The Land of Ice... and not only...

"Get down to the Snaeffelsjokull crater, that Scartaris's shadow comes to the July calendars, brave traveler, and you will get to the center of the Earth. This is what I did. "(Journey to the center of the earth) - Julius Verne -

There are places in the world that require to be visited at least once in life, because as the saying goes: "Life is not measured by how many breath we do but from the moments that take our breath away."

Iceland has so many moments like these, you just have to be careful not to be breathless.

Climate and nature have created one of the most beautiful lands in our planet, unique shows in the world. Despite the name,  "Iceland" (Land of Ice), the island closest to Greenland is far from being an extremely cold nation. Summers for sure are not hot, but they are appreciable.

Iceland is rich of natural, historical and cultural attractions: glaciers, icebergs, volcanoes, geothermal pools, fjords, waterfalls, green valleys, cliffs, beautiful marine fauna, small fishing villages and cosmopolitan cities.

What about the midnight sun? We got it! And the Northern Lights? Well, you can admire it too from August to March! It is striking in the summer to sit, at midnight, somewhere in the port of Reykjavik, watching the sun slowly slipping on the horizon and waiting to see it coming up soon after.

Face of ice, heart of fire. There is no better description to define Iceland. Its capital Reykjavik has been defined as the "hottest" in Europe, it’s weird if you think it is located in a land near Greenland. The "heat" is not only in its most internal meanders, in the bowels of its land, among volcanoes, geysers and other geothermal giants but it is recognized above all in the spirit of its people.

The inhabitants are about 200,000, including neighboring towns, they all speak English as a second language: many French, German or even Italian. Almost all young people spend one or two years traveling around the world, gaining life experiences before returning to Iceland. Lately many foreigners choose this distant Country to try to build their future, as it is happening to one of my dearest Portuguese friends Pedro.

Try the steam baths; the geothermal hot water abounds under the ground.

The Vikings knew already to take advantage of this gift of nature, for personal pleasure and for laundry: a gift today also used to heat the houses, by no means Reykjavik is referred to as the "most sustainable world capital", 99,9% of the country's electricity is generated by renewable sources!

If you want to enjoy the island, you definitely have to try the so-called "Golden Circle", a 300 km radius that from Reykjavik makes you discover some of Iceland's most famous attractions.

Gullfoss Falls are the most famous waterfalls on the island, one of the largest in Europe.

On a sunny day, the steam clouds surrounding the waterfalls are filled with dozens of rainbows, offering an unrivaled show of color and movement; in winter, the ice shaped around the edges of the falls sculpts magical natural sculptures.

 

Geysir, the natural puff that has given its name to all geysers in the world; (its name derives from the Icelandic verb, which means "erupting"), it was discovered at the end of 1200 and it is considered the oldest geyser in the world!

Thingvellir. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Park that houses Almanagia's fault; it’s also the place that served as the venue for the first Icelandic parliament and perhaps the first one in the world!

BlàaIonid, Blue Lagoon. A small lake of thermal water, whose "smoky" waters are the result of ancient lava formations that reach about 37-39 ° C. Blue Lagoon water contains natural active ingredients, such as silica and blue seaweed, which are excellent for epidermis and psycho-physical relaxation.

Snaefellnes Peninsula. On a clear day, from Reykjavik, you can see, in the distance, the majestic volcano glacier of Snaefellsjokull, even more striking when its silhouette is surrounded by a pinkish-color tuna. It is considered the most mysterious and popular of all. Julius Verne chose it for his famous story "Journey to the Center of the Earth", intrigued by the old Icelandic sages then it is said that Cristoforo Colombo spent a lot of time in the village of Ingjaldsholl, where he heard about the lands of the West.

The northwestern part of Iceland, rich in fjords, also houses the most impressive cliffs of the island, some up to 500 meters above sea level. In addition to the beautiful natural scenery, they shelter large colonies of sea birds (seaweed, sea urchins etc.)

The Volcano and Eyjafjoll Glacier. Probably it is Iceland's most famous volcano, the one that for several days, in spring 2010, has blocked half European airlines. Its name, as has often been said, is inexhaustible, but it is easier if you dissemble it and so it becomes: eyja (islands), fjoll (mountains) and jokull (glaciers).

Don't miss Ice cave tour by Vatnajokull Glacier, the phenomenon of ice caves in Iceland is unpredictable and you can not know in advance when, where, if and how many will be formed but guides have already found some new one for this winter!

The coat of arms, symbol of Iceland, in the local language called "Skjaldarmerki", is quite curious: a red cross on a blue background, bordered by silver contours and supported by the four Landvaettir, the nature spirits, the island's protectors in Norwegian mythology.

According to tradition they inhabit the four main areas of the island: the dragon (Vopnafjordur), the bird (Eyjafjordur), the bull (Breidafjordur) and the giant Bergisi.

When you come back from Iceland you will always remember its colors: the white of its glaciers, the flaming red of the volcanic lava, the red burnt by the cold of the extravagant tundra, the green of the vast valleys, the ivory of the falls, the blue Intense sky ...

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