Frequently nicknamed the land of fire and ice, Iceland is home to one of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. If you are planning a visit to the country, that’s just a three hour flight from London, then here are five places that you must visit.
One – Skogafoss
Skogafoss is one of Iceland’s most spectacular waterfalls. It’s located on Route 1, Iceland’s main road that feeds the whole country. Therefore, it’s easy to get to from the capital Reykjavik.
At 60m high, the spray from Skogafoss can be seen from miles. The water cascades down from the Skogar River and it can freeze over during the cold winter months. If there’s one waterfall to visit when you’re here, this is the one.
Two – Seltun Geothermal Area
This place is truly incredible. Think Mars, but on earth! This destination is a little off the beaten track. It’s about an hour’s drive from Reykjavik and not many people know about it. That makes it all the more special when you’re there; it makes you feel like you’re the only people on the planet!
Three – The Golden Circle
This is one of the most surreal places that you will ever visit. Split between three separate destinations, the Golden Circle sends you on a roller coaster of emotions. Firstly there’s the geyser, called Strokkur.
Strokkur is guaranteed to erupt every five to eight minutes, causing you to squeal with delight. The reason it does so is because of the geothermal activity that happens underneath the earth. When the pressure builds to a certain point, the water shoots up creating the Geyser.
Next, there’s the magnificent waterfall of Gullfoss, and translated it means the golden falls (it’s not hard to see why). This area is the most popular stop on the route, so be sure to get here early in the morning to have the best experience.
As if all of that isn’t enough, the final place on the tour is the Thingvellir National Park. Perhaps the most amazing thing, is that you can walk between two plate boundaries. Here, the Eurasian plate and the North American plate are diverging to create rift valleys. If you’re a geographer like me, you’ll find it mind-blowing. And, if you’re not, it’s still incredible. How many people can say they’ve walked between two tectonic plates!?
Four – Vik and the surrounding area
Vik is a tiny town nestled in southern Iceland. Home to under 400 people, it’s services provide a lifeline to the people who live in the remote landscape. With the emptiness, however, comes true beauty.
The town of Vik is stunning and it’s easily recognisable for its colourful houses and red-roofed church.
Just along the coast is Reynisfjara, a beautiful black sand beach that has been the filming location for TV shows such as Game of Thrones and Take That music videos…
Five – Seljavallalaug Swimming Pool
This is a real gem and probably my favourite place we visited in Iceland. Located at the foot of Eyjafjallajokull (the volcano that erupted in 2010 and caused havoc to flights across Europe) this swimming pool is kept warm by the water from the natural hot springs.
Entry is completely free and you are able to spend as much time in the pool as you like, as long as you are prepared to brave the minus eight temperatures as you go from the changing rooms to the water. Yet, it’s worth it. Besides, not many people can say that they have swam at the foot of a volcano!