Iceland is ranked as the #1 dream choice in a Spin the Globe destination survey of readers by AFAR magazine. It’s not a surprising choice, for Iceland is a pure cornucopia of bucket list opportunities. In Iceland, it’s possible to view the Northern Lights, stand at the edge of a continent on spectacular seabird cliffs, soak outdoors in a geothermal spa of steaming seawater, drive a scenic Ring Road of 830 miles, and walk along the ocean harbor of the world’s northernmost capital. Iceland ‘s beautiful summer days gateway travelers to a land of dream visions, a land of raw glaciers and active volcanoes, truly a dream land of fire and ice.
Dream destination for nature photographers
Iceland is a special hotspot for nature photographers, who love to capture images of avian wildlife. For many photographers, the Atlantic Puffin is a favored subject with its winning, penguin-like appearance and large, colorful beak. At Latrabjarg Cliffs in Iceland’s Western Fjords region, photographers can drive right up to Europe’s largest sea bird cliff rookery.
At a spectacular site that has made the list of Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Greatest Wildlife Spectacles, photographer have dream access to Atlantic Puffins, Arctic terns, razor bills, and guillemots. Learn more about photographic travel to a living avian landscape at the slideshows and articles, “Ecotrip – photography and birding at Iceland’s Latrabjarg Cliffs” and “See Iceland’s puffins on spectacular sea cliffs.”
Dream destination for one of the world’s most scenic drives
Iceland is a world-class, scenic drive hotspot. With marvelous ease, it’s possible to fly into Reykjavik and self-drive out onto Iceland’s spectacular Ring Road. If you chase down this dream drive, plan to spend at least a week or more as there are waterfalls, glaciers and glacial lagoons, historic sites, volcanic regions, and side trips that should be a natural part of touring Iceland.
It’s possible to custom plan a Ring Road drive, and helpful tips are available at the slideshow and article, “Iceland’s Ring Road holds natural wonder and creative inspiration.” But, for those seeking the efficiency of a facilitated itinerary, help is available from Extreme Iceland with their adventurous “Ring Road – Ten Day Self Drive” itinerary. That itinerary can be customized and enlarged, and for rich adventure, be sure to explore Extreme Iceland’s lively additional opportunities that include options such as
- A guided glacier hike
- Ice caves for photographers
- Snowmobile tour on Myrdalsjokul glacier
- Whale watching from Husavik
- Horse riding along the Black River
- River rafting in North Iceland
- Snorkeling under the midnight sun
- Restaurants in the Reykjavik area
- Boat tour in Jokusarlon glacial lagoon
Iceland’s three national parks
Are you a fan of adventure in national parks? Then, you’ll be delighted to know that Iceland offers three, distinctly different national parks with stunning beauty. Quick links to all three parks can be accessed conveniently from Iceland’s Tourist Board site at their Things to Do link.
Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park is a combination of two, former national parks: Jokulsargljufur and Skaftafell. The combination into single Vatnajokull National Park created one of the largest national parks in Europe. Located in Southeast Iceland, this national park holds Vatnajokull, Europe’s largest glacier. Near its Skaftafell division, there is easy Ring Road access to Skaftafell Visitor Centre as well as Jokusarlon Glacial Lagoon.
Iceland’s Pingvellier National Park (also written as Thingvellier) is a World Heritage List site, where the Icelandic Parliament, Europe’s oldest national legislative assembly, was established in 930 AD and where the Alping General Assembly continued to convene until 1798. This scenic, historic site in South Iceland can be accessed via bus or independent car drive from Reykjavik, making it both an ideal day trip and one of the most frequently visited sites in Iceland.
Iceland’s Snafellsjokull National Park is Iceland’s first national park and located in western Iceland on the Snaefellsnes peninsula. It is a true reflection of Iceland‘s image of a land of fire and ice, for it holds Snaefellsjokull, both a volcano and a glacier. Its visitors centre is located at Hellnar and excursions onto the glacier are offered from Arnastapi. Views are beautiful, and the park is a 2 hour drive from Reykjavik and accessible from Highway 1, Iceland‘s Ring Road.
Dreams do come true
Whether it’s a healing soak in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, walking behind the glistening bridal veil falls of Seljalandsfoss, standing beside the Sun Voyager sculpture as the wind off Reykjavik Harbor blows your hair, riding a beautiful Icelandic horse, or sharing a drink with a beloved companion at the cool ice bar at Restaurant Reykjavik, dreams do come true in Iceland.
Access the slideshow accompanying this article to enliven your perspectives of Iceland. And, to add to your dream images of Iceland, access two, lively Pinterest boards: Travel Iceland and Pure Nature, Iceland.
Chase your dream
Poet Langston Hughes challenged “Hold fast to dreams,” for he knew that “if dreams die/Life is a broken-winged bird/That cannot fly.” If you’ve dreamed of a natural land of fire and ice, a place where sea birds nest and soar in wild skies, where waterfalls thunder, where glaciers glisten, and where the land still steams, then chase your dreams and travel to Iceland.
Find the take in this article to be helpful? National and International Travel and Recreation as well as National Education and Industry materials come from a husband and wife creative team, who travel extensively as photonaturalists and writers. One is an experienced research scientist with a doctorate in Material Sciences and background in optics research. The other is former Vice President of GKE (Global Knowledge Exchange), who served as a US Web-based Education Commissioner during the Clinton administration, and was a former US National Tech&Learning Teacher of the Year.
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