This country’s had the world’s attention for the past years, since the Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted. A very well realized country branding campaign started then, to assure the tourists from all over the world that there’s no danger whatsoever in visiting their country. As the campaign was pretty playful and dynamic, it was also of a great success. Of course, this place’s astonishing landscapes speak for themselves and hardly need advertising to become trademarks.
Although among the most popular labels of the country the top of mind symbols are the bands Sigur Ros and Bjork, visiting the beauties of the icelandic culture won’t resume to the big cities where the concerts are held. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The most magnificent panoramas that you’ll see are in the middle of the nature, where there is no music and all you’ll hear is the wind howling and the wild animals yowling. Under no circumstances can you miss the raw, plain beauty of the trekking routes and some of the world’s most agrestal crystal pure bird’s eye views. The overwhelmingly diverse landforms and their disposal devising the Golden Circle gather all that’s between the sea and the mountain, from mild, placid, serene glacial rivers to brutal, crude, savage mountain peaks.
Thingvellir National Park
The place is not only held in high esteem by all the locals, but also conveys the most illustrative historical symbols of all time. An ancient house of the parliament was this great mountain that now is a nationally preserved monument. Despite the very unfriendly temperatures, the Thingvallavatn is a lake surrounded by lively, colorful intense vegetation transforming the place in a visual feast, speaking of which the birch woodland makes a perfect view for those of you who like pastel colors, especially during the autumn season. All summer long, as the lake is pure and clear, sports like snorkeling and diving are pretty popular.
Another place that combines a spectacularly large range of natural colors as well is the geothermally active area, where you can see shades varying from raw lime green to ultramarine, mixing like a pictor’s first try on canvas. And if you think that snow makes even the most perfect places look even better, than you clearly have to come here during the cold season. One of the main attraction during this time of year is the half-a-day snorkeling program in Silfra, where the breezy current making you float in the crystal clear water also makes you feel light as a feather, while admiring the color explosion of the most miraculously rich underwater vegetation. The over one hundred meters deep visibility is an diving invitation that’s impossible to refuse even for those of you who have been in contact with incredible waterscapes repeatedly.
And speaking of geothermal fields, Geysir is the second most popular tourist attraction. Seeing this queen of the waterfalls will make you understand why straight away. It is located in Hvite, a river whose name means white river lake and comes from its champagne water foam. While the glacial water is brownish because of all the sediments it carries, it’s also named the Golden Falls. During a clear, sunny day the three stepped fall looks like a blond goddess with long, silky soft hair, hence its name. Foggy weather makes it look as if the nature’s gone mad and the place looks like having a personality of its own. So despite the name of the country, you’ll find here that this is one of the most warm and hot places of the world, given the very intense volcanic activity, reason for which under no circumstances can you miss the natural thermal lakes.
A must-go-to place for anyone, the location’s history is all surrounded in myths and folklore, just like any other otherworld beauty. The legend say that it’s thanks to Sigríður Tómasdóttir, Tomas Tomasson’s daughter, that we can admire these outstanding natural wonders today. During her time, the problem of exploiting the place to generate electricity was so acute and controversial that she decided to make her protest matter. It is also sad that it was then, when no paved roads helped her cause, that she walked barefoot from Gullfoss to Reykjavik. After a 120 km long protest march, she arrived in the capital with her feet bleeding and in a very bad physical estate. Her sacrifice is the explanation for which we can admire the most noteworthy natural phenomena.
And just when you thought you’ve seen all the impressive landscapes, Kaldidalur is another must see route. On your way from Thingvellir to Langjoknkull you have to see the second biggest pass of Iceland, with the most stunning scenarios that you can’t even imagine. A highland road that’s really recommended not to be driving when you pass through, or you’ll be missing all the fun.
Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjokull is one of the most stunning eyesights that you’ll ever see. The major oppositions in the national icelandic landscapes are, strange enough, perfectly harmonious. If witching temperatures and environments to 180 degrees is usually perceived as unhealthy and tiring, you’ll see that going from hot springs to snowmobiling is extremely relaxant, as much as it is giddy and sensuous. This entire Golden Circle route we’ve recommended for you can’t end without going through this experience that perfectly fits the definition of living on the edge. It doesn’t even matter if your tastes are classical and mellow or you’re an adrenaline seeking adventurer, because you’re going to like this anyway. And since over eleven per cent of the icelandic territory is covered by glaciers, the playground has lots of things to offer. For instance, if you like skiing the best place to be is Ísafjörður, the largest town in Westfjords, equipped with slopes for all the skiing admirers. A place with people indirectly proportional with the cold weather outside, always prepared to host the foreigners who have come to discover their national beauties. Or you can opt for Oddsskarð, especially if you’re a more trained and professional skier, a diverse place that is fitting for all age groups. Since the place is not very popular, the chance to find a queue is almost inexistent, while the place is mainly recommended for off-trekking skiing. Needless to say, the place’s phenomenal beauty is binding, beyond question.
A few local secrets and you’re ready
And because it’s the little secrets that make the trips more spicy, you might want to know that there’s a cairn south of the valley where people who have visited the place have dirty rhymes on. Another local unknown destination is near Raufarhofn, a northern town, where the arctic circle goes through the country. There’s a monument here that looks very similar to Stonehenge, with grand rocks shaped like Gothic arches whose history is as covered in mystical stories as it’s analogue’s.