Five Things to Discover About Iceland
Original post: Another World Adventures
Imposing snow-capped mountains rising from the earth, mars like lava fields stretching to the horizon set against lush green wilderness and waterfalls piercing the landscape. The romance and beauty of Iceland is undeniable, in fact the landscape you are met with even as you leave the airport is post card worthy. The natural beauty of the land of fire and ice is the obvious draw to travelling in Iceland, but there are many unique delights to discover:
1. Jólabókaflóð is the Icelandic tradition of gifting a book to families and friends on Christmas Eve. Iceland has a strong literary culture and is a nation of booklovers. Translated as the ‘Christmas book flood’ this festive tradition reflects the Icelandic love of books. Scarcity during World War II created limited gifting options as imports were restricted, so the local book market provided a solution. Now Iceland has an impressive literacy rate and a booming literary culture, in fact 1 in 10 Icelanders will publish a book in their lifetime.
2. The Íslandsbanki Reykjavik Marathon is hosted in the capital in August. Held on the same weekend as Reykjavik Culture Night, the festival atmosphere with music on every corner keeps runners moving through the course. As you run you are treated to mountain views from the seafront, the view of the Harpa concert hall and the beauty of the Tjörnin pond and old town. The views are breath-taking and the support from local Icelanders is phenomenal with families offering you sweets, baked goods (and even bacon) along the route with banging pots to cheer you on.
3. All warm water on the island is geothermal. The volcanic island is covered in hot springs, boiling fumaroles, bubbling mud pits, or spouting geysers but many natural pools are the perfect temperature for bathing. For a different bathing experience, you can opt for the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can swim all year round in milky turquoise hot water with medicinal qualities. The combination of sea water and fresh water heated beneath the earth, create a healing mixture of silica, algae, and minerals. The Blue Lagoon is a unique experience as it is actually heated by clean waste water from the geothermal plant next door, but the island is covered with hot springs to discover, you can travel across Iceland in search of the perfect bathing experience.
4. As the name implies, 11% of Iceland is covered by glaciers. Jökulsárlón on the south eastern coast of the island is a deep lake filled with icebergs. Jökulsárlón sits south of Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. The lake is fed with ice from the glacier. You can boat across the lagoon through the ice, as it floats on turquoise water reflecting a spectrum of intense blue colours. The lagoon is filled with sea and glacial water which causes its unique colour, it is also teeming with wildlife from seals to birds.
5. The Icelandic horse is emblematic of the nation’s mythology and culture. The horses were brought over with the first settlers and remain a special breed, exclusive to the island. Riding Icelandic horses in winter or in the ever-present sunlight of Icelandic summer is an unforgettable experience. The horses are shorter and sturdier than European breeds with a gentle temperament. Most Icelandic horses have the extra gait called Tölt, where the horse reaches a speed before a canter. The experience of trekking with horses through the natural breath-taking beauty of the wilderness is an extraordinary memory to add to your Icelandic experience.
Post by: Natalie Pougher
From exploring Reykjavik, to discovering the delights of hot springs, to running marathons and taking in stunning landscapes on horseback, Another World Adventures can help you enjoy Iceland and all its offerings with trips including: