Haven’t we always thought of Iceland as a country covered with ice? (I know, I have) Yes, the country does have a lot of ice cover but there’s so much more to Iceland than just ice! Our geography lessons have never really done justice to this amazing island nation and the many breathtaking geological, natural as well as man-made phenomenon this country has to offer. Today, when you travel to Iceland, remember that you are exploring one of the happiest, economically developed, energy efficient, abundantly scenic and one of the safest countries in the world with an almost negligible crime rate. To give you an example of how self-sufficient this country is, here’s a fact that I recently came across; in spite of having a less than favourable climate for growing several vegetables and fruits, the country has been successful in cultivating their own tomatoes by using natural resources such as glacier water and hot geyser waters. (Thanks @nasdaily)
The country caught the attention of Indian travellers, only recently, when the black sand beach of Reynisfjara was featured in the 2015 Bollywood movie, Dilwale. A stunning visual sequence from the hit song, ‘Gerua’ was picturised at this surreal location and it instantly made its way into the hearts of many cinema-goers and travel enthusiasts. There are many such amazing locations, magnificent beaches, glacier formations, thermal pools and splendid waterfalls that have long defined the heart and soul of this country. The Reynisfjara black sand beach is just one of the many jaw-dropping sightseeing experiences that tourists can take advantage of when they travel to this country along with our Iceland tour packages.
For a satisfying visual treat and a mind-blowing epic journey, read on to figure out what else does Iceland have in store for us than just, ice!
Say hello to this majestic beauty in the Borgarfjordur region, located about an hour and a half away from the capital city of Reykjavik! Also known as Lava Falls, these waterfalls are of the most stunning and unusual natural phenomenon of the country. One look at this amazing force of nature and you will be enchanted beyond measure! The falls seem to magically appear from the mountain ridge and cascade down in beautiful rivulets into the Hvita River below. The water is actually from a cold spring that surges through the ground and then makes its way down the rocks as the ‘Hraunfossar Waterfalls’. Now wouldn’t you want to witness this piece of magic for yourself?
Located near Hraunfossar in West Iceland, is yet another phenomenal piece of nature that captures your heart and mind! Barnafoss, also known as Bjarnafoss is a series of rapids that makes its way through the narrow canyon to form a waterfall of sorts. The name ‘Barnafoss’ means ‘Children’s falls’ and the place itself is associated with a tragic Icelandic legend where two young boys were said to disappear and drown in the falls. Nothing like your usual waterfall, the ice cold rapids of Barnafoss emerge from the surrounding lava plains, fiercely cut through the canyon rocks and present the perfect example of why this country is known as the ‘Land of Ice & Fire’!
Literally meaning ‘The Long Glacier’, this is the second largest ice-cap in the country after Vatnajökull! Behold the mammoth man-made ice cave that is bound to give you unbelievable goosebumps and some amazing memories for a lifetime! Enjoy the mesmerizing ice-cold blue interiors as you comfortably walk on the even ground and make your way through the well-lit ice tunnels. What’s more? You can even take a guided tour of the glacier cap by a monster truck and explore the ethereal world of ice and snow. Did you know? Iceland is the only place in the world where such ice tunnels have been created to attract tourists! So, why not take advantage of the country’s many treasures and gear up for a journey full of wonder, amazement and excitement!
This spectacular waterfall is part of Iceland’s most famous ‘Diamond Circle’ Route! Godafoss literally means ‘Waterfall of the Gods’ and it indeed looks heavenly and god-like with its awe-inspiring drop of 12 metres and a great force that sends it cascading down into the white ‘n’ green Skjálfandafljót River. This waterfall too is associated with an ancient Viking story when Christianity was made the official religion of Iceland. After the conversion, the then lawspeaker of Iceland, threw his statues of the Norse Gods into the waterfall, thus giving Godafoss its rightful name. You can also visit the Husavik town, Lake Mytavn, Dimmuborgir lava formations, pseudocraters of Skutustadur, boiling mud pools of Namaskard, volcanic fields of Krafla and Dettifoss Waterfalls, as part of the Diamond Circle.
