Think of Iceland and images of Bjork may spring to mind, but the homeland of this famous, eccentric singer is also home to a world of geothermal activity.
In fact, Iceland is one of the most magical destinations in the world due to its natural phenomena.
Although backpacking here isn’t really possible on the cheap, since the collapse of the Icelandic Banks in 2008 this county is more economical than ever, and a visit here will literally blow your mind.
The best way to see the island is either on a tour or hiring a car with a guide to Iceland.
There really is so much to see here that this unique land deserves a full two weeks at least to explore.
Visit at the right time of year and you’ll be able to experience a winter wonderland and try your hand at dog sledding or snowmobiling.
Or you could be in for a treat if you visit during October and March to see the Aurora Borealis – the wonder of the Northern Lights.
Go here in the summer and you’ll experience the Midnight sun, nearly 24 hours of daylight.
Reykjavík is the capital and this quirky city is like no other.
This is the world’s most northern capital and it has a wacky charm with many weird and wonderful statues.
The city appears to never sleep so don’t expect to go out until late in the night here.
The Hallgrimskirkja Church is a jagged feat of architecture which can be seen from anywhere in the city but the best place to see it is from The Pearl, an observation tower with panoramic views of the city.
Pop into the Viking museum inside for an insight into the country’s past.
Boat trips run from here and this country is ideal for whale watching with more than twenty types of whales in the Icelandic waters.
There’s also an abundance of puffins (a type of sea-bird) and puffin colonies can be found of the coast.
Iceland is known for its active volcanoes, and Mount Eyjafjallajokull put Iceland in the news when it erupted in 2010.
This area is worth a visit just to see the volcano and there are two waterfalls to see there.
For more active eruptions, head to Stokkur for the erupting geysers.
If you take a tour of the Golden Circle Tour, you’ll see Jokulsarlon – a landscape of glaciers and icebergs which appears to be ever-changing but Europe’s largest glacier is at Vatnajokull, where the river runs into the glacier.
From an icy landscape to a greener one.
Hvergaldi is a garden city with greenhouses and small Icelandic horses or visit Hofn for its small harbor and colorful boats.
The Blue Lagoon
But the most famous sight here has to be the Blue Lagoon.
Located near the airport, it’s the perfect stopover before you fly back home.
The blue milky waters of this lagoon are said to have a healing property and the experience comes complete with a natural mud pack.
It feels as though it’s the largest bath in the world and there is also a bar within this unique lava field for the perfect ending to your Icelandic trip.
This story was brought to you in partnership with Guide to Iceland.
Lisa Eldridge is a travel journalist specialising in solo travel. Her background in the travel industry fuelled her passion to see the world and for the last seventeen years, she has travelled extensively as a solo traveller, living and working in numerous countries. She has now been to 100 countries and 60 of these solo.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
What Way Today
Wednesday 30th of March 2016
One of the most beautiful countries we have visited and definitely echo your thoughts about hiring a car, so much to see. http://whatwaytoday.com/iceland-self-drive-beats-guided-tours-around-reykjavik-the-golden-circle-and-the-southern-shores/
Thursday 31st of March 2016
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Saturday 29th of August 2015
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