By now you’ve probably heard: Iceland is beautiful. It seems like no matter where you turn there’s a travel article somewhere on Iceland, or a friend planning a trip, or pictures popping up on Facebook. Iceland’s beauty is all the buzz.
We recently visited Iceland and during our short trip we were not disappointed with the rugged landscape. Though there’s plenty more to the country than natural wonders, I went ahead and compiled a few videos I shot that hopefully capture a little bit of Iceland’s natural splendor. May they fill you with ever more wanderlust.
Geysers during a midnight sunset:
The English word “geyser” actually comes from Icelandic, and specifically from Geysir, a large but rarely-active geyser in the south. Geysir is quiet, but Stokkur, just a few feet away, blasts hot water into the air every few minutes:
We visited these geysers around midnight. It was sunset, which continued until around 1 a.m. The darkest it ever got that day was kind of twilight-ish.
Swarming arctic terns in Höfn:
Höfn is a little town on the southeastern coast. The town has a restaurant called Pakkhús, which serves lobster caught on the boat parked in the marina just a few feet away. On the other side of the marina, there’s a field and in the field a multitude of arctic terns swarm over the grass. The video above was shot around 1 a.m., and when we went back nine hours later, the birds were still going.
Iceland has scores of waterfalls, but Gullfoss stands out for its massive size and volume. The waterfall has two tiers that together make it more than 100 feet tall. So much spray gets blasted up from the falling water that Gullfoss appears to be leaning into the sky.
We visited around 2 a.m., when it was still fairly light outside, and had the waterfall entirely to ourselves. Incredibly, Gullfoss was apparently almost turned into a hydroelectric dam early in the 20th century.
Endless fields of wildflowers:
We drove along Iceland’s southern coast, more or less traversing the entire country, but sadly not making it up the sides or along the north. Still we were lucky enough to pass through a vast plain filled with nothing but violet wildflowers. It’s was like coming across an undulating purple sea.
Thanks to my brother-in-law, I later learned that these are lupine and were planted to improve soil quality, which is not great thanks to medieval deforestation. However, the flowers are native to North America and, consequently, have become something of an invasive species. They look incredible though.
Icebergs from Vatnajökull:
Vatnajökull covers more than 8 percent of Iceland, and is truly awe-inspiring. We drove passed canyon after canyon that had been carved out by the glacier, and which were still filled with ice. The video above shows icebergs that broke off from the glacier in Jökulsárlón, a bay that connects to the ocean.
The video below shows more icebergs from Vatnajökull, but this time in another bay a few miles away.
There’s plenty more to day in Iceland even from our short trip, so we’ll have more posts in the coming days. In the meantime, here are 30 first impressions I had after arriving.
— Jim Dalrymple II