I have always been a beach person. If you had asked me to chose even a few months back on a vacation, I would have googled Bali or Maldives. But after I have visited Iceland, I think I am a convert. I have never connected to the landscapes so much and really now I understand the phrase, ‘mountains are calling out to you’ better than I ever did. My Iceland trip was actually a five-day hike and I am still penning down my experiences from it to share with you. Iceland is way more than just a location where the popular ‘Game Of Thrones’ series was shot. Let me share some exotic experiences to convince you why Iceland adventure travel should be in your top list and I am not suggesting hiking(extremely active) or Sightseeing the city (not too much to see) ;
1.Whale Watching: Interestingly a lot of revenue generated through Iceland tourism is through whale watching. No matter where you depart from, the tours offer a rare and stunning opportunity to observe whales in their natural environment alongside white-beaked dolphins, harbor porpoises, seals, basking sharks, and various seabirds—including puffins, Gannets, gulls, Arctic Terns and others—this depends on the season.
2.Journey to the center of the earth: You can descend inside the remains of Iceland’s dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano. You will need to hike for around 50 minutes over cooled Lava fields to reach the site and then your guide will take you inside the volcano in an open elevator down inside Thrihnukagigur’s magma chamber. You can walk around the subterranean arena and learn about the volcano’s last eruption, 4,000 years ago.
3.Inside a Glacier :
The Langjokull glacier is the second largest glacier in Iceland. An experienced guide takes you on a tour for about an hour into and through the glacier tunnels. The horseshoe shaped tunnels are about 500 meters long and wide enough not to feel claustrophobic at any time. The walk is a fairly easy one, but better to have your hiking boots on since is it a glacier! After, the guide walks you through the tunnels with stops here and there on the way, telling you about the history of the glacier and explaining the different kinds of ice. There are five man-made chambers in the tunnels lit up with LED lights and the ice shows it’s many different blue colors.
4.Northern Lights: Winter nights are spectacular from September to March, solar activity creates frissons of color that can be seen in the sky on clear nights. Sometimes you can see the Northern lights in Iceland as early as August, as soon as the night skies get dark enough and weather conditions are favourable. Since northern light’s occurrence is unpredictable if you head to Iceland to watch the lights, it is best to keep a few days in hand.
5.Natural Geysers: National Park in Iceland is a geothermally active area with many natural hot springs, some of them erupting. The largest two largest erupting geysers are Strokkur, which erupts to a height of 20 meters roughly every 15 minutes, and Geysir, from whom all geysers take their name, which erupts to a height of 70 meters, but only sporadically. It just mesmerises you.
This mixture of geothermal activity, ice, and fire, means that there are numerous hot springs and geysers all over the country. Some of the hot springs are boiling hot but other ones have the perfect temperature to bathe in. These hot springs are equally popular with travellers and locals alike. The Blue Lagoon is surrounded by a lava field with rocks coated in moss, which contrast breathtakingly with the milky light blue waters of the geothermal pool. Laugarvatn Fontana is located right next to a lake, where you can look out onto the beach and lake as you sit in the hot tubs and pools. I headed to the Fontana Spa after my hike and combined it with the Golden circle tour and it was such a treat to my aching body and sore toes.
7.Scuba diving in between two continents :
The Silfra fissure is actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, meaning that you dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about 2cm per year. Here the underwater visibility is over 100 meters, which creates an underwater experience like no other. The amazing clarity of the water is due to two reasons it is cold (2°C – 4°C year round ) as it is glacial water from the nearby Langjökull and this water is filtered through porous underground lava for 30-100 years until it reaches the north end of Thingvellir lake, seeping out from underground wells.
8.The black sand beach: In 1991, the US journal Islands Magazine counted this beach as one of the ten most beautiful beaches on Earth. IVik is Iceland’s southernmost village and faces the open Atlantic Ocean, framed by a long black volcanic sand beach. Nearby the spindly Reynisdrangar rock formations stick out of the sea, and as the legend goes, were formed when trolls attempted to drag three ships ashore.
9.Snowmobile rides on the glaciers : Most snowmobiles are two seaters and anyone above 9 years can join you in this adventure. I have tried snowmobiling in Abisko, Sweden and trust me it’s a mean machine to handle. But the good thing is once you get the hang of it, it’s a machine and you can start and stop at your own will. While I did not do this a friend did and Joyeeta states her experience ;
While I did not do this a friend did and Joyeeta states her experience ;
We went in these monster trucks to a base camp where everyone who was doing the snowmobiling. We were given the costumes suitable for the weather and then we rode over the glacier.
10.Jökulsárlón means glacial river lagoon is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier. Here you can sail among the huge icebergs in the picturesque scenery of Jökulsárlón. On the boat you get to taste the 1000-year-old ice and if you are lucky you might even see some seals.
And if you think these are not active enough options for you, you can go for day hikes, two-day hikes or more like me. Will be sharing my hiking experience soon in a separate blog.
A big question did I actually do all of these activities? Nope! With my 5-day of hiking and 2 days of travelling to just reach Iceland, I would need at least another week here to finish this list, so these are still things that I want to catch up on. Maybe another trip to Iceland is pending.
Game of Thrones Fan or not I think now you have plenty of reasons to head there.
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