I’m a lucky lady. I spent my 40th birthday on Maui. My 44th found us flying to Italy and this year, on my 45th birthday, we were on another plane…this time to Iceland. As we flew over the icebergs dotting the sea near Greenland, the three of us were so excited about the adventure ahead. We were heading to someplace new, someplace different, someplace reputed to be like none other on earth.

The trip did not disappoint. We were amazed, enchanted, awed and enthralled. We came home evangelizing about Iceland, as you can tell by all the posts I’ve written about the landscape and our experiences. In honor of my 45th birthday, I had to put together my list of 45 Iceland must see places. So if you are looking for reasons to go to Iceland on your next trip, here they are.

If you take a vacation to Iceland, suddenly the words of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song will make sense:

We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow…

45 Must See Iceland placesWe landed at midnight, the day before the summer solstice. Looking out the window as the plane moved over land to prepare for landing, the sun appeared to be setting on the horizon. Yet when we walked out of the airport, it was still as light as dusk or dawn, as the sun began again its slow rise back into the sky. This disconcerting notion of 24-hour daylight was our first introduction to the uniqueness of Iceland.

As we explored Reykjavik the next day, I was intrigued by the Scandinavian-style architecture and its festively-colored houses with corrugated metal siding. The clean, uncrowded streets of Reykjavik felt more like walking through a trendy small town than a country’s capital. Our first introduction to Icelandic cuisine started with langoustines, ling, and local beer…happily skipping the whale and puffin offerings. The Harpa concert hall is stunning, as is the view from the top of the Hallgrimskirkja church.

As much as we loved exploring Reykjavik, we were there to see the landscape and each day and every mile introduced something new. We took many Iceland road trips, but my favorite was on our second day when we drove through much of South Iceland. Out the window we watched mist over the tan lichen, followed by steam rising from the ground, replaced by barren lava flows, before we came across our first waterfalls. One of the best moments of the trip was walking through a small canyon to find a “secret” waterfall. The mist from the falls did its best to soak us through our rain gear but couldn’t wash the smiles off of our faces.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more amazing, we stopped at Dyrholaey and discovered puffins just under our feet. Throughout the week, it was just one amazing experience after another. The black sand beach in Vik. The sea stacks and basalt columns in Reynisfjara. The blue, white, and zebra-striped icebergs in the glacier lagoon. Dog sledding across a pristine white glacier. Watching a geyser bulge into a bright blue ball before erupting into the air. Feeling the mist of the Gulfoss waterfall with its double rainbow effect overhead. Hiking across a glacier dotted with volcanic ash. Every road trip was as much about the journey as the destination.

There are so many reasons to visit Iceland but in honor of my 45th birthday, here are my top 45…

45 Reasons to Visit Iceland (in Photos)

Click on any picture in the gallery to open larger…

Have I convinced you to visit Iceland yet?

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45 Iceland Must See Places , giving you 45 reasons to visit Iceland in 2016. These photos will show you why you should vacation to Iceland!

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