Iceland: what is ready to surprise us “icy country
Iceland – a country which is located in the north of Europe. Located on the island of the same name. As only it hasn’t been called! And the country of ices, and ice country. The country was named by the Norwegian Viking Flowoki, nicknamed Raven. He was the first to visit the island, and having climbed the highest mountain, he saw icebergs in the fjord (although in fact there are not so many icebergs in Iceland). By the way, the intrepid Viking could live on the island only a year, and then he left the land with a hostile climate.
And indeed: although the climate in Iceland is temperate sea, quite mild, but at the same time and contradictory. It seems that all seasons reign simultaneously on the island: winter is fighting with summer, warm sunny weather is sharply replaced by piercing winds. That is why for a long time Iceland was unpopulated island. And that is what now it attracts tourists from all over the world: just its climate, amazingly rich nature and sights, of which there are a great many.
Iceland – a small country, but it has so many attractions that it is called a small country of great wonders.
The first wonder of Iceland – nature
Undoubtedly, the main wonder of Iceland is its nature. All of us, when we visit a country, try to see the cities. In the case of Iceland everything is different: its main treasure is outside the bustle of the capital. All the beauty and richness of the country can be seen, leaving the borders of large cities. If you come to Iceland, you must see geysers and glaciers, Torsmerk Valley, Hekla Volcano, Landmannalejgar Valley, Vestman Islands.
You can start with the city of Akureyri, which is the second largest city in the country. From there you can go to Husavik, Godafoss Falls and Grimsey Island, all not far from Akureyri. You can book a “Golden Ring” tour – it includes visits to three sights at once: Gullfoss (Gullfoss) waterfall, Strokkur geyser and Tingvellir National Park, but we’ll talk about each of them in more detail below.
In the southeast of Iceland is Landmannalaugar, a mountainous area where hot springs bubble up. There you can also see scattered natural “artifacts”: canyons, snowy slopes, fields of frozen lava, thaws smelling of hydrogen sulfide, and just amazing blue lakes. All this beauty will not leave anyone indifferent!
Popular Excursions: Valley of Geysers and Tingvellir Park
There are three national parks in Iceland: Tingvellir, Vatnajökull and Snaifelsjökull. But the most popular in terms of excursions is Tingvellir. However, the other two parks are no less interesting. For example, Vatnajeküdl is the largest park in Europe (its area is more than 1 million hectares). There used to be two other parks in Iceland: Jekulsaurgluvur and Skaftafetl, which were merged into Vatnajeküdl in 2008. In addition, in this park is the volcano Askja, but about it later. The park Snaifelsjöküdl is a huge glacier. There is an interesting story connected with it: the events in the well-known book by Jules Verne “Journey to the Center of the Earth” unfold here. In this park is the famous volcano Snaifels.
Tingvellir National Park is a valley dotted with paths. You can wander along these paths all day long without getting bored, because they are very, very beautiful. There are also interesting places here, like the witches’ pool where unfaithful wives were drowned in Viking times, Iceland’s largest lake Tingvalvaten and the Tinga fields where the first Viking parliament, Althing, sat. It’s all fascinating and educational. Tingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because the park is proof of the Icelandic age of government.
Next door is the Valley of Geysers. It is in honor of the very Geyser, which is located here, that all the hot fountains of the world are now named. Here are the other fountains: Gullfoss, a thirty-meter waterfall, is not so easy to get to: it always throngs with tourists. They call it the “golden waterfall. It is believed that its true beauty can only be seen and appreciated in sunny weather. Strokkur Falls gush as if on schedule, every 5-10 minutes. All three fountains are striking in their spectacularity and power. But in fact, there are dozens of famous and even more nameless waterfalls in Iceland.
Fjords – a rare sight in the world
Iceland is rich with fjords, which on the whole planet are not so numerous: there are very few places where there are these wonders of nature. The fjords are the narrow winding gulfs of the sea, surrounded on both sides by steep rocky shores. The main dislocation of the fjords is the west of Iceland, and it is here that the largest fjords are located. The most famous of them is Hvalfjordur, or Whale Fjord. It used to be home to many whales and there was even a whaling company – hence the name of the fjord.
The area of the fjords is not inhabited by people, so the wildlife reigns here. In addition to strange plants, there are many rare birds. One of them – tupik – is a symbol of Iceland. It is rightly considered one of the most beautiful areas of the island, although there are surprisingly few tourists.
“Gateway to the Underworld.”
Do not be afraid of this place, because we are actually talking about volcanoes, of which Iceland also has plenty: there are 25 of them in the country. Moreover, the country itself was created by the eruption of liquid basalt. As we already know, the most famous volcano, Askja, is located in the Vatnajeküdl Park. After its eruption in 1875 two wonderful lakes were formed: Viti and Eskuvatn. Hecla is considered the most active volcano in Iceland. It is what people in the Middle Ages called the “gateway to hell”.
