Iceland Makes The Winter Blues Look Like Paradise

Go ahead, swap out your tropical vacation for a frosty one.
12/11/2015 02:49pm ET

Normally, we tend to favor tropical islands during the winter months, but Iceland has converted us.

Trust us, Iceland -- yes, Iceland -- has ever looked so good.

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Recently, Iceland has seen a tourism boom and, considering the stunning "Lord of the Rings"-esque backdrops, its charming "Frozen"-like villages, and its otherworldly (and romantic!) ice caves, the North Atlantic island feels straight out of a fairy tale.

So go ahead and admit it: Iceland is starting to look like a good excuse to experience some winter blues... and greens, and pinks, and purples, and whites (hello, Northern Lights).

Below, seven reasons Iceland is the perfect excuse to swap out your tropical holiday for a frosty one.

1. The scenic road trips are -- wait for it -- legendary.

In one long adventure behind the wheel, you can experience active volcanoes, neon blue glacial ice caves, rugged black sand coastlines, little fishing villages and both icy and steamy lagoons. The Expert Vagabond leads the way with his guide to Iceland's Ring Road Trip, a scenic seven-day drive that circles the entire island.

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A stop on the Ring Road Trip takes you through black sand dessert to the volcanic sea cliffs of Dyrhólaey.
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2. As are the country's stunning underworlds.

Iceland is as remarkable above as it is below. Hike down into a 4,000-year-old multicolored chamber of a volcano, or scuba dive between two continents to find underwater canyons fit for King Triton, himself.

Alex Mustard
During his trip to Iceland, photographer Alex Mustard explored the floor of an underwater canyon.
You can rappel nearly 400-feet down into Thrihnukagigur volcano to see a colorful magma chamber created 4,000 years ago.
Snorkelers explore the "clearest water on Earth" at Silfra Canyon, the crack between the North American and Eurasian continents.

3. You'll love getting lost in the island's awe-inspiring landscapes.

Hike over blue ice through the Svinafellsjokull Glacier Walk. Saddle up on an Icelandic horse and explore the island's diverse terrain. No matter how you see it, we guarantee it'll feel equal parts adventurous and romantic.

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Glacial Ice Cave, Svinafellsjokull glacier, Skaftafell National Park, Iceland.
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Black church of Budir with landscape and waterfall.
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Mighty Hvítá river cascading at dawn over gullfoss waterfall in Southwest Iceland.

4. Iceland's water worlds are beautiful and interactive.

Whether you want to end a beautiful hike with a dip in Landmannalaugar's hot springs, stare in awe at the gushing Stokkur geyser, or crawl into Seljalandsfoss (a waterfall with a glowing cavern), Iceland's mystical water promises to revitalize you.

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A hot spring in Landmannalaugar, Iceland.
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The famous Strokkur geyser erupts every five to 10 minutes, gushing water up to 100 feet in the air.

5. You can have luxury, nature and extreme remoteness all in one place.

There are a number of boutique resorts hiding in vast gorgeousness. ION Luxury Hotel -- for example, with its jaw-dropping architecture that leaps from the hills -- is just out of earshot of busy Reykjavík, but it feels like you've entered a distant world where comfort and style are the most treasured assets. If romance is what you're after, opt for the quaint, but luxurious Hótel Búðir.

Ion Hotel

#winteriniceland #hotelbudir #budir #cusine #countryhotel

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6. Two words: Northern Lights.

Swoon over the Northern Lights from September to mid-April and be prepared to be overwhelmed by the beauty of life. Anywhere in Iceland during the winter -- when night lasts more than 15 hours -- could be the perfect place to watch the sky dance.

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7. And, of course, it's where the Santa(s) live.

In Icelandic tradition, children are visited by 13 different (mischievous) Santas known as Yule Lads. In the Reykjavík Harbor, you'll find Icelandic Santa's mailbox, where you can write to him about how good you've been all year long.

This is not a regular mailbox.

A photo posted by Alessandra Codinha (@atcodinha) on

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