Europe,  Iceland

Why My Iceland Visit Left Me Inspired

As you may or may not have read in other posts on Ladies What Travel, I’m a massive fan of the ‘Land of Ice and Fire‘. I’m often one of those annoying people who overhears friends or someone in the office saying they’ve planned an Iceland visit, and before they know it I’m reeling off a huge list of things they should definitely see, do, eat and whatever else (sorry if you’re reading this – it’s a compulsion).

The road to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon.

My obsession with this little island and its people didn’t even begin in a natural way – it wasn’t a documentary or a blog written by someone who had visited – it was a film named ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty‘, starring Ben Stiller. If you haven’t seen it, watch it, not just because it’s generally brilliant but because the soundtrack and storytelling is incredible. I challenge you not to have a strong pang of wanderlust after watching it.

One of the few grass-roofed houses dotted around Iceland in Þjóðvegur.

Prior to seeing this film, my now husband and I were planning on getting hitched in NYC. You know, the whole married in Central Park thing with food at The Lake House afterwards (not to belittle anyone who has done that). But after watching it, our minds were changed forever and we knew that we had to go and tie the knot in this mysterious yet awe-inspiring country. But it was only when we got there, that my love for this place was truly confirmed. It’s when I became inspired by this magnificent country…

Why my Iceland visit inspired me

Iceland inspires me because it takes me back to nature – it’s a form of escapism that only comes from being surrounded by incredible beauty. Although day-to-day I may spend hours looking at a screen, whether that be my mobile or laptop, in Iceland it’s the last thing you want to do. It’s an opportunity to ‘free your mind’.

The incredible power of Gulfoss, part of Iceland’s Golden Triangle.

It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling overwhelmed with life because when you’re in Iceland, it all melts away. You become so absorbed by the world around you that you forget what is troubling you. With such expansive landscapes, you begin to feel like a speck in the universe, and then you begin to realise how unimportant the daily stresses of life can be.

Taking in the views at Súgandi Island Lighthouse in Stykkishólmur.

Not only that, there’s this sense of adventure everywhere you go, even if you’re in Reykjavik for a quick city break, you’ll always be encouraged to visit further out – from going to explore Reynisfjara’s shoreline or going to see Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. You’re encouraged to pack a rucksack, make sure you’re suitably dressed and head out for a little exploration to see what the world can offer you.

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon – worth the journey.

I have had incredible tour guides on all my trips to Iceland, who filled us in on what local families and friends get up to on the weekends/in general life. I’ve learnt it’s all about reconnecting with the landscapes around them and enjoying the time they have with their loved ones. Forming close bonds with one another is incredibly important in Icelandic culture and where best to do that where there are no distractions – surrounded by fresh air and awe-inspiring views. Needless to say, quality of life out there is far more important than it is in most countries.

Exploring Reynisfjara’s black and grey shoreline.

So not only does Iceland make you escape your day-to-day worries, explore the natural world and create closer bonds with those around you; the thing that really inspires me is that this little island makes you feel like anything is possible. It challenges you to be the best person you can by taking you out of your normal life and turning it on its head. It forces you to re-prioritise what’s important to you and for your wellbeing in order to live the life you want. Each time I’ve come back, I’ve changed something about my life –whether that’s my job, my diet or simply my perspective.

Dverghamrar basalt columns, supposedly home to tricksy trolls and fairies.

With that in mind (because after reading that, why wouldn’t you want to take a trip yourself?), here’s a few top tips for planning your adventure…

