Iceland: the island of fire and ice, volcanoes and glaciers.
This tiny island nation of just over 300,000 people is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and one look at it’s unique features makes it clear why!
The capital of the island country is small enough that it feels more like a town, but it still has the vibrancy of any global city. The city is particularly famous for it’s nightlife, with more than 100 bars and clubs for the city of 100,000. Icelanders head out to bars late at night, so plan to stay out late if you want to live like a local.
If you really want to fit in, try the national dish of pickled shark!
The city places a high value on arts and entertainment, as can be seen with the beautiful Harpa Concert Hall.
Finished in 2011, it’s modern features are in stark contrast to the traditional feel of much of the city’s architecture, but it’s modern glass facade is actually inspired by the basalt features known throughout the country.
Iceland’s relatively recent development has encouraged very modern and avant garde architecture, including the Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland.
The church was inspired by a famous waterfall, as well as famous rock formations, and finished in 1986, paying homage to a historic Icelandic poet.
Lake Mývatn is part of a wider geothermal area, created roughly 2,000 years ago by the still-active volcano Krafla. The area is filled with breathtaking geographical wonders created by the volcano, including lava formations, giant waterfalls, deep caves and geothermal ponds.
Visitors can hike in the caves and along the waterfall and swim in the ponds, but they must be careful as some are dangerously hot.
Those Game of Thrones fans with a keen eye may recognize some of the landscapes, as the show has been filmed on location.
This waterfall is known as the Waterfall of the Gods. Legend has it that when Iceland converted to Christianity around 1000 AD, the local ruler threw all pagan statues into the waterfall, committing himself and the country to Christ.
Visitors can hike around the waterfall and enjoy the spectacular views of Iceland’s pristine landscapes.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal saltwater lagoon that is soothing both for the soul and the body. The beautiful, sky blue water and volcano-formed landscape allow visitors to relax in the spa-like water.
The water itself has healing properties, including high levels of silica and minerals that relieve skin diseases and refresh the skin and body.