Iceland: A Song of Fire and Ice

Fri, Sep 28, 2012

Destinations, Iceland

Iceland - ice and snow

Image by vicmontol

Iceland, where fire meets ice in landscapes fit for the mythology of it’s early Norse settlers- it’s so epic that it’s difficult to describe without resembling the lyrics to some 80′s power metal ballad. A young country very much geologically and volcanically active, Iceland is still transforming from eruptions and glacial sculpture; hot springs rising beneath glaciers carve great sea caves, lava flow cuts through the ice, advancing and retreating glaciers push soil and stone forming lakes. These dramatic, primordial landscapes of lava fields, pristine mountains and rivers, countless waterfalls, glacial lakes, tundra, ice, sand, stone and sea are unlike anything else on the planet, and seem to belong to another.

As the interior is an inhospitable plateau of lava, sand, stone and ice the majority of this sparsely populated country live in the lowlands where glacial rivers flow to the sea and fjords puncture the coast. Holidays to Iceland offer a trip to an incredibly rich country with a great cultural scene (lest we forget to mention the inimitable music of Sigur Ros and Bjork, who clearly reflect Iceland’s otherworldly landscapes). Still recovering from the economic repercussions of the bank failure of 2008, Iceland is still a stable and relatively wealthy European country. Here are some reasons why I think you might like to visit this remote island.

Hiking the Vatnajökull – Hiking almost anywhere in Iceland will be memorable but the Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Europe, encompassing the Vatnajökull ice cap. Featuring a variety of landscapes created by the forces of rivers, glacial ice, volcanic and geothermal activities, perhaps it’s most spectacular feature is the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon ornamented with icebergs.

Check out Revkjavik – Iceland’s capital and largest city is a must see for excellent restaurants with famed seafood, fleamarkets, museums and you can also just use Revkjavik as a base for your adventures as many tours operate out of the city which can lead you whale watching, river rafting, bird-watching, etc. Revkjavik’s many geothermal pools are the heart of the cities social life, as is it’s beach. As for museums the Vikin Maritime Museum is a must see and the Reykjavik 871 +1/-2 is a new exhibition highlighting a 10th century Viking home utilizing new media in novel ways to reveal the Viking’s way of life.

Whale Watching – Iceland is one of the best, if not the best place to view whales in Europe with over 23 species that habitat their waters. The best time for whale-watching is from May to September. While you can book a tour with a registered boat, it is also possible to view whales from the shore.

Bird-watching – Iceland is also an ideal place for bird lovers. Large colonies and breeding grounds are found in various places throughout the country. Lake Mývatn, Látrabjarg in the West Fjords and the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west are among the best places for bird watching in Iceland, while closer to Reykjavík, visits to the Reykjanes peninsula and the Westman Islands are always rewarding.


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