Guest Post: Amazing Things to See In Iceland

Looking to take a northern vacation to Iceland, to see some of the beauty and natural wonder it offers? There are so many choices offered on this island all within a short space of one another. Here is a list of must see places to visit when you head out there.

Asbyrgi

This unique landmark is shaped like a giant hoof print. It is an approximately 3.5 km in length and 1.1 km wide, across part of the Vatnajökull National Park. Down around half its length, the canyon is divided through the middle by a rock formation 25 meters high called Eyjan (“the Island”). From this distinctive formation, hikers may enjoy spectacular views, whilst cliffs up to 100 meters in height form the steep sides of this marvelous creation. Down in the canyon, visitors walk through a natural woodland of birch and willow. Sadly between 1947 and 1977, a number of foreign tree species were introduced into this area, so it is not quite as nature originally intended, but the views are still spectacular nevertheless. There is a small lake called Botnstjörn that is called home by a variety of waterfowl species.

Asbyrgi

Asbyrgi

Glacier fjords – Jokulfirdir

The Jokulfirdir region is part of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and being so, this area is mainly accessible by boat and no motor vehicles are allowed. This area branches out of the larger Isafjordur Bay, in the northernmost area of the Westfjords. Tiny villages in Grunnavik and Hesteyri are almost the only sense of man’s touch on the scenery, aside from some small-scattered spots. In the early sixties the last inhabitants abandoned this area so there is little chance of crowding to keep you away. Many of the houses are maintained and used as summerhouses, but again the scattering keeps it peaceful. Regular boat trips are offered from Isafjordur and Bolungarvik to Grunnavik, Hesteyri and Hrafnfjordur during the summer and drop-off is possible at other locations pending approval from the boat owners.

Jokulfirdir

Jokulfirdir

Mývatn

Mývatn is named for its abundance of flies that are found in the summer months. However this shallow lake situated in an area of active volcanism in northern Iceland, has a redeeming summertime feature. It’s native and migrant ducks and other waterfowl. The lake and its surrounding wetlands are exceptionally rich in the variety of fauna and in its array of water birds. It was created by a large basaltic lava eruption 2300 years ago and the surrounding landscape is dominated by volcanic landforms, including lava pillars and rootless vents (pseudo craters), which lend it to this theory. The river Laxá is known for its rich fishing and for its Brown Trout and Atlantic salmon.

Myvatn

Myvatn

Thingvellir

Thingvellir became a national park in 1928 not only because of the historical significance but also the special tectonic and volcanic environment that it has surrounding it. One of the special features that attracts many people each year, is that you can see the continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates clearly in the cracks or faults which cover the region, the biggest one to date called Almannagjá is a veritable canyon. The movement of the plates often also causes measurable earthquakes in the area so be prepared when you are visiting. Surprisingly some of the rifts are full of crystal clear water. One of these water filled rifts, the Nikulásargjá, is better known as Peningagjá (lit “Coin fissure”) because of the littering of coins at its bottom. This was started after a tradition that was carried to Iceland from Europe in 1907 shortly after it was bridged for the arrival of King Frederick VIII of Denmark.

Thingvellir

Thingvellir

South shore

From Reykjanesta and the next few hundred kilometers onwards, the south shore is well known for its lava formations that poke up and are constantly battered by the wild ocean waves. For the next stretch of around 300 kilometers after these lava formations die off, the shore consists of sands with almost no harbors. Along with the powerful breakers, along these shores there is a rich thriving community of birds. As for the human influence, despite the lack of any safe harbors, people set off for fishing from there anyway, causing tremendous risk to themselves that often has resulted in great losses of life. There is always a wonderful view of the whitened breakers along the south shore but in Reykjanesta, Grindavik, Strandakirkja, Eyrarbakki and Stokkseyri, the view surpasses excellent and reaches toward perfection.

South Shore

South Shore

Whilst Iceland may seem like it is sitting at the end of the earth, it is nearer than most people realize. Don’t be afraid of the price tag, as there are always plenty of fast holiday loans available, for those who want to see this surreal country in all it’s erupting, smoking glory.

 

 

 

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