There’s a lot to be said about the less-travelled path. From the thirst of discovery to the feeling of utter amazement, it’s that insatiable hunger for wonder that keeps us, explorers, going. Mind you, the quest is different for everyone; some people actively research plenitude, while others are simply looking for the perfect photo. One that will summarise, in millions of tiny pixels, what it felt like to stand in a given place at a given time.
And make their Facebook friends jealous AF in the process.
Luckily for us curious souls, Iceland exists. Regardless of what you are looking for, this volcanic island of the north is sure to fulfil your needs.
And while Iceland is hardly a less-travelled path anymore (the country receives a rapidly increasing quantity of tourists every year), it still has that raw, untouched, unspoilt character that very few other places in the world can boast having.
Let me demonstrate how, in just 29 photos, Iceland is simply the most amazing place in the world.
Jökulsárlón Lagoon And My Icy Pals
Well hello there, giant blue friend.
Located at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier along Highway 1, the lagoon came to be after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, forming Iceland’s deepest and most famous body of water in the process.
Because ice can detach from the glacier without any kind of warning (except an ominous creaking sound letting you know it’s already too late), boats are not allowed to get too close – the same logic applies to icebergs, seeing as they are also quite unpredictable in nature and can flip over at any given time.
That’s Iceland for you.
Thingvellir National Park AKA Middle Earth
The great Almannagjá fault – or Middle Earth?
Can’t have too many close-up shots of Iceland’s nature.
Are those colors in Silfra INSANE or what?
The Silfra canyon pictured above is formed by two continental plates, which means that yes, it is possible to touch both Europe and North America at the same time. Diving in Silfra is legit one of the most memorable experiences of my life, and I unless I go on the moon I don’t expect it to be outranked anytime soon.
Icelandic Waterfalls Are No Biggie
Not to go all TLC and 1990’s R&B on you (if you’re not old enough to know what I’m referring to, we can’t be friends) but chasing waterfalls in Iceland is the shit. You’ll be soaking wet, you’ll be worried about your camera’s well-being more than your own and you’ll be exhausted from all that climbing, but nothing will ever be as worth it as this. Trust me on this one.
Whether you opt for Seljalalandsfoss and the short but epic walk BEHIND IT, for Gullfoss’s incommensurable power and seemingly permanent rainbows, for Skógafoss’s sheer beauty, or hell, for all three of them, you won’t be disappointed.
Exploding Water – The Mystery of Geysers
Geysir Geothermal Field at its best
Admiring Mother Nature at work at the Geysir Geothermal Field
Sure, the Earth looks like it’s on fire but because this is Iceland, it’s NBD. Everything’s normal, carry on to the next jaw-dropping natural phenomenon, please.
Just FYI: A geyser is a periodically spouting hot spring. Water temperature 20 meters down Geysir’s, the large geyser pictured above, is about 125 degrees Celsius, having risen from a depth of up to 2 kilometres. Again, NBD.
This Is What Midnight Looks Like In Iceland
Obviously, midnight in Iceland looks vastly different depending on what month it is. Although it is probably dark AF for the better part of the winter, in the summertime, however, it’s a different story. Waking up in a panic because it’s so bright outside thinking you’ve overslept only to realise it’s 3 in the morning… true story.
Adorable Icelandic Architecture
A church that looks like it was made out of basalt columns is a win in my book.
This old thing? Just traditional Icelandic turf farmhouses made out of grass and driftwood dating back from the 1800s. Really, to me, all of Iceland is sooo boring and not Instagram-friendly at all. This totally isn’t one of my most liked photos ever.
Roadtripping in Iceland Takes Forever…
Horses chilling along the river
TOTALLY AN ELF HOUSE!!!
Driving to Jökulsárlón on Highway 1
… because you have to stop every five minutes to get a photo. I swear, there are more photo opportunities in Iceland than there are numbers to count them. It seems that with heavy rain with menacing clouds or blindingly bright sunshine, every turn brings a new corner of Iceland begging to be captured.
Which is why I recommend you bring the MOTHER of SD cards for your next road trip in Iceland, because you will fill it up. That’s just the way it is.
The Dullest Coastline In The World
Black sand and treacherous waves in Reynisdrangar
C’mon Iceland, it’s like you’re not even trying!
Just kidding. This coastline has GOT to be the universe’s most stunning. How can this even be real? Iceland wins this battle fair and square.
Oh and by the way – you can sleep in that lighthouse if you go one of Icelandair’s famous stopovers (not sponsored, obviously that link is meant to be shared because WOAH). Indeed, the century-old lighthouse has recently been converted into a private luxury hotel – can you imagine falling asleep to the sound of the North Atlantic waves crashing on the cliffs below? Equal parts magical and terrifying.
Iceland Isn’t Just For The Outdoorsy Types
Hiking behind Hotel Skaftafell
Lupines for the win!
Sometimes in Iceland, when you hike long enough, you stumble upon Seljvavellir pool
Why had I not been made aware that outdoorsy activities looked like this? If I had the slightest idea that hiking in Iceland included frolicking in fields of lupines and unobstructed views of glaciers I would have been an earlier convert. Lesson learned.
And obviously, swimming in hot springs where you can touch the mountain on one side and feel the fresh Icelandic breeze on the other is the best kind of swimming, despite the fact that changing rooms are cold as hell not to mention extremely slippery. It’s all worth freezing a finger or two over, I promise.
PS Rest assured the white shape on the photo above isn’t a giant sea monster (which would be really scary since this isn’t a sea, merely a pool); it was just a kid playing the game of “who can stay underwater the longest”. No child was harmed in the making of this photo.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Iceland is the most amazing place in the world. Sure, the weather can be hostile at times and the food is an undeniably sad affair, but I’ll take high winds and snow storms any day for these views.
If you’re like me, travelling to Iceland will change your life and no other country will ever compare to the rush you will feel when you finally stand before those remarkable sights.