One word, EPIC! Dettifoss is undoubtedly and undeniably the most powerful waterfall of not just Iceland but the entire continent of Europe. No wonder it is referred to as ‘The Beast’ by many Icelanders as compared to ‘The Beauty’, that is Godafoss! With an enormous volume of almost 500 cubic metres of water (about 96,500 gallons) that plunges over the edge of the rocks per second, Dettifoss does complete justice to its name and fame as it plummets down to the craggy shores below. The height of the waterfall is a staggering 45 metres, which is about the same height as the Statue of Liberty. You now get an idea of just how majestic and mammoth this waterfall is! The water is greyish-white in colour owing to the sediment-rich run-off that breaks away from the largest glacier of Iceland, Vatnajökull.
One of the most breathtaking and must-visit destinations in Iceland is right here! Located in the Vatnajökull National Park, the Jökulsárlón is a one-of-a-kind glacier lagoon replete with icebergs, water seals and remarkable natural beauty. The lagoon is essentially melted glacial water formed as a result of big chunks of ice breaking away from the Vatnajökull glacier and assimilating into the lagoon. The glacier lagoon ultimately flows into the Atlantic Ocean and chunks of ice from the lagoon slowly make their way into the sea where they drift away and settle down against the stretch of black sand beach, also known as Diamond Beach (owing to the glistening translucent ice chunks found on the shores). Get a chance to experience an amphibian boat ride in the lagoon and witness the magnificent sight of the Diamond Beach on our amazing Iceland holiday!
The Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland is home to yet another breathtaking force of nature, The Svartifoss Waterfall! The waterfall is fed by the ice-cold waters of the Svinafellsjokull glacier that cascade down the rocky cliff from a height of almost 20 metres (80 feet). Svartifoss is also known as ‘Black Falls’ owing to tall black basalt columns that form an interesting backdrop to the waterfall and provide a stark contrast against the cascading white-water. The black columns are formed due to lava flow which when cooled off extremely slowly, crystallizes and forms the hexagonal 3D-like lava columns. The naturally formed columns resemble the pipes of a giant organ (musical instrument) and have inspired the design of Iceland’s National Theatre and the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik.
One of the most prominent and famous black sand beaches of Iceland! This beach was popularly featured in the Bollywood movie, Dilwale (2015) and ever since then, Indian travellers have been craving to visit this amazing destination where Shahrukh Khan serenaded Kajol in the famous ‘Gerua’ song! The beach is located near the small fishing village of Vík í Mýrdal on the southern coast of Iceland and is famous all over the world for its stunning landscape, beautiful black sand, powerful Atlantic Ocean waves and the nearby Reynisdrangar basalt columns. So, what are you waiting for? Visit the surreal location and strike a pose like King Khan to make your Bollywood dreams come true! Reynisfjara is the perfect place for you to bring out your inner hero/heroine!
This waterfall is a part of the famous ‘Golden Circle’ route of Iceland! Located around 2 hours away from the capital city of Reykjavik, at a distance of 155 km, Skogafoss is a unique waterfall of stunning natural beauty. After it is directly fed by 2 glaciers – Eyjafjallajokull and Myrdalsjokull, the waterfall tumbles down from the rocky cliffs at a height of 60 metres (197 feet) resulting in a cloud of spraying water and mist. On sunny days, this waterfall spray results in a magnificent display of one or two rainbows which forms a picture-perfect frame of the natural landscape! This location is a photographer’s delight, especially during winters when the sky changes colours owing to the ‘Northern Lights’ natural phenomenon.