Iceland Travel Tips

  • Plan early. Seriously. Hotels, excursions and flights book up at least six months in advance, especially if you want to go during the Winter season.
  • You can use a card for nearly everything, so only take a minimal amount in Icelandic Króna – use it mainly if you’re going anywhere outside of Reykjavik.
  • Tipping is not required, but appreciated. Do tip your tour guides, it’s always welcomed with a smile.
Looking out of the mouth of a glacial ice cave as the sun sets.
  • Book your excursions beforehand for your Iceland visit, once you’re there, the price increases – especially when booked on the day.
  • Make sure you are renting a car or book a transfer from the airport on your Iceland visit, it’s a 40+ minute trip into Reykjavik (the nearest inhabited area).
  • Try everything once – Iceland is a land of adventure, including its native delicacies e.g. puffin hearts and rotten shark.
The sun rising at Reynisfjara black sand beach. Those stumps are supposedly trolls that got turned into rocks by the sun.
  • Look after yourself and pack for the appropriate season you’re travelling in. It’s very easy to put yourself in a risky situation in Iceland, so make sure you’re well informed.
  • Take a camera for your Iceland visit. You do not want to miss out on making memories here. Just remember to take it all in through your own eyes too.
  • Travel with a relaxed attitude. Iceland’s culture is very laid-back, which takes some getting used to. Just know that all will be alright in the end and you’ll be fine.

If you’d like to read more about Iceland, have a read of our other blogs, written by Laura.

Inspiring Iceland | Ladies What Travel



Suitcases and Sandcastles

By day Co-Editor Keri is a freelance journalist and copywriter, but spends most of her free time either travelling or planning her next trip!  A complete travel fanatic, she has a love of tropical climates, wildlife and afternoon tea (hence the creation of her Global Afternoon Tea Challenge!)


    • Louise

      Absolutely, Sol. It does feel like venturing around a brand new planet when you’re exploring. No worries, thought they may help 🙂

  • Jaime @angloyankophile

    We visited Iceland in February and fell so hard for it. It’s absolutely stunning and I just felt so … free when I was there! Something about the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, and the whole atmosphere just grounds you. We can’t wait to go back.

    • Louise

      It’s so easy to do, isn’t it? It’s hard to put into words but free is a great way of explaining it. I hope you manage to get back soon – what would you do next time around?

  • Ania

    Iceland is not somewhere I’d ever really thought about going (why travel to a colder place than the UK??), but over the past couple of years, other people’s experiences have started to change my mind. I’m at a point in life where I need to reassess things and get some headspace, so your post has really struck a chord and maybe a trip to Iceland would be the perfect way to do it.

    • Louise

      Ha, lots of people have said that to me, Ania! Honestly, I needed to do the same thing earlier this year and a trip to Iceland sorted me right out. I’d highly recommend it 🙂

  • Amanda

    Gorgeous photos! I absolutely loved Iceland when we went, the landscape is incredible! I’m a bit sad it’s gotten so mainstream to go there, but I’m glad more people are experiencing how beautiful it is!

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)

    I feel inspired just reading this. I’m constantly fascinated about the hold that some destinations have over this and obviously Iceland had you in its thrall from the very beginning. I haven’t been yet but this is the post that has most convinced me to go soon. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • jo

    I’d love to go to Iceland, the more I read about it the more I need to go! Those lagoon photos are amazing, the shards of ice. Great advice to book excursions before you go, that’s one for me to remember! #FarawayFiles

  • Katy Clarke

    You know what? I have seen a lot of posts on Iceland lately but that picture of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is something extraordinary and new. I would really like to see that! Inspired. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  • Trish @ Mum's Gone To

    It was a fortnight’s holiday in Iceland which was the inspiration for my own blog, back in 2007. I agree, Iceland is the most extraordinary country. I’m also that person who hears someone mention Iceland and just has to pitch in with suggestions. The memories I have from that one trip around the whole island will stay with me a lifetime.
    Thanks for bringing those memories back to me.

    • Louise

      I can totally see why, Trish! 😀 No worries. I love talking about Iceland, it’s just one of those places that captures you. Just wish it was easier to live there – I’d go in a heartbeat! x

  • Melanie Gibson

    Iceland is forever on my bucket list. Iceland really is an other worldly sort of place – I can see why it might be inspirational. Very handy practical tips to go with the fabulous images!

  • Melanie Gibson

    Nice Post! Iceland is always top of my bucket list…I really wanna go there. I am also planning my trip to Iceland with my family in next month. Thanks for sharing this info…

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