Incredible Iceland - The land of Ice and Fire
One of the most beautiful countries in the world, ICELAND offers amazing landscapes with volcanoes, waterfalls, active geysers, hot springs, lava fields and what not! The main thing comes everyone’s mind about Iceland is the country with full of ice mountains and glaciers. But its more than just Ice and it’s a land of ice and fire. Iceland is shaped by the fire of the lava and covered with glaciers and snow make it unique.
There are 2 popular driveways in Iceland to witness the beauty – Golden Circle and South coast drive. Golden circle covers the Pingvellier National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall and Geysir hot Spring. South coast drive covers amazing Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfall, views of Skaftafell National Park, Diamond Beach and Vatnajokull glacier. Further drive to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is sure to take your breath away. Apart from these, one can cover other attractions – Blue Lagoon, Fontana, Whale watching and other remote beaches. Can you imagine a driveway on one side beautiful landscapes & waterfalls and the other side rocky terrains resulted from volcanoes? This is what south coast drive offers.
I was fortunate to explore both the popular driveways and other attractions in my 5 days plan.
Skogafoss waterfall – This is very popular waterfall and appeared in many movies. The fall is formed by river Skoga which plunge off from a height of ~180 feet with a width of 80 feet. Misty base of the falls and the force of the falls challenges anyone to go too closer to the fall. Bet, the beauty of this falls has ever lasting impact. This should be the must visit place in Iceland.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall – Melting water of the famed glacier-capped volcano Eyjafjallajokull forms this beautiful falls. The water drops from a height of 160 feet. With an easy trial, one can reach the falls. The falls cascades over steep cliffs. With careful walk, one can go behind the waterfall. As it was raining, we couldn’t take risk to traverse through the slippery trial to the back of falls. The rainbow formed across this waterfall adds charming moment to the spectacular falls.
Pingvellir National Park – This UNESCO designated world heritage site has historical and geological, significance which is located in a rift valley where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates converge. This is also home to Thingavallavatn, the largest natural lake, Thingvallavatn. This is also the birthplace of the Althing, Iceland’s parliament where the nation’s powerful and political leaders used to meet to decide on legislation and perform viking-age justice. The view from the parliament site is too good.
Gullfoss Falls - Gullfoss waterfall gets its name from the golden color of its water wherein river Hvita plunges to valley in two tiers that are 36 ft and 69 feet high, respectively. It is incredibly impressive.
Geysir Geothermal Area - Geyser geothermal area is located in the Haukadalur valley. There are many small active geysirs in this valley.
Currently Strokkur geyser erupts every 6-10 minutes shooting water to heights of around 45 feet to 60 feet although it is known to reach up to 130 feet. This is unique experience no one wants to miss. As we walk through the surrounding Haukadalur Valley, we can see many hot springs, s bubbling mud pots and small geysers.
Blue Lagoon - This is the famous geothermal pool in Iceland. The milky blue shade, with high silica, steaming lagoon surrounded by lava fields. The silica forms soft white mud on bottom of the lake. Also white silica will be provided, as it offers health benefits to skin, to use for face mask during bathing and splashing in water and spanking on face. Laugarvatn Fontana is another geothermal pool. This is as beautiful as Blue lagoon even though its small in size. This is present in the beautiful picturesque location. We did like Fontana, to blue lagoon, as this is not crowdy and offers privacy.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon –This is the most scenic location in Iceland and my favorite spot. What a stunning beauty it offers with a blue and white combination of icy water and icebergs. In between Seals swimming in the lagoon and relaxing on top of a floating icebergs. The icebergs make their way through the vast lagoon to the Atlantic Ocean. Don’t forget to take boat trip on the lagoon. This is the unique experience one must experience.
Whale watching and Reykjavik City tour – The 3 Hours boat trip begins at the old harbor, few minutes away from the city center for the whale watching expedition. There are many scheduled whale watching tours by various operators throughout the day. Reykjavick city tour – In a walkable distance one can cover the famous Hallsgrimskirkja church, Parliament building, Culture house, Mennatasklinn (oldest Jr. college) and harpa. Recommended to visit Harpa an impressive building built from glass and hosting many events and functions.
Few Interesting facts of ICELAND
- An average there will be volcanic eruption every 4 years
- There are no forests
- One of the last places on earth to be settled by humans
- No army, navy or air force in the country. A safe country with total 3.6 Lakh population (Apr 2020)
- Mosquitoes don’t exist in Iceland