Monday, 8 May 2017

Iceland - Lots of green and lots of ice

The polar region around Iceland offers its own distinctive beauty

By Brett Goulston

Iceland conjures up images of a remote island in the arctic, with freezing temperatures and a small population. After all, who could live on an island in the middle of nowhere with icy cold winds blowing for most of the year? 


While this is pretty much true, there are still many reasons to visit this relatively large island - put aside your preconceived ideas and visit Iceland during the summer months and find out why 
it is becoming more and more popular with tourists.

Iceland has amazing, unique scenery. Most of the coastal areas – particularly along the south coast – are bright green with waterfalls, mountains and valleys. Icelandic sheep and Icelandic horses running around, are in abundance. The entire island is bursting with seismic activity which makes it fascinating, not just for the scientists among us. We all remember when the 
unpronounceable volcano – Eyjafjallaj√∂kull  erupted in April 2010 and shut down many international flights as the ash drifted around the world. There are many hot water springs to take a dip in and while the locals will tell you its highly therapeutic, my experience is that you’ll end up looking like a prune if you stay in too long. Then there are the black volcanic sandy beaches, so vastly different to ours but just as beautiful. Apart from searching Google images, the next best way to get a feel for the scenery is to watch the Hollywood movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller, much of which is filmed in Iceland! 

The locals – a bit like the Scandinavians 
 could not be considered overly friendly but just the same, they are certainly happy to have a chat with you. They are a creative bunch and might appear a little quirky which is a much better word than strange. If they offer you a brenniven  their version of schnapps  you are obliged to say yes. It would be rude not to! 
 
Whale watching in the north is definitely worth the effort. Boats leave from Husavik township and depending on the time of year, you are (almost) guaranteed to spot minkes and humpbacks.  


The food is Scandinavian-esque. Fish, dairy and lamb is found at most eating places. And you’ll also find the history fascinating: just why did the Vikings decide to settle in this remote destination a little over a thousand years ago?  


Come and visit Iceland with Blue Dot Travel which include Svalbard, Norway.  Our next available small group tour departs in June 2018 tour and circumnavigates the island over 12 days. You’ll agree that there’s lots of green and lots of ice!  Click here for more information. 


Iceland travel map

Verdant hills with thrashing waterfalls are found all around Iceland

Polar bears
Atlantic puffin

Akureyri, Iceland's second city

Black volcanic sands on the southern shores                                                                                               

Stunning waterfalls are a feature of Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Iceland’s most famous bathing lagoon

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