Northern Lights

Iceland: Unforgettable Landscapes

Mary Elizabeth Collins

The volcanoes and an active geology have drawn natural images of savage beauty.

The traveler that visits Iceland for the first time is often stunned by the intensity of its pristine and wild natural beauty. This pleasant perception is mainly due to this island’s location between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic, closer to Europe than North America. This environment generates an enormous volcanic and geologic activity, marking the landscape with fire and chisel.

The immaculately preserved historical farm,Glaumbær.

Well into the country there are large plateaus with deserts, mountains, and glaciers, and the lowlands are fertile with plains. The rivers gently flow into the sea, and although it snows heavily in winter, its more than 330,000 inhabitants enjoy a mild climate thanks to the Gulf Stream.

Icelanders are noble people accustomed to a hard life, direct descendants of the Vikings, warlike Nordic peoples who settled on the island in the 9th century. They still speak a modernized version of the old language of their Viking conquerors.

Typically, to reach Iceland you fly into the capital Reykjavik. There are direct flights from almost every European capital. This small town surprises for its vibrant cultural life that is evident in a significant number of exhibition halls, museums, theaters and activities related to the world of fashion and music. Also, there are a lot of parks and exciting restaurants serving Icelandic cuisine, which is based on river fish such as trout and salmon, as well as lamb and dairy products.

1. Reykjavik.
2. Mountain road in Iceland’s highlands.
3. Gullfoss.
4. Iceland swimming.
5. The great lakes of the highlands.
6. Iceland boasts many wonderful ports and fishing villages.

However, the real reason to travel to Iceland is not to its urban sites, but to fully enjoy its overflowing nature. It would be best to have at least 15 days to explore the entire island, but in a week you can see the most important sites.

First— and this is the most important advice I can offer you—rent an SUV, and secondly, visit the island during the summer months to fully enjoy its pleasant temperature, and experience daylight 24 hours everyday.

The first visit should be to a place called The Golden Circle to see the Thingvellir National Park, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, where you will admire the famous Öxarárfoss waterfall. Geology lovers should know that this is the point where the American and Eurasian tectonic plates separate. Don`t leave the park without seeing the Strokkur geyser, which ejects boiling water every fifteen minutes to a height of 50 feet.

Nearby is the captivating 180-foot-high double waterfall Gullfoss and Seljalandfoss. To the south, there are two beaches. Dyrhólaey is characterized by its black sand, and Vik is a beach renowned for its basalt columns. A mandatory visit while in this area is to the largest glacial lake in the whole island, Jökulsárlón, where you can see seals and floating icebergs.

To the north, we find Jokulsargljufur National Park where the traveler will delight on the beautiful Selfoss and Dettifoss waterfalls. And in Husavik you can board a boat to observe the whales carefully.

For the active travelers who love nature, Iceland offers a kind of happiness inspired by the extreme beauty of a savage landscape that shows the perfection of our beloved—yet mistreated—planet Earth.

© | 2019