Iceland should rank high on every Good Indian Girl’s bucket list. Why? Because it is superb! And not the same superb your family uses to describe Govinda’s dance moves, but the actual definition of the word (impressively splendid, magnificent, impressive, etc).
First of all, it is in close proximity to several US cities. For those of you living in New York City, it is a quick 5-hour plane ride, which gives you just enough time to fit in one Bollywood movie. Non-stop flights from John F. Kennedy Airport to Reykjavik run daily on Iceland Air. Depending on when you book your flight, a round trip ticket will cost you approximately $800 – $1,200.
From the Northern Lights to dramatic waterfalls, Iceland offers a range of beautiful places. Summer time in Iceland means nearly 24 hours of daylight, which allows you to maximize your exploration time (and really get the best bang for your buck). Here’s a few places to check off your list when traveling to Iceland:
– Ring Road: Driving the Ring Road around the country is a popular option in the summer and takes about a week. Ring Road connects all the popular tourist attractions including Northern Lights and Skógafoss waterfall. The road is about 828 miles and takes you on a full circle around the country.
– Northern Lights: Visit in September-April for the greatest chance of seeing Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Catching the Northern Lights can be tricky as there are a lot of factors including weather, darkness, time of day and more, but if and when you do see it, it will certainly be one of the most magical experiences of your life.
– Waterfalls: The waterfalls of Skógafoss and Gulfoss will leave you mystified and feeling small in the world. It’s good to feel small. It’s good to take in the fact that you are just a tiny piece of this incredible gigantic world. In Thingvellir National Park near Reykjavik, you can see the massive rifts created by the shifting of the earth’s tectonic plates.
When visiting Iceland, each day you will think about the power of nature and what a wild force it is. The southern coast in particular is mesmerizing – from the nearly constant rainbows at Skógafoss to Jokulsarlon Glacial lagoon – it’s an Instagram #nofilter heaven.
Food and alcohol are expensive here. And, after a long day of exploring, all you will want is food and alcohol. Being vegetarian in Iceland is also difficult, so plan out your restaurant choices in advance or make use of your Airbnb kitchen.
If you hate cold weather, re-read the name of this country before booking your ticket. Even in the warmest month of July, the low at night can be in the 40s.
Also, Icelandic people are tall. Very tall. You will be the shortest and darkest person at the bar, guaranteed. The good news is, in this country your 19-syllable last name doesn’t even hold a candle to Icelandic names. Do you remember the name of the volcano that exploded in 2010? No, of course not. Why? Because its name is Eyjafjallajökull.
Go to Iceland! Explore all the superb scenery, enjoy the amazing culture, and carry a flask to stay warm and on budget!
Saya Nagori is an ophthalmologist and Chief Medical Officer at Simple Contacts in New York City. She is fluent in five languages and once snuck into a VMA party.