When visiting beautiful places in Europe, the cities are often the highlight for us Dutch. When we think of national parks, we tend to think of the gigantic national parks in America or New Zealand. On the...
Iceland. cold. Snow. Frozen fingers and icicles in your hair. That's probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word Iceland. Not so crazy of course. After all, Iceland is located just below the Arctic Circle. It is the second largest island in Europe after Great Britain. The capital is Reykjavík, where about half of the 300.000 Icelanders live.
Every year several hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists come here and that number is increasing every year. The most visited sights are nature excursions, for example a glacier safari. Iceland consists of 11 percent glaciers, the smallest is the Snaefellsjökull and the largest is the Vatnajökull. The best time to visit it is from June to early September, when temperatures can reach around 20 degrees Celsius.
With less than 200.000 inhabitants, the Icelandic capital can hardly call itself a city, but Reykjavik is worldly. The city has a very hip nightlife and is the gateway to the great nature that the country has to offer. In general, Icelanders, descended from the Norse Vikings, are shy and introverted.
The population has been isolated for a long time and it is sometimes difficult for them to make contact with foreign tourists. They adopt a wait-and-see attitude, which makes them appear stiff and unfriendly. But if you get to know the people better, you will find out that the Icelanders are very friendly and hospitable.
Lava and Glaciers
Indeed, you should not be looking for a warm summer holiday. Yet it is doable on this beautiful island. Lava fields, mountains, stony deserts and glaciers are scattered all over the island. The inhabitants are very friendly and are happy to welcome you as you travel through their small villages and along cozy farms.
The northern Lights
There are a few places you must see. Besides the capital with its special Hallgrimskirkja church and futuristic water storage The Pearl, there is still plenty to see and do. National Park Snaefellsjökull, the Westman Islands, the waterfalls of Gullfoss and the rocks at Dimmuborgir provide beautiful pictures. And don't forget: the Northern Lights, that's a really unique experience!
Iceland, which is about three times the size of the Netherlands, is known for its untouched nature with miles of glaciers, working volcanoes and spouting hot springs. During a tour of Iceland you can easily see all the highlights of the country.
These springs not only attract tourists, but the Icelandic population also uses the hot water for domestic use. The springs now provide 85 percent of the island's hot water supply. The temperatures of the water rise to the boiling point, the water is often very salty and rich in minerals.