Iceland – land of fire and ice
We have been in Iceland in the past. However, very briefly. Although it is said and even we can confirm that the so-called Golden Circle – that is the most famous and thus most visited places and attractions, which include the Þingvelli National Park, geyser geothermal area in Haukadalur (geysers Geysir and Strokkur) and waterfall Gullfoss – you can really see it in three days. On the other hand, if a person wants to explore other equally beautiful places, he doesn't even have a week to do so. Many of them are located on the north side of the island and you spend hours in the car to get to them. We drove about 3300 km in eleven days and we saw almost everything we had planned to see and visit during our trip. Unfortunately, only a close encounter with the Northern Puffin, which is found here at some less accessible places, has not happened. Otherwise, we saw a lot. Iceland is a country with amazing landscapes and incredible natural formations.
These include glaciers. Iceland means "ice land" in the local language, and virtually the entire island has traces of glacier activity. There are large glacial valleys with basalt layers whose shape, size and structure are influenced by the movement of a huge ice mass. The largest glacier area in the island and across Europe, Vatnajökull, located in the southeast of the country, is 8,100 km², representing about 8% of Iceland's surface area, although Vatnajökull looks like a simple and unified glacier layer. Volcanic rocks covered by icy masses are active in many cases (most recently in 2010 and 2011).
2 750 km² of Iceland's surface is water, which is 2.67% of the earth's surface. In mountainous areas, the largest glacier-powered river rises. These include Thjórsá, Hvítá and the wateriest Jökulsá á Fjöllum. As a result of young tectonic movements, watercourses are characterized by a number of cracks and fractures based on waterfalls (Dettifoss, Skógafoss, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, Haifoss, Oxararfoss, Barnafoss and others). A typical feature of the landscape is also the number of lakes created by the activities of glaciers (Lake Lagarfljót) or due to tectonic dips (Lake Thingvallavatn). Many lakes originated in craters of volcanoes (maar Vítí), or they are covered by lava flows (Lake Mývatn) or glacial moraine.
Iceland is also an island of fire. It is made up of only volcanoes. She keeps spewing hot lava and hot ash. Icelandic volcanoes use. For example, they heat residential homes with hot water. Thermal springs and geysers are closely related to volcanic activity. A typical accompanying feature of volcanic activity is the presence of mud volcanoes, sulphide smelling of solfatar and fumarol. The most famous place of occurrence of these phenomena is Namaskard (Namafjall) on Lake Mývatn. The largest concentration of geysers is in Haukadalur, 50 km from the south coast. The internationally used word comes from the local, so-called Geysir (The Great Geysir). However, at present, this father of geysers, who spewed water up to 70 meters, is idle and the main attraction of the area is its smaller equivalent of Strokkur, regularly spouting water up to 20 meters.
There are also three national parks in Iceland – Snæfellsjökull National Park, Þingvellir National Park and Vatnajökull National Park.
Moreover, if you are lucky, Iceland has the opportunity to see and watch whales at certain seasons of the year.
And of course this is far from all that Iceland can offer to tourists and visitors. Great cuisine food and interesting fauna and flora make this country one of the most beautiful tourist destinations not only in Europe but perhaps in the whole world.