The island of fire and ice offers each of its visitors a unique and mystical experience. The natural attractions are more in the foreground here than anywhere else. Due to the isolation and the glaciers on the one hand and the volcanic activity on the other, Iceland was shaped in a very special way over millions of years. And it is still seething on the surface today. The Icelanders, their language and culture have developed in their own way, far from mainland Europe. The ring road, which leads completely around the island state, is the ideal starting point for discovering as many sights as possible. For many, a vacation in Iceland means the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. And we guarantee you: it will be an unforgettable event. Note: though far away from Europe continent, according to Countryaah, Iceland is a member nation of northern Europe committee.
10TH PLACE: DIMMUBORGIR
Even if the structures sometimes look like man-made and collapsed buildings, the towering hills in this lava field were created in a very natural way. About 2000 years ago there was still a lava lake here. During a volcanic eruption, lava flowed over the lake and due to the large temperature differences, the water-lava mixture shot up and froze. The further lava flow flowed through the hills that had just formed, forming holes and caves. Icelanders are convinced that elves and trolls live in the labyrinth of lava formations.
9TH PLACE: MYVATN AND MYVATN NATURAL BATHS
Myvatn is the fourth largest lake in Iceland and is located in the northeast of the country on the ring road. It is part of the “Diamond Circle” and is best known as a habitat for its large number of fish and birds. The name Myvatn, in English Mückensee, lives up to its name, especially in the early summer months. Fortunately, the mosquitoes are usually not mosquitoes, so it is simply a unique natural spectacle. A cloth is advisable, however. The Myvatn Natural Bath is popular with locals and tourists in the area. Similar to the Blue Lagoon, it is a geothermal bath that, with its milky blue water and beneficial properties, ensures a pleasant feeling and relaxation.
8TH PLACE: LAUFAS
Icelanders have their own culture and tradition. If you want to see how the Icelanders lived in the middle of the 19th century, you should make your way to the Laufas turf farm. Today this is a small ensemble of museum houses that shows the former way of life of the Icelanders. The houses built from peat and covered with grass are typical. Inside you will find original exhibits from the 19th century. For a small entrance fee, you can get an accurate picture of the way the middle class lives and works. And there is also a beautiful view for free.
7TH PLACE: REYKJAVIK AND HALLGRIM’S CHURCH
Reykjavik is only 40 km south of the Arctic Circle, making it the northernmost capital in the world. Not even 150,000 people live here and yet this is almost 40% of the entire Icelandic population. The most famous attraction in Reykjavik is Hallgrim’s Church (Hallgrímskirkja). With its extravagant architecture, it is the city’s landmark. It is the tallest church building in Iceland and the second tallest building on the island. In addition to the Evangelical Lutheran Church, interesting sights in Reykjavik are the Harpa, Perlan concert halls and the Sun Voyage monument, which reminds of the Viking Age.
6TH PLACE: GEOTHERMAL AREAS
Iceland has the peculiarity that the island lies on two continental plates, namely on the Eurasian and the North American. Due to this special location, you can observe the inner activities in Iceland better than anywhere else in the world. There are several geothermal areas in Iceland. One of the most famous is Krýsuvík near Reykjavik. The landscape offers a magnificent play of colors of red, yellow, gray and brown, depending on which minerals are present in the area. Mud pots bubble and boil next to you, it hisses and the earth regularly lets sulfur vapor escape. So you should definitely stay on the wood paths to protect yourself, but also the sensitive environment. A natural spectacle that you can see despite the somewhat stricter
5TH PLACE: STROKKUR AND THE GREAT GEYSER
Also on our 5th place the position of the island on the continental plates is decisive. Only the pressure equalization takes place here by abruptly rising hot water. The “Great Geyser” is the general namesake for this type of geothermal spring. However, it is only very rarely active. Right next to it is the somewhat smaller geyser “Strokkur”, which means butter churn in German. In contrast to its big brother, it breaks out regularly every few minutes and then usually reaches a height of around 30 meters. If you closely watch the geyser basin, you can see the announcement of the explosive eruption.
4TH PLACE: BLUE LAGOON
What do you like to do with an average annual temperature of 2 ° C to 7 ° C? Icelanders go swimming, in the fresh air! In fact, it’s deeply rooted in your culture, as it’s not only a place to relax after work, but also to share the latest headlines and the gossip of the day. With the air temperatures it is understandable that the water in the city pools is heated. However, the general assumption is that the “Blue Lagoon” outside of the city is not natural, but rather a by-product of the adjacent geothermal power plant. The 39 ° C hot and milky blue water in the pool was expanded into a spa bath, which is said to have a healing effect due to the many minerals and has a positive effect on skin problems. The temperature differences between air and water also regularly conjure up a mystical mist on the surface of the water, which makes it a magical place despite the many visitors. A reservation in advance is advisable due to the popularity.
3RD PLACE: WATERFALLS IN ICELAND
Every waterfall would actually deserve its own place in this ranking. However, there are so many beautiful waterfalls in Iceland that it is a matter of taste which one you like best. There is Gullfoss, which belongs to the Golden Circle and is therefore probably the most famous waterfall. The semicircular Godafoss, also called the waterfall of the gods, in which old statues of gods were sunk when the country was Christianized. There is the Seljalandsfoss, behind which you can walk. Hraunfossar is an innumerable collection of small waterfalls that cascade into the river one kilometer wide. Skogafoss, Dynjandi, Selfoss, Dettifoss, … For all waterfalls you definitely need more than just a visit to the island.
2ND PLACE: THINGVELLIR NATIONAL PARK
In the Thingvellir National Park you can probably best recognize the plate tetonics of the Eurasian and North American continental plates, because here the fracture zone is partially visible above the surface of the earth. Every year the tectonic plates drift further apart, so that Iceland grows by 2 cm every year. A walk through the national park reveals how small a person is compared to the mighty nature. The Thingvellir National Park is also historically significant, because Icelanders met here around 930 AD. to the first popular assembly to make decisions together and democratically and to pass laws. Althing, the first parliament in the world which is still active today, was created.
If you want to experience a real adventure, you can book a snorkeling excursion where you swim in the so-called Silfra Fissure in the crystal-clear water between the two continental plates. There is even a place where you can touch both continents at the same time. At least until they drift too far apart.
1ST PLACE: GLACIERS
All of Europe has been trying to pronounce this name since 2010: Eyafjallajökull. The glacier volcano (jökull = glacier) with its kilometer-high ash cloud caused huge chaos in European air traffic. It is now the best known, but at 70 square kilometers only the sixth largest glacier in Iceland. The largest Vatnajökull has an area of over 8000 square kilometers! About 11% of the country is covered with glaciers, but a sad trend is emerging: the Icelandic glaciers are melting due to global warming. They get smaller and sometimes even disappear completely. There are various activities that are offered as a glacier tour. You can drive up with special vehicles or snowmobiles, go into glacier caves, hike and even land with the helicopter on a glacier and have a picnic of a special kind. No matter which variant you choose: It is important that you only visit these areas in the company of professional guides. Then it will be an impressive experience!