This Nordic island nation is known for its stark, dramatic and beautiful scenery, made up of volcanoes, lava fields, hot springs and geysers.
The majority of Iceland’s residents live in Reykjavik, the capital, a modern city run on geothermal power, but with plenty of history. Here visitors can experience the National and Saga Museums, both of which feature exhibits relating to the Viking history of Iceland. Iceland also has some unique locations to visit outside the city. Read on to find out more.
1. Blue Lagoon, Grindavik, Iceland
In the 1970s, the lava fields surrounding the Svartsengi geothermal power plant were unexpectedly transformed into a spa. The water discharged from the plant is rich in salt, sulfur, white silica and blue-green algae.
Locals soon discovered that the water is useful for treating skin conditions. The Blue Lagoon has since become one of the most popular attractions in Iceland, with many visitors flocking there for the water’s benefits.
The geothermal plant nearby continues to work to this day, extracting seawater and bringing earth minerals to the spa. It is truly magical to soak and swim in the beautiful waters, while surrounded by an ethereal steamy mist.
2. Hvitserkur, Iceland
Among the unique sights to see in Iceland, this stark, rocky outcrop used to be a plug in a volcano, but the Atlantic Ocean gradually wore it down to its current appearance. The name Hvitserkur is Icelandic for “white shirt,” which is appropriate as the rock is coated with cormorant and shag guano. It stands at 50 ft (15 m) above the water.
It turns out the whole rock plug could have been destroyed by the power of the Atlantic Ocean. However, locals shored up the rock with a concrete foundation some time ago.
Like many locations in Iceland, Hvitserkur has a legend behind it. It was said the rock was a troll who had forgotten to remove itself from the light. The troll was then turned to solid rock as the sun rose. From some angles (including the image above), people believe the stone resembles a dragon, refreshing itself from the water below.
3. Gljúfrafoss, Iceland
Gljúfrafoss waterfall in Iceland is one of the most magical of its kind in the world. This waterfall is almost completely concealed behind a cliff face. The power of the water carved a cylindrical chamber into the rock and the waterfall can only be accessed through a thin crack in the cliff wall itself.
Once through, visitors can experience the full majesty of the waterfall as it feeds the pool beneath. The waterfall is surrounded by walls of greenery, which only adds to its magical appearance.
While the waterfall is hidden, it can easily be accessed from Route 249, just off the Route 1 Ring Road and close to another magical, but more known waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, pictured top of article.
Experience Iceland this year, taking in the beauty of its landscapes and many fascinating locations to visit!