Top Things To Do And See In Iceland
By admin
Published 20/10/2015

Iceland conjures up images of volcanoes, geysers and the northern lights for good reason. It’s a country that’s close to nature, almost too close for some. This island sits high in the North Atlantic Ocean. Whilst further north than much of populated Canada, Iceland actually isn’t that cold. Thanks to the North Atlantic Ocean current bringing warmer water to Iceland’s shores, the temperature rarely sees extremes.

Aurora Borealis (northern lights), Iceland. Photo credit: Flickr/Diana Robinson

That said, being at such high latitudes does present circumstances, which may be unfamiliar to those used to living at lower latitudes. Summer nights are long, with 24-hour sunlight occurring on the north part of island, just above the Arctic Circle. Of course, this is reversed in mid winter, where the sun is never seen to rise. This can create a confusing or disorientating environment for anyone not used to such variations in hours of light.

Midnight sun, Iceland. Photo credit: Flickr/Gilad Rom

Of course, this natural phenomenon adds to the mystique of Iceland, and it’s a land full of adventure and folklore. The main towns and cities tend to be dotted around the perimeter of the island, and are modern, busy and form great places to begin an Icelandic adventure. The capital city, Reykjavic is particularly well developed with a booming tourist trade and a strong commercial centre.

View from Hallgrímskirkja (church of Iceland) over Reykjavic. Photo credit: Flickr/Christine Zenino

Away from the main population centres, Iceland really shows its true colours, and what colours they are! Meandering streams, dramatic rugged coastlines, huge waterfalls and panoramas that literally seem out of this world. You can drive for hours and be greeted by yet another breathtaking view. The main road around the island allows you to circumnavigate the entire country and gives a sense of perspective as to just how isolated and remote vast parts of this ancient land really are.

Kirkjufellsfoss "Church Mountain Falls”, Iceland. Photo credit: Flickr/Ævar Guðmundsson

However, the perimeter road only tells part of the tale, moving inland typically requires a 4x4 vehicle at the very least. The landscape is wild, with the island being formed upon the Mid Atlantic Ridge. This ridge divides the Atlantic Ocean in two and runs along the seabed from north of Iceland all the way to the South Atlantic Ocean. Its geology is extremely active and evidence of this can be seen across the island, from stunning volcanoes that touch the sky to huge rock fissures that appear bottomless. There’s very few places on our planet where such incredible and current volcanic activity can be seen, making Iceland a very special environment indeed.

Entering Landmannalaugar by 4x4, Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Iceland Highlands. Photo credit: Flickr/Dyniss Rainer

Once inland, it’s prudent to be cautious, as the terrain can be tough going, with huge variations underfoot. The south east of the island has the highest elevations, and in winter particularly, these can be very hostile environments for the unprepared.

Trekking is very popular here and offers the most rewarding vistas of this land, with many day hikes around the mountainous regions and glaciers. At lower levels, there’s caves within glaciers that offer a truly awe inspiring experience, as they disappear deep inside glaciers with active volcanoes so close by. Iceland is a country where nature firmly has the upper hand, and exploring the natural beauty here is definitely a once in a lifetime experience.

Blue Lagoon (geothermal spa) in Grindavík, Iceland. Photo credit: Flickr/Heather R

Relaxation here is part of the Island’s natural history with huge lagoons of warm geothermal water offering bathing facilities with unforgettable views. Iceland is like no other, where a day can be spent hiking up volcanoes, exploring glaciers, and finishing the evening relaxing in an outdoor lagoon watching the northern lights sparkle across the night sky.

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