Tag Archives: Iceland

First Luxury Hotel Set to Open at Iceland’s Iconic Blue Lagoon

Iceland’s Blue Lagoon is among the country’s most popular attractions and — with the recent explosion of American tourism — it has the crowds to prove it. The thermal hot spring is rarely as pristine and tourist-free as the publicity shots would have potential visitors believe. This fall, boutique luxury property Moss Hotel will open its doors at the water’s edge to provide private, unprecedented access to the eight-hundred-year-old lagoon.

On paper, it’s difficult to imagine how a large cauldron of soupy wastewater from a nearby geothermal power station could become so popular. In person, it’s another matter entirely. The volcanic topography and otherworldly after-dark glow of the mineral-rich water are a microcosm of Iceland’s landscape as a whole. It’s a beautiful, alien, and even spiritual experience.

Continue reading First Luxury Hotel Set to Open at Iceland’s Iconic Blue Lagoon

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23 Reasons Iceland Is The Best Country On The Planet

Iceland is a place of surreal beauty.

The incredible landscape of the island is staggering. Most of the country is an uninhabited moonscape of craters, bright green moss, towering glaciers, volcanoes, hot springs, and fields of lava rock.

It is so other-worldly that it is often the backdrop in sci-fi films. Iceland was the inspiration for Tolkien’s stories and is sometimes even used as practice for moon-landings.

Plus, the people are really, really nice — and I should know since I’m from there.

Here are just a few reasons why Iceland is the most wonderful country on Earth.

1. Because in the mid-1970s Iceland built a geothermal power plant, and accidentally created one of the most visited places in the world: the Blue Lagoon.

Iceland Blue Lagoon

Spillover water from the geothermal power plant created pools in the surrounding lava fields, and when people began to swim in those waters they found that it would heal skin ailments, so they opened it to the public.

2. Because “The Journey To The Center Of The Earth” begins in Iceland. It might be a fictional Jules Verne novel, but you can go to the actual place — it’s called Snæfellsjökull.

Iceland

3. Because Icelandic children save Puffins.

Iceland

Every August, millions of newborn puffins leave the cliffs of the Westman Island to fly over the north Atlantic. But many will get distracted by the lights of the town of Heimaey and wind up on the streets, so people of the town will scoop them up and take them to the seashore to put them back on the right track. Over the years, it has become a special activity for children.

4. Because Icelanders believe in “hidden people” that live underneath rocks.

Iceland

It is said that the often-harsh landscape of Iceland inspired the stories of hidden people. While this may seem like a strange belief, it is actually used most often to halt new construction developments, which helps to conserve the natural landscape of the country (seriously!).

5. Because there are thousands of waterfalls throughout the country. Iceland is home to the most powerful waterfall and the largest waterfall complex in Europe.

Iceland

6. Because the most famous restaurant in the country is a small hot dog stand in downtown Reykjavik.

Iceland

Hot dogs from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur are basically the national dish of Iceland — not fermented shark.

7. Because it is the land of the midnight sun.

Iceland

To celebrate the summer’s midnight sun, Iceland holds a music festival in Reykjavik called Secret Solstice. The sun doesn’t set during the three day festival.

8. Because downtown Reykjavik looks like a wonderland of different candy-colored houses.

Iceland

9. Because Iceland is ranked as one of “the happiest places on earth,” by the World Happiness Report. It is also ranked as the world’s friendliest country.

Iceland

10. Because it is so safe that the Icelandic police publicly apologized last year for killing someone for the first time in its history.

Iceland

11. Because Iceland is a volcanic island that is constantly growing.

Iceland volcanic ash images

12. Because the terrain of Iceland is so different and vast that it also has the largest desert in Europe.

Iceland

13. Because they still speak Icelandic, which is a language that has been largely unchanged for over a thousand years. In fact, Icelanders today can still read the ancient Sagas.

Iceland

14. Because it is called the best country in the world for women. For six years in a row, Iceland has been rated as the country with the world’s smallest gender gap.

RTXNQYJ

15. Because this is the only traffic you will run into.

Iceland

16. Because Iceland is the only place in the world where you can take an elevator directly into a volcano’s magma chamber.

Iceland

17. Because Iceland has never had a military, or entered into a conflict (expect for a brief conflict that was literally called the “Cod War,” and yes it was about fish).

Iceland

18.Because it is one of the best places to catch the Northern Lights.

Iceland

19. Because comedian Jon Gnarr ran for Mayor of Reykjavik, the capital city, on a joke campaign called the “Best Party” — and actually won. One of his promises was to put a polar bear in the local zoo.

Jon Gnarr

Plus, he dresses in drag to support the pride parade in Iceland:

Jon Gnarr

20. Because nearly all of the homes are heated by geothermal energy.

Iceland

21. Because Iceland has a higher percentage of writers in its population than any other country in the world. Icelanders also published the most books per capita. In 2011, Reykjavik became a UNESCO City of Literature.

Iceland

22. Because Icelanders understand that their country is dark and cold for a lot of the year, so they have outdoor geothermal heated pools open all year round, regardless of the weather.

Iceland

The custom of bathing in hot springs dates back to the Vikings, but today you can find heated outdoor pools scattered all throughout the cities. Icelanders basically treat the outdoor pools like bars — a place where people meet and gossip after work.

23. Because the landscape of Iceland is so lunar-like that both Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong practiced for the moon landing there.

Iceland

(Recognize this place? You may have seen it in Interstellar).

An Ultra-marathon along Iceland’s most famous hiking trail

The trek along Iceland’s most famous hiking trail is called Laugavegur and lies between Landmannalaugar and the Þórsmörk nature reserve. It is usually done in three to five days but annually a bunch of hardcore runners do it only in a matter of hours.

Continue reading An Ultra-marathon along Iceland’s most famous hiking trail

Drone Footage Captures Iceland’s Picture-Perfect Landscapes

The sweeping majesty of Greenland’s neighbor to the east comes alive in photographer Garðar Ólafsson‘s breathtaking compilation of nature footage, Powerful Iceland.

Spanning just shy of five minutes time, the video takes viewers to 13 separate locations throughout Björk’s homeland, over sherbet-hued seas and cascading waterfalls, and into rolling fog banks.

Ólafsson has been shooting around Iceland for the last few months, using a DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone, a Canon EOS 6D, a Sony a7S, and a GoPro. In his video description, he explains, “It’s such an amazing country that everyone should witness with their own eyes.”

And given our track record of Icelandic wanderlusting, from Mount Kirkjufell to Vatnsnes, it’s clear we couldn’t agree more. Check it out below:

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Hvitserkur Rock

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Gullfoss at dusk

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Turquoise Falls, Bruarfoss

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Black Falls, Skaftafell

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Blue Storm, Jokulsarlon

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Blue Ice, Jokulsarlon

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
The mighty Dettifoss

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Sacred Water, Godafoss

Stunning Views of Iceland Captured by Jerome Berbigier landscapes Iceland
Svartifoss, infrared processing

Photographer Jérôme Berbigier moved from France to Australia in 2007 and soon after took up photography. Inspired by a childhood spent near the Atlantic Ocean and the natural beauty of areas surrounding Sydney, it wasn’t long before he was capturing stunning landscapes up and down the Australian coast.

A 2012 trip took him to Iceland where he captured these amazing views of the country’s waterfalls, rivers, and seascapes, some of which he didn’t publish until just this year. You can see much more of his photography on Flickr and over onFacebook. Prints of all his work are available upon request.

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