Iceland’s sights, photos and descriptions

Iceland’s sights, photos and descriptions

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal basin, known throughout the world. Moreover, it is really unique. The lagoon the color of the sky is the true symbol of the northern country and one of the favorite Scandinavian resorts. Due to the unique composition of the water, bacteria simply do not survive in the Blue Lagoon.

Tingvellir

It was in Tingvellir that the assembly point of the parliament, the so-called Althingi, was located, which was decided more than a thousand years ago in 930 by the first settlers to begin the formation of a new nation, the Icelanders. It is believed that after that the warring Viking descendants united into one nation.

Imagine World Tower

One of the most moving monuments dedicated to a loved one is the brainchild of Yoko Ono, the famous widow of the legendary Beatle John Lennon. But like everything the couple did, the monument cannot be called a mere block of stone – it is a global work of art in its intent and message to the world.

Gudlfoss Falls

According to a beautiful legend, at the beginning of the 20th century the tenant’s daughter wanted to jump off a cliff to protest against building a power plant on the land where Gudlfoss is located. A monument to the brave girl stands on top of the same rock.

Mount Esia

A volcano that has been erupting for 2 or 3 million years, the guardian angel of Reykjavík and one of the most common names of blond Icelandic girls, all this is Mount Esja, 10 km from the capital for the joy of all panorama view lovers.

Höykadalur Geyser Valley

Haukadalur Valley of Geysers is a part of the popular sightseeing itinerary the Golden Ring of Iceland, and the proximity to the capital Reykjavik makes it the most popular attraction. Geysers are a rare, unusual natural phenomenon, and you can see them in close proximity here.

Hövdi House.

A fascinating history of a small mansion that appeared on the northern lands of the capital of Iceland without the knowledge of the authorities, makes day after day crowds of tourists to approach to, alas, closed to visitors Hövdi house, peep through the windows and take traditional “selfies” on its background.

The Golden Ring of Iceland

Golden Ring is not only in Russia, this is the name of the most favorite tourist route in small island Iceland. Its significant part is occupied by national parks and natural attractions, especially a lot of them in the southern part, through which the Golden Ring runs.

Whale Fjord.

Hval Fjord means “whale fjord” in Icelandic. It is located on the western shores of Iceland between Mosfellsbair and Akranes and was named for the whale that occasionally appears from the shore.

Harpa concert hall and convention center

A new jewel in Reykjavik’s collection, which appeared on the city map not long ago, is the Harpa Concert and Congress Center, which won the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Architecture Prize in 2013. The striking building resembles a spaceship from the future.

Perlan Cultural Center

The avant-garde, extravagant, and simply oddball Björk was not born in Reykjavik by chance. Where else in the world could this fragile young lady with crazy ideas and brilliant voice have grown up than in Iceland, where the city boiler room is turned into a cultural center?

Landakotskirkja

You can’t say that Iceland in general and Reykjavik in particular can boast a wealth of architectural sights. But they do not need it, as it is more than compensated by the wonderful colors of life and, of course, nature.

National Museum of Iceland

Icelanders call their national museum a place where the Nordic sagas are closely intertwined with actual history. The exhibition, located in the huge building by the standards of the island, covers the history of the country from the appearance of the first people here to the present day.

Lake Cered.

In ancient times, Lake Kerid was thought to be bottomless and connected to the ocean by an underground channel. In the 20th century, scientists searched its bottom along and across, but found no secret passage, but we saw a correlation between the depth of the reservoir and the water table.

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Videi Island

Videi Island is a unique place, but little-known even to those tourists who ventured out into the frozen expanses of this ancient and beautiful country, like an elven saga. And no wonder: the beauty of national parks, thermal geysers and waterfalls overshadow the seemingly inconspicuous island of land.

Sun Voyager Monument

One of the most elaborate and brilliant sculptures in the world, “The Sun Voyager” or “The Sun Traveler”, is a Russian translation of this monument. Created from sketches by the talented Icelandic artist Jon Gunnar Arnason, the Sun Voyager was installed on the waterfront of Reykjavik

Reykjavik City Hall

One of the most controversial landmarks of the capital of Iceland, located in the heart of the city and still causing much discussion and sometimes condemnation by locals. Of course, we are talking about Reykjavik City Hall.

