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Iceland Is Getting Bigger – Holidays To Iceland, A Geological Wonder

Iceland Is Getting Bigger – Holidays To Iceland, A Geological Wonder

Article by Vikki Beale

A growing number of visitors are taking Iceland holidays to see the country’s impressive collection of natural wonders – the kind you once heard about in a Geography classroom. The package holidays Iceland offers include walking on volcanoes and glaciers, swimming in hot pools, and seeing the place where the world gets wider.

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge

Holidays to Iceland offer a rare opportunity to witness a phenomenon that is usually concealed by 3,400 metres of Atlantic waters. A mid-ocean ridge crosses dry land here, so Iceland holiday makers get to see the join of two continental plates and the canyons that form where the ground is splitting. This means that as the plates grow apart Iceland is getting wider at a rate of about 5 cm per year.

Working-up a Lava

This creative power is evident in the nearby island of Surtsey. The island rose from the ocean floor after a series of eruptions between 1963 and 1968. The “lava bombs” and volcanic material cooled and hardened to form one of the world’s newest landmasses, at one point growing at the rate of an acre per day. Unfortunately there will be no holidays to Iceland’s little brother; visits to Surtsey are restricted to those conducting scientific research.

Since a volcano erupts here an average of once every five years there are many chances for those on Iceland holidays to walk on a lava landscape: black rippled sheets of what once was lava, floods of basalt and ash, and fields of ‘scoria’, which are areas of uneven – almost bubbly – volcanic rock. Some of those who take holidays to Iceland talk about how much it looks like a moon landscape.

Hot & Cold Running Water

But it’s the eruptions occurring every five or ten minutes that will feature on the itineraries of most package holidays. Iceland is famous for its geysers, especially for those at the town of Geysir, after which the hot fountains are named. Some of these plumes spurt frequently; others do not show for years before blasting boiling water sixty metres into the air.

For the water moving in the other direction, Iceland delivers generously, too. The Gullfoss waterfall, and the ‘Queen of Iceland’ waterfall provide wonderful attractions for Iceland holidays; the thunderous Dettifoss goes one further, claiming the title of the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The volume of Iceland’s water system is enhanced by meltwater drawn from its glaciers. Glaciers, too, are water on the move in a sense, but their power is less obvious at a glance. Though they appear hardly to move, their sheer size and the magnitude of erosion that they force upon the landscape (such as the fjords) is difficult to ignore.

More than a tenth of Iceland’s area is covered by glaciers at some point during the year, so this provides ample opportunity for tourists to explore the strange and captivating ice-landscape. Iceland holidays might include hikes across a glacier, or organised trips on snowmobiles or a tour in larger vehicles across the larger glacial areas.

When glaciers meet the ocean they put on yet another show. Seeing and hearing their ice walls crumble into the water is quite a spectacle and boat trips to see this happening in the fjords can be added to some specialist holidays. Iceland is always in flux it seems, whether it is melting, moving, exploding or growing, it makes itself a prize destination for seeing this world’s geological phenomena in force.

About the Author

Vikki Beale is a holiday expert for iceland2go, a specialist operator providing holidays to Iceland and Greenland. We provide luxury tailor-made itineraries and the finest package holidays Iceland can offer, with sights including glaciers, geysers, fjords, and the Northern Lights.

Getting Around On Your Iceland Holidays

Getting Around On Your Iceland Holidays

Article by Vikki Beale

Iceland has an abundance of extraordinary landscapes and sights to take in along its coast. With natural spectacles such as geysers, lagoons, glaciers, fjords and volcanoes the question is which modes of travel will you use to see it all on your holidays to Iceland?

Getting Around on your Iceland Holidays

‘Around’ is the right word. There’s a great deal to see on and near Iceland’s coastlines so you’ll find that the coach tours for Iceland holidays won’t stray more than eighty kilometres from the sea. Along the coast you might come across a gleaming transparent ice-boulder lying on a coal-black beach. Or you might see waters filled with drifting turquoise tinted icebergs. And the great capital of Reykjavik (a ‘must see’ on your holidays to Iceland) rests on the glassy waters of Faxaflói Bay. It is linked to the other cities and the other coastal sights by a huge ring road that threads around the edge of the country.

Since no-one lives far inland there are only a couple of roads that cross the interior, and access to these is seasonal. The coach tours will get you in far enough to visit the sights popular on Iceland holidays, such as the Waterfalls at Gullfoss and the dramatic hot springs at Geysir. But beyond these, Iceland becomes difficult to negotiate. To penetrate the country’s inner frontier – in search of the lava fields, volcanic craters, deserts and mountain scenery – you’ll need to climb aboard a different kind of transport.

Big Wheels and Hooves

This is indeed a country of unusual and extreme landscapes, so the more specialist holidays to Iceland will involve some extreme vehicles to help you see more of it. Many people are mistaken in thinking that the whole of Iceland is buried under a deep wall of snow, but for the parts that really are, you will need a vehicle made for the job.

Commonly, operators of Iceland holidays use specialist 44 vehicles known as ‘Super Jeeps’ to transport visitors between the sights. These are powerful rovers with bulbous wheels that bound and charge through the snow drifts, making the ride as exciting as the scenery. You might drive these inland to the lava fields or through another of the formidable terrains in Iceland. Holidays can be relaxing here too though, with horseback treks for those places hard to reach on foot. Equally, a stroll near the lakes of the Thingvellir National Park suggests a more leisurely pace, and perhaps you’ll enjoy a dip into a natural hot pool.

Wings and Fins

Some specialist holidays in Iceland feature a plane tour of the island. This makes it possible to witness the amazing variety of the countryside within a single day. A fly-drive tour can be tailor-made to show the highlights of Iceland, and package holiday itineraries exist which let you see all of the country’s regions within two weeks.

Just in case you forget you’re on an island, you should include a boat trip. There’s Whale Watching from Husavik Harbour, and in the summer months when the fjords are clear of ice, the boats can take you to where the glaciers spill from the land into the sea.

Of course, you may choose not to stay constantly mobile. There’s plenty to keep you in Reykjavík for a few days. But if you still haven’t had enough excitement on your Iceland holidays, there are always the snowmobiles to try!

About the Author

Vikki Beale is a holiday expert for iceland2go, a specialist operator providing holidays to Iceland and Greenland. Iceland2go has a dedicated team of experienced travel consultants ready to share their knowledge to create the perfect tailor-made itineraries and finest package holidays Iceland offers, with sights including glaciers, geysers, fjords, and the Northern Lights.