The 7 Most Fascinating Natural Attractions in Iceland

This post is Robert Baker from

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Thank you Robert

Iceland is frequently used as a setting for TV programs and movies because it boasts so many fascinating natural attractions. Many of these natural landmarks or phenomena are unique to the Land of Fire and Ice. There are too many wonderful attractions to include them all in one blog post, but here are 7 of the most impressive.

#1. The Aurora Borealis

Because Iceland is so close to the Arctic Circle and suffers from relatively little light pollution, it is an excellent location to experience the magical magnetic experience of the Aurora Borealis.

This incredible natural light show is most visible during dark nights, and Iceland benefits from very long nights during the winter period. The Northern Lights are frequently seen between September and April, but they are at their best during the winter months when the night can last as long as 20 hours.

The best way to experience this magnificent light show is to join a small group tour with a reputable travel organization like Puffin Travel Tours. A local guide can drive you out into the countryside to locations where the visibility is high and the light pollution low. Using their experience and local knowledge, they offer the best chance you’ll get of seeing the Northern Lights at their best.

#2. Mýrdalsjökull

The Icelandic word “jökull” means “ice cap” or “glacier”. There are several renowned glaciers around Iceland that you can visit for ice climbing or glacier hiking adventures. Mýrdalsjökull is a popular destination for people who wish to explore Arctic landscapes because it is relatively close to Reykjavik.

When Game of Thrones was filmed in Iceland, Mýrdalsjökull was used for scenes set beyond The Wall, including the setting for the Fist of the First Men. If you have time to travel further from the capital, the most impressive Arctic scenery is found in Vatnajökull National Park.

If you want to enjoy glacier hiking at Mýrdalsjökull or Vatnajökull, you should visit along with an experienced local guide. A local expert can guide you to the most picturesque locations, show you where the scenes were shot for Game of Thrones, and steer you wide of dangerous places. You’ll need to wear layers as you would dress for skiing, and you will require special equipment like an ice ax and crampons.

#3. Jökulsarlon Glacial Lake

South of Vatnajökull National Park, the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier feeds into Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake. Where the glacier terminates, large blocks of ice up to 100 feet high break away and float off into the lake as icebergs. The resulting Arctic scenery is so spectacular that it has been used as the setting for many Hollywood movies, such as A View to a Kill, Batman Begins, and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Jökulsarlon is the deepest lake in Iceland and can be viewed from Route 1.

#4. Deildartunguhver hot spring

Iceland is renowned for its many geothermal attractions, and Deildartunguhver is arguably its most impressive. It is Europe’s most powerful hot spring, and water geothermically heated to an astounding 2070F flows out at a rate of 180 liters per second.

Water from Deildartunguhver is piped up to 40 miles away to be utilized in the municipal heating system in the town of Akranes. By the time it gets there, the water has only cooled down to 1720F. The water here is a little too hot for bathing! If you want to bathe in mineral-rich, hot spring water, head to the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Spa, an artificial lagoon filled with milky blue water from the nearby Svartsengi Geothermal Power Plant.

#5. The geysers of Haukadalur

Haukadalur is a valley in the south of Iceland renowned for its many geothermal phenomena. Haukadalur contains fumaroles, mud pots, hot springs, and several famous geysers, including the eponymous Geysir Hot Springs from which we derive the English word “geyser”.

Geysir is an awesome sight, spraying boiling water as high as 230 feet into the air. However, Geysir erupts infrequently, so nearby Strokkur Geyser is a more popular attraction. Strokkur is situated only 160 feet south of Geysir. Unlike Geysir, Strokkur erupts as frequently as once every 6 minutes. It produces a 66-feet-high fountain of steaming water.

#6. Seljalandsfoss

In Icelandic, “foss” means “waterfall”, and Seljalandsfoss is one of the most popular. Located in the South Region close to Route 1, Seljalandsfoss is easy to access and especially picturesque. This 197-feet waterfall is found on the Seljalands River, which is fed by the meltwater from Eyjafjallajökull Glacier. The waterfall is at its most impressive in summer when the glacier is in retreat.

A small cave is hidden behind the falls, which visitors can access along a footpath in warmer months. Be cautious in winter because this path grows slippery with ice and may be impossible to use. The view from within the cave looking out through the waterfall is one of the most popular views in Iceland.

There are many other beautiful waterfalls you can visit in Iceland, such as Gullfoss in the valley of Haukadalur, Skógafoss, and Hjálparfoss. The latter is relatively remote and so not often visited, but its twin falls are renowned as a symbol of love. The Þjórsá and Fossá Rivers join together at Hjálparfoss, and some Icelanders have opted to have outdoor weddings at this location.

#7. Migrating whales

The water surrounding Iceland is relatively warm for its latitude because of the underwater volcanoes in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This creates an ideal environment for fish and zooplankton that humpback whales love to eat.

Annually between April and November, humpback whales migrate to the coast of Iceland to enjoy the ample fish stocks. They are even known to swim inland along the coastal fjords, so they can sometimes be spotted from the shore. However, the best way to spot whales in the sea around Iceland is on a whale-watching boat tour from Akureyri, Húsavík, or Reykjavik. On a tour boat, you can come face to face with whales in Icelandic waters.

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