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Iceland, the most unique of all Nordic countries

Iceland, the most unique of all Nordic countries

Article by Dagur Jonsson

The country of Iceland is very different from other countries in its region which is popularly known as “Nordic region” or “Nordic countries”. The reason is Iceland’s entire landscape which is covered by plateaus, volcanoes, geysers and glaciers and most importantly very big uninhabited and unpopulated areas. Iceland has got the world’s biggest count of natural hot geysers and hot springs.

This relatively cooler country of Iceland lies on the extreme North West border of Europe [more towards north and less towards west] between the tundra zone with moorlands without trees and huge pine forest zones. The ancient remains of birch forest are still visible at many places. Bogs and marshes are found in plenty. As little as only 25 percent of total land is covered by green vegetation and out of this only one percent is covered by trees. Only one percent of Iceland contains arable lands and market gardens. The season for cultivation is very small in Iceland. Hence, all agricultural products are more concentrated towards animal farming. The maximum part of arable land is utilized for the cultivation of hay and other foodstuffs.

Not only in Iceland but in whole Nordic region, climate is controlled by two important factors. 1. Their position in that particular area, and2. their proximity to the Atlantic ocean with the gulf stream

The more northern position means that the average temperature will remain very low i.e. around or below zero during the coolest months of winter. It has been recorded in books that Iceland has never recorded the average temperature of more than 19 degrees from 1961 till 1990. In other Nordic countries like Norway and Sweden, there is a bigger difference between the temperature in winters of northern region and southern region as the land stretches from far south to far north.

And because the location if Iceland lies in extreme north, it is far more cool than one can expect, in winters especially. The mean temperature of capital city Reykjavik is five degrees and the temperatures in January and July are -0.4 degrees and 11 degrees respectively. The southern part and south coast of Iceland receives an annual rainfall of 3000 MM and this quantity decreases to around 400 MM in highlands and in north of Vatnajokull.

In whole it can be said that the weather of Iceland is not reliable as it depends mostly on the atmospheric pressure going trans-Atlantic. The passage of this depression from southern Iceland makes weather more dry and cold there. The passage of this depression from north east Iceland and Greenland makes weather mild and dry in that area. The coastal areas of Iceland are windy and gales are very common here in winter season and thunderstorms are not that common.

The southern and western coasts and parts of Iceland are relatively hotter in winter and this is all due to warm waters flowing in gulf streams. July and august are the warmest months of this region and the quality of weather improves as one moves towards north and east. These directions have more chances of clear weather but in interior deserts can show you blizzards and strong winds flowing along with dust and sand. In Iceland there is continuous day for two or three months i.e. early spring and late autumn. During summers the sun never sets especially in June. Tours are organized to the island of grimsey where one can view the most spectacular scene of his life “the midnight sun”. It is always advised to go through weather forecasts before you check in to Iceland because there is no guarantee of it.

About the Author

Dagur Jonsson is the editor of Iceland Guest, a website specializing in tourist information for travelers to Iceland. For more information visit www.icelandguest.com

The Most Favored Waterfalls In Iceland

The Most Favored Waterfalls In Iceland

Article by Elizabeth Langworthy

Iceland – the word itself right away reminds you of frozen air ‘n biting chill. But there is a lot more to Iceland than just chill. The area offers you breathtaking sites and a lovely culture ‘n heritage. When heading to Iceland, there are some things that you should not miss. However it’s the country’s waterfalls that top the list. Waterfalls in Iceland have a majestic and divine sense of beauty, which makes them 1 of the finest very best across the world. Let us take a look at a few of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland.

Gullfoss tourism destinations  Amongst different other waterfalls in the country, it’s Gulfoss that enjoys maximum popularity. This 1 is a two tier waterfall ‘n has a height of 32 meters. The waterfall is pretty broad and spans the entire breadth of the Hvita River. The ideal element about this waterfall is that it could be viewed from various points. And from every different point, you get an all new view of this waterfall. This waterfall makes for one of the major attractions of “The Golden Circle”.

