Best Things to Do in Iceland
Iceland is a special country to visit. This is mainly due to the rugged nature. You see natural phenomena that you will not find elsewhere. Iceland is the land of geysers, glaciers and the capital Reykjavik. But which landmarks should you have seen during your visit to Iceland?
The dynamic capital of Iceland has a diverse range of attractions. There are many museums to visit such as the cultural house, the art museum and the national museum. The beautiful and particularly designed Hallgrimskirkja church with its 5275 pipes from the pipe organ attracts many visitors every year. But the futuristic looking hot water storage of the city is also a real attraction. This is called the ‘Pearl’ and it is located on the Öskjuhlíð hill.
A well-known tourist attraction in Iceland, is the Blue Lagoon. Here you can completely relax and be one with nature. The Blue Lagoon is an artificial lake. Because of its location in a lava field, the lake is heated in a natural way. The geothermal bath is used for tourists to relax completely. The steam comes from the water while you immerse yourself in the middle of nature. But there’s more. It is said that the water has a healing effect. This is due to the many minerals that the water contains. These minerals could cure various skin diseases, such as psoriasis. Even as a regular tourist you can enjoy the warm water that has a temperature of about 39 degrees. The Icelandic landscape in the background makes it complete.
On the south-east coast of Iceland lies the glacial lake Jökulsárlón. It was formed in the thirties of the twentieth century and originally had a size of just over seven square kilometers. The ever-melting ice that comes from the glaciers is still growing in size. The floating ice rocks form a magical setting with the mountain landscape and calm water. The lake is accessible by boat, where you go with a guide along the water.
The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is located on the river Seljalandsá. The waterfall is 60 meters high and falls straight down on the former coastline, creating a small lake in the middle of the green pasture. Along a path you can walk behind the waterfall into a cave, from where you can look through the waterfall: a very special view. Be careful because the path is slippery. The Seljalandsfoss waterfall is illuminated at night, which makes for a special spectacle. You can also visit the waterfall in the evening and at night.
Þórsmörk National Park
Þórsmörk National Park got its name from the Vikings who settled here and was named after their god Thor. You can take a walk to the waterfall in the Stakkholtsgjá canyon. This spectacular green canyon is about 2 km long and up to 100 meters deep. Do you have some time left during your visit, then you can also do the Þórsmörk panorama walk leading to the top of the Valahnúkur from where you have a 360 ° view over Þórsmörk. Stop on the way for sure at the Gígjökull glacier tongue, part of the Eyjafjallajökull and home to the Katla volcano (the most active volcano on Iceland).
The Skógafoss waterfall is 60 meters high and 25 meters wide. It is located in the town of Skógar on the Skóga river, hence the name … Just like other waterfalls in this region, the water falls down on the former coastline. It withdrew during the last ice age because the soil layers in the region were pushed up. The waterfall is now 5 km inland. The former cliffs thus form a clear barrier between the lowland and the highland.
You will probably be deeply impressed by the fantastic waterfalls in Gullfoss. The gap in which the water thunders is 70 meters deep, 20 meters wide and about 2.5 kilometers long. Because of the staggering water, there are several rainbows in sunny weather. The waterfall is part of the ‘Golden Circle’, the most touristic route from Iceland to Þingvellir and Geysir.
Plane wreck of Solheimasandur
In 1973, a US Navy DC-3 crashed on the black beach of Solheimasandur, because it ran out of fuel. There is no road that goes directly to the wreck and there are no signposts to it. You can only reach the place on foot. The wreck lies on private land and the owner has introduced a ban since March 2016 to still drive a vehicle to the wreck. On foot you can still go there.
When you think of Iceland, you think of geysers. This natural phenomenon is characteristic of the nature of Iceland. If you want to visit here, the namesake should certainly not be skipped: the Geysir. When the geyser is not active, it only looks like a hole filled with hot water. But we don’t see what happens under the ground. When the geyser becomes active, the water mass begins to bubble and it sprays up like a fountain. Only the power of the water of a geyser is much stronger. The Geysir is located in the highly active, geothermal area. The area with geysers is located on the route of the ‘Golden Circle’. An active geyser is on the program of every tourist in Iceland.
Lava fields of Eldhraun
The lava fields of Eldhraun are the result of what was probably the largest volcanic eruption in history: the eruption of the volcano Lakagígar that lasted from 8 June 1783 to 7 February 1784. It is known as Skaftareldar, which means “river fires of Skafta” . It was really an apocalyptic event with far-reaching consequences. Iceland was faced with numerous diseases, 50% of the cattle died, there were failed harvests and there was general famine which resulted in the fact that 25% of the population died.
Thingvellir National Park
Iceland is rich in nature. Therefore it is not surprising that it has three national parks. Thingvellir is one of them. The park not only has a special nature, it is also an important place for history. In the year 930 the first parliament came together here. When visiting Thingvellir, this historic place should not be missed. But of course you also go to the national park for the great diversity of nature. You will encounter special plants and animal species. It is no surprise that the Thingvellir National Park has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2004.
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