Why should you visit Iceland?

Iceland offers an enormous amount of natural gems. Volcanos, geysers, hot springs, and lava fields are just a few to mention but before discovering some of the top places to see, let's go through some interesting facts about Iceland:

  1. More than 60% of the Icelandic population lives in the capital city, Reykjavik, which is also the planet’s northernmost capital.
  2. You won’t find a McDonald’s in Iceland. The most popular fast food here is Domino’s pizza, KFC and Subway.
  3. Icelanders have a big love for books and roughly one in ten people have published a book during their lifetime. More interestingly, Icelanders have a book-giving holiday – Jolabokaflod – with a tradition of giving and unwrapping new books on Christmas Eve, cozying up with family, and reading into the late night.
  4. Beer was illegal in Iceland for 75 years, from 1915 to 1989.
  5. There are only two places on earth that don’t have mosquitoes: Antarctica and Iceland.
  6.  Almost all electricity in Iceland is produced using renewable energy sources, with 73% of electricity provided by hydropower plants and 26.8% from geothermal energy, accounting for over 99% of total electricity consumption in Iceland.
  7. Iceland is a country with “no last names”, using mainly patronymic naming system. This means the last name originates from mother’s or father’s first name and the suffix -son or -dóttir (English: son or daughter). Let’s take an example of a politician who is the Mayor of Reykjavík: Dagur Bergþóruson Eggertsson ”the son of Bergþóra and Eggert”

 

The Land of Fire and Ice 🔥🧊

Iceland is also called as a land of fire and ice with glaciers and volcanic springs located next to each other. It’s home to roughly 130 volcanos of which are only about 30 active. If you are looking for a thrill, connection with Mother Earth, or just the awe effect of watching a liquid rock rise up from the earth, cool down, and darken right in from of your eyes then Iceland is a place to go. The latest volcano eruption started in the Geldingadalir valley at the Fagradalsfjall mountain on March 19th 2021 and was active for six months.

On the contrary, you can then pose and take a selfie in front of a Vatnajökull, which is the largest and most voluminous ice cap in Iceland, and the second biggest in Europe covering 8% of Iceland’s landmass. It’s about three times the size of Luxemburg. Overall, 11% of Iceland’s landmass is covered by a permanent ice sheet. On that note, the “land of a fire and ice” pseudonym fits just perfectly. 

 

Aurora Borealis 

Another breathtaking phenomenon and reason to visit Iceland is Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights. Iceland is one of the best places on earth to whiteness this extraordinary beauty. The spectacle of Aurora Borealis requires dark & clear skies and the best time of the year is between September and April where Iceland gets only 2-4 hours of daylight in midwinter. You can also check out the Aurora forecast displaying the cloud coverage above the country and a 9-point scale solar activity, where if you see the level above 4 you will definitely experience some amazing color displays.

 

The Golden Circle

One of the best things to do on the first trip to Iceland is to drive the Golden Circle. It is a tourist route covering approximately 250-300 km and loops from the capital city to the center of Iceland and back. There are multiple spots from where you can adore the beauty of the country, but there are three main points you shouldn’t miss! Gullfoss Waterfall as Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfall, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park which is the only UNESCO World Heritage in Iceland. It is also a place where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates drift away from each other every year. With a bridge in between the tectonic plates, you can walk from Europe to North America within a matter of seconds.

The Golden Circle can take about 4-5 hours, but if you give yourself some extra time to take a photo, relax and enjoy this stunning route it can easily take a whole day.

(Gullfoss Waterfall)

  

The Geothermal Spa

Lastly, and absolutely worth mentioning is the geothermal spa, Blue Lagoon. The spa is located in a lava field and is famous for its steamy mineral-rich water and soft white silica mud, both of which have healing effects on the skin.

You may ask why is the water blue, and it’s simply because of the way silica—the lagoon’s iconic element—reflects visible light.

Now you are wondering what is silica. It’s a mineral compound consisting of silicon and oxygen with the chemical signature SiO². Never mind...but at least we can agree it’s absolutely magical!

Tip: Blue Lagoon is more crowded during the summer, so make sure to book your spa in advance where you can choose from three different packages.

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