10 Reasons why a Visit to Iceland should be on your Bucket List!
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In the 800s, Vikings arrived in Iceland from Norway and established the land on which now is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If that isn’t a good enough reason to visit the eco-friendly “Land of Fire,” travel to Iceland to discover a preserved language and forest-free zones.
A Striking Country with a Viking History
Iceland is a forest-free zone, you ask? That’s right. The Nordic island nation sits on the surface of tectonic plates. It was these tectonic plates that collided to form the treeless landscape, where volcanic eruptions prevent vegetation from flourishing. This doesn’t mean that the landscape is not visually appealing, however. Quite the opposite actually.
Home to Europe’s first parliament grounds, Iceland is an enchanting place where the locals have been known to put a halt to building projects, should they believe elves to reside in the construction area. Showing off swathes of agriculture, pristine coastline and snow-capped mountain peaks, the glacial-filled region is a utopia for nature lovers.
Active Volcanoes and Volcanic Rivers
A volcanic eruption that occurred some 4,000 years ago created Selvallavatn – one of approximately 60 lakes around the country. Notable lakes include Mývatn, Hálslón and Kvíslavatn, and the Volcanic Fishing Lakes, better known as Veidivötn. Since there are 130 active volcanoes scattered around Iceland, is there any wonder why it is a tree-less utopia?
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Solitude and Empty Roads
If you like to wander, you’ve probably pictured yourself strolling along an empty road at night, gazing up at the stars. This is something that you can do when you visit Iceland. With cheap flights to Iceland easy found on sites like Expedia, tranquility and peace is guaranteed. One such place that entices peace-seekers is the Westfjords region. With its flat terrain, Iceland’s secluded roads are ideal for road-tripping!
The Northern Lights in Iceland are a prime motive for curious explorers who are keen to witness the dancing of green and white lights. The “Aurora Borealis” occurs when atoms collide with Planet Earth’s atmosphere. The natural spectacle is best viewed on clear nights. Unfortunately, a lot of those are in winter so you’ll need to make sure you stay warm! Use these expert packing tips from the square ship blog to make sure you can fit everything in your suitcase because you will need an extra jacket.
Water sprouts from a depth in excess of 2,000 meters beneath the surface of Planet Earth to produce healing hot springs that are even being used to produce skincare products! Consider the hot springs around Iceland a natural spa, because the warm water is full of minerals that can treat skin conditions like psoriasis. The Laugarvatn Fontana Geothermal Baths, Mývatn Nature Baths and Seljavallalaug are some examples of Iceland’s best hot springs.
Waterfalls and Beaches
Lovers of the coast will fall deeply in love with Iceland, where over 10,000 waterfalls dot the fairytale-like landscape. Let’s not forget about the sublime shorelines, such as Nauthólsvík, Djúpalónssandur and Borgarfjörður. Perhaps the prettiest stretches of beach can be found in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Make your way to the East Fjords during your trip and seek out the beach at the bottom of Mount Vestrahorn, where the ever-changing landscape is home to a shipwreck, lighthouse and an abandoned Viking village film set.
Rock Formations and Hiking Trips
Over a long period of time, basaltic lava lowers in temperature. When this happens, jaw-dropping geometric formations creep to astounding heights around Iceland, some of which reach higher than 2,000 meters, including Hvannadalshnjukur in Oraefajokull glacier, (2,111 meters) and Bardarbunga in Vatnajokull glacier (2,009 meters). A hiking haven, the Nordic island nation of Iceland boasts some of the best hiking trails, not to mention some of the most challenging mountain hiking routes.
Glaciers and Ice Caves
You can easily book an ice cave tour in Iceland, where glaciers like Vatnajökull, Hofsjökull and Langjökull give the country its nickname – ‘The Land of Fire and Ice’. A natural phenomenon, new ice caves develop all of the time, adding to the wintery beauty of Iceland.
Feast on the foods of Iceland to treat your taste buds to a mouthwatering combination of flavors, most of which are plucked from the ocean in the form of seared minke whale, fermented shark, fresh tuna and perfectly pink salmon. Not everything is about seafood in Iceland, however. Famous dishes include Slátur (Liver Sausage and Blood Pudding), Hangikjöt (Smoked Lamb) and “Ein með öllu” – a lamb-based traditional Icelandic hot dog smothered in onions, herbs, carrots… the list goes on.
Iceland is an enchanting place steeped in history. Known in English as the “Church of Iceland”, Hallgrímskirkja stands tall at 74.5 meters. Blending expressionist architecture with a Gothic Revival design, Iceland’s tallest building is one of numerous historic sights that pepper the landscape. Others include Einar Jonsson Museum (Listasafn Einars Jonssonar), Hofdi House (Reykjavik) and the age-old cabins by Þingvallavatn Lake.
Ever seen a puffin bird up-close? You stand a good chance at crossing this one off your bucket list if you book cheap flights to Iceland, where a whopping 8-10 million Atlantic Puffin birds paint the landscape. The fertile environment is a haven for a vast range of wild mammals, such as reindeer, rabbits and the Arctic Fox. Marine life is equally as diverse. Spend an afternoon cruising along Icelandic waters to catch sight of dolphins, whales and slippery seals!
Have you been to Iceland? What were your favorite spots? Share your story in the comments.