Black volcanic sand beaches, massive glaciers and pristine waterfalls; when it comes to natural beauty Iceland is unsurpassed. On my first day in Iceland, with a ferocious wind and biting rain outside, I sought warmth in a small cafe outside of Iceland’s famous Geyser. It was here I met a couple who was just finishing a two week trip around the Ring Road and over bowls of lamb stew we got to chatting. I asked what their most memorable stop of their trip was; they looked at each other and in near unison replied “Fjallsarlon”.
Chances are if you’ve thought at all about going to Iceland the Blue Lagoon is at the top of your list. Steam rising from ethereal blue waters surrounded by an otherworldly volcanic landscape the setting is certainly enticing and there is a reason National Geographic included the Blue Lagoon on a list of 25 Wonders of the World. Searching the internet you’ll find a wide range of reviews from travelers; ranging from glowing accounts of a mystical experience in the turquoise geothermal waters to an overpriced, overcrowded tourist trap. It can be hard to decide if you want to include the Blue Lagoon on your trip to Iceland.Like any other travel attraction or vacation activity knowing what to expect goes a long way with having a good experience. We’ve all likely had a travel experience where the reality just didn’t meet up to our expectation and its definitely frustrating.
Iceland is a land of beautiful extremes, from some of the Earth’s most active volcanoes to massive glaciers that dominate the landscape. With glaciers covering 11% of the country one is never far from ice, making Iceland one of the best places in the world where you can easily get up close to a glacier. Sólheimajökull, located 2 hours from Reykjavik and near the popular tourist route of the Golden Circle, is perhaps the most accessible of Iceland’s glaciers. Our adventure started as we pulled onto a gravel road from Iceland’s Ring Road, the vibrant greens of the coast giving way to the lunar gray of the volcanic mountains. Driving down the gravel road with nothing to either side and ice capped mountains in the distance we wondered if we were going in the right direction. A twenty minute drive delivered us with little fanfare to a parking lot and and a spartan building that in high season serves as a cafe.It was here that we got our first glimpse of Sólheimajökull and met our guide Sigurður of Icelandic Mountain Guides. The constantly changing topography of a glacier can be dangerous for the inexperienced so its always a good idea to use a guide when exploring this icy landscape. Each of us armed with a pair of crampons and an ice ax we were off to explore this otherworldly landscape.
Simply put, Iceland is the Earth in its most raw and primal state.Visitors flock to Iceland to take in its natural splendors and no where is better suited to take them in than South Iceland. Easily accessible as a day trip from Reykjavik or as part of a trip around Iceland’s famed Ring Road; South Iceland packs in a bounty of natural sights, each one more spectacular than the last. Fire and ice, earth and wind; in Iceland the elements have combined to create one of the most varied and breathtaking landscapes on Earth. Here’s a look at just a few of the wonders you can take in during a visit to South Iceland.
Magnificent waterfalls, lunar lava fields and massive glaciers- Iceland is on many traveler’s bucket list for good reason. When planning my first trip to Iceland I found a few options to get a taste of the country in the four days I would be there. Plenty of people choose Reykjavik as a base and visit south Iceland’s popular sights on day trips with organized bus tours I knew I wanted to experience Iceland with the freedom that only four wheels and the open road can provide. While I am always up for a new adventure I did find the prospect of planning my Icelandic road trip a little daunting- this would be my first time driving in another country, let alone one with famously unpronounceable towns, a rugged lava-hewn landscape and the occasional volcanic eruption that will disrupt European air travel for weeks. On the recommendation of a good friend I decided to enlist the help of Icelandic Farm Holidays.
Iceland is a captivating destination for any traveler and with a host of new low cost flight options from North America and mainland Europe there has never been a better time to visit. Volcanoes, glaciers, the wind and the sea merge to create a landscape that is like nowhere else on Earth. Whether you come for the eternal sun of summer or in search of winter’s Northern Lights nature is sure to put on a show. Here are a few tips to help you plan your first trip to the land of ice and fire.