Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Iceland - Nature’s Wonderland

Rich in natural travel wonders with large snaking glaciers, weird and wonderful rock formations from the highly active volcanoes, sulphuric thermal pools and waterfalls galore from the melting snow and glaciers, Iceland’s natural beauty, rich Norse legends and easy going nature should put it on the itinerary of any avid traveller.

Expressive and energetic waterfalls seemingly tumble over every rock face in beautiful unaltered settings. Indeed, the word foss (for waterfall) is indelibly engraved in the minds of every visitor to Iceland. Many falls are unnamed yet are sufficiently impressive that many other countries would encompass them into national parks. With a true sense of nature, Iceland leaves their waterfalls au naturel uncluttered with fencing, restrictive paths or concrete viewing platforms. If you are stupid enough to fall into a chasm or step under a geyser, you are free to do so.

Not far from the colourful, peaceful capital of Reykjavik are two of Iceland’s most celebrated natural sights and its most significant historic location. Geysir, which gave the English word geyser for the spouting hot water springs, now lies dormant. Fortunately, for fans of spouting hot springs, neighbouring Stokkur is only a few hundred metres away lying in wait, belching, boiling and bubbling until it launches scolding water around 20 metres in the air every eight to ten minutes.

A couple of kilometres away is the appropriately named Gullfoss (Golden Falls), pictured at the top of this article, which, turning at right angles, cascades in two stages into a narrow gorge below.

Over a thousand years ago, Iceland conducted the first parliament in the world at Þingvellir (where the uniquely Icelandic character Þ is pronounced th). The people met yearly, enacting laws and punishing wrong-doers. Mothers of illegitimate children were drowned in a nearby river. In 1000 AD, the law-makers met and decided that the Icelandic nation, of primarily Viking heritage, would become Christian. The law speaker threw his idols and statues of the Norse deities into Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods.

At every turn in the road, waterfalls tumble in some mesmerising natural settings.

Svartifoss (Black Falls) tumbles over hanging hexagonal basaltic columns like a fountain in church organ pipes. These remarkable columns formed from an extremely slow cooling lava flow.

Ófærufoss once flowed with an elegant narrow natural bridge (as in the photo) which you could walk across, but this was shaken down with an earthquake in 1993.

Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss, helps empty the extensive and wild meltwater from Europe’s largest glacier pounding 44 metres into the river below. Meanwhile Skogafoss presents a photogenic symmetric fall elegantly tumbling 60 metres from the coastal Icelandic cliffs into a verdant valley.

Iceland remains an undiscovered treasure trove of wild beauty, left in its most natural state. Enjoy this travel wonder of lava fields, gushing waterfalls, emerald green valleys and twisted tortured rock formations, all continually changing with Iceland’s active geology.

Other Icelandic Posts
Lake of Dancing Icebergs
Astride the Continents
Nature’s Wonderland
Icelandic Phonebook Surprise
Active Iceland


Jod said...

Very interesting blog. Photos are beautiful. If you have time visit my Thailand Travel website at

Sherin - IInternals said...

This is the place where god visiting freequently to get relat from the sins of world... how he made this place to attract mind and souls.. my prayers to get a chance to visit there at least once before ending my life... you are rich with enough informations... my very best wishes

Sherin - investinternals

Mark H said...

@Jod: Thank you

@sherin:I hope you get a chance to visit this mesmerising country.

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