Another famous volcano is Kerling. It is located in the north of Iceland and is considered the highest mountain of the coast: its height is 1538 meters. As we said above, another volcano is located in the park Snaifelsjökull. It received the ominous name of “gateway to the underworld”, but this time it is no longer due to folk art, but the fantasy of Jules Verne. The volcano last erupted in the 18th century, but it is still not considered extinct.
The Blue Lagoon is another natural wonder
The Blue Lagoon is not just a country attraction. It is an absolutely unique, amazingly beautiful place. The world-famous geothermal pool is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula in the southwest of Iceland. It is best known for its sky-blue colored water, in which no bacteria can survive. In addition, the water has medicinal properties: for example, you can cure psoriasis. The color of the water is really heavenly: the water almost merges with the sky. The temperature of the water all year round ranges from +37 to +40 ° C. This place is so loved in Iceland (and not only) that the Lagoon has become a symbol of the “ice country” and a favorite Icelandic resort. However, judging by how many people come here, not only Icelandic.
Be sure to swim not only during the day, but also at night, watching the Northern Lights, smear your face with white clay, like savages, and take pictures to remember – everyone does so here. You can walk through the volcanic lava and be sure to buy a line of Blue Lagoon Skin Care cosmetics – these cosmetics are considered just miraculous.
“The Smoky Cove.
That’s an intricate name for Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It is the largest city in the country, and the name “Smoky Bay” was given to it by the first settlers, who were impressed by the columns of steam that came from the hot springs. The best time to visit the capital of Iceland is in winter. Do not be afraid of the cold: the climate here is quite mild, and the temperature in winter usually stays around zero.
You can see a lot of interesting historical sites, because Reykjavik is considered a city of literature and culture. For lovers and connoisseurs of art and historical heritage, Reykjavík has a lot to offer. Here is a concentration of a huge number of attractions: museums, churches, architectural compositions for all tastes (some may visit the Museum of the phallus, and someone – the Museum and Gallery of Iceland).
You can visit Hallgrimskirkja Church, which houses a very famous Art Nouveau organ; visit the Arni Magnusson Institute: it contains ancient books and many historical works. Parliament House, City Art Museum, Arber Folk Museum – Reykjavik is famous for its attractions. You can also check out the Volcano Center, where you can watch fascinating historical films about Iceland’s most famous volcanoes. The most popular is the film about the volcano Surtsey: in 1963 it spewed lava into the sea, a miracle that saved the island and the capital from imminent destruction.
Another landmark of the capital is the Pearl. It is a building in the shape of a pearl. It was built in 1988 as a hot water storage facility. There is only one such complex in the world. Around the “Pearl” planted more than 180 thousand trees. Also on the territory of the complex is an active geyser, which is controlled electronically. In the six cisterns is a museum of sagas, telling the story of the Vikings.
Plant lovers simply must visit the Botanical Gardens of Reykjavik. The garden is small, but it found a place for the most diverse and bizarre plants and flowers. For the convenience of visitors to each “exhibit” you can see a table with the name written in Latin. The garden is really wonderful.
In addition to cultural sites, in the capital of Iceland you can observe the wonders of nature: since the city is very close to the Arctic Circle, for locals watching the Northern Lights here is not a surprise, but for tourists – a real event. By the way, here you can also swim in the ocean – the water is heated!
Icelandic Cuisine – Another Attraction
Indeed, by right, the cuisine of Iceland can be considered an attraction. Only you don’t have to look at it – it’s better to try it and admire the taste. The local cuisine is original, but you must be prepared for the fact that for most stomachs it is unusual. This is not surprising because a large number of recipes have centuries-old tradition.
The basis of Icelandic cuisine is fish and lamb. Be sure to try the fish sandwiches, boiled sheep’s head, puffer fish, smoked lamb or marinated salmon. Also don’t miss the volcanic bread and coffee, which Icelanders are very fond of. And if you feel like drinking something strong, you should drink “brennivín” – Icelandic strong drink. And if you want to enjoy your meal, do not overeat.
When to visit Iceland
Iceland can be visited at any time of year, but you need to take into account some climatic features of the country. So, in winter the temperature rarely drops to -1 ° C, but the daylight is not longer than 5 hours, which can not be easily tolerated. In summer, the temperature is +10 ° C, but summer is a period of “white nights”, which can also be a challenge for many people. On the other hand, it can also be very exciting. Also, when to visit the country depends on what attractions you want to see: winter is best for a visit to Reykjavik, and summer is best for exploring the local flora and fauna, waterfalls and volcanoes.
The best option is to travel between June and the end of August. Although Iceland is great at any time of year!
7 Wonders of Iceland, which should see every tourist
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And you included! No need to grab your head: almost all of Iceland’s most beautiful places are accessible by ordinary asphalt and dirt roads without forcing mountain rivers or renting a helicopter. Of course, and in the interior of the island, which is not so easy to get, too, a lot of interesting and unusual … But if you are going here for the first time and want to see the most beautiful places of Iceland, you need only two things: a car to rent and our article.
