Iceland is located in northwestern Europe. It covers an area of 103,000 square kilometers. It has a population of about 376,000 and the official language is Icelandic. It consists of the island of Iceland and its outlying small islands in the North Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Norway, Scotland, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. It is strategically located between Greenland and Europe. It is clearly the smallest Nordic country in terms of population density and population.
Attractions in Iceland
In spite of its remote location and severe weather, Iceland is a top tourist destination attracting visitors with its unspoiled landscapes, geysers, volcanoes, geothermal springs and ice fields. Here are some of the best things to see and do in this country.
Whale watching is one of the most exciting activities you can try in Reykjavik’s harbor. No matter which time of the year you travel to Iceland, you are guaranteed to see the ocean giants, although in summer this spectacle happens more often. During the warmer months, whale watching trips are organized day and night. In most cases, surfacing occurs near the boats, so you can see the magnificent creatures in close detail.
Grindavík Blue Lagoon
This is one of the most iconic geothermal spas in Iceland. Just a 40 minutes’ drive from Reykjavik, it features a pale blue lagoon fed by underground hot springs whose temperature can reach 39°C. The water is said to improve general wellbeing and rejuvenate skin. Aside from bathing in a beautiful setting, you can buy skincare products in the nearby shop, enjoy a range of spa treatments and eat at one of the cafes of the lagoon.
Iceland is famous for its awe-inspiring geysers. One of the most popular is Strokkur Geysir located in the highly active hot spring area beside the Hvítá River in the southwest of the island. Strokkur throws water 30 meters into the air at intervals of a few minutes. Aside from capturing the stunning fountain, you can try other exciting experiences, such as digging up the rye bread that has been baking underground for 24 hours. Moreover, you can assist a chef at boiling eggs in the hot spring water.
There is one building in Reykjavik that stands out from the crowd and steals the show of every sightseeing tour. The majestic Hallgrímskirkja Church is a modernistic icon of Reykjavik whose design was inspired by the Black Falls, one of the natural wonders of Iceland. Aside from admiring the exterior beauty and grandeur of the church, you can climb to the top of its 73-meter tower and enjoy the breath-taking views of the city. You can reach the top with the elevator for a small fee.
In front of the church is the statue of Leifur Eiriksson, the Icelander who is said to have discovered America 500 years before Christopher Columbus.
Vatnajökull National Park is the perfect place to explore the authentic Icelandic nature. The crown jewels of the park are its scenic waterfalls. The main one is Dettifoss, a giant 100-meter-wide cascade that tumbles 45 meters and bears the name of the most powerful waterfall in Europe. There are several ways to approach the cascade and get a close-up view of the crazy stream.
Yet the best access route is the road along the east bank of the River Jökulsa. A short walk along the easy paths from Dettifoss is Selfoss, a smaller waterfall that plunges 10 meters against a scenic backdrop.
Another treasure of the park is the Hafragilsfoss Waterfall that drops 27 meters into a deep canyon. This one is better accessed by car.