Arbaejarsafn Folklore Museum

The largest open-air museum in Iceland, which is housed in 30 buildings and introduces visitors to “Reykjavik leaving” is Arbaejarsafn, a real treasure trove of original folklore, amazing traditions and ancient architecture of this northern country.

Hadlgrimskirkja

Powerful, utterly futuristic, and rudely piercing the skies, the Lutheran church of Hadlegrimskirkja would look more organic in Babylon 5 than in the middle of one of the Old World’s capitals. Most orthodox tourists are confused by the church’s appearance.

Skaulholt Church

Skaulholt Church is located in the town of the same name in the south of Iceland, on the banks of the river Hvytau. It used to be the very rich farmstead of Gitsur White, one of the first Christian priests. Gitsur himself was a very educated and respected man, and he built a church here.

Iceland is a fabulous “ice country. Anyone who has ever been here, will never forget its extraordinary nature. The heart of Iceland – the city of Reykjavik, where most of the historical sites are concentrated.

Travelers should visit the National Museum and Gallery of Iceland, the church Hallgrimskirkja, which houses the world-famous Art Nouveau organ. In addition, of interest is the Arni Magnusson Institute, the walls of which keep unique old books with traditional sagas and an extensive collection of historical works.

But in fact, the main attractions of this extraordinary country are not historical and architectural monuments, but something beyond the big cities. All the splendor of Iceland lies in its unique nature.

Nature of Iceland

It is the natural riches of the ice land that draws thousands of travelers to visit this beautiful country. Just once in Iceland is enough to understand the reason for this enormous unbridled love. The landscapes are represented by numerous waterfalls, amazing fjords, majestic volcanoes and geysers.

All the seasons seem to merge into one. Winter is forever arguing with summer, warm winds and currents are replaced by ruthless northern streams. Nature may even seem harsh, which is why for a long time Iceland remained an uninhabited island.

The first Scandinavian who tried to settle on the island – Norwegian Floki nicknamed Raven managed to live there only a year, and then he left the unfriendly land, calling it “the land of ice” – Iceland.

National Parks

Today, many regions of the island have been given the status of national parks. The locals treat the nature of their native land with care and even reverence, understanding that it is quite fragile. There are three national parks in Iceland: Snaifelsjökull, Vatnaajökull and Tingvellir.

Previously there were two more parks – Skaftafetl and Jökulsaurgluvur, which after 2008 became part of Vatnajöküdl, making it now occupy more than 1 million hectares and is the largest national park in Europe.

Tingvellir Park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is a unique testament to the era of Icelandic rule. In the past, the Tingvellir valley was where the horse routes of all regions of Iceland converged.

Snaifelsjökull National Park is located in the west of Iceland at the tip of the peninsula. In fact, this park is a giant glacier. The area became famous because Jules Verne chose it as the setting for his novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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Volcanoes of Iceland

One of the main attractions of the country are majestic volcanoes. In total, there are more than 25 volcanoes on the territory of Iceland. Moreover – the island itself was once the result of an eruption of liquid basalt.

Volcano Askja is located on the territory of Vatnajökull National Park. Its eruption in 1875 led to the formation of two large lakes: Eskewatn and Viti, as well as several craters. Hecla volcano is considered the most active volcano in Iceland.

Another volcano, Kerling, is located in the northern part of the island, its height reaches 1,538 meters, and Kerling is considered the highest mountain on the northern coast.

Within the Snaifelsjöküdl Park is the famous volcano Snaifels, which, thanks to the fantasy of Jules Verne, also gained the reputation of “gateway to the underworld. Although it last erupted in the 18th century, the volcano to this day is not considered extinct.

Fjords of Iceland

One of the consequences of constant tectonic activity has been the formation of numerous fjords. They are narrow and winding sea bays surrounded by steep rocky shores. The ice country is one of the few places on the planet where these amazing formations can be found.

The largest fjords are located in the eastern and western parts of the island. The western fjords are the oldest region of Iceland. It is here that the Bjargtangar lighthouse is located, the westernmost in Europe. One of the most famous is Hvalfjordur, also called Whale Fjord. It gets its name from the fact that the shores were inhabited by a significant number of whales and some time ago there was a whaling company here.

The area is mostly uninhabited, so it is a place where wildlife thrives in all its glory. The area around the fjords is home to a huge number of rare birds, in particular, you can see the dead-billed bird, one of the symbols of Iceland.

