Top 5 Otherworldly Sights in Iceland (That Aren’t Waterfalls)
If you haven’t already noticed, traveling to Iceland has shot to the top of a lot of peoples’ bucket lists this year, and for good reason! It might be the excellent airfare prices being offered that drew attention to the island, but it’s the natural phenomena of the country that are really reeling people in.
Though Iceland may be famous for its numerous (and truly beautiful) waterfalls, these waterfalls and the ever-famous Blue Lagoon are certainly not the only things that Iceland has to offer. In fact, certain sights in Iceland will make you think you’ve stepped foot on a completely different planet!
When driving through the Landmannalaugar Highlands, based at the edge of the Laugahraun lava field, you may think you’ve managed to secure yourself a trip to Mars. Then, drive a little further and it will appear that you’re staring directly at a real life oil-painting. The stunning highlands are known for their geothermal hot springs and their unmistakable and colorful volcanic rock formations, and are located near the base of Hekla – one of Iceland’s most active volcanoes.
Lava Formations of Dimmuborgir
Dark cities, dark castles and dark forts are some of the direct ways to translate Dimmuborgir, which help to paint the picturesque scene that lies within the lava formations just east of Mývatn in Northern Iceland. Formed by an eruption in the Þrengslaborgir and Lúdentsborgir crater row, flowing lava pooled over the land and water and lead to something fascinating. The heat of the lava mixed with the marshy water led to vapor rising through the lava formations and crusted over to form pillar-like structures that solidified and remain to this day. Some of the structures are meters in diameter, width and height, and thus have been dubbed castles as they tower over the tourists that awe in their splendor.
Black Sand Beaches
Located right near the village of Vík, the southernmost village in Iceland, you’ll find one of the most unique looking beaches in the world: the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. Consisting of tiny fragments of basalt, the black sand beaches are a result of eruptions from nearby volcanoes. Both offshore and in the sea, you’ll find the basalt columns of Reynisdrangar – the tall columns formed by volcanoes are the backdrop of crashing white waves amidst the dark and mysterious landmark.
This eutrophic lake and its surrounding areas area a must-see when visiting Northern Iceland. First, it has its own geothermal lagoon that is similar to the Blue Lagoon, and yet has the serenity that the bustling and tourist-ridden Blue Lagoon just cannot offer.
The lake itself is abound with wildlife, and nestled between contrasting rocky lava fields and marshy, lush pastures. In surrounding areas, you’ll find bubbling mud pools and geothermal caves, and just a short ways away is Dettifoss – Europe’s most powerful waterfall. Mývatn is also the area in which the Lava Formations of Dimmuborgir reside, so it’s easy to see so many amazing places within such close proximity.
Geysers, also sometimes referred to as hot springs, plainly put are discharges of water from the ground that shoot up toward the sky and are followed by gusts of steam and vapor. How does this happen, you ask? Geysers are found near active volcanic areas where surrounding surface water makes its way down to depths on average of 6,600 feet underground. When the water reaches molten rocks, it boils and the pressurized water ignites and the geyser effect occurs as a hydrothermal explosion.
The Great Geysir in Southwestern Iceland was the very first geyser known to modern Europeans. It can spout boiling water up to 230 feet in the air, but at times the eruptions can be quite infrequent. The Great Geysir is part of the many geyser fields in Iceland and are quite a sight to see.
By: Alessia Piccolo
Travel: as a writer, it’s been my pencil; as an inquisitor, it’s been my teacher; as an adventurer, it’s been my influencer; as an explorer, it’s been my compass. It’s taught me lessons you can’t find in books, brought me places you can’t find in dreams, and has changed my perception of everything that surrounds me.
I can’t wait to share my passion and expertise with you in this wonderful world of travel, and help you live out experiences that will change your perception of the world too. Contact me at email@example.com to start planning the Icelandic getaway of your dreams.