Say the name “Iceland” and many people conjure up images of a barren, ice-covered landscape…not exactly the kind of place you’d be itching to go after a winter in New York. But despite its name, Iceland enjoy a surprisingly warm climate (about the same as New York) and is actually quite green by springtime.
With a stunning array of diverse landscapes, from waterfalls to glaciers to mountains to jagged coastlines, Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries on earth. Home to the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, a vibrant live music scene, and a cuisine focused on fresh fish, it’s also very cosmopolitan and modern country. And at fewer than five hours by plane from New York (with direct flights) it makes a great long-weekend getaway from the city. If you have more time, you can even plan a stopover in Iceland for free for up to a week as you travel between the US and Europe. Snag a cheap flight to Europe and this becomes a very attractive option.
While most tourists visit Iceland during the midnight sun of summer, this is also the most expensive time to visit. The shoulder seasons of spring and early fall are ideal if you’re on a smaller budget – the crowds are fewer, and you’ll enjoy off-season pricing on car rental, flights, and hotels, making this expensive country just a bit cheaper. Spring in Iceland sees cool, dry days with long hours of sunlight and plenty to do. Go for a ride on an Icelandic horse, hike on a glacier, dive in the rift between two continental plates, sample some traditional Icelandic delicacies, or simply marvel at the country’s beautiful natural wonders. It’s the closest you can go to feel so far away from New York.
Photo by Helder Caixinha