Waterfalls

In addition to volcanoes and fjords, Iceland is famous for its beautiful waterfalls. Glaciers melt during the warm season, filling mountain rivers with water. In total, there are several dozen known waterfalls in the country, as well as a huge number of unnamed ones. One of the most famous is the “golden waterfall” Gullfoss, all the beauty of which you can appreciate, if you visit its foot in sunny weather.

27 best sights in Iceland

Because of its remote location and harsh climate, Iceland has preserved its pristine nature and distinctive culture. Its rugged circumpolar landscapes and distinctive architecture draw many tourists.

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Who and why should come to Iceland

Natural reserves, geysers, volcanoes, thermal springs and glaciers are the main attractions of Iceland. They appeal to fans of outdoor activities, hiking and idle contemplation.

Fancifully shaped houses, located at the junction of Gothic and futuristic, will impress fans of ancient architecture and everything unusual. And those who are interested in culture, history and art should visit the art and ethnographic museums in Iceland.

Architectural sights

Hatlgrimskirkja Church

cerkov hatlgrimskili

An unusual Lutheran church rises in the center of Reykjavik. It embodies the spirit and beauty of the Nordic country. The futuristic tower, which resembles a mighty geyser, rises up to 75 meters.

The interior resembles an ice cave, and the huge pipes of the organ are associated with a mighty waterfall. Its design was developed in 1937, but the building works began in 1945 and lasted more than 40 years.

Church of Landakotskirkya

landokodskiri

Known as the Cathedral of Christ the King, Landakotskirkja is a Catholic church. In a predominantly Lutheran country, this is a rarity. The Neo-Gothic style building was erected in the first half of the 20th century.

The dominant feature of the architectural ensemble is the square tower with a flat roof and lancet windows that let in maximum light. Inside the temple impresses with restrained luxury. Its floor is adorned with elaborate mosaics, and its numerous arches rush into the sky, as if bringing the faithful closer to God.

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Harp Concert Hall

koncertni sal harla

This is the largest building in Reykjavik and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture. Built in 2011, the concert hall can accommodate almost 2,000 people at a time. Here are held festivals, theatrical performances, music shows.

The facade of the building is made entirely of glass. During the day it looks like a bizarre ice crystal, and in the evening, when they light up inside – like a shimmering jewel.

Reykjavik Cathedral

kafedralni sobor

Built in 1787 in the Danish colonial style, the cathedral is considered the main attraction in Iceland. But this was not always the case. Previously the spiritual center of the country was located in the town of Skålholt. The devastating earthquake that accompanied the eruption of the Laki volcano nearly destroyed it.

The bishop and the clergy had to look for a new home. A small church in Reykjavik was chosen. It was rebuilt, expanded and turned into a cathedral. The interior decoration was completed with a white marble font by local sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.

Museums and galleries

Harbour House Gallery

galerea

Gvydmundjur Gvydmundsson, known under the pseudonym Erro, is considered one of Iceland’s most distinguished artists. He donated almost all of his Surrealist and Pop Art works to the Reykjavik Art Museum.

They gratefully accepted the gift and housed it in a separate building that had previously been used as a warehouse. The impressively sized artwork looks great in the square.

National Museum

naz galerea

The museum was established in 1863, but it had no room or exhibits. The first artifacts related to the appearance of the Vikings in Iceland were provided by a Danish museum. Gradually the collection grew and included objects of art, so the museum was renamed an antique museum. It became national only in 1950 and moved into its own building in 2004.

The most popular room is called “Birth of a Nation,” with more than 2,000 objects from different eras. Engravings, photographs and paintings are displayed separately.

Maritime Museum

morskoi musei

Iceland is an island nation, so it was only logical for it to have a maritime museum. It is located in Reykjavik and is called Víkin, which means “bay” in Icelandic. Legendary ships and boats are moored at the perpetual mooring near the building. Among them is the Magni, the first ship built in Icelandic shipyards, and the patrol boat Odinn, which saved more than 200 ships from destruction.

The museum itself keeps items related to seafaring and fishing: ship’s logs, binoculars, diving equipment. There is a hall devoted to fishing, where you can see how the gifts of the sea used to be harvested.