Another amazing beauty that forms a part of the Golden Circle Route of Iceland! Seljalandsfoss waterfall is located along the southern coast and is without a doubt, one of the most enthralling attractions of the country. It could be the beautiful meadow that the waterfall cascades down into or it could be the sight of different wildflowers growing around the falls during summer! It could simply be the awe-inspiring views of the powerful force of water or it could be the walk behind the stunning veil of water, where you can admire a completely new dimension of the waterfall. All these features go on to make Seljalandsfoss, one of the most beautiful and unique waterfalls of the island nation. As part of the Golden Circle Route, you can also visit Geysir geothermal area, Thingvellir National Park and Gullfoss waterfall, for an outstanding and memorable sightseeing experience.
Drive your worries away and melt your stress instantly at the largest man-made thermal pool in the world, Blue Lagoon! It is a geothermal spa where the healing thermal waters of the hot geysers help in creating wonderful spa experiences for travellers and locals, alike. Today, it is one of the most-visited attractions of Iceland that combines the dual experiences of rejuvenation along with adventure! The warm waters of the geothermal spa are rich in minerals such as Sulphur and Silica that help in curing many skin-related ailments. The Blue Lagoon is located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland and the water is supplied by a nearby geothermal power station, Svartsengi (water renewed every 2 days). Iceland has a strict policy when it comes to hygiene and all those who wish to enjoy the thermal waters are required to have a shower before entering the pool. Remember these instructions and you are all set for an incredible experience that will stay with you for a long time!
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park lying on the Golden Circle Route is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Iceland! It lies essentially in a rift valley where the tectonic plates of the North American and Eurasian continents drift apart from each other, every year. This continental drift is clearly visible in the cracks and faults of this region and some of them have even formed huge canyons. Some rifts are filled with clear water and have become popular sightseeing locations for tourists. The Peningagjá, or ‘coin fissure’ is famous for tourists throwing coins into the fissure based on European legends whereas the Silfra fissure is so huge that it has become a popular diving and snorkelling site. With many such remarkable locations, the Thingvellir National Park has become a site of geological, historical and cultural significance. So much so that, it has even been designated as a UNESCO world heritage site based on cultural criteria.
The highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area is another amazing feature of the Golden Circle Route! This lively and interesting area consists of boiling hot mud pools, exploding geysers and a stunning landscape that you will find nowhere else. The most attractive feature of the Geysir Hot Spring Area is Strokkur – the most active geyser in the area that spouts hot water in the air, as high as 30 metres (100 ft.), every few minutes. The Geysir Center located nearby displays exhibits and hosts information presentations for all visitors, year round. This geothermal field that spreads across an area of 3 km², first became active around a 1000 years ago due to seismic activity. In recent years, the geysers have become less active or almost dormant, but not before giving their name (geysers) to hot springs all over the world. Besides the Strokkur, this geothermal area is also home to geysers such as ‘Great Geysir’ and ‘Little Geysir’.
This waterfall is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland and by virtue, it also becomes one of the topmost tourist attractions of the country. Located in South Iceland along the Golden Circle Route, Gullfoss is a marvellous force of nature that tumbles down two levels, one at 21m (69 ft.) high and the other at 11m (36 ft.) high, into the deep crevasse below. In Icelandic, Gullfoss means ‘Golden Waterfall’ and the waterfall is so named because, on a clear sunny day, the water appears to be golden-brown in colour. Be treated to an amazing sight of several rainbows that are formed when the clouds of water spray naturally react with the sunlight during summers! During winters, it becomes a popular site for photographers and travel enthusiasts who visit this site to capture the spectacular Northern Lights.
Wow! So much to see and so much to do… As if the waterfalls, beaches and national parks were not enough, Icelandic cities such as Reykjavik and Akureyri instil their very own charm to any Iceland tour. Explore the quaint towns and get in touch with the unique culture of Iceland, even as you explore the natural treasures of this country. This peaceful Nordic island is extremely welcoming and life changing! The legends and myths attached to this country of beautiful charms are still singing their victorious saga at every corner and welcome you for some wonderful and incredible Iceland tours. Yet the silence and tranquillity of this land will only surprise you! So, when are you travelling to the ‘Land of Ice & Fire’?