Southern Iceland, shaped forces of nature
Article by Dagur Jonsson
Iceland, in current scenario, is more connected to fun and adventure rather than dark and chilly days and nothing to do. It is a far better place for tourists now than it was two decades back. This mid-Atlantic European island is the closest neighbor to North America with flight duration of only four and a half hours. One thing can be said for sure. There are more than expected adventures and activities waiting for everyone. The most electrifying thing about Iceland is the weather. In January the temperature will very easily go below 0 degrees but still the Icelander’s welcome for every visitor is very warm in every season.
Rugged and raw lava fields which are just few centuries old, gives a very warm welcome for visitors who arrive at Keflavík airport which is located in southern part of Iceland. These lava fields spread till the southwestern Reykjanes peninsula area. All in all it can be said that right from getting out of the airport, spectacular and amazing sights can be seen. Southern Iceland is full of surprises and new revelations on every step. Let us reveal some of those surprises.
Geothermal activities are very frequently visible in south Iceland in hot springs and especially the blue lagoons. Blue lagoon is probably the most illustrious bathing spot situated in the lava field. It is said that its water is full of minerals and that water is famous for health related qualities. South Iceland is the perfect destination for a day tour from Reykjavik and for those tourists who are short of time to explore the country in depth as it provides all opportunities for birdlife watching and whale watching along with some very well known sea shores.
South Iceland has variety of day tours to offer and that too from the capital Reykjavik. The tourist destination called “golden circle” is a must visit place for all the tourists coming to this part of Iceland. The main attraction is Thingvellir where it is believed that the earliest arrivers set an assembly way back in 930 A.D. this assembly is now called the oldest parliament of the world. This city of Thingvellir is also very famous for its natural beauty with a lake and numerous rifts that shows the signs of continental plates of America and Eurasia. Golden circle’s other two main attractions are the Gullfoss, “the golden falls” and the geothermal fields of Geysir. Gullfoss is a two tier waterfall in the gulch of the river Hvita and the hot springs are famous as it vomits boiling water and steam after every five minutes. Another geyser called “the old faithful” has started erupting again after sleeping for many years.
Landmannalaugar is also very famous tourist destination as it is a hotbed of geothermal activities. It is also very famous for its springs and for colors of its landscapes and mountains. Situated in interiors in south Iceland is the Lakagigar crater series inland form Kirkjubaejerklaustur. It is famous as it produced the biggest lava flow in the historical times anywhere around the world. This event happened during the Skaftar eruptions in 1783.
All these forces of nature are responsible not only for shaping southern Iceland but also the life of the people living here. In earlier times, people here believed that the peak part of mount Hekla is the gate of hell.
In the southern most part, the Vestman Island is the home for continuous earthquakes. The history of southern Iceland is very rich and it is seen everywhere. Starting from range of Sage period farm houses at Stong it goes to the old bishop seat of Skalholt and also to the very popular regional museum at Skogar. All these are considered very unique in their respective fields.
Iceland is the perfect place for relieving yourself and taking a step on the European settlement and that too with a very electrifying, vigorous and a very ancient but a very personal living culture. You will feel as if you are in your home or your city as you are free to walk around, go shopping and exploring for new things.
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