Updated: Sep 19
Why should every woman visit Iceland? In recent years, visiting the land of fire and ice has become a proverbial ‘bucket’ list item for many people. The otherworldly photos of a black lava-baked terrain set against the backdrop of the ice-blue North Atlantic Ocean have captured the imagination of just about everyone. But there is so much more to Iceland than just volcanos and Vikings. Beyond the stereotypical famous attractions, it is the perfect place for women travelers. Let me to tell you why.
Here are the top five reasons why every woman should visit Iceland.
5. The Landscape
It’s a place where emerald-colored moss mixes with diamond-glistening ice shards, where the earth ejects molten rocks and massive jets of pure water, and where the wind whips off the North Atlantic in blustery gusts one moment and the brilliant midnight sun shines the next. If you’re a romantic, then visages of Iceland will spark a yearning in you reminiscent of your first crush or kiss.
Here's the thing though…Iceland’s landscape is so much more than just some high-profile volcanic eruptions and the midnight sun. Consider the waterfalls. There are thousands of them, many of which are incredibly large and dramatic, like Gullfoss (‘foss’ means waterfall in Icelandic), Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss. There are also glaciers to climb, gorges to explore, dramatic black sand beaches, miles of craggy shoreline, deep black lakes, and endless hiking trails to discover. And then there’s Thingvellier National Park, the Silfra Fissure, whale watching day trips…we could go on.
And while we’re talking ‘landscape,’ don’t forget that all of this is set against the backdrop of green, yellow, pink, and purple hues of the dramatic Northern Lights displays (visible during autumn, winter, and spring) that no Hollywood special effects company could ever hope to come close to re-creating in all their resplendent glory.
Yeah. The landscape of Iceland is unmatched and pretty darn jawdropping.
4. The Spas
Bring multiple bathing suits when you go to Iceland. Why? Because, on a daily basis, you’re going to want to check out the multitude of spas and natural hot springs that dot the country. (There is nothing worse than having to crawl into a cold wet bathing suit. Might as well have a dry one handy at all times, because you’ll need it in Iceland!)
When it comes to Icelandic spas, of course there’s the famous Blue Lagoon, a world renown spa spread across several acres and filled with milky blue, silica-enriched, heated water, ready for your exploration. Or there is Myvatn Nature Baths located in the north of the country, almost as large and dramatic as the Blue Lagoon, although perhaps a little less crowded. Want a spa that is a little smaller and intimate? Try Laugervatn Fontana, with several smaller pools, each containing waters of varying temperatures, along with a natural lake for an icy dip to cool off, if you are so inclined.
Looking for something a little more natural, and that’s free? Consider taking a hike in the south of Iceland to the Reykjadalur Valley where you can take a dip in a hot river, or dashing off to the wonderfully exotic Seljavallalaug pool, Iceland’s oldest public pool, nestled outside and fed by natural hot springs, in a small valley in the shadow of the infamous Eyjafjallajokull volcano.
When it comes to Iceland’s spas, they are everywhere (yes, even the public pools in Reyjavik are glorious), and something you won’t want to miss.
3. The Culture
Did you know that Iceland has the highest rate of books per capita, with 3.5 books for every 1,000 inhabitants. Although, it should come as no surprise that Iceland has so many literary lovers, given that it’s the home of the Sagas, some of the foremost literature from Medieval Europe. The Icelanders love to read, and books are traditional and common gift during the holidays. (Icelanders even have a name for the annual flood of books that appear around the Christmas season— jólabókaflóð).
Iceland is also known for its vibrant music scene—which includes a wide range of musical types to soothe even the most savage Viking, from pop icons like Björk, Of Monsters and Men, and Sigur Rós to modern instrumental artists like Ólafur Arnalds and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. (And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Daði Freyr (Daði & Gagnamagnið), darling of the 2020 and 2022 Eurovision competition who set off a viral lock-down dance craze that got even actress Jennifer Garner moving and grooving!)
Icelanders are deeply proud of their Nordic heritage and strive to preserve their traditions. In fact, the modern Icelandic language is extremely close to old Norse, and many of the Viking-era pagan traditions and beliefs still linger today. But don’t let this rich and ancient heritage fool you. Icelanders are extremely modern and well educated and many will speak fluent English, especially those that live in and around Reykjavik.
And does the Icelander really believe in elves? Well, that’s for them to say, although the Icelandic Elf School claims that more than 54% of all Icelanders believe that elves exist. Want to see the Huldufólk for yourself? They’re best found in and around the boulders and rocks of the Icelandic countryside.
2. Comfy Sweaters (And all kinds of other beautiful knitwear)
While we’re on the topic of Icelandic statistics, according to the fiber arts website Ravelry, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners in Iceland created more fiber projects in 2022 per capita than anywhere else in the world, with 678 projects per 100,000 people. Like many Scandinavian countries, knitting and other types of fiber arts are extremely popular in Iceland. Icelanders, in particular, are known for their exquisite knitwear, including the uniquely Icelandic sweater known as the “lopapeysa.”
Whether you’re a fiber artist, a knitter, or just someone who loves homemade things, Iceland’s the place for some incredible clothes and fiber artistry.
1. Iceland’s Women
The strength and beauty of a country is most often found in its people and their commitment to creating an equitable society. Nowhere is that more evident than in Iceland, recognized globally for its progressive stance and commitment to empowering women. This aligns so beautiful with what we represent and believe here at Cherish Tours.
Gender equality is deeply ingrained in Icelandic society. Iceland has consistently ranked high in global gender equality indexes. The country has implemented proactive policies to promote equal pay, parental leave, and representation in decision-making roles. The landmark legislation of 2020 mandated that companies and institutions with more than 25 employees must obtain certification to demonstrate pay equity.
Iceland boasts the world’s first democratically elected female president—Vigdis Finnbogadóttir in 1980. Currently, Iceland also has the highest percentage of women in its parliament globally, with women holding around 48% of seats in the Alþingi (Icelandic Parliament).
Iceland also takes women’s safety seriously. The country has one of the lowest rates of gender-based violence in the world, thanks to comprehensive legislation and community support systems.
It’s Time for You to Visit Iceland!
Iceland is an amazing country with a people, culture, and landscape that will leave an irrevocable impression on your soul and psyche. If you want to learn more about visiting Iceland, with additional visits to Denmark and the Faroe Islands, check out our Cherish Tours trip scheduled for September 7-16, 2023 and coming back again in the fall of 2024!