There is just something about Iceland. Perhaps it’s the ancient history and the unique culture, or maybe it’s the jaw-dropping mountains, active volcanoes, icebergs, glaciers, and huge waterfalls. Whichever highlight, Red Bull TV let's you decide your favourite reason to visit with Down Days: Iceland.
The show is brought to you by pro surfers, Dane, Pat and Tanner Gudauskas. The trio of brothers knew Iceland would be amazing when they visited with a film crew, but they had no idea just how special the place would be. “It’s more amazing than any photo,” says Dane. “It’s just so massive – you feel like an ant.”
We chatted with Dane to get an insider's view on just a few of the reasons why Iceland needs to be at the top of your travel list.
1. Paddle in a snow globe
In Iceland there are thousands of miles of coastline, so if you enjoy challenging surfing then click ‘buy’ right now. For one, it feels like you’re duck diving through an ice bath – quite literally, too, as there are ice chunks floating in the ocean. “You surf until you're so cold that things stop working,” says Dane.
If you're keen to go and experience the ice-cream headache of a lifetime, head to Glacier Lagoon. It might possibly be more impressive than anything you’ve seen in a while, with its crystal-clear water and giant icebergs you can get up close and personal with. “It feels like you’re in a snow globe. It doesn’t feel real, but it totally is.”
2. Rad people
“The rad people you meet along the way are incredible,” said Dane. From their practical wool, Viking-like sweaters and socks, to their mellow demeanour, Icelandic people are as special as the place. Whether it’s the mayor of Reykjavik or a truck driver, the people are incredibly warm and welcoming.
3. The culture is older than paper money
Iceland was first settled in the 9th century – that's 200 years before paper money was invented – and you can see the history of the place in the people and the land. “Iceland’s landscape is so powerful,” said Dane. “Its landscape tells the history of 1000 books. You can learn a lot about the Earth from this one place.”
On top of this, “you look at Icelandic people and you can see this crazy history in their faces. It’s like you go back in time.” But don’t worry, the Internet is still available there – you don’t have to completely step back into the 9th century.
4. The land is more magical than Harry Potter
Icelandic winters are harsh, and the conditions in summer are changing all the time. “In the winter, Iceland is a snow barren land,” said Dane. “But it’s so different in each season. In the summer, the land is so green and there are rainbows everywhere. It’s like a theme park.”
“I’m drawn to its natural beauty and presence. The colours are vibrant and there are giant waterfalls everywhere. You feel dwarfed by the land.”
5. Horses, music, and food: The Reykjavík Trifecta
Iceland is so cool, they even have their own breed of horse. Like the people, the land, and the culture, the native horses are ingrained into Iceland – they have been isolated here for 1,000 years. “If they leave the island, they cannot come back, so they’re pretty special to the area,” said Dane. “They're smaller than normal horses and have a unique gait.” Plus, they have rock-star manes.
The music of Iceland is very much tied into the place. Internationally recognised, Iceland has produced chart-topping musicians like Of Monsters and Men, Björk, and Sigur Rós. “Icelandic music is original,” said Dane. “It has this unique and natural sound, it kind of takes you on this journey, much like Iceland itself.”
Although food in Iceland might be a little pricier than elsewhere, the quality is pretty good. It's usually homemade and comforting. Furthermore, Iceland’s water is pure, which makes for some of the best beer in the world.
Finally, don’t forget about the famous Blue Lagoon hot springs, just outside Reykjavik. They're rich with silica, a natural mineral that's great for your skin.
Want to see more? Check out the full episode of Down Days: Iceland on Red Bull TV.