Iceland is called the "land of ice". Where there is no ice, there are mountains, volcanoes, bare land or lakes. Tourists come here as to the "end of the world", because you will not find such landscapes anywhere else in the world. Most of the attractions are natural objects - waterfalls, an ice lagoon, geysers, large national parks. A certain proportion of travelers are those who came purposefully to see the famous northern lights.
However, do not think that Iceland has nothing to show in the cultural aspect. The capital of the country is actively developing and can offer travelers many places to see - a concert hall where world celebrities often perform, various museums. The city of Husavik is popular among tourists. Among the objects of inspection there is a museum of whales and a shocking Phallological Museum.
What to see in Iceland?
The most interesting and beautiful places, photos and a brief description.
Lutheran church in the capital of Iceland. A futuristic-looking building with a dome gazing into the sky. A sketch of a bold project for a religious building was developed in 1937. Construction was completed only in 1986. The church building is one of the five tallest in Iceland - its height is 73 meters. Inside the church there is a mechanical organ with 5275 pipes. Its weight is 25 tons, and its height is 15 meters.
Sculpture "Sun Voyager" (Reykjavik)
The name translates as "solar wanderer". The sculpture, popular with tourists, is installed on the embankment in the very center of the city. The author of the monument, artist Jon Gunnar Arnason, created the sketch when he was seriously ill. Simple in appearance, it carries a deep symbolism. The design reminiscent of a ship means the pursuit of a dream and new horizons. The height of the structure reaches 3 meters, and the length is 4 meters.
Laugavegur Street (Reykjavik)
One of the most popular shopping streets in Reykjavik. It has the atmosphere of the "old" city. In the past, this street led to hot springs, where there were laundries. One of the most popular goods for tourists on this street are products made from volcanic lava. The second most popular souvenir from here is a sheepskin sweater. In the evening, shops stop working, and bars, nightclubs, and restaurants open.
The building of the city boiler house. Its hemispherical dome looks like a flower, each petal of which is a reservoir of hot water. The building is multifunctional and is popular not only among tourists, but also among residents of the city. On the ground floor there is a winter garden, in the center of which there is a geyser. Part of the floors is occupied by shops. On the top floor there is an observation deck with telescopes.
Harpa Concert Hall (Reykjavik)
The building of the concert hall looks like two giant shards of basalt - the rock that makes up most of the mountains of Iceland. The construction of the hall lasted several years due to funding problems and was completed in 2011. In Harp's premises there are not only 4 concert halls, but conference and seminar halls, shops, cafes and restaurants, as well as an observation deck overlooking the center of Reykjavik.
Exhibition "871 / - 2" (Reykjavik)
The exhibition is located in the city center. It contains ancient and ancient artifacts from the time of the first settlers. Also at the exhibition are a variety of interactive exhibits. The museum building was built on the site of 10th century huts, and the exhibition is located in the basement of this building. The exhibits of the exhibition are household items and culture of the 9th century. The central exhibit is a hut from the time of the first settlers.
National Museum of Iceland (Reykjavik)
The exposition of the museum contains the most valuable objects of culture and life of the Icelandic people. Here you can trace the history of the country in different eras. The museum was opened in 1863, and in 1950 it settled in a building specially built for its needs. The permanent exhibition of the National Museum is about 2000 items. The number of photographs, prints and drawings exceeds 4 million. The museum organizes educational activities.
Folklore open-air museum. Founded in 1957 to preserve traditions from generation to generation. The museum complex includes dwelling houses of peasants, a Catholic church, workshops of workers. Each building houses a thematic exhibition. The place is popular with tourists. They come to get acquainted with the culture and lifestyle of the Icelanders, original folklore and interesting architecture.
Whale Museums in Reykjavik and Husavik
Whaling in Iceland has been a subject of controversy for many years. Activists and scientists opposed to it have founded whale museums. The museum in Reykjavik has 23 life-size whale models. It creates the illusion of being under water - with the help of blue lighting and a sound system. The whale museum in Husavik is less technologically advanced than the museum in Reykjavik. Its main exhibit is the skeleton of a whale.
Phallological Museum (Reykjavik)
The museum has no analogues in the world in terms of the uniqueness of the exposition. Visitors can see the preserved penises of various mammalian species, including the human one. In total, the museum has about 200 exhibits. There are also themed paintings and sculptures, and some artwork is made from the genitals themselves. Museum founder Sigurdur Hjartarson has been collecting this unusual collection since 1974.
