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Photos of Iceland – Dreaming of the Island of Fire and Ice
Iceland is home to volcanoes, hot springs, northern lights, glaciers, waterfalls, and a population that believes in elves. Its capital city, Reykjavik, is a colorful mix of history and art surrounded by natural beauty, and black beaches, rocky coasts, and icy interior mountains beckon with adventure. Here are 25 photos of Iceland to inspire your next trip!
Photos of Iceland: Seljalandsfoss
“Foss” is the Icelandic word for waterfall, and the cascading Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most famous. Visitors can hike around behind the waterfall for a beautiful view (if you don’t mind getting a little damp).
Photos of Iceland: Thingvellir
Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site both for its cultural importance as the site of one of the world’s oldest parliaments, the Althing (originating around 900 AD), but also for its unique geological setting astride the continental divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. If this is your first visit to Iceland, you should do the Golden Circle tour, which always includes a stop at Thingvellir.
Photos of Iceland: Glacier Hike
Iceland is home to some of the most magnificent glaciers and a very popular destination to go on a glacier hike. Please know that you should never attempt to hike a glacier on your own, as this can be a deadly mistake. If you book a guided tour, you are in good hands though. The guides are local experts, who know the glacier like the back of their hands and will keep you safe. Book your glacier hike here!
Photos of Iceland: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, in southeast Iceland on the edge of Vatnajokull National Park, is Iceland’s largest lake. Large chunks (boat or house-sized or even larger) from the melting Breithamerkurjokull glacier break off and melt slowly in the lake before winding their way out to sea. Visitors can hike the glacier as well as see its melting tail. The most stunning views are at sunrise and sunset, although the ice is impressive at any time of day.
If you want a more off-the-beaten-path option, take a look at Fjallsarlon Glacier Lagoon. It isn’t quite as popular, but much less touristy.
Photos of Iceland: Silfras
Within Thingvellir park, guests can snorkel or scuba dive in the Silfra divide – a chasm between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. With visibility of over 100 yards, and water as cold as 2-4C, a swim in the narrow chasm is not for the faint of heart but is well worth the effort.
Photos of Iceland: Continental Rift
Even if you decide against a swim in Silfra gorge, the divide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates creates stunning dry-land scenery. The ridge is spreading at a rate of 1 inch (2.5cm) per year, making Iceland a little greater every year.
Photos of Iceland: Mountains
The center of Iceland is mountainous, and difficult to access during the winter months when a 4-wheel drive is a necessity, but the views are magnificent.
Photos of Iceland: Sunrise over the Clouds
Sunrise and sunset are particularly photographic moments in Iceland, although in the summer months sunset can come as late as midnight, with sunrise following at 3 am, so eager photographers need to be night owls to catch the perfect light.
Photos of Iceland: Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis are one of Iceland’s most stunning attractions but also it’s most fickle. Clear dark skies are required, and the lights are most easily seen in winter. You can also do a Northern Lights tour, where a guide will take you to the best spots to see the Northern Lights in Iceland and give you helpful tips to capture them in your photos. If you didn’t get a chance to see them in live, you can also visit the Aurora Museum in Reykjavik.
Photos of Iceland: Stars
Even on nights when the northern lights are not visible, the stars in Iceland’s cold clear air are wondrous.
Photos of Iceland: Grass Roofs
Icelandic turf houses may be seen in historic villages, such as the Skogar Folk Museum in southern Iceland
Photos of Iceland: Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, near Keflavik International Airport, is Iceland’s most famous geothermal spa, but hot springs are located throughout the country, and many small towns host public baths with hot tubs and water slides, perfect for a relaxing evening or day out with the family.
Photos of Iceland: Black Beaches of Iceland
Even for non-rock-lovers, Iceland’s unique geology is stunning in its oddity. The world-famous Reyisfjara shore, near the town Vik in southern Iceland, has a black basalt beach and impressive basalt columns. Wiggling your toes in the sand will not turn them black.
Photos of Iceland: Glacier Rock
Iceland’s landscape was shaped by glaciers and volcanoes, and the landscape is a blend of peaked mountains, colorful rock layers, and pressed valleys. Hiking is a must for any visit, but you can even tour the inside of a volcano – must for all Jules Verne fans who want to follow Otto Lidenbrock and his nephew’s footsteps as they descend into the Icelandic volcano in Journey To The Center Of The Earth.
Photos of Iceland: Geyser
All of the world’s geysers are named after Geysir – the original hot water fountain, in Iceland, named from the Old Norse word meaning “to gush.” While there are geysers all over the volcanically active island, Geysir and Strokkur, the two most famous, are located in the Haukadalur valley in western Iceland.
Photos of Iceland: Reykjavik
More than half of Iceland’s population lives in the capital city Reykjavik. The colorful buildings are iconic, and the city is remarkably walkable, with beautiful paths along the bay and museums ranging from witchcraft to modern art. This view is from the top of the famous Hallgrimskirkja Church, whose landmark tower can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
Photos of Iceland: Harpa
The Harpa Concert Hall in Reykjavik opened in 2001 and is the cultural and artistic center of the city. The distinctive glass façade was inspired by the basalt landscape of Iceland and makes the buildings one of the city’s cornerstones.
Photos of Iceland: Street Art
In addition to color buildings and modern art, Reykjavik is a city of artists, boasting everything from local handmade crafts to off-key graffiti murals. Walking through the city is the best way to get a feel for it (and, while you’re at it, eat a hot dog to feel like a local).
Photos of Iceland: Icelandic Houses
Over 90% of the Iceland population live in towns and cities, so isolated houses like this are rare, but make beautiful photo opportunities.
Photos of Iceland: Sheep
There are twice as many sheep on Iceland as people, so visitors are almost certain to come across a sheep or a flock during their stay.
Photos of Iceland: ArcticFox
Only Gimsey, a small island in the icy waters off Iceland’s north coast, actually crosses into the Arctic Circle, but visitors will still get more than a taste of Arctic weather and wildlife in Iceland, like this Arctic Fox.
Photos of Iceland: Puffin
Iceland is home to nearly half the world’s puffins. The birds dig nests in cliff sides, which can make footing at the edge particularly precarious. Breidafjordur, a bay in the West of Iceland, has numerous small islands home to puffin breeding colonies, and a short boat ride will give you an excellent view. The best way to see them is by going on a Puffin Watching tour.
Photos of Iceland: Whale
In the north of Iceland, whale watching tours routinely spot Orca, Minke, Humpback, and Blue whales. Here’s a humpback whale disappears. This tour takes you on a traditional sailboat, which minimizes the stress for the whales, as there are not motor sounds.
Photos of Iceland: Skogafoss
At just under 200feet tall, and visible from the Ring Road that circles Iceland’s coasts, Skogafoss is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland.
Unlike Seljalandsfoss, where visitors can walk behind the waterfall, at Skogafoss, visitors can easily access the top of the waterfall and a beautiful view of the fall and the surrounding countryside.
Photos of Iceland: Moss
Iceland moss is actually a lichen that looks like moss, giving the tree-bare island a remarkably green appearance. Visitors should note NOT to walk on the moss or tear it up, as this leaves scars in the landscape that take a long time to recover.
Photos of Iceland was written by Anne Siders for EuropeUpClose.com
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