Arbaejarsafn

ayarbasan

This is an open-air folklore farmstead. It aims to preserve the unique but gradually disappearing culture of old Reykjavik. On the impressive size of the area are built old houses made of Norwegian timber and logs, taken out by the sea. Their roofs are covered with turf. Tourists can go inside each house and see how a doctor, a postal worker or a prosperous merchant used to live.

The farmstead is constantly running several exhibitions, offering an overview of artifacts found during archaeological excavations, as well as household items and cults of past eras. There are also functioning craft workshops and souvenir shops.

Perlan

perlan

Perlan means “pearl” in Icelandic. The oddly shaped building resembling a daisy used to be a boiler house. Today it’s a cultural center. The petals of the flower house a botanical garden, a cafe, a concert hall and several exhibition halls with permanent and temporary exhibitions. The heart of the daisy is a transparent hemisphere. It has an observation deck.

Akureyri Art Museum

musei iskustv

Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland with a population of 20,000. The appearance of the Art Museum was the main event of 1993. The museum is housed in a former dairy. On its territory conceptual works of Icelandic sculptors, painters and graphic artists in avant-garde style are exhibited. The museum also hosts theatrical productions, concerts, seminars and conferences.

National Parks

Tingvellir

tingvedlir

This is a valley and park of the same name in the southwest. Here in ancient times the Viking Parliament of Althing gathered. Among the mountains, glaciers, and thermal springs epochal decisions were made, on which the development of the country depended.

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Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rift, Tingvellir is interesting from a geological point of view. Here you can see how the plates of the 2 continents, the Eurasian and the North American, diverge.

Skaftafetl

skaftofetl

The area of this nature park is 4807 square kilometers. The mountains, which define its landscape, reliably protect it from bad weather. When the rains and winds rage outside the country, the reserve is quiet and peaceful.

Its main attractions are the “Black Waterfall,” named after the color of the surrounding volcanic rocks, a small birch forest and an ice cave. The latter is an unforgettable spectacle.

Landmannaloygar

landmagoauer

An amazing place with an almost Martian landscape. The main point of attraction – unusual mountains. They consist of rhyolite, volcanic rock, which over millions of years has been compacted and turned into pyramids with almost perfectly smooth sides.

The rhyolite slopes change color depending on the light, time of day, and weather. They appear burgundy, then pink with a purple hue, piercing blue or yellow.

At the bottom of the valley of Landmannaloygar there is steam from thermal springs and lakes. Winding rivers and waterfalls complete the landscape.

Jökulsaurgluvur

ekultsamefiul

About 8,000 years ago in the north of the country, a powerful earthquake struck the Yökulsau-au-Föötlüm River delta, creating a large canyon. Today it is the Jökulsaurglüvur Reserve, famous for its countless waterfalls, among them Dettifoss. This is the largest waterfall not only in Iceland but also in Europe. Its height is more than 44 meters and a width of 100 meters.

Another attraction of the reserve is the rock Hlödarklehtar. Its bizarre lava ridges make it echo in a way that is not quite normal to hear.

Mountains and volcanoes

esia

Esia volcano last erupted about 3 million years ago. Today it is a jewel in Reykjavik’s natural landscape. On the slope of the ridge there are about a dozen hiking trails of varying difficulty and length. Regardless of the route taken, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of northern nature.

Askia

askia

Active volcano in the eastern part of the country. Last time it was active in 1965. As a result of eruption in 1875 in the caldera 2 lakes were formed: Eskewatne and Viti.

Eskuvatn has an area of 11 sq. km and is 220 m deep, making it the deepest lake in Iceland. Over time, it has become covered in ice. Viti is strongly inferior to it in size: with a diameter of 100 m its depth does not exceed 7 m. But this lake, on the other hand, is warm. The water temperature there is +27 ° C throughout the year. The dissolved salts and minerals give Viti a milky blue hue.

Hecla

gekla

Iceland’s most famous active volcano is located 110 km from Reykjavik. Its height is only 1,491 m, but its small size is compensated for by its high activity. The first documented evidence of an eruption of Gekla dates back to 1104. Since then it has been awakened more than 20 times.

One of the most powerful eruptions happened in 1159. A layer of ash reached the upper layers of the atmosphere, causing a severe cooling in Europe. In some parts of Scotland and the Netherlands, rivers were frozen all year round.

The mini-glacial period did not end until six years later. The last significant eruption of the Hecla River began in March 1947 and did not end until April 1948.

