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Tourist Places To Visit In Iceland
Iceland is home to volcanoes and glaciers, geothermal pools and ice caves, puffins and northern lights. A country of beautiful nature contrasts and paradoxes, one of Iceland’s most popular claim to fame is its avant-rock band Sigur Ros. Now if you have fallen in love with Iceland because of this band’s music or because of the rugged heaven-like photographs of its landscapes, here’s a list of top tourist places to visit in Iceland.
The capital city, Reykjavik is home to some of Iceland’s most colourful homes and a charming scenic city vibe. With its beautiful coastline and geothermal pool of Blue Lagoon nearby, churches and glass domes, the city is brilliant for a summer holiday. In winters, you can often see the northern lights from the city streets itself. Some of its famous tourist haunts include Hallgrímskirkja Church, Bruarfoss waterfall, Old Harbour for whale watching, Harpa Concert Hall and the Downtown area with its waterfront.
Akureyri is the second most famous town in Iceland and is a natural beauty through and through. It is located on a harbour that remains ice free and this favours the farming capabilities of the soil on the banks. That is how this town came to settle. Some places that you must see in here are the Botanical Garden, the Christmas Garden, Kjarnaskógur forest for summer and Hlíðarfjall skiing slopes for winter. The town also hosts many festivals, exhibitions and music concerts. Go down the Göngugatan street for a walk and enjoy the many museums nearby.
Legend says that Húsavík was the first site to be settled in Iceland, long long ago when a Viking came here to spend the winter and left behind a couple of slaves to build a farm house. Today Húsavík is a very coveted holiday town in this country, what with its Whal Museum, hiking trails and snowy mountains that become ethereal during winter. You can visit the Húsavík Church here, the Exploration Museum, enjoy whale-watching and go for a dip in the GeoSea Baths.
Vík í Mýrdal
Otherwise known as Vík, this is the southernmost village of Iceland. The village is so small that it is home to only 200 odd people, which makes its haunting beauty and coastline all the more stunning. There is a different kind of quiet here, the kind of peace you would kill for in your day-to-day life, coupled with natural beauty that takes your breath away. There are black basalt and sand beaches here, as well as desolate low buildings from where the church rises. There is a volcano and well as a glacier nearby so be prepared for excursions on both ends.
Seydisfjordur is home to some very beautiful landscapes that are peppered with cute quaint houses. The town isn’t very big but still makes to the top of Iceland’s most coveted destinations, mostly for its rich art and music scene. Since the town is near a fjord, you have the option of going up for hikes and walks up the hill. There are brilliant waterfalls like Gufu Waterfall and the Fjardara river for picnicking on the sides. It is a great summer destination.
Siglufjörður is Iceland’s winter destination and a wonderland for skiing enthusiasts as well as those who like to zoom down mountains on snowmobiles and ice skates. Summer is also recently picked up on the tourism with golfing and fishing among other things like museum trips. Also worth visiting around here is the Folk Music Centre that has preserved the roots of Icelandic music and the Herring Era Museum to discover the history or herring fish and its economic significance for the region.
Thingvellir National Park
This national park is one of a kind, with the legendary Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area to provide interesting spots for sightseeing and idle dips, as well as the fissures and landscapes of Almannagja for photography. Other sites to see include Drekingarhylur or the drowning pool, Thingvellir Church and Silfra (where scuba diving can be practised).
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal pool of mineral-rich water that is found near the capital Reykjavik, sustained between the rocks of Reykjanes Peninsula. It is only 40 km away from the city and makes for a very highly coveted tourist attraction, especially in the summers. It is a pool of volcanic nature but is formed from the leftover holes of geothermal power plant that was built back in 1970. The Hue of the lagoon, as its name suggests, is blue, and the waters hold some pretty strong healing properties. Of course, over the years, the place has become the hub of spa and massage treatments in the water and people come here to enjoy it.