Just writing these posts make me long for Iceland.
For the longest time I've been wondering what exactly it is about Iceland that makes my heart so happy, that makes my soul yearn to be back there.
Is it the landscapes? Is there something in that pure water? Is it something in the air? Maybe it's all that natural, untouched, unspoilt beauty. Or maybe (probably) the silence and isolation, and the power of mother nature.
I read an article from Caz of yTravelBlog about Soul Homes and Travel Callings and I realised that Iceland is definitely a soul home for me. A place where you feel "I'm home". And not to mention that Iceland is said to be one of the spiritual energy chakras of the world.
Anyway, enough reminiscing.
Places you have to see in Iceland - yes, based on our short 10 day trip:
It's hard to tell you what to see and we missed so many things, but if you can, see everything!; there are so many beautiful places to see.
The Golden Circle makes a loop from Reykjavik along the ring road to many of the major attractions and can be done in a couple of days (4 they say) This includes the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Black Sand Beaches in Vik and Reynisdrangar, Waterfalls, Geysers, and Volcanoes.
1. Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon
Take a Zodiac tour on the Glacier Lagoon. You have to dress up in a big thermal onesie and harness, then with a Zodiac, you cruise through the lagoon to the big glacier.
It is truly amazing, and make for great photos.
I booked online with Icelagoon.is at 30 000 ISK (R 3 243.00) for 4 people, but so worth it.
2. Myvatn Area , Myvatn Nature Baths
The Myvatn Nature Baths in the North close to Akureyri are amazing and not as expensive and touristy as the Blue Lagoon.
The water has all the amazing minerals you need to replenish your skin and feel relaxed and revitalised again.
Myvatn lake is a great place to discover nature and birdlife, or have a picnic.
Dettifoss is reputed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The water seems greyish white, as it carries sediment from the Vatnajakoll glacier. We nicknamed it "dirty-foss" for this reason :-).
The water comes crashing down a 44m drop, causing a spray that can be seen from far away.
To get to the waterfall, you walk from a small car park through a field of rocks and boulders, And even though you can hear the rumbling water, you cannot imagine that on the other side of this field, there is such a spectacular show of nature. This in my opinion, adds to the drama, and the beauty of the changing landscapes of Iceland.
Then there is the beauty of Godafoss waterfall.
Godafoss, or Waterfall of the gods, is massive, but the clear blue waters makes it so much more magnificent.
A lava rock field in North East Iceland. You haven't seen anything like it before. Dimmuborgir means "dark castles" and believe me, they are.
A tarred pathway makes for easy walking and navigation through the field, and there are different paths.
There is a little cafe on-site that sells amazing hot chocolate for those cold wintery days.
There is also Hverir, the large geothermal field, with pools of boiling mud and steam, and of course, the now familiar smell of sulpher.
This is how we'd imagine some other planet would look like.
Don't miss the little turnoff from the main road to Hverir (or Dimmuborgir) through the geothermal area to see Grjótagjá: the cave from the Game of Thrones series (I know you know which one I'm talking about). But, it's too hot to go skinny dipping, and there are way too many tourtists around. There is a smaller hotpot close by where you can though.
6. Hvalnes Nature Reserve (or Vik and Reynisdrangar)
We didn't have enough time to see everything we wanted, and because of the rain, things were a bit more difficult. So, we didn't see the full beauty of the black sand beaches.
We did however stop at a little lake just off the Ring Road, with thousands and thousands of black stones, as far as the eye could see! We couldn't find the end, assuming it ends by the ocean.But it was still amazing.
The reserve is a great place for bird watching, and if your lucky, you can see swans swimming in the lake.
7. Strokkur Geysir
In the South West of Iceland, this geysir is a popular tourist attraction on the Golden Circle.
It erupts every 6 - 10 minutes. It is quite exciting.
As it is in an active geothermal area with other mud pools and pods, there are set pathways you have to stick to, but you can walk in between pools of boiling water.
This canyon in South East Iceland is 100m deep and 2 km's long with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it. It was created over millenia through erosion of water from glaciers flowing over the rocks.
But it is a truly spectacular sight, making for awesome picturesque photos.
9. Thingvellir National Park
Accessible from the Golden Circle, more inland you will find Thingvellir. This is the most important place in Iceland. Here, the first general assembly or Althing was established around 930. And many important events have taken place here.
You can walk through the mid-Atlantic Rift, so in between 2 continents of Europe and North America.
Don't miss snorkeling in the Silfra Fissure between the 2 continents.
There are many more places to see in Iceland, depending on the seasons, like ice caves and whale watching. We just did not have enough time to do everything.
You can read more on how to plan your trip to Iceland below.