Ausbirgi Canyon

kanion ausbirgi

The canyon is about 4 km long and the height of the rocks is about 1 km. It was formed back in the glacial period, when the Jokyulsau-au-Fjödlum River changed its course as a result of a massive flood.

Today it is a beautiful horseshoe-shaped place with a special microclimate inside. It has proved ideal for the growth of trees and flowering plants, a great rarity in the polar country.

Heingidl

hengidl

Heingidl is one of the highest volcanoes in Iceland (803 m). The name translates as “sheer rock”, which fully corresponds to its appearance. The slopes of the volcano are almost impregnable cliffs with many tunnels and caves, which, according to local legends, are inhabited by trolls.

The last time the volcano woke up about 2,000 years ago, but it is considered active. Its foothills are rich in geysers and thermal lakes.

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Eldfedl

elfendel

This is officially the youngest volcano on Earth. It was born on January 23, 1973 near the fishing town of Heimay and nearly caused its demise. Volunteers from around the country pumped seawater for six months to cool the lava and prevent it from spreading.

Now the volcano is less active, so tourists can climb almost to the very core.

Waterfalls, geysers, and thermal springs

Blue Lagoon

golubaya laguna

The water temperature in the lagoon does not depend on the season and always stays between +37 ° C +40 ° C. The only things that can cause variations are wind direction and precipitation. Thanks to the high mineral content, the water in the lagoon has a piercing blue color.

Bathing in it provides not only aesthetic pleasure, but also has a health-enhancing effect. The lagoon is 210 m wide and over 2 km long and varies in depth from 1.5 to 2 m.

Godafoss

gedofos

In the northern part of the country, not far from Akureyri, the Skjaulfandafljöut River rushes down to form the famous Godafoss waterfall, also known as the “Waterfall of God”. Long ago figures of pagan gods stood around it. When the decision was made to convert to Christianity, the unnecessary idols were thrown into the churning abyss.

Godafoss is 12 meters high and about 30 meters wide. It is crescent shaped, and its waters fill a natural basalt basin with crystal clear water.

Höykadalur Geyser Valley

dolina geiserov

The valley is located just 500 meters from the volcano Hecla, its pride – 40 hot springs, wrapped in a perpetual fog due to temperature differences between the bowels of the earth and the air. Here is the oldest geyser on our planet – the Great Geysir. It burst out in 1294 and gave its name to all the hot springs on Earth. The diameter of its bowl reaches 3 m, the fountain itself rises to a height of 70 m, bringing to the surface 230 tons of water.

In 2000, after another earthquake, the geyser became less active, and the government of Iceland ordered a canal dug to reanimate the natural gem. As a result, a large hydrogen sulfide lake also appeared in the valley.

Jokulsarlon

oekuldsalun

This is one of the most beautiful and largest lagoons in Iceland. Its area is approximately 20 square kilometers. The natural landmark was formed as a result of melting glaciers. But here’s the paradox – if the warming process does not slow down, Jokulsarlon may disappear from the face of the Earth by the end of this century.

Taking a boat or motorboat ride on the mirror-like surface of the lagoon past blocks of ice several million years old is a rare opportunity not to be missed.

Gudlfoss

gudelfos

Also known as the “Golden Falls,” Gudlfoss is located on the Hvitau River, one of the country’s longest and mightiest rivers. The waterfall is two consecutive cascades, 11 and 21 meters high respectively.

Between them there is a natural viewing platform, which offers an amazing panoramic view. The name “golden” waterfall received because of the rainbow, which always appears here in sunny weather.

Seljalandfoss

selialandfoss

One of the most visited waterfalls is located on the river Seljalandsau. It is relatively small – only 60 meters, and at the foot of it stretches a small lake. The main feature of the waterfall is that it can be viewed from all sides – literally walk around in a circle.

The view of the surroundings through the water is impressive. There are also many trails of varying difficulty for hiking near Seljalandfoss.

Kerid

kerid

Lake Kerid, located in the mouth of an extinct volcano, attracts tourists with its almost perfectly round shape and mysterious black water color. The phenomenon is explained by the large amount of volcanic ash deposited at the bottom. Because of this lake seems opaque, despite its relatively shallow depth of 14 meters.

The slopes of the crater leading to the reservoir are covered with traces of volcanic activity. There are several hiking trails around Kerid.

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