I am a great fan of the TV series Vikings and the recent season of it shows Floki sailing alone on a whim and accidentally discovering what we know now as Iceland. He mistakes it as Asgard, the abode of Gods. I think this sums up Iceland perfectly. It offers such surreal views that it transports you to a different world altogether and makes you think that you have arrived in paradise. Enough can’t be said about Iceland and there are scores of things to do in that country. However, today I want to discuss five of the most unique experiences in Iceland that blew my mind and that can transport anyone to a different era and a different world. That is why I am not talking about modern attractions but talking about the ones that are closely connected to the raw nature of the region and its ancient heritage.
This is probably the most well-known entry in this list. I don’t really have to introduce anyone to the ethereal sights of colorful apparitions all over the sky that we know as aurora or northern lights. Yes, there are boring scientific explanations for the phenomenon, but if you like to fantasize, go with the mythology and imagine it to be the handiwork of Valkyries. The good thing about Iceland is that the Aurora season here is pretty long, between September to Apil. However, you still need to be lucky to spot one because it depends on several factors. So, if possible, plan a longer trip during the season to enhance your chances of spotting one.
There was time when gigantic animals roamed on earth. They disappeared before human beings came into existence but the giants can still be found in the oceans. Due to their sheer size, the whales look like primordial beings, something far removed from our pedestrian world. However, spotting a whale is easier said than done. There are very few places in the world where you can be sure of spotting whales and thankfully, the shores of Iceland are among them. A whale watching tour in Iceland can be a great way to get acquainted with the marine life of the Arctic. You not only spot whales and dolphines of various types but can also spot a lot of avian species such as puffins that are abundant in Iceland.
A few years ago, the Volcano Eyjafjallajokull errupted, it made it to the headlines all over the world. Most people were not sure how to pronounce it but were taken aback by the very sight of a raging Icelandic volcano. The good news is that, that is not the only volcano in Iceland and there are many others both dormant as well as erupting. The very sight of a volcano can be a humbling experience. Just imagine the fire coming out of the belly of our planet. This fire is ancient, older than anything around us in the surface. A volcanic tour in Iceland involves some great hikes through epic landscapes and you can even inspect the interiors of some sleeping volcanos. But make sure to hire the right kind of people to help you with this adventure.
Yes, all of us must have read about this in our schoolbooks. The polar regions do not have the usual days or nights like the rest of the world. Their schedules are a bit strange. There can be darkness at noon in some months, but the good news is that there can also be sun at midnight in some other months. In Iceland, the midnight sun is observed at the peak of the summer, between May and August. Use this light for outdoor adventures. Your photographs will acquire ethereal hues in this light.
Vikings prompted me to write this post. So, it is only fitting to conlude this post with a bit more of the same. If you do fancy those fearsome warriors as I do, and if you are also a history buff, then it can be a very rewarding experience to explore the archaeological remains of the Viking era. They discovered Iceland sometime in the 9th century and gradually built it as an independent nation with language and culture on its own. Recent excavations have unearthet many such relics and visiting them can be a great way of experiencing the charm of that era.
Of course Iceland has much more to offer to the travellers. But these are the experiences that are close to my heart. In any case, I suggest everyone to take some time and read up about the country before visiting, so that they can come up with their own wishlist. However, no matter what your proclivities are, rest assured that Iceland will have enough to keep you occupied.