If there is an unconventional and unique travel destination, it is surely Iceland and its famous glaciers. Indeed, this land half-way between Greenland and Norway is teeming with tourist attractions that will appeal to old and young alike. Let's zoom in on this small island country and all it has to offer.
Special Climate and Geography
First, note that the geographical position and the climate of Iceland, perched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Norwegian Sea, near the Denmark Strait, are quite specific and often misunderstood by tourists.
Indeed, sitting directly on top of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the submerged tectonic plate that separates the continents of America and northern Europe, Iceland straddles those two continents in a highly volcanic area, so that there are a number of volcanoes within its territory. Although located on the border of America and Europe, Iceland is officially part of the European continent – Northern Europe, to be precise.
Given its northern location, Iceland has a number of temperature variations, including polar cold, of course. On average, it is somewhere between 0 and 10 degrees. The two hottest months are July and August, the ideal time to take your trip to Iceland.
Overall, Iceland is a cold destination, since, outside of the two summer months, the mercury hovers around zero degrees, which doesn't change the fact that the destination has unique wonders that are worth experiencing! So don't let the cold stop you from coming to Iceland, because its beauty will make you forget the chilliness! Here are some must-do's and must-see's if you are bold enough (and lucky enough!) to go to this unique Northern European country.
To See the Country and Its Breathtaking Scenery
People undertake trips to Iceland to see the most beautiful gifts that nature has to offer. Indeed, this destination is renowned for its stunningly beautiful scenery: majestic fjords, fresh blue-water lakes, invigorating mountains everywhere, extinct volcanoes, active geysers, shows of northern lights; you will see natural spectacles in Iceland that you will not get to see anywhere else.
The Famous Blue Lagoon
A popular thermal spa in the southwest of the country, the famous Blue Lagoon awaits you with its turquoise waters surrounded by real volcano lava and lichen that offer a rather special show to visitors who come in large numbers to lounge in it and sometimes spend their entire Icelandic vacation there.
With water temperatures in all seasons of 35 degrees Celsius, the Blue Lagoon is one of the most famous spas in the world. This popular tourist attraction is located 50 minutes from the centre of Reykjavik, the country's capital.
Reykjavik, the Bay of Smoke
The capital, whose Icelandic name roughly translates into the Bay of Smoke, as it is often called in English, is unquestionably one of the most beautiful places to see while travelling in Iceland. The northernmost capital city in the world, Reykjavik is also one of the only cities to be blessed with a lake downtown! The image of the colourful houses perched on the shores of that famous lake will enchant you.
Among other things, people visit the capital of Iceland to bathe in geothermal pools (there are many in the territory), but also to visit its museums and its spectacular architecture, including that of the Hallgrímskirkja Church, which offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. A must see!
Trekking in the Highlands of Landmannalaugar
While visiting Reykjavik you will also enjoy the spectacle of whales swimming in the old harbour of Reykjavik, or, on dry land, you can go for a long hike in the Landmannalaugar region, which is by far the wildest and most amazing of all Iceland.
Indeed, it offers kilometres and kilometres of hiking trails, winding through multicoloured mountains, black desert landscapes, and the greenest of valleys. These amazing contrasts create a simply breathtaking canvas.
Trekking, a sport requiring you to be in good physical condition, is also one of the most popular activities in Iceland. The site of Landmannalaugar is probably the most suitable for this activity, so if you have the chance to go, don't miss it!
See the Geysers!
Iceland (especially the northern part) has one of the world's greatest concentration of geysers – hot springs that expel intermittent jets of steam and hot water. If you have the opportunity to see one erupt, by all means don't miss it, especially since the sight of this natural phenomenon will leave you breathless with wonder.
Geysir and Srokkur
Geysir, about 60 kilometres from the capital, is one of the most spectacular geysir sites. On the way there, you can see its bubbling geysers in action, including Strokkur, the most active in the country. Approximately every eight to ten minutes, the geyser groans and spits a streak of bubbling water tens of metres high.
Other “Musts” in Iceland
Among the most popular tourist activities in Iceland is horseback riding. You will certainly not be disappointed if you include it in your Icelandic adventure.
Neither will you be disappointed to have taken in the spectacular glaciers of the south. Skaftafell National Park is particularly conducive to the observation of Iceland's glaciers, which cover one-ninth of its territory. They are everywhere in the Park; some of them have been named and are astonishingly beautiful.