Iceland is as beautiful in winters as in the summers. The country does not have a standing army and is 103,000 sq. km. in area with a population of 3.38 lakhs (Bihar, an Indian state with an area of 94,163 sq. km has a population of 9.9 crores)! Iceland is truly one of its kind. Here’s my experience from our trip to Iceland and why you must visit at least once.
New Year’s Eve
New Year’s Eve is a big crazy party in Iceland! We were staying in the capital city of Reykjavik. Streets were filled with cheerful people as if the entire city was on the roads. Streets were decorated with colorful lights and Christmas goodies. At midnight, the entire town gathered and burst tonnes of firecrackers right in the middle of the city! It was magical!
As we visited Iceland (Reykjavik) near New Year’s Eve, it was covered in white layers of ice! Its beauty was breathtaking. We couldn’t resist clicking the mesmerizing white covers every time we stepped out (or from our hotel room)!
Being an island, whales are often seen off Iceland’s coast. There are special whale watching tours arranged during winters. The 3-hour ferry tours take you far into the ocean where one can easily spot various sorts of marine life and whales. However, it gets really chilly out on the deck if you want a clear view of the sea animals.
Quick tip: If you are prone to sea/motion sickness, avoid such tours or take your motion sickness medicines well before you board your ride.
Fontana Geothermal Baths
Picture natural hot springs during chilly winters (3 degrees Celsius) right under the star stud sky! That’s exactly what Fontana steam bath is. A dip into the outdoor hot springs is a perfect way to relax after your exhausting travel. It was the best part of our journey and I would love to visit here again.
As we were too tired to click pictures, I’m attaching a Google image for your reference.
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis or Northern Lights. The Northern Lights are actually caused due to collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere and charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Northern Lights are unpredictable but you have high chances of seeing them during dark, clear nights. During our travel, we were lucky enough to witness these light flashes twice! However, we couldn’t capture them on our camera as they lasted for a few nanoseconds.
Reynisfjara Beach – Black Sand Beach
A stroll along the black sand beach was one of its kind. Reynisfjara Beach is famous for movies and commercial shootings. A few scenes from the famous Bollywood song ‘Gerua’ were shot on this beach. The beach features Reynisdrangar pillars, basalt rocks that rise from the sea. However, according to the legend, these were trolls turned into rock by the rising sun when they came home late after a fishing trip. According to Icelandic folklore, trolls lived in the mountains and only came down to forage for food. Trolls can only survive in the darkness of night and if they were caught in the sunlight they would immediately turn to stone. Almost 50% of the population in Iceland still believes that trolls and dwarfs exist even today(as informed by the guide)!
Waterfall: Eyjafjallajokull Volcano
Iceland has unique waterfalls that you can walk behind (but due to the freezing climate, we couldn’t walk behind one). This particular waterfall we visited was flowing down a volcano named Eyjafjallajokull which last erupted in 2010! Iceland still has a lot of active volcanoes which are ready to erupt any time soon. In fact, the country has a volcanic eruption every 4-5 years.
If you love scenic beauties, adventure and experiencing mind-boggling phenomenon, then Iceland should be your next destination!