Since ‘Winter is coming’, I begin to reminisce about holidays and travel experiences full of snow and ice, epic landscapes of imposing, verdant mountain cliffs receding to calm and crystal lakes, and impressive, powerful waterfalls that transcend you to a mythological, Viking age. After having lived in Sweden for a year and toured Scandinavia, my mind wanders west of Norway’s Oslo, to the more remote island of the enchanting Iceland.
Spoiler Alert: Iceland is definitely for nature lovers…
Iceland’s name is quite misleading; it is covered in green pastures for the most part, whereas its larger, Nordic brother, Greenland, is mostly covered in ice! So if you debunk the …freezing connotation of its name, you will find that Iceland should be a bucket list destination for your next (alternative) nature loving summer escape!
What to see:
A cradle of contradictory natural wonders
The spectacular Godafoss waterfall, literally meaning the waterfall of the gods, is unmissable; nicknamed ‘The Beauty’ as opposed to its more brutal sibling, the ‘Beast’ Dettifoss waterfall, it will leave you in awe. Truly impressive are the Hraunfossar falls as well, that plunge directly from the top of dramatic cliffs and fall into the Hvita river, also known as the lava falls. From downward flowing water forces, to upward streaming steam forces, the Deildartunguhver thermal springs are mostly covered in a veil of vapour, is Europe’s most powerful natural spring! The Pompeii of the North is located on Heimaey island that survived a lava spew in 1973.
What to do:
Experience a wildlife documentary of your own!
Iceland is home to a myriad of special creatures that chances are you will have never seen up close and personal, in their natural environment. From the coastal town of Husavik you can book numerous wildlife sightseeing tours, one of which can take you out to Puffin island (a.k.a. Akurey island) to observe many of the little pelagic seabirds. Marine mammals will confidently make their appearance for you; from humble porpoises and dolphins to more immense humpbacks, minke, fin, sperm, orcas and blue whales, plus sea turtles that bob at the surface.
When and how: