If you want to see natural beauty beyond description, massive waterfalls, gushing geysers, and frozen glaciers, then Iceland is the place to visit for your next vacation. An island that’s a part of Europe but closer to North America, it probably has the same amount of locals as they do sheep. Iceland is remarkable in so many ways, but there were a few remarkable things that really stood out to me:
Blue Lagoon Hot Spring
Blue Lagoon is a natural hot spring located just outside of Reykjavik, and it is filled with beautiful, mineral-filled waters that have been known to help better people’s skin after a soak. The people who maintain the hot spring keep it at a perfect temperature, and it naturally cleans itself. There are also mud masks to rejuvenate your skin, and a waterfall in the hot springs.
We spent some time strolling through the town of Reykjavik, which is so quaint, and worth seeing since it is the capital of Iceland. There are a few different cathedrals in Reykjavik that are beautiful, and show a different style of architecture I hadn’t seen before. There is definitely some viking influence still seen around the town! The main street in Reykjavik is filled with local restaurants, fun shops, and located right by the calm water.
The “Golden Circle”
Accessed by driving, the “Golden Circle” covers approximately 185 miles, and takes you along the southern part of the island. There are different natural wonders to stop and see along the way, and these are my favorite stops we made on the journey.
The first stop on the drive is where the Eurasian tectonic plate and the North American tectonic plate meet. It is above sea level, which makes it visible to all those who want to see it, and it is only a short walk to a beautiful waterfall from the tectonic plates. It is a cool sight because Iceland is most likely the only place in the world where you can see two tectonic plates drifting apart above sea level.
The next sight on the list includes geysers and hot springs. The geysers shoot water insanely high in the air, but what makes these ones so great is how often they spout. The hot springs are gorgeous as well, but way too hot to swim in, so you may just want to take a quick look before moving on to the next stop. The next few stops on this path take you to the waterfall section of the drive. (Not all of these waterfalls are part of the “Golden Circle”, but I felt they should be included!)
There are three incredible waterfalls that I think are all worth seeing, and they each have their own individual beauty. The first is the powerful and remarkable Gullfoss waterfall (which is part of the “Golden Circle”). With two falls one after the other and powerful rushing waters, it truly took my breath away. There is a legend that gold is hidden at the bottom of the waterfall, so it makes it all the more enchanting.
The second is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, which is the tallest waterfall and the only one of the three that provides a path to the backside of the waterfall. It was FREEZING COLD running behind the fall, but it was definitely worth it! It is a completely different experience viewing a waterfall from behind, and I absolutely loved it.
The third is Skógafoss, which is tucked away in its own cove, and has a pathway to the top of the waterfall. When we started climbing the stairway to the top, we thought reaching the viewing deck would be it, but we soon came to realize that there was a gorgeous path to continue on if you wanted to hike it. The view of both the land below and the land above felt like we were in a fairytale.
This was the last big sight we visited, and it was probably my favorite because I had never seen anything like it in my life. When we arrived, there were icebergs bigger than ships floating in the freezing cold water, and they had an aqua blue tint to them. I discovered that this is due to the compressed ice squeezing out the air bubbles underneath, making the ice crystals larger. There’s not only ice in the water, though. If you look closely, seals glide beneath the water, and puffins are seen around the area.
Black Sand Beach
If you have some extra time after traveling the golden circle, I would recommend visiting Vik. It is a charming little town, and there is a black sand beach located there as well. The sand is fine, and feels just like regular sand, but it is mostly basalt (a type of lava rock), making it different, unique, and black in color.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to see the raw beauty of Iceland, and I hope you have the chance to visit Iceland someday too!