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Iceland Travel Guide

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Iceland Travel Guide

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Popularly known as “The Land of Fire and Ice”, Iceland a country of extreme geological contrasts. Shaped by millennia of volcanic activity, extreme weather, and the workings of mighty glaciers, it’s landscapes are as diverse as they are spectacular. Iceland gets its fame due to a variety of stunning sceneries that range from crystal blue glacier lagoons to green moss volcanoes, red sand beaches, and black desert landscapes. One of the rare places on the earth that can amaze any traveller from start to finish, in Iceland you can visit thermal springs and glaciers on the same day

 

Fast Facts

  • Capital : Reykjavik
  • Religion : Christian
  • Language : Icelandic
  • Local Currency : Icelandic Krona
  • 1 USD = 138 Icelandic Krona (approx.)
  • Time Difference : GMT + 3 hrs

When to go

Iceland is probably the warmest Arctic country in the world. The mixture of the climatic characteristics gives Iceland very long and relatively mild winters with short, cool summers. While the Northern Lights are best seen between September and March, no matter what time of year you make your trip to Iceland, you’re bound to have a unique experience exploring this wonderful country

Spring  (April and May)

April marks the beginning of spring in Iceland. It brings about 13-16 hours of daylight while in May there is about 16-20 hours of daylight. By the end of May there is almost 24-hours of daylight. Spring is an excellent time for tourists, as one may still catch the Northern Lights and as it is still off-season, the prices are usually lower

Summer (June to August)

Summer comes in late May or early June and lasts through August. The midnight sun occurs during the Icelandic summer, meaning that the days are incredibly long. The sunsets turn into sunrises in spectacular shows of colour that may last for hours. It’s a great season for travel, as you can never get lost due to the dark, as there is no darkness!!! Though summers are not as wet as springtime but it does rain occasionally

Autumn (August to late October – early November)

Autumn is a great time to visit Iceland, as it's still relatively warm. In September and October, one can experience the gorgeous autumn colours of Iceland, perhaps experience the first fall of snow of the year and even catch the Northern Lights. The only downfall is that it may be really windy, wet and possibly quite cold

Winter (November to March)

Winter in Iceland is famous for two things: the Northern Lights and the natural ice caves. The ice caves are formed underneath Vatnajökull glacier, Europe's largest glacier, during summer when the ice is melting and big rivers flow from underneath the glacier. During summer, you can't visit the caves since they're full of flowing water but when the temperature drops and the water turns back to the ice, then Iceland is left with spectacular blue caves to explore.

Where to go

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon is a large lake that has the perfect temperature to bathe in, on average it's 39°C/102°F. It is situated The lagoon is situated on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwest Iceland, a region renowned for its barren landscapes and cone-shaped volcanoes. It is only a 15-minute drive from the Keflavík International Airport and around a 30-minute drive from the capital city, Reykjavík. Due to its excellent location, milky blue water and mineral rich qualities, the Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular attractions. It sits at 39°C (102°F) year-round, making it the perfect temperature for bathing

Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are the visual result of solar particles entering the earth’s magnetic field at high atmosphere, and ionising. Appearing as dancing lights high in the sky and varying in colour, they are usually green, but occasionally also purple, red, pink, orange and blue. Due to the nature of the earth’s magnetic field, the auroras only appear at the poles, usually above the 60° latitude mark in the north, and below the 60° latitude in the south

Thingvellir National Park

As the place where Iceland’s parliament was established in the 10th century, Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park has great historic importance to the island nation. Its location in a rift valley on the boundary of two major tectonic plates makes it a park with geological significance too. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the valley’s cliffs, fissures, lakes and evidence of volcanic activity demonstrate the force of the shifting earth in dramatic fashion. A popular day-trip destination from Reykjavik, Iceland’s first national park features marked trails that let you take in the best sights in two or three hours

Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss, translated as "Golden Falls" is one of Iceland's most beautiful and popular waterfalls on the Golden Circle circuit. Part of the river Hvítá, which has its origin in the glacier lake Hvítávatn at Lángjökull glacier about 40km north of Gullfoss, the waterfall drops a total of 32 meters in two stages as it flows through the rugged, at times 70 meters high, canyon. About a kilometer from Gullfoss, the river turns very sharply to the right where it flows down through a dramatic, wide canyon before the vast volume of water is very powerfully forced into a narrower channel.

Geysir

An easy 50-minute drive from Reykjavik, Strokkur Geysir is the most popular fountain geyser in the country and famed throughout the world. This highly active hot spring area lies in the southwest of Iceland beside the Hvítá River and is a favorite stop along the Golden Circle. Boiling mud pits and around 100 other smaller exploding geysers are waiting to be explored here. Every few minutes, Strokkur shoots water 30 meters into the air.

 

Reynisfjara Beach

With its enormous basalt stacks, roaring Atlantic waves and stunning panoramas, Reynisfjara is widely considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. What sets Reynisfjara apart from all the rest are its black volcanic sands, smooth pebbles, unique rock formations, overall moody atmosphere and huge waves crashing on the shore. From the beach you have a view of the Reynisdrangar sea stacks, tall basalt columns that were once part of the extensive shoreline cliffs that remained standing while other parts were battered down by the ocean

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Seljalandsfoss is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in South Iceland with a 196 ft cascade. The most distinguishing feature of Seljalandsfoss is a pathway that stretches around it. The cliffs behind the falls have a wide cavern, and there is a path that allows one to encircle the waterfall. This offers a spectacular view of the waterfall itself and the surroundings. The waterfall is fed by melting water from the famed glacier-capped Eyjafjallajokull volcano and is a very popular destination due to its proximity to Reykjavik which is only 40 kms away

Skógafoss Waterfall

Skógafoss, just 30 kilometres away from Seljalandsfoss, at around 62 m high and 25 meters wide is breathtakingly beautiful. The land underneath the waterfall is very flat, allowing visitors to walk right up to the wall of water. Skógafoss can also be viewed from the top as a steep staircase leads to an observational platform above the cascade. If you climb the 370 steps to the top of Skogafoss waterfall you’ll be rewarded with an awe-inspiring view out over south Iceland’s coastline as well as the opportunity to see the many nesting seabirds as you climb up

Deildartunguhver Hot Spring

The biggest hot spring in Europe, Deildartunguhver, is in the town of Borgarnes in western Iceland. Situated on a beautiful farm, Deildartunguhver is the largest and most powerful hot spring in Europe with a flow rate of 180 litres of water per second at a piping hot 97°C. The scalding water bubbles out of an algae covered rocky outcrop creating a steamy source of power

 

Jokulsarlon

Vatnajökull and its surrounding area, including Jökulsárlón, compose Iceland's largest national park. The lagoon is called Jökulsárlón, or 'Glacier's-River-Lagoon'. The lagoon is formed naturally from melted glacial water and is perpetually growing while big blocks of ice crumble from the ever-shrinking glacier. The glistening blue-white icebergs, some as large as apartment blocks are visible as far as one can see. In contrast, the black sand beach has earned the name of Diamond Beach as its is peppered with icebergs of all shapes and sizes, which glitter like diamonds as they come to rest on the beach

 

Langjokull Ice Cave

The Langjokull Ice Cave is a man-made tunnel in Langjökull glacier and is the largest of its kind in the world. Here you can descend into the glacier´s icy netherworld and explore the nearby lava fields, glacier landscapes, and its amazing waterfalls. The journey involves riding a monster truck to the entrance of the ice cave, 1200 meters above sea level. The ice cave tunnel is 550 metres long and reaches 30 metres down into the glacier and you will be standing on an ice cap reaching 200 metres below your feet