Seven Very Distinctive Issues You Can do in Iceland
The Land of Glaciers, Sizzling Springs, and Fermented Shark
Iceland is an incredible, magical nation for a lot of causes. Regardless of having a peak of two.3 million international guests in 2018, there are nonetheless many locations the place you would get pleasure from whole solitude and never see one other human being (or automobile) for hours. Some spots really feel such as you’re visiting different planets, with among the most stunning waterfalls and landscapes recognized to mankind. However I’m going to concentrate on the extra distinctive experiences you possibly can have throughout your go to. This stuff aren’t utterly unique to Iceland, however the mixture of all of them most likely are.
Hike on a Glacier
Going on a glacier hike is a really surreal expertise. After all, glaciers might be hiked on in another components of the world, however the ones in Iceland appear fairly distinctive. There are two major glaciers you possibly can take a guided stroll on. Sólheimajökull has ash all around the snow from the close by volcano and Svínafellsjökull has extra of a “blue ice” look to it. You’ll need to strap crampons to your boots, wield an ice-ax, and be prepared for a superb three hours of mountain climbing on uneven ice and snow. Your information will level out moulins, sculptures, and crevices — and present you simply how briskly the glacier is melting. You possibly can even strive your expertise at mountain climbing or go to an ice cave in the event you’re right here within the winter.
Loosen up in Sizzling Springs
OK, so sizzling springs are actually not unique to Iceland, however some can have very distinctive traits. Blue Lagoon, the preferred one, may very well be mistaken for an alien panorama with its milky blue waters amongst black volcanic rock. This lagoon is definitely not pure, because the water is a byproduct of the close by geothermal energy plant. The waters are stated to include therapeutic properties due to the excessive silica, salt, and algae content material within the water. There’s additionally a swim-up bar, so what extra may you need?
There are lots of different sizzling springs (and sizzling tubs) in Iceland — some utterly pure and secluded and a few commercialized. One other distinctive one is the Reykjadalur Sizzling Spring Thermal River. About an hour hike will take you to a whole river of naturally heat water, surrounded by otherworldly landscapes. The midnight solar can improve the dreamlike high quality of those locations. All through the late spring/early summer season months, it won’t get totally darkish exterior — the sky will stay in a perpetual state of twilight. Additionally, the climate exterior might be brutal any time of yr. Don’t be shocked when snow or ice pellets begin to fall with excessive winds piercing by way of your pores and skin, making the nice and cozy water even cozier.
In the event you actually need to really feel like an area, you must go to a swimming pool. Iceland would possibly simply have probably the most swimming swimming pools per capita of any nation — it’s typically stated that there’s one in each city, regardless of how small. These swimming pools are often heated and embrace sizzling tubs as properly. Hanging out on the native pool is a spot the place pals, households, and neighbors of all ages can chat and gossip, and easily chill out or have enjoyable. Some have superb backdrops of mountains, fjords, and ocean views.
If Iceland’s obtained you feeling a bit chilly, you possibly can enterprise inside the Þríhnúkagígur volcano (don’t fear, it’s dormant). Equip your helmet, harness, and headlamp, and take the quick hike and elevator trip down. After exploring the colourful magma chamber a bit, you’ll return to the floor and be served a pleasant, heat bowl of meat (or veggie) soup, and a few espresso or tea.
Puffins might be seen of their pure habitat in a number of completely different spots in Iceland, however most of them are in pretty distant areas. Dyrhólaey may be probably the most accessible one, however they won’t at all times be there. Different locations the place it’s potential to see them embrace Borgarfjörður Eystri, Látrabjarg, or Vestmannaeyjar. In the event you’re going to enterprise out to considered one of these locations, be sure you do your analysis although. Puffins are solely there at sure occasions of the yr. These locations may be far out of your manner, requiring traversing many miles of unpaved roads or taking a ferry.
Eat Fermented Shark (Amongst Different Issues)
Attempting Hákarl most likely isn’t on most individuals’s to-do lists, however I personally heard a lot about it that I needed to expertise it. I’ve seen movies and heard of celebrities gagging or spitting this out and naturally thought “I need to do that.” Hákarl is a nationwide dish of Iceland consisting of a sure kind of shark that’s cured and dried. The meat is in any other case toxic to people. The very first thing my spouse & I did in Iceland was drive over to Café Loki for an Icelandic feast together with Hákarl with a shot of Brennivín. It really wasn’t as dangerous as I believed. It smells strongly of “cleaning products,” however the style isn’t as dangerous because the odor. It’s very chewy and has a slight smoky taste and solely a tinge of ammonia.
You’ll be able to strive different unique animals as properly, specifically Minke whale, Icelandic horse, reindeer, and smoked puffin. Wait, puffins? The identical lovely puffins you had been simply speaking about? Now earlier than you chastise me for consuming cute animals, hear me out. Sure, these animals may not be consumed by on a regular basis Icelanders, and are focused a bit extra to vacationers. Nevertheless, after I journey someplace, I actually need to expertise the tradition as a lot as potential. Consuming these animals have been a part of Iceland’s tradition at one cut-off date they usually’re ample on the island. Earlier than air journey, Iceland was an especially remoted place, and I’m certain its inhabitants had to make use of all of the assets they might to outlive. I imagine as a traveler that you must attempt to expertise issues that you would be able to’t expertise again residence, even when they make you barely uncomfortable.
I’ll say that every one the meals in Iceland is basically good. There’s something about the best way they taste issues that leaves you feeling completely glad. Different must-try meals embrace: smoked trout, pickled herring, arctic char, Icelandic sizzling canine (containing beef, lamb, and pork), skyr (Icelandic yogurt), geyser bread (bread cooked underground with geothermal warmth), rye bread ice cream (sounds unusual but it surely’s superb), Fiskisúpa (conventional fish soup), Harðfiskur (dried fish), Icelandic candies and sweets (particularly with licorice), loads of lamb dishes, and naturally, Icelandic beer — my favourite is Einstök. You possibly can most likely make a whole journey out of simply attempting Icelandic meals — a number of meals excursions and distinctive farms with eating places are scattered across the nation.
Stroll in Between two Continents
Iceland straddles the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. These plates are shifting other than one another and you may witness that in a number of locations on the island. First, the primary hike in between the steep cliffs in Þingvellir Nationwide Park is the place the plates are pulling aside. In the event you’re feeling tremendous adventurous, you would even go scuba-diving within the frigid waters between the plates within the close by lake. The much less thrilling Miðlína is a bridge constructed between the 2 plates over on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Krafla is a volcanic caldera that can also be on the plate boundary within the northeastern a part of the nation close to Mývatn, though it’s much less apparent.
Sure, there’s a museum in Iceland devoted to everybody’s favourite male genitalia. Let’s be trustworthy — none of us can be right here with out it, proper? That is considerably touristy, however I imagine the one considered one of its type in the complete world and can take lower than an hour to take a look at. Specimens from a number of hundred species might be discovered right here together with each land and sea mammal within the nation, in addition to loads of *ahem* memorabilia. It’s fascinating if you wish to be taught a bit about biology and it additionally showcases Icelander’s openness about sexuality and humorousness.