In recent years, Iceland has become one of the most popular destinations in the world. The land of ice and fire can easily boast of a whole bunch of dramatic and breathtaking landscapes. The country can also offer natural formations that remain relatively untouched by the mass tourism industry.
Imagine where else can you admire the mystical Northern Lights rising against the backdrop of mighty geysers and some of the most impressive waterfalls known on the planet?
In this article we have selected 7 natural landmarks in Iceland, which must be visited by everyone.
The Golden Circle
Speaking of the most impressive sights of Icelandic nature, I can’t help but start with The Golden Circle. It consists of three equally stunning places in southwestern Iceland: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Falls.
The Great Geyser
The great geyser in Iceland has been active for about 10,000 years and is also the first geyser in the world known to man. After its discovery, all other hot springs emerging from the earth’s surface were named after him. The strong jet of hot water of the Great Geyser reaches 80 meters in height. In case you plan to visit Iceland, this is one of the most important natural landmarks that are worth seeing.
Heading southwest, you will encounter the Gullfoss waterfall on the Hvítá River, fed by Iceland’s second-largest glacier, Langjökull. Don’t miss the opportunity to see one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. You have to feel the splashes of cold water on your face. And also to take panoramic photos from the platform raised high above the waterfall.
Iceland boasts the most powerful waterfall in all of Europe, Dettifoss, as well as the majestic waterfall surrounded by black basalt columns called Svartifoss.
Skógafoss, located in southern Iceland, is one of the largest waterfalls in the country with a width of 15 meters and a jet length of 60 meters. As a result of the strong water jet, you may witness a single or double rainbow, which is usually clearly visible on sunny days.
The truth is that there are a whole bunch of breathtaking water cascades to explore in the country. Be sure to visit at least a few while traveling around Iceland.
Thingvellir National Park
The park, part of the Golden Circle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The world’s oldest existing parliament was established on its territory in the distant 930s. Thingvellir is one of the best geological wonders in Iceland and is only a 45-minute drive from Reykjavík.
Apart from its historical significance, Thingvellir is located on the border between the tectonic plates. This caused the formation of a deep canyon running through the whole territory of Iceland.
Vatnajokull National Park
This natural landmark offers a unique opportunity to enjoy a picture of fire and ice as many hot streams erupt from frozen icebergs. If you are lucky and visit Iceland at the right time, you can enter ice caves, which usually begin to form in early autumn and melt in the first months of summer.
The landmark is a glacial lagoon bordering Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Its crystal blue waters are dotted with icebergs of different sizes from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, part of the larger Vatnajökull glacier. During the winter months, the fish-lagoon host’s hundreds of seals. If you are lucky, you can get to know some of them up close during the organized boat tours around Jökulsárlón.
This geothermal oasis is located in the remote tundra of the interior of Iceland, in the Icelandic Highlands. It’s located in the Southern Highlands within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve. It’s about a 3-hour drive from the capital Reykjavik.
The best time to visit Landmannalaugar is during summer. During this time it reveals its vibrant colors and its landscape is in its fullest glory. The best thing to do is explore the are on foot and enjoy the thermall pools.
Is summer is not your season you should know that during the winter only specialized jeeps can reach the landmark. Luckily there is plenty of adventure offers you can choose from.
The Blue Lagoon
You can’t go to Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon, one of the first spas in the world. Its guests can enjoy relaxing treatments, fresh air, and magnificent views. The beautiful milky blue color is due to the rich silicate and sulfur minerals found in the thermal waters.
The Blue Lagoon is just a fifteen-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport, or a thirty-minute drive from Reykjavík, making it easy to reach for those who rent a car or join the Blue Lagoon tour.
The Blue Lagoon started as a pool of wastewater from the Svartsengi geothermal plant in 1976. The first person to bathe there was Valur Margeirsson in 1981. He was met with some resistance prior to taking the first dip as people thought he was mad for wanting to bath in a “blue mud pool”. He and others soon began to notice the unusual but remarkable healing qualities of the azure waters.
The Blue Lagoon is considered to have such notable regenerative qualities because the water is rich in silica and sulphur. A research and development facility on site finds cures and remedies for skin ailments, and silica mud is available for free on the sides of the pool for guests to enjoy a face-mask.
The Blue Lagoon Spa is open throughout the year, and popular in every season. Due to the fact it has a maximum capacity for the comfort of its guests, it is essential that you book several months in advance to ensure your space.