I know I am not alone when I say that I can blame Björk for my love for Iceland. It was her that first made me pay attention to this lonely island between Europe and the Americas.
I still remember seeing Björk in a video, walking around a black sand beach and playing around a drum machine. That moment is stuck in my head and it was there that I knew I had to see that beach that looked nothing like any beach I ever seen in my life.
But I never been to Iceland. Until now, everything that I know about the country is based on documentaries, pictures and youtube videos. Because of that, I decided to start a new category of posts on Fotostrasse where we post about the places that we want to go and what do we want to see there. Iceland is the first place on this endless list of destinations.
Too bad my skills as a driver are bad or I could share with Marcela the task of handling an Iceland road trip but… I can take care of the map! And, as you can see on below, we are going to need some times to explore everything we want to see in Iceland.
Lets go straight to the point now and go with the 10 Places We Need to Visit in Iceland.
Reynisfjara, the most beautiful black sand beach in Iceland
Reynisfjara is the most beautiful black sand beach in Iceland and, possibly, the world. Located near the village of Vík í Myrdal, this beach is famous for its sea stacks called Reynisdrangar. The legend says that they were created when two trolls dragged a masted ship to land and where surprised by daylight. When daylight broke, they became needles of rock.
In the west part of the beach, you are going to see the amazing Dyrhólaey and its lighthouse. A perfect place to take pictures and enjoy the amazing view with the big glacier Mýrdalsjökull to the north and Reynisdrangar to the east.
Dettifoss and Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Europe and this is a place of size. Iceland’s highest mountain is there too, with its unspeakable name Hvannadalshnúkur. Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier can be found in the park too. But, what first caught my attention about this place was Dettifoss, Europe’s most powerful waterfall. If you saw the movie Prometheus, you know this waterfall.
The name of this place can be translated as glacial river lagoon, literally. Jökulsárlón is situated at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and it became a lake after it started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Its size varies because of the melting glacier and, because of that, it just become the deepest lake in Iceland. If you remember James Bond’s A View to a Kill, you already know this beautiful lake.
Lake Mývatn and Dimmuborgir
Mývatn is a shallow lake surrounded by wetlands in an area of active volcanism. The mixture of wetlands and volcanism created a lake with a lot of nutrients that attracts insects and a lot of birds. If you like bird watching, we should go there together and take pictures of everything.
In the east of the lake you can find a large area of unusually shaped lava fields, filled with volcanic caves and rock formations. This place is called Dimmuborgir and, if you know anything about norwegian black metal, you will recognize the name. This dramatic structures are one of Iceland’s most popular natural tourist attractions.
The Capital of North Iceland is the nickname that Akureyri got because of its importance as a port and fishing center. But I want to go there to explore this very picturesque town located close to a scenic fjord.
Some people may ask if the city is a tourist destination in its own right and by the pictures I saw from Akureyri, I believe it is.
Every time I see a video from Iceland, there is always a thermal spring there somehow. When I visit Iceland, I need to go to one of those and what better place to visit that the most powerful hot spring in Europe? Deildartunguhver provides 180 liters of 100ª hot water a second and it is an amazing beautiful sight.
Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is another place where you can see how beautiful the nature is in Iceland. The park lies in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and has the largest natural lake in Iceland.
The park is also where the Icelandic Parliament was established in 930. They remained there until 1798 and the park was found in 1930, marking 1000th anniversary of Alþingi, the name of the parliament in Icelandic.
Lake Lagarfljot and Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest
Lagarfljót is a lake famous for being the place where the icelandic version of the Loch Ness monster lives. Lagarfljótsormurinn is the name of the worm monster that supposedly lives in the bottom of the lake. Sightings of the creature have been logged since 1345 and there is even a 2012 video where you can see the Iceland Worm Monster!
Near the lake is where you can find Hallormsstaðaskógur Forest, Iceland’s biggest forest. The forest is filled with hiking trails and it must be the best place to photograph a different side of Iceland!
On the most western part of Iceland is where you are going to find Snæfellsjökull, a 700,000 year old stratovolcano. This mountain is one of the most famous sites of Iceland and it all stared in 1864, when Jules Verne pointed the volcano as the entrance to a passage leading to the center of the earth in Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
In the summer, you can climb the volcano without many problems and it must be an amazing view!
Vigur Island and The Arctic Fox Center
Vigur is a picturesque island inhabited by thousands of birds in Iceland’s Westfjords. There are only 5 people in the island – a farmer and his family – and visiting the area feels like a trip back in time. The island is also the place where you can see Iceland’s only windmill.
Around the Westfjords is where you are going to find the Arctic Fox Center, the only place where you can learn everything about the only native terrestrial mammal of Iceland!
The featured picture on this article is from Moyan Brenn.