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An additional well-known waterfall in Iceland is Godafoss. The literal meaning of the name of this waterfall is waterfall of the gods and it stands quite correct to its title. This waterfall has an interesting history to its credit. In the year 1000, the lawspeaker of Iceland was forced to convert the nation into Christianity. As a consequence, he was compelled to immerse the idols of his deities in the waterfall. Nevertheless, he continued to worship his deities secretly. It’s for this reason that the waterfall is also popular for spiritual factors.

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Dettifoss is also a waterfall which you merely must look at on a visit to Iceland. It’s considered to be the most powerful waterfall of Europe that is 44 meters tall with a huge breadth of a hundred meters. Being a part of a glacial river, the waterfall tumbles down with immense power and force. In case you are visiting with family, keep off from the western bank which is pretty rugged and therefore, not secure. The East bank nevertheless, is fairly safe and offers tourists a broad variety of sights of the might of the waterfall.

dynjandi_03bFor those who’ve a penchant for something unique, Dynjandi is a must check out. Situated in the secluded Westfjords area, this waterfall is considered as 1 of the most unique and the most gorgeous waterfall in the region. This waterfall is a series of 7 different waterfalls, which form the shape of a trapezium. The panoramic view of this waterfall makes it a must watch.

When heading to Iceland, ensure that you check out these waterfalls for the reason that they are not something that you ought to miss.

About the Author

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How to Make the Most of Daylight Hours in Iceland in Winter

How to Make the Most of Daylight Hours in Iceland in Winter

In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, I am often asked all kinds of travel questions. Sometimes I am asked when is the best time to visit a certain country? Having just returned from Iceland, mid December, I have tried to paint a picture of this stunning country that has so much to offer and the diversity to experience at different times of year.

Driving out of Reykjavik at 10am before the sun has set gave me the chance to experience the magic of travelling through a living Christmas card. The houses were adorned with twinkling lights that gave of hues of bright colours in the snow covered pre dawn setting. The grave yards were equally beautiful as all of the crosses that marked the passing of a loved one were each decorated with fairy lights.

Some may think that the shortened days, 5 – 6 hours of daylight in the winter is a disadvantage when visiting Iceland at this time of the year, but I would not have missed some of the country’s diverse weather and scenery for anything.

Icelanders tell stories of trolls and little people and do not have a Santa Claus as such, instead they have 13 Christmas lads who do a similar job as Santa depending on whether a child has been good or not. I choose not to go into a lot of detail here about the folklore as I am sure you can imagine the Icelanders do a much better job and when told in the correct setting makes the tales more meaningful.

Some of the highlights of the Golden Circle Tour include a trip to Thingvellir which is home to the terminous of the mid-Atlantic rift which has created and is set amongst some fascinating scenery. Apparently the rift is drifting apart at 2cms a year. You will also see traces of Iceland’s very first parliament here which in its day ruled from the 9th century for four centuries.

I was then whisked off to Gullfoss to see the spectacular, raging glacial waters also known as the Golden waterfall. Surrounded by the thick winter snow, the waters that raged past left some amazing frozen structures in its wake. There are not many visitors at this time of year and apart from my guide I felt as though we were the only people on the planet. The sound was incredible and the sheer energy of the waterfall was breathtaking.

Before the daylight hours disappeared I was then taken to a field of hot springs where the famous Geysir is located. I was told by my guide that it was not completely dormant but it depends who you talk to. However one geyser called the Churn, also known as Strokkur erupts every few minutes which sends up a roaring tower of steam, which gushes some 50 to 80 feet leaving a strong smell of sulphur hanging in the air. I returned to my hotel feeling that I had spent the few hours of daylight very wisely and had experienced a small part of what Iceland had to offer.

Stuart Cheese is the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours and, having visited over 110 countries, has a wealth of travel experience. One World Tours / The Holidays in Iceland Specialists