would reek of rotten eggs. The water is totally safe to drink and is actually quite delicious, but I could hardly bring myself to drink a glass a day. It smelled so awful! The benefit of this strange phenomenon is that hot springs are all over the place and while sulfur might not smell too nice, it makes for a good pool.
You can eat those adorable ponies
I didn't, obviously (for those of you who don't know, I'm a vegetarian). But Icelanders will swear that a slab of pony meat makes for a delicious meal. I know it sounds cringe-worthy at first, but when you explore the country you quickly realize that the ponies here are a lot like sheep in both quantity and how they are cared for. So if you are going to try that famous lamb's head, why not try a slice of pony as well?
Rainbows are pretty much everywhere
I always thought rainbows were a rare phenomenon to get excited about. Growing up in California I hardly ever saw rainbows and they always held a sort of mythical quality for me. Then I went to Iceland and saw three rainbows in one day. Stand near any Icelandic waterfall for long enough and you are bound to see one for yourself.
To-go coffee is kind of a big deal
To-go coffee is to Iceland what iced lattes are to Italy. Rare, exciting, and targeted to the Americans. Let's face it, we Americans do coffee very differently than the rest of the world, and the concept of eating and drinking on the go is strange to many. I could immediately tell that coffee to-go was a new thing in Iceland because the few coffee shops that did offer this luxury did so with giant signs and tons of exclamation marks.
Reykjavik is incredibly modern
Don't let the newness of to-go coffee or the fact that they are a tiny island way up north fool you. Reykjavik is an incredibly modern city. From the sparkling Harpa building to the happening nightlife, I was endlessly impressed with the hip and up-to-date atmosphere in Reykjavik. Though my favorite amenity that this modern city boasts is Visa readers literally everywhere. "Cash Only" is taboo in Iceland and I loved that.
You are guaranteed to fall in love
Okay, so maybe "guarantee" is a strong word, but I would be pretty shocked if you left Iceland with a bad taste in your mouth (though a bad smell is to be expected), Between the excitement of the city and the peace of the natural environment, Iceland really has it all. I saw some of the most beautiful displays of nature that I have ever seen in Iceland and I am already trying to figure out how to get back. Hopefully the cheap flights last for awhile, because Iceland has stolen a piece of my heart.