"Incredible ICELAND" Top 5 Page for this destination Iceland by bpwillet

Iceland Travel Guide: 5,677 reviews and 17,046 photos

Nature at it's finest...

I spent an amazing 10 days in Iceland seeing incredible landscapes, meeting great people, and eating amazing food. I stayed in Reykjavik while I was there but I did venture out of the city a bit. I am sore, tired, and a bit broke. But I loved it! I hope you will see what an interesting place this is through these pages. One of the greatest aspects of travel in Iceland is that you can be constantly outside. Especially in the summer. It didn't really ever get "dark". The sun stays out so long it is impossible to miss anything! Based heavily on tourism you will find that getting from point A to B may not be as difficult as you may think, but be prepared to sit long hours on a bus. Since most of the places to see in Iceland can be done with tours, they can take care of it mostly for you. The greatest thing is just getting out there, into nature and seeing what a beautiful country this is.

Since Icelandic is hard enough for me to pronounce I will do my best to spell things in these pages that reflect how they will be pronounced when you go to Iceland. I will try to make references to pronunciation when possible - please forgive me if I butcher things to bits. There are many guidebooks that give pronunciation guides and you could even pick up a quick reference guide as well.

Not under ice...

Once I told people that I was going to Iceland they were bewildered and amazed at the same time. It is the farthest north I have ever been in the world and definitely the farthest west in Europe. This place has everything-volcanoes, gorges, glaciers, mountains, valleys, lava fields, deserts, thermal pools, geysirs and tundra. It is geologically where North America and Europe meet. There are plenty of birds to see year round some of the more interesting are the puffins and artic terns which nest around Icelands coastline and cliffs. They have an abundance of marine life that can be seen as well from Humpback Whales, dolphins, orcas and even Blue Whales and seals. Most of the human population lives on the coasts and half of the total population lives in Reykjavik. This leaves the interior practically untouched but by various 4WD routes for tours and expanding everyone's horizons to the raw beauty that Iceland possesses. The cities are expanding and so is the ground. With a few stil active volcanoes within Iceland, the landscape can change at anytime was seen in the late 90's with the eruption and subsequent floods of the Grimsvotn "jokulhlaup" (flooding caused by a volcanic eruption under an ice cap).

Young by human standards...

Iceland became an independent nation in the summer of 1944. After many natural disasters, internal feuding, foriegn rulers, their resilience finally paid off. Irish monks were the first to arrive in the 6th Cent. followed by the Norsemen from Norway in the 9th who settled there permanently on small farms. Ingolfur Arnarson and his decendents are credited as the first settlers and set up in Reykjavik on what was then named Island (Ice Land) in 874. As more settlers came the need for a government was apparent. By 930 a parlimentary government was established and the meetings at Thingvellir were a very social event. Christianity was peacefully accepted around 1000 but the parliment faced corruption and feuding in the 13th Cent. and was sold off to a Norwegian governorship. The people were enlightened by the Saga Age just as they were destroyed by consecutive eruptions of Hekla in the 1300's. The Danish oppressively controlled Iceland until the early 1900's. With WWII in full swing, and Denmark occupied by Germany, Allied powers were concerned for Iceland's defense and allowed the British to move in, followed by the US. Britain withdrew and the US has maintained a 99-year lease to use Iceland as an operating base. There were riots to international presence but such disfavor has died down in recent years, despite the end of the Cold War.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Amazing natural beauty
  • Cons:money goes FAST!
  • In a nutshell:A wilder Walden...
  • Last visit to Iceland: Jul 2004
  • Intro Updated Jul 18, 2004
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Reviews (117)

Comments (45)

  • pcg821's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Wonderful pages and tips,I leave for Iceland on Sept 2 -13,can not wait until it time to go

  • PotatoChips's Profile Photo
    Jan 1, 2008 at 8:13 AM

    Fantastic pages. Am inspired to visit after reading your pages but does sound horribly expensive

  • agapotravel's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2007 at 11:30 AM

    Wow...your Iceland tips and pics are excellent!! I will definitely be referring back to them as I plan for my trip in July!! :-)

  • travelfrosch's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2007 at 7:06 AM

    Thanks for your excellent commentary and insights. I look forward to trying the Viking beer! Cheers, Mark

  • Florida999's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2006 at 11:07 AM

    Those are some great tips, and nice photos. We're thinking about visiting Iceland in a few years. The geyser in that one photo almost looks like Old Faithful at Yellowstone

  • martin_nl's Profile Photo
    Sep 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM

    What an excellent page about Iceland. All info is very helpful!! Great pictures too. I'll come back again to this page for planning my trip.

  • NatInTO's Profile Photo
    Jul 28, 2006 at 8:34 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing your tips about Iceland! I'm planning a trip there for next March, and your comments and advice are very useful :)

  • viddra's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2006 at 9:02 AM

    Awesome page I'll keep coming back to...Sunny greetz, Dragana

  • Sue08080's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2006 at 2:31 PM

    Wonderful tips! To see Iceland is a dream of my husband's.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 20, 2006 at 7:44 AM

    good stuff. great falls, thank you

bpwillet

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