Seven Naturally Stunning Reasons to Visit Iceland
Iceland has an abundance of volcanoes, many of them still active. In fact, Iceland was created by the eruption of volcanoes and cooling of lava along this ridge which makes up Iceland’s entire land surface. Iceland is also the only place in the world where one can see the ridge above the water. With between 30 and 40 active volcanoes, Iceland averages one volcanic eruption every five years.
The same activity that creates the volcanoes also provides Iceland with a continuous supply of geothermal energy which produces warm pools of water in the earth. This energy naturally heats the mineral rich waters making them ideal sites for a refreshing dip. The Blue Lagoon is the most popular pool for tourists offering…
A geyser is like a pressure cooker in the earth. Water under the surface of the earth is heated by geothermal energy until it reaches a boiling point and the water is forced into the air. With just more than 250 geyser fields, Iceland is the largest concentration of geysers per unit area in the world. The geyser at Strokkur erupts approximately every ten minutes and has been recorded to spout water as much as 130 feet high.
The Midnight Sun
Imagine hiking, swimming or even taking a scenic drive at midnight. From mid-June to early July, the days in Iceland only have 2 to 3 hours of darkness (or less depending on your location); the closer to the Arctic the more sunlight. Even an evening of partying will still have you coming out of the club, squinting into the sunlight.
Glaciers and icecaps cover more than 10% of Iceland’s surface area. These huge mountains of ice are incredible to behold and even more exciting to climb. Glaciers form when more snow falls in the winter than can melt in the following summer. The thick mass of ice that forms from the compaction of snow is a glacier. What makes glaciers incredible in addition to their size is their blue appearance. The dense ice of the glacier absorbs every other color of the spectrum except blue–so these enormous ice formations appear blue to the human eye!!
Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are one of nature’s most stunning phenomena and Iceland is the ideal destination for viewing them. The dazzling lights of the aurora are caused by interactions between electrically charged particles from the sun and the earth’s atmosphere. The brilliant shades of red, green and purple are seen above the magnetic pole of the northern hemisphere. At its peak in 2013, the Northern Lights will continue higher than average activity for the next six years.
If the idea of diving in water that is 36 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t appealing, what about the idea of diving between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe? Once again the Mid-Atlantic Ridge provides an occasion to experience nature like no other place on earth. The Silfra ravine features crystal clear water and the opportunity to travel from Europe to North America and back again several times—no visa needed!