Aurora Reykjavik (Reykjavik)
An interactive center that uses the latest technology to recreate the Northern Lights for visitors. The Northern Lights projection room is the centerpiece of the museum. Other sections feature photographs, educational materials and the history of the study of this natural phenomenon. Visitors can take colorful photos in a special photo booth. There is a souvenir shop with themed goods.
Monument to Leif Ericsson (Reykjavik)
Located at the entrance to the Lutheran church of Hallgrimskirkja. Leif Eriksson or Leif the Happy was born in Iceland at the end of the 10th century, became famous as a great navigator and ruler of Greenland. The sculpture of a person significant for the history of Iceland was donated to Reykjavik by the USA in 1930 in honor of the Millennium of the Icelandic Parliament. The sculptor Stirling Calder symbolically portrayed the navigator standing on the prow of the boat.
Geothermal natural complex. The resort is known all over the world, some call it a symbol of the country. The peninsula, where the natural pool is located, is formed from porous lava, through which sea water seeps, forming a sky-turquoise color. The water temperature even in winter is not less than 37°С. The mineral water of the complex has a unique composition, it does not contain bacteria. The bottom is covered with healthy white clay.
Route "Golden Ring"
The most popular tourist route in Iceland. The most interesting natural attractions in it are the Gullfoss waterfall, the Thingvellir National Park, the hot river in Hveragerdi, the valley of the Haukadalur geysers with the Strokkur and Geysir geysers. Some tour operators offer one-day excursions along this route, but experienced travelers advise giving it at least 2-3 days.
The most famous hiking route in Iceland. It is considered one of the most beautiful and picturesque in the world. The hike takes 3-4 days on average, the length is 55 km, the highest point is 1050 meters. Along the way there are small bases where you can spend the night. The trail passes through mountains, glaciers, lava fields. On the way, tourists meet many waterfalls, lakes and picturesque rivers.
The national park is included in the list of objects protected by UNESCO. Founded in 1928. The park is located 40 km from the capital, on the border of two lithospheric plates. Earthquakes are not uncommon here. The park includes the largest lake in Iceland, Thingvallavatn, with a depth of about 100 meters. Part of the park is an active volcanic zone. The most notable volcano in this area is the Hengil volcano.
Founded in 1967. The natural landscape of the national park is shaped by the interaction of fire and water, namely by the eruptions of the Äraivajokull volcano under the Skeidaraurjokull and Skaftafellsjokull glaciers, as well as by the flows of the Morsau and Skeidarau rivers. The park is partly covered with birch forest. The area is popular with tourists, it has specially designated camping sites and hiking trails.
The appearance of the island is due to the eruption of an underwater volcano in 1963. Similar geological events took place on Earth millions of years ago during the formation of continents. The height of the island above sea level is 50 meters, the area is 2.5 km². The island from the first days of its existence to the present time has been the object of close study of the processes of the emergence and spread of life.
Valley of Geysers Haukadalur
An unusual valley is located in the south of Iceland and is included in the Golden Ring route. Numerous geysers in this place attract the attention of many tourists. The geyser with the name Geysir is noteworthy. The Great Geyser throws out large jets of steam several times a day, but not periodically. The second popular geyser called Strokkoyur is more predictable - it releases jets of hot water every 10 minutes.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. It consists of two steps with a height of 21 meters and 11 meters. The steps are located to each other at an angle of 90 °. The volume of water passing through the waterfall is impressive - in summer it reaches 130 m³ / s. At the top of the waterfall is the Sigriudur Thumasdouttir monument. This is the daughter of the owner of the land, on the territory of which at the beginning of the 20th century there was a waterfall. According to legend, it was she who did not allow the use of the waterfall for the needs of the hydroelectric power station.
Known as the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Its name means "bubbling waterfall". It is located on the territory of the large Jokulsaurglyuvur National Park. Next to it are two other picturesque and popular waterfalls - Selfoss and Hafragilfoss, as well as Lake Myvatn. The width of the Dettifoss waterfall reaches 100 meters. Its waters fall down from a height of 44 meters. The flow of water during the flood reaches 600 m³/sec.
It is one of the most visited not only in Iceland, but also in the world. Located next to the Eyjafjallajökull glacier near the village of Skogar. In the past, this place was the coastline. Especially for tourists, a hiking trail has been laid to the top of the Fimmvurduhalus pass. It offers a beautiful view of the 60-meter waterfall. Its width is 25 meters. In the spray of the waterfall on a sunny day you can see a rainbow.
