Iceland is not a destination but an adventure set in stunning scenery. This island nation was blessed with breathtaking landscapes with sharp contrasts – a place where fire and ice coexist. Its opulence of mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, bodies of water and caves make Iceland an exciting adventure paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.
Inevitably, I have been head over heels for this incredible country ever since I heard about its sparkling geothermal hotspots, colossal glaciers and surprisingly mild climate. Most visitors book the famous golden circle tour in Iceland, one of the most epic road trips in the entire world, to cover the top three most popular natural attractions in Iceland: Thingvellir, Gullfoss and Geysir. As a travel blogger, I believe it is my moral responsibility to share the following pictures to help you see the beauty that is Iceland.
1. Magical Northern Lights
Let’s face it, witnessing the Northern Lights is on top of many people’s bucket list. Who’s to blame! It is one of the most beautiful natural occurrence in the world. Certainly, Iceland is probably the best place in the face of the earth to see this magical wonder. However, you might need the best of luck to see the mystical sky show as they are so unpredictable. So, if you plan to see the Northern Lights in Iceland, the best advice I can give you is to allocate at least one week in Iceland to increase your chances of seeing the light show.
2. Humongous Glaciers
Iceland is a glaciated country with over 4,500 square miles of glacier so, it’s impossible to end your visit without walking on ice in some way. Vatnajökull is the most in demand glacier in Iceland mainly because of its gargantuan size and innumerable tongues on every side. Nearly all of glacier tours take place on this gigantic glacier, and it is home to the largest national park in Iceland and Europe.
3. Steamy Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is easily one of the most photographed attractions in Iceland because of its contrasting landscape that makes it a loud and clear definition of Iceland. Thousands of visitors come to experience pure serenity, relaxation and rejuvenation in this natural geothermal spa. The water is naturally heated by lava fields making it rich in sulfur and silica which are known for its natural, age-defying healing powers.
4. Majestic Waterfalls Galore
Iceland is peppered with impressive waterfalls. The most magical and Instagram-ed is Seljalandsfoss, seated in lush green meadows that plunges into a deep lagoon. The so-called ‘Black Falls‘ is also definitely not to be missed because of its distinctive black hanging basalt columns.
5. Affectionate Icelandic Horses
A road trip around Iceland won’t be complete without pulling over to pet one or few Icelandic horses. They are peculiar, pony-size breed brought to Iceland by the Vikings. They can appear in over 40 different colors which can even change by season. They love to be around people which makes them excel as therapy horses.
6. Awesome Rock Formations
The beautiful and breathtaking rock formations in Iceland look as though they don’t belong on our planet. With over a hundred of volcanoes, Iceland is one of the most extreme volcanic places in the world. In Vik, for example, thousands of basaltic rock formations emerge from violent lava eruptions that took place millions of years ago.
7. Enchanting Ice Caves
Often called Crystal Caves, the Icelandic glacier ice caves are naturally enchanting. From November to March, majestic glacier ice caves are the popular day trip for cave bugs. The lengthy tunnels of blue and white ice are perfectly exciting to explore with the help of a experienced local guide. Imagine crawling slowly on hands & knees into a long frozen chamber, under a brilliant cathedral of crystal blue waves.
8. Whale Watching
As if the natural land wonders weren’t enough, the Icelandic waters has also something ‘big’ to offer. The freezing waters of Iceland host orcas, minkes, humpback, blue whales and many others. Frequent excursions depart from the Old Harbour Reykjavík several times a day which often last between two and three hours. Generally, Icelandic lifestsyle accept the practice of whale hunting so, don’t be surprised to see whale meat on the menu on some restaurants.
9. Scuba Diving Between Two Continents
Silfra is the one and only place in the world where you can swim, snorkel or dive directly in between two continental plates. It is popularly known as one of the best dive sites in the world as the underwater visibility in the Silfra fissure is over 100 meters, which makes the underwater experience unsurpassable. As a diver, I am pushing myself to go here at least once in my lifetime.
10. Charming Villages
Surely, the post card industry will never run out of business in Iceland because this country is post card perfect in every way. Charming towns and villages are dotted along the coastline that are often a little off the beaten path. These little villages maintain a slow-paced lifestyle yet embracing global tourism. Set amidst the splendid natural scenery of Iceland, it is definitely worth a visit to learn about the Icelanders and get a deeper connection to the soul of the country.
Steaming geysers, majestic glacier ice caves, perfectly hexagonal lava formations, breathtaking sky lights — you’ll find them all in Iceland. The unequivocal magnificence and phenomenal domain of this diverse country will remind you why you travel.
*Images courtesy of Iceland Tourism