1. Haukadalur Geyser Valley
The most beautiful places in Iceland near Reykjavik – Haukadalur Geyser Valley, Hudlfoss Waterfall and Tingvellir National Park – are included in the “Golden Ring” route which is a must for all tourists. So whether you like it or not, if you go to Iceland, you will definitely see the Valley of Geysers. The ground here grunts and gurgles, smoke billows out of the ground – in short, total surrealism.
The two main stars of the Valley are Geysir (aka Big Geyser) and Strokkur. Geysir is the most powerful geyser on the planet, giving its name to all geysers. It can erupt up to 70 meters high, but it does not want to: the Big Geyser has been sleeping for many years. But its smaller brother Strokkur, located 50 meters away from Geysir, is much more fun: every 3-4 minutes it throws a jet of hot water up to 30 meters high. We even made a video of it, which we don’t usually do.
2. Reynisfjara Black Beach
It is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, even if it is not allowed to swim (although in warm summer days, some citizens manage to). This makes it a perfect black sand, slender rows of basalt columns near the shore and complementing the ethereal landscape of the cliffs, sticking out from under the water. And on the coastal cliffs nestle cul-de-sacs.
Welcome to the beach! Now let’s go swimming, if the wind doesn’t blow us to Greenland.
The most unusual places in Iceland: a panorama of Reynisfjara beach.
3. glacier Vatnajökull
The largest glacier in Europe, and it says it all. Vatnajökull occupies 8% of the area of Iceland and is almost entirely in the mountains, but in some places it descends almost to the highway 1 – the main ring road around the island, within which are the most beautiful places of Iceland. The eternal bluish-white ice looks particularly spectacular in contrast to the emerald grass carpet of Iceland. Like most tourists, the closest we came to Vatnajökull was in three places: Skaftafell National Park, and the “tongues” of Svínafellsjökull and Fjallsárlón. All of these places are marked on the map at the end of the article.
Impressed? Glaciers, geysers and waterfalls are the most beautiful places in Iceland that every traveler must see.
4. Dettifoss waterfall
Again the biggest waterfall in Europe, this time. Wild, black, dirty, noisy, trying to splash you from head to toe, even if you are a hundred meters away – this is a monster, this is a waterfall! One thing is bad: to see where the water falls at the lowest point is absolutely unreal because of the huge cloud of splashes, which hangs there forever. Dettifoss is 100 meters wide and 44 meters high. If you want to see not only the most beautiful places in Iceland, but also on a subconscious level understand the phrase “pristine power,” you will not pass by.
I was able to do that! I was able to turn my back on Dettifoss! But it wasn’t easy.
Dettifoss looks most spectacular from the hill, where you can see all the grandeur of the waterfall, especially in comparison with people.
5. Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
The largest glacial lake in Iceland. Vatnajökull glacier feeds it not only meltwater but also huge icebergs. As they break away from the glacier, the blocks the size of a multi-story house slowly drift into the sea, gradually losing weight along the way. Tourist companies based right on the shore of the lake conduct boat rides through the icy lagoon between the icebergs. A half hour on a big ship is 5,800 kroner, an hour on a motorboat is 9,900 kroner (about 40 and 70 euros, respectively).
Iceland’s most beautiful places : no two photos of Jokulsarlon are the same because the glacier is constantly tossing new icebergs into the lagoon.
6. Western Fjords.
This is a whole region, one of the wildest and least explored by tourists. There are no geysers, glacial lagoons and other tourist baits, but there are amazing landscapes, as beautiful as the Norwegian fjords. At the same time, there are many times fewer tourists here than in the super-popular southern and even northern Iceland. For example, we spent the night here in the campsite, where besides ours there were only three cars. In July! And that’s with a frontal view of Mount Kirkjufetl, which is considered the most beautiful mountain in Iceland. Besides it, the main pearls of the Western Fjords – multi-level waterfall Dinandi and Cape Latrabjarg – the westernmost point of Iceland and Europe’s largest bird market, where we are waiting (though are they waiting?) millions of unintimidated puffins and other feathered birds. All these places are marked on the map below.
The western fjords of Iceland are a wild and beautiful land where treasures await you around every corner.
7. Hallgrímskirkja (Hallgrímskirkja) Church
The most beautiful places in Iceland are not only nature, but also architecture. Rugged and beautiful as Iceland itself. The most beautiful building in the country is considered either rocket or waterfall-like Hatlgrímskirkja Lutheran Church in the center of Reykjavík, named after the poet and preacher Hadlgrímur Pietursson. Built in 1986, the height – 74.5 meters. For 1000 kroner (about 7 euros) you can climb the tower of the church, which offers super views of Reykjavik, the mountains and the ocean.
In front of the church of Hatlgrimskirkja is a monument to Leif Eriksson, an Icelander who discovered America 500 years before Columbus.
The most beautiful places in Iceland on the map
How to see all this beauty
By car and with the help of informational training from Went.com, how else. See the most beautiful places in Iceland and fully prepare for your trip to this country will help you with our articles:
That’s it, you’re fully prepared for your trip. We’re waiting for your feedback about the most beautiful places in Iceland that struck you the most!