One thing that Iceland is known for is the nature, still in its wild state. You can see many amazing landscape photos from these top 3 Instagram accounts I follow:
From a geological standpoint, Iceland is a very young country shaped by the nature due to the volcanic activity, the tectonic plates movement, the erosion from the wind and rivers. Most of Iceland landscape remains untouched by human civilization, which makes it the perfect place to be for nature lovers and photographers.
While Winter time, it is not always easy to explore the surroundings of the Island due to the unpredictable weather. But I managed to go on a tour to visit the Golden Circle, a popular route in south Iceland which includes the following:
Visit of Thingvellir National park
Leaving Reykjavik early in the morning to be able to catch the sunrise once arrived at the National park around 10 am. Located on the Northern shore of lake Þingvallavatn. This park is known for two reasons. The first one, as being the world oldest existing parliament that assembled there in 930 AD and continued until 1798, before being moved to Reykjavík later on.
The second, for its geology features. indeed, this park has been created due to a continental drift phenomenon, meaning the two tectonic plates Eurasian and North American are drifting away from one another by 2cm every year. If you are feeling adventurous, you can actually dive into the Silfra fissure, known for being the only place where one can dive directly in the crack between two continental plates.
It is also the shooting location of the TV show Game of Thrones for the fans!
See a Geyser eruption
Strokkur is part of Haukadalur geothermal area, where are located various other geothermal features.
It is one of Iceland's most famous active geysers after Geysir which has been inactive until couple days ago. Strokkur erupts about every 8-10 minutes 15 – 20 m high, sometimes up to 40 m high.
Being there makes you realise that there is a volcanic activity couple meters underneath your feet. You can actually see the steam coming out from holes in the ground. This is just amazing.
Also known as the Golden waterfalls, is the most famous waterfall in Iceland. the water comes from Iceland second biggest Glacier, the Langjökull. The water plummets down 32 meters in two stages into a canyon which walls reach up to 70 meters in height. You will have the opportunity to see it from two different angles once there from the upper and lower viewing platforms. This is the most impressive waterfall I have ever seen.
Bath in geothermal pools
The most famous of these is the blue lagoon, but I did not go there for two reasons:
- it is always crowded as per the reviews I read on most travel blogs.
- it was closed due to renovation.
I went to Laugarvatn Fontana. Located in the middle of the Golden Circle, on the black beach of Laugarvatn Lake, also used as a geothermal bakery. Upon arrival, the guide will lead you to the beach and show you how the grandmothers of the area have been baking rye bread in the hot springs. It takes up to 24h for the bread to be baked, just by digging a hole in the sand a covering it. You will also have the opportunity to taste the delicious bread before or after bathing in the different temperature baths outside and breathing the pure and fresh air.
A perfect way to relax and end the day!
This tour was perfect to get off the grid and experience something different. I felt like being in another world. the landscapes that you can see in Iceland are just phenomenal, I am always amazed by the diversity of natural gems created by the nature on Earth. Our tour guide was also very knowledgeable and with a good sense of humor. If you are a nature lover, you will definitely enjoy this tour.
And trust me after this day outdoor, you will want only two things once you will be back to the city: eat and sleep!
Make sure to cover yourself with warm clothes if you visit Iceland during the Winter.