Iceland – the country in which the population of sheep outgrows the human population. It is a country of peaceful and untouched nature. Gracious horses stroll through lush grass with more than enough space to move freely. Experience new landscapes and the hospitality of locals on a daily basis.
Flying to Iceland in summer basically means that you will not have a real summer vacation but if you are lucky, there will be some chilly 15 degrees. However, it is still the best time of the year to travel to this magnificent country as temperatures in winter are not really human friendly and most roads are blocked due to snow and icy conditions. The advantage of the winter season in Iceland is the high possibility of seeing northern lights under the condition of clear skies.
Due to the cold climate and the volcanic activity (around 130 active volcanoes) in Iceland, nature offers spectacular sights all across the country. Especially famous is the so-called Golden circle around Reykjavík, which actually is the most northern capital in the world.
The golden circle combines the most attractive sights around the capital, which all can be reached in a day trip. Most notable are the gulfoss, the geyser and the blue lagoon.
Gulfoss is the biggest and most “exciting” waterfall in Iceland. Each second tremendous water amounts rush down the cliffs. Actually the waterfall also is one of the easiest waterfalls in terms of pronunciation (All the names of waterfalls end with –foss, but usually the first part of the name is way more difficult). However, Gulfoss is also the most touristy waterfall in Iceland, although there are waterfalls that are way more beautiful and breath taking than this one – so in order to see the true beauty and diversity of the island, you need to break out of the “golden-circle” and visit the real countryside (but more on this in the next blog post).
The geyser is a must-see as well. It really is magnificent to experience the strength and uniqueness of nature. Each 8 minutes (approximately) the geyser breaks out in spectacular fashion.
If are down to swimming in hot, turquoise water while being surrounded by cold air temperature, you can check out the Blue lagoon. Personally, I have not been there as I prefer the less touristy Myvatn lagoon, which is located very close to a volcanic crater. You should definitely stop by, but manage your expectations, even there you will not be the only tourist 😉
Defnitely do not miss the Jökulsárlón glacier lake – it is truly spectacular. Take a ride on a rubber boat on the pristine lake with uncountable floating ice sheets. With the rubber boat you actually move very close up to the glacier. In that way you start realizing the magnificence and the power of the compressed ice in the form of a glacier.
Not to forget, Reykjavík is also located within the golden circle as it is the residence of around 2/3 of the icelandic population and the location of the only international airport (to be more accurate, the airport actually is located in Keflavík) in the country. The main shopping street of the city awakes feelings of a relaxed northern fishing town, with beautifully designed fishing houses. Amongst those you will find many inviting coffee shops and unique bars. Each of them has it´s own style and vibe. Lovely interior and delicious pastries ensure that you will not leave without a little treat for you. But truth is, except for the main shopping street and the water front area, most of the city actually is a bit rusty and not really worth seeing.
What I love about Iceland is its natural diversity. Lush forest, volcanic fields (with golf courses on them sometimes), waterfalls, glaciers, canyons, volcanoes, geysers, mountain ranges, steppes scenery and so much more. There is more than enough to see in this rather small country. And you won´t even see half of it when you stay in this so-called “golden-circle”.