topping bucket lists, wooing nature lovers, and dazzling increasing numbers of
visitors – there seems no end to the talents of this breathtaking northern
From the moment you
set foot in Iceland, you will feel as if you are on another planet. The
spectacular landscapes are the main attraction that must be seen in Iceland,
nature occurs in this country in a wonderful way, dotted with volcanic landscapes
and superb waterfalls. Its incessant eruptive activity endows the island with a
multitude of hot springs.
Culture & History
Don't for a minute think it's all about the great outdoors. The
counterpoint to so much natural beauty is found in Iceland's cultural life,
which celebrates a literary legacy that stretches from medieval sagas to
contemporary thrillers by way of Nobel Prize winners.
its sagas turned brutes into poets, and its
stories of huldufólk (hidden people) may make believers out of skeptics. Here
you'll find some of the world's highest concentrations of dreamers, authors,
artists, and musicians, all fuelled by their surroundings.
Iceland is not concerned with endless winter
nights, isolation, or a small population with a passion for culture. Iceland's
literary heritage begins with its medieval sagas and extends to its current
best-selling Nordic crime novels. Bloody and mystical, the sagas from the late
s. XII and the s. XIII are one of Iceland's greatest cultural achievements. The
Passíusálmar (Psalms of the Passion) by Reverend Hallgrímur Pétursson, from
1659, sung or read during Lent, became a success.
Icelanders seem to play in some group and the country produces a
disproportionate number of musicians of international stature. The lifestyle
and landscapes inspire artists in film, art and design.
Live music is everywhere, as is a visual art,
handicrafts, and locavore cuisine. The world's most northerly capital is home
to the kind of egalitarianism, green thinking, and effortless style that its
Nordic brethren are famous for – all of which is wrapped in Iceland's assured
Iceland is famous for
its stunning scenery, but it also has delicious and hearty local food.
Icelandic dishes are made with high-quality ingredients such as fresh fish and
grass-fed lamb. One of the best ways to experience a culture is through food
literally means "plucked fish," is a good fish stew. A popular
Icelandic meal, it is usually made with cod, haddock or halibut, along with
potatoes, onions, butter, and milk. It is served with a side of dark rye bread
and a little butter.
This delicious tart is
made from rhubarb jam, oatmeal, and brown sugar. The name hjónabandssaela
translates to "happy marriage cake," and the story goes that cake,
like marriage, improves over time.
Icelandic soup, kjötsúpa is made with bone-in lamb and vegetables (such as
potatoes, kohlrabi, and carrots). It also usually has leeks, onions, and dried
In Reykjavik, the capital, you
will find the most remarkable buildings in the country. The Lutheran cathedral
or the Parliament building stand out. In the National Museum you will find a
splendid collection of objects and utensils that the Icelandic people have used
throughout the centuries, and several objects of the island's religion and
folklore, among which the door of a 12th century church stands out.
representing a battle.
A visit to the Vatnajokull
National Park, one of the most impressive natural parks in the country, should
always be included. The nature reserve, covering more than 48,000 square
kilometers, includes the Vatnajokull glacier, the second largest in Europe.
Afterwards, you can enjoy a pleasant boat trip on Lake Jökulsárlón, dotted with
icebergs that are born in the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
In the village of Akureyri you can
visit the Glaumbær Ethnological Museum, which has an impressive collection of
traditional Icelandic farms. Among these centuries-old buildings you can
discover more about the rural traditions of this country.
Outdoors & Adventure
An underpopulated island marooned near the top
of the globe, Iceland is, literally, a country in the making. It's a vast
volcanic laboratory where mighty forces shape the earth: geysers gush, mudpots
gloop, ice-covered volcanoes rumble, and glaciers cut great pathways through
the mountains. Its supercharged splendor seems designed to remind visitors of
their utter insignificance in the greater scheme of things. And it works a
treat: some crisp clean air, an eyeful of the cinematic landscapes, and
everyone are transfixed.
It's the power of Icelandic nature to turn
prosaic into the extraordinary. A dip in a pool becomes a soak in a geothermal
lagoon; a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering glacier;
and a quiet night of camping may mean front-row seats to the aurora borealis’
curtains of light, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun. Iceland has a
transformative effect on people too.
Dettifoss Falls offers something unique in
Iceland: sightseeing in the largest waterfalls in Europe. Up to 500 cubic
meters of water fall every second through this superb waterfall. Also
interesting are the Goðafoss waterfalls, one of the best known in the country,
whose name means "waterfall of the gods".
In the vicinity of Lake Myvatn you will find
one of the most breathtaking landscapes in Iceland, created by volcanic
eruptions. The craters of Skútustaðir, in the vicinity of the lake, were
produced when the lava melted with the cold waters of the lake and caused
explosions that damaged the ground. For its part, Dimmuborgir, also in the
surroundings, is a huge expanse of whimsical lava formations. In ancient times,
Icelanders thought that this was the gateway to Hell.
warmth of Icelanders is disarming, as is their industriousness – they’ve worked
hard to recover from financial upheaval, and to transform Iceland into a
destination that, thanks to its popularity with visitors, can host more than
six times its population each year. Pause and consider a medium-sized city in
your country – then give it far-flung universities, airports, and hospitals to
administer, 30-odd active volcanoes to monitor, and hundreds of hotels to run.
How might they cope? Could they manage as well as the Icelanders – and still
have time left over to create spine-tingling music and natty knitwear?