Thousands of people travel to Iceland to snap photos each year. With stunning geysers, black beaches, and waterfalls all largely born of Iceland’s volcanic origins, it’s little surprise tourists want to spend holidays there. So, if you are thinking about taking a break to this sub-Arctic paradise and want to see some incredible scenery, where [...]
Thousands of people travel to Iceland to snap photos each year. With stunning geysers, black beaches, and waterfalls all largely born of Iceland’s volcanic origins, it’s little surprise tourists want to spend holidays there.
So, if you are thinking about taking a break to this sub-Arctic paradise and want to see some incredible scenery, where should you go? Read on for 6 of the best and most beautiful mountains and volcanoes the country has to offer.
Part of the Vatnajökull National Park, Hvannadalshnúkur is a peak on the northwestern rim of the Öræfajökull volcano. Both mountain and volcano are parts of the huge glacier Vatnajökull, the largest glacial ice cap in Europe.
Hvannadalshnúkur is the highest point in Iceland and stands at just over 2,100 meters. For those who wish to climb the mountain, it takes a long day due to the many crevasses present in glaciers. Climbing guides are therefore recommended, unless your group includes experienced glacier climbers.
Something of a jewel in the crown of the Icelandic highlands, Landmannalaugar boasts colorful mountains, geothermal pools, and jaw-dropping scenery. It is only accessible by a four-wheel-drive vehicle, but, fortunately, Iceland has no shortage of these.
Many visitors like to try one of three activities – bathe in geothermal pools, go in search of the northern lights, or snap photos of the rainbow-colored rhyolite mountains. The slopes are various hues of pink, green, and brown, and rare geological elements create patches of yellow, blue, and purple as well.
Image credit – qiv
Known as “The Queen of Icelandic mountains”, Herðubreið (HAIR-the-breath) is a flat-topped volcano that was voted the national mountain in 2003. Some sightseers speculate that it is among the world’s most beautiful volcanoes.
At around 1680 meters high, the summit of Herðubreið is one of the higher peaks on the island. But it is also a very difficult climb to undertake, as there is only one recommended route to the summit. Indeed, Herðubreið was considered impossible to climb for centuries. The views at the top are worth the effort, but a large amount of scree makes the climb difficult for novices.
This stratovolcano is actually called Snæfell, but people refer to it as Snæfellsjökull to avoid confusion with two other mountains of the same name. A glacier covers its peak most of the time, although the summit was ice-free for the first time in recorded history in August 2012.
Snæfellsjökull National Park makes up the volcano’s surrounds, and is the only such park in Iceland to reach the seashore. Lava is found across the nearby landscape, mostly from the glacier and summit crater but also from some of the smaller craters on the flanks of the mountain. Hiking and guided trips to the glacier are easily possible with the right weather conditions.
Anyone who tried to fly around Europe in 2010 will know of Eyjafjallajökull. This ice capped volcano erupted and spewed out a huge ash cloud, causing chaos in European airspace. The activity was actually fairly minor in scale but unusually explosive.
Once on the southern coastline of Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull is now 2-5 km inland, and many waterfalls can be found where the slopes once reached the sea. Skógafoss is the most famous of these falls, and photographers flock from around the world to see its famous single or double rainbows.
Rising to a height of just over 1200 metres, Súlur is a mountain just southwest of Akureyi, the second largest city on Iceland. The two peaks are incredibly picturesque, with the lower summit being popular with hikers and climbers.
Image credit – Bjarki Sigursveinsson
Súlur looks like a perfect volcanic cone from a distance, although it becomes apparent that there is also a ridge heading north to the basalt mountain Kerling. Between the excellent hiking on the slopes and the lesser-known urban attractions of Akureyi, this region of Iceland is well worth a visit.