Now that EF College Break goes to Iceland, we wanted to hear more about this mysterious place.
Meet Jesse, Trip Consultant and travel expert. He helps people from all over the country find their perfect trip abroad (you may even talk him to when you call to plan yours).
Last year, Jesse took his own trip to the “Land of Fire and Ice,” and he had plenty to praise. From the alien landscapes to the creative culture, find out why a journey to Iceland is nothing short of magical.
Why were you drawn to Iceland in the first place?
Iceland has always been one of those places. First: Interstellar. Christopher Nolan wanted something super alien. So he was searching the world, and that’s when they found this… just this other planet.
It’s that contrast, that black and white—that alien world is Iceland. That’s what drew me to it.
Also, I’m kinda a nerd, and I really like Game of Thrones (Iceland is a stand-in for The Wall and Beyond The Wall).
Another thing is that it’s so accessible. Especially if you’re East Coast (US), it’s only a 5-hour flight. But even if you’re West Coast, it’s not crazy.
“There isn’t anything angry about it. Or angsty. It’s just like, ‘Life is good. We live in Iceland.'”
Tell us what you thought!
Well, first off, Reykjavik. I thought it was just the place you fly in, the capital city, whatever. But Reykjavik is SUCH a cool city. It’s kinda hipster-y; the music scene is really cool. You know Hoppipolla from Sigur Rós? You go into the scene, and it’s just that kind of vibe.
I love that song. How about we embed it so people can listen while they read?
That would be amazing.
Anyways, the city itself is not overwhelming. It’s really quaint. It’s obviously very Nordic, but definitely its own flavor. All their buildings light up at night, and they have a bunch of statues to commemorate the Vikings that landed there.There isn’t anything angry about it. Or angsty. It’s just like, “Life is good. We live in Iceland.”
Is the food any good?
The food is… unreal. Especially if you like seafood. The best thing though as far as their food goes, is salt.
Yeah, they have this black volcanic salt, and I swear to god, I bought two bags of it and it’s the most unbelievable thing. Before [a meal] they’ll bring out a tray of bread with the salt. You lather it up with butter, and then you just dump this Icelandic salt all over it. It’s incredible.
“You feel like you’re on a volcano that’s cooled down just enough to touch.”
Would you say that basing yourself out of Reykjavik is the best way to do it?
100%. Yes. You want to be in Reykjavik because everything is so accessible with the South Coast, and if you wanted to go on the West Coast, you want to be in Reykjavik.
It’s so fun to go out there. There isn’t like a crazy party scene; it’s just good live music everywhere; you’ll see some really cool bands. Strolling around, you feel like a Viking at some points; you feel like you’re in a movie others.
Our trip travels the Golden Circle. Did you do that?
Yup! That’s actually where Gullfoss is. “Foss” is their word for “waterfall”, and you’ll see “fosses” everywhere. This foss. That foss. Go foss yourself. You know.
Anyways, it’s the one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. It’s HUGE. But what’s really cool is that it’s literally all farmland surrounding it. It’s not all built up. Like, you go to Niagra and it’s all hotels and casinos everywhere. But here, you’ll drive up with Icelandic horses just running by, and there’s rolling hills and fences and farms.
Looking at the rest of our trip, what do you think your favorite day would be?
Hands down: Vik.
The black-sand beaches are unbelievable. It’s where I took this photo:
It’s literally black, and it’s extreme—everything. And there are these peninsulas that are eroded super weird. Like sand, but a totally different feeling.
Anyways, you’ll drive along and see this huge mountain in the way, and that’s Vik. You can climb over it, and you’ll see these massive black cliffs and huge towers coming out of the water. They’re almost ominous or evil-looking. It’s like climbing through Middle Earth as you go from fine sand to jutting rocks. You feel like you’re on a volcano that’s cooled down just enough to touch.
“You just reflect on the day and think, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ You just feel lucky to be there.”
Do you think “Fire and Ice” is an appropriate name for the tour?
Definitely. Like I said, the contrasts are what struck me the most. Everything is different. Time is different. Light is different. The colors are so different. There’s black soil mixing with white snow and green grass… the contrasts are super strong.
You go from glaciers and snow to volcanoes and geothermal springs. You go from extreme wilderness—desolate, alien, forgotten type of place for the day. Then you go back to this beautiful, calm city.
You just reflect on the day and think, “Wow, this is amazing.” You just feel lucky to be there.
Join us in Iceland on Iceland: Land of Fire & Ice!