Located on the river Seljalandsau at the location of the former coastline, above which it rises 60 meters. Behind the waterfall inside the rocky cliffs is a deep indent. It has access to people, so the Seljalandsfoss waterfall can be viewed from all sides. It looks especially beautiful at sunset. Near the waterfall there is a site for setting up tents and tourists.
The Landmannaløygar Valley is part of a large nature reserve in Iceland. The unusual landscape of the valley is created by formations of lava and water. The mountains of this bridge are created by crystallized formations of volcanic rock. The color of these stones changes depending on the lighting. It can be yellow or red with purple or green streaks. There are routes of varying difficulty along the valley.
Crater lake in southern Iceland. It is part of the volcanic zone along with the Lángjökull glacier and the Reykjanes Peninsula. The red volcano basin is typical of volcanic rock. It is 55 meters deep and 170 meters wide. The basin of the lake is quite ancient - it was formed about three thousand years ago. The lake, about 10 meters deep, has an unusual color with a bright aquamarine hue.
Located next to a small fishing village in the east of Iceland. The picturesque views of this canyon attract travelers from all over the world. By its size, it is one of the largest among such canyons. The Fjadrarglufur canyon was formed more than 2 million years ago after the collapse of a large glacier. It is distinguished by its vertical walls. Its length is about 2 km, a small river flows along the bottom of the canyon.
With its steep slopes, the mountain resembles in shape the roof of a Lutheran church. The slopes got this shape after the glacier disappeared. The height of the mountain is 463 meters. At the foot there is a small waterfall, photos from this angle are especially successful. Usually travelers take a walk around the mountain - it will take no more than an hour. Climbing to its top is possible only with special equipment.
A beautiful lake in the north of Iceland. The diameter of the lake is 10 km. The area around it is considered the most popular tourist area in the country. On the hills by the lake are both indoor geothermal pools and outdoor pools with hot water. Fishing in the lake is carried out only under license. For fans of the Game of Thrones series, the lake is interesting because several scenes of the fifth season were filmed on its shores.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The ice lagoon is the largest in Iceland. The area of the lagoon is 20 km², the depth reaches 200 meters. From the shore you can see a large ice cap, from which icebergs often break off. Blocks of ice can reach a size of 30 meters. In order to see the icebergs that have stuck around the lagoon, jeep and snowmobile tours are popular. Jokulsarlon Lagoon is a popular location for filming movies and commercials.
The name "Diamond Beach" came from the ice crystals scattered on the black sandy shore. Ice shards of various sizes and incredible shapes are pieces of hundreds of icebergs in the Jokulsarlon lagoon. Crystals on the shore and icebergs in the water look especially beautiful under the rays of the setting or rising sun. At such moments, fragments of ice shimmer with all the colors of the rainbow.
Popular with tourists due to its black volcanic sandy shore. It was formed over many years of crushing solidified lava with water. The picturesque grottoes of black shiny stone on the shore seem to take vacationers into another reality. The length of the beach is more than 5 km, and the width is several tens of meters. Near the shore are high basalt columns, which are called "Troll Fingers".
The locals call this cape "the hole in the door". By their shape, the rocks on the shore really resemble doorways. The landscape is striking in its color scheme - the gray color of the volcanic rocks smoothly turns into the black color of the sand on the shore and the blue water of the ocean. Cape Dirholaey is a protected area. Therefore, during the nesting season of birds from mid-May to mid-June, passage to the cape is prohibited.
"Column of Peace"
The memorial was erected in memory of the musician John Lennon. The initiator of the installation was his widow, Yoko Ono. The monument is a white stone pedestal. Rays of light go from it to the sky, forming a tower. In good cloudless weather, the height of the rays can reach four kilometers. According to the authors of the project, the tower symbolizes the struggle for world peace, which was started by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 60s of the XX century.
The wreckage of a Douglas DC-3 aircraft
The wreckage of an aircraft that crash-landed in 1973. None of the crew was hurt. The military took away all valuable equipment from the plane, and left the empty body at the landing site. A paved route 4 km long leads from the car park to the aircraft. Tourists who have been there talk about the incredible experience of seeing the wreckage of an airplane in the middle of the deserted kilometers of a black beach.
Iceland is one of the few countries where you can see the northern lights. The most likely period to see this natural phenomenon with your own eyes is from September to April. It is also recommended to go to the north of the country or to the Western Fjords - the dark time of the day there lasts longer, which means there are more chances to see the coveted multi-colored flashes in the sky. For those who want to "catch" the northern lights, there are special organized car tours.