You don’t need Magic to disappear. All you need is a destination.
What’s on your travel bucket list? A vacation in a place filled with ceaseless Natural wonders? Want to indulge in some quirky must-trys? Or trysts with the unusual? There is a land that fulfills all of this and offers encounters in endless ways, where everything here has an inimitable edge to it, and that land is, Iceland!
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All in a day! In the land of the Vikings, you can go glacier sighting, or go salmon fishing, catch a bit of snorkeling and even go geothermal swimming. It’s not done yet, the night is still young, as you go midnight golfing and chasing the elusive Northern Lights. There’s no other place on earth where rich natural wonders are served on a platter, like here!
Iceland is many things. It’s indescribable in many ways more than one. It is indeed a natural paradise on earth. It is perfect for outdoorsy nature lovers thanks to contrasting landscapes. Only here can you spot over 800 active, invigorating hot springs, countless, beautiful waterfalls, on last count there are over 10,000 and every year the melting glaciers add a few more. There are over 35 live, boiling volcanoes, the mind-blowing beauty of the Northern Lights and it’s not home to many glaciers, but Europe’s largest glacier rests here.
1. VATNAJÖKULL NATIONAL PARK
What’s it to feel aroused and kicked up about being alive while standing on top of the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull? That stimulating feeling can only be felt and known in person! The Vatnajökull National Park is a natural wonderment. This park is spread across Western Europe and Iceland and it is spread across 13% of Iceland. In addition to beautiful glaciers, it is filled with fascinating, yet a divergent range of natural wonderments. There’s ice and fire in the form of volcanoes, rivers, ice and glaciers. There’s hot springs gushing out of frozen waters. And yes, towering mountains standing guard over Iceland’s deepest lake. Come winter, the ice cave tour is a must-see!
2. SPOTTING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
If you haven’t heard of this mesmeric, all natural phenomenon that cannot be missed and a must-do on your wish list, then it’s witnessing the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.
How does this natural spectacle even unfold? Scientifically speaking, the bright, multihued lights happen because gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere clash with electrically charged particles emitted from the sun. And this occurrence is only visible to the blessed who visit Iceland or the Northern hemisphere. The best months to view this are between the months of September to mid-April. But keep in mind, the location, weather, season, clear skies, and of course loads of luck is needed to witness this natural dancing light spectacle!
3. THE BLACK SAND BEACH
In Iceland’s southern coast, in Myrdalur, is the tiny village Vik which is home to the beautiful and well-known, Reynisfjara shore. Along this shore, you can find the never-ever-seen Black Sand Beach. The black pebble beach that beckons you is caused due to the large presence of basalt columns that stand like a pyramid here. The beach and the sea are laden with stunningly shaped basalt stacks known as Reynisdrangar and this gives it its distinct black color. A popular myth says that two elves tried to drag a ship from the sea to the land. And come daytime, they were turned to stone, which is the Reynisdrangar stacks! So, if this natural glory beckons you, Iceland should be in your travel sight!
4. THE BLUE LAGOON
“Into the Blue at Iceland’s blue lagoon”
A manmade lagoon, the Blue Lagoon is considered a geothermal spa, thanks to the presence of geothermal water that sees its making about 2000mts below the surface. When seawater and freshwater blend in at intense temperatures, the geothermal water that is at about 37°C and 40°C is born.
The waters hold within it many surprises. It is self-purifying. The water replenishes itself every 40 hours or so. It’s unbelievable but true! It has many health benefits and has lasting effects on the skin. Its deep blue color comes from the silica in its reflection of the sunlight. And there’s a hint of green thanks to the algae. But, over and above this, the surprising part is, the water in actuality is pure white in color! And of course, it’s loaded with many beneficial minerals. And today, owing to its location, beauty, and health benefits, the lagoon is supposedly unofficially one of the world’s wonders and people take a break in the lagoon, while visiting Iceland!
5. ICELAND’S MANY WATERFALLS
Thanks to extreme weathers and the intermingling of snow and rain, and the fact that Iceland is close to the Arctic region, melting glaciers are the main source of water to the many rivers and the countless, mesmerizing waterfalls. And some must-see waterfalls include:
- Skogafoss: In all of Iceland, you will not witness waterfalls so captivatingly beautiful! It’s a tourist’s and a photographer’s delight, and while on a visit here, one can witness the many hued dancing rainbows that playfully court the waters on sunny days!
- Seljalandsfoss: High on the popularity quotient is another waterfall set in Southern Iceland. The interesting part about the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is that it is a tall, narrow waterfall that drops from a height of a whopping 63mts. A picturesque setting, offering loads of prospects for great photographic moments, there’s one other uniqueness to this, that is, you can even walk behind this waterfall. Can’t imagine? Then trip away to Iceland and discover this for yourself!
- Svartifoss: Svartifoss in the local language means, ‘Black Waterfall’. And this is a waterfall you will find in the incredible Vatnajökull National Park. It is black because, it is filled and enclosed by dark hexagonal shaped naturally-formed basalt pillars and this renders the black effect to its surroundings and the waters too! And it has to be seen to be believed. These pillars are a sight to behold and it is said that there’s never such a picturesque sight in the whole of Iceland!
6. THE BEER SPA
A trip is incomplete without a little tipple and beer. But revel in some tipple with a difference. Make a trip to the inimitable Beer Spa located in Davlik in Northern Iceland. When news spread about a beer spa, most Icelanders were waiting for it to unveil. There’s a catch though, you get to soak and bathe and be swathed in beer, but, you cannot drink this! It’s a big no-no! All that you can do is relax and soak in the yeast, beer, and barley and savor the supposed health benefits and after that, just sink into some relaxation. But, not to miss, you can still enjoy a tipple or two or even a gallon of it in the Spa’s restaurant. This is high on a visitor’s hit list and is a rare attraction, no doubt! Who could imagine, a Beer Spa!
7. HALLGRÍMSKIRKJA CHURCH
In Iceland’s capital city, Reykjavík stands this iconic, attraction, the Hallgrímskirkja Church that can be seen from anywhere in the city. Hallgrímskirkja is the Church of Hallgrímur. The iconic structure, practically serves many purposes. It is so tall that it seems to be protecting the capital city, Reykjavík. It is not just a parish church but a noteworthy national monument too. The church is dedicated to the revered 17th century poet of Iceland, a clergyman, Hallgrímur Pétursson. This modern concrete façade was designed and built by an architect, the late Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937. The construction lasted many decades, having begun in 1945 and ending in 1986.
The church’s design showcases the natural wonders of Iceland. As in, the glaciers, mountains and the unique hexagonal basalt columns are neatly captured.
Lost in the serenity of Iceland’s scenic landscapes are some hidden natural wonderments. And one among them is the spectacular cave pool of Grjótagjá located in the roundabouts of the Lake Mývatn. It was once a sought-after bathing place, but due to some natural volcanic and geothermal activity, the water temperatures rose to such high degrees that it was not suitable to bathe here. And ever since then, the waters are not fit to take a dip in.
Grjótagjá is a hot spring and was the perfect spot to head to during the freezing winters. Notwithstanding, it still is a fantasy land and is much visited.
The cave has captured everyone’s imagination so much so, that it is a fantasy getaway. And keeping alive its fantasy land effect, this spot served as the perfect location where the Game of Thrones, GoT character, Jon Snow climaxed and lost his virginity to Ygritte. This says it all, doesn’t it?
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