With unique architecture, rugged coastlines, hot springs, mountains, fjords, volcanoes, lagoons, icebergs, glaciers, geysers, the Northern Lights, and waterfalls, Iceland is truly one of the most amazingly beautiful and extreme countries on earth. A Nordic island nation in Europe, Iceland has a vast Viking history and is known as a thrilling destination for explorers everywhere.
“I have fantasies of going to Iceland, never to return.” – Edward Gorey
- Hofskirkja Church in Iceland is “the most recent grass-roofed church to have been built. Originally constructed in 1884, the roof stretches from its pointed top all the way to the ground.” Complete with stone slabs for steps, this style of architecture is unique to Iceland and is an effective way of staying warm during cold winter months.
- “Gullfoss is a famous waterfall that can be found in a canyon made by the Hvítá River. What makes the waterfall so famous is the way the water flows. Instead of just going downwards, the water flows in a unique shape that makes it look like a three-step staircase. The water then descends deep into a crevice that goes down over one hundred feet. When translated, the name of the waterfall is ‘Golden Falls.’” Gullfoss Falls is the most famous of all the waterfalls in Iceland and is a popular tourist attraction.
- Landmannalaugar is “an encampment located on the dark edge of a rhyolite lava field in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. Surrounded by mountains, the encampment can only be accessed in the summer. There are many volcanic phenomena in the area, including a geothermal pool nearby that is popular for bathing.”
- Did you know that Iceland has more hot springs or “solfataras” than any other country? These geothermal pools/alkaline hot springs are heated by volcanic vents. They are incredibly desirable destinations but can also be very dangerous because of boiling water. The largest of these is called “Deildartunguhver” and “emits nearly 50 gallons of boiling water per second!”
Ancient and Extreme
The earth in Iceland is underlain by a type of igneous rock called basalt; some of these rocks were formed over 16 million years ago!
- The Westfjords region of Iceland is a peninsula that is definitely out-of-the-way so it’s difficult to navigate and is very vast. Famous for its beaches, the Westfjords boasts one with pink sand called “Rauðasandur.” Another beach with black-sanded shores called Reynisfjara is more well-known but no less extraordinary.
- The nature to be seen is astounding! Puffins, whales and arctic foxes are all a part of the landscape and can be observed on cliffs near the Arctic Circle.
- Haukadalur is a geothermal field or valley of hot springs known for its amazing geysers, Geysir and Strokkur (which have been active for about 10,000 years).
- Earthquakes are actually common and frequent in Iceland but are rarely very serious or damaging.
- Jökulsárlón is a lagoon known for its beautiful and otherworldly ice floes and blue glaciers. It is also the deepest lake in Iceland (over 900 feet deep!).
- Askja is an active volcano and is nestled within a group of “calderas” or volcanic craters surrounded by the Dyngjufjöll Mountains. One of the smaller calderas is home to a famous lake called Öskjuvatn. Located in the Highlands, this is the second deepest lake in Iceland (after Jökulsárlón).
- The Northern Lights or “aurora borealis” can be seen in Iceland and is one of nature’s most majestic phenomena.
For more information on certain mentioned sights in Iceland and collectible pins from Spartan and the Green Egg, visit the links below:
For more information on geographical wonders of Iceland cited in this blog, consult the links below:
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