Natural Wonders of Iceland

What are the natural wonders of Iceland?  Iceland is a small European country located in the Atlantic Ocean off northwest off the coast of Ireland and the United Kingdom.  One could argue that Iceland is the country that features the abundance of waterfalls as wonders of nature.

Waterfalls are not the only wonders of nature featured in the country of Iceland.  Visitors can also discover an amazing canyon, glacier field, and even geysers.  Although not completely natural, Iceland is home to a wonder of nature manipulated by mankind into a therapeutic paradise.

Glymur Waterfall

The magnificent Glymur Waterfall is the second-highest in Iceland, measuring at 643 feet (196 m) in height. It is located towards the Hvalfjörður’s rear end. Since the tunnel under the fjord was opened for public, many people pass by here in order to witness the country’s beautiful area filled with tree plantations and volcanoes. The Glymur Waterfall drops into a majestic, mossy green canyon that is worth the hike, regardless some challenges on the way up, considering the steep, rocky, and muddy areas.

The hike up to the site is an exciting, yet fun activity for tourists and local people alike because the whole vista is exceptionally breathtaking. Each step allows hikers to be more eager and go further to reach the top and enjoy the epic sceneries. In order to get to the top, hikers will cross the river, which is a few meters from the waterfall’s main drop.

Gullfoss Waterfall

The majestic Gullfoss Waterfall falls 105 feet (32 m) in two steps. In the sunlight, the glacial sediment in the water appears to be golden, thus the name Gullfoss, which means “golden falls”, and is one of the world’s natural, wonders. It is also Europe’s most powerful waterfall to date. It is a massive body of water on the Hvita River, originating in Langjokull, the glacial lake.

The upper drop measures at 36 feet (11 m) in height, while the lower drop measures at 69 feet (21 m), with a total drop of 105 feet (32 m) high. When the fall is observed through the visitor center, the lower drop plunges into a narrow gorge that creates an illusion it would drop into an abyss. This effect appears that the height is higher than the suggested height. During the extreme sunlight, mist clouds that surround the hammering falls tend to be filled with dozens of rainbows, offering an exceptional spectacle of motion and colors.

Great Geyser

Also referred to as Geysir, the Great Geyser is one of the area’s favorite destinations within the Iceland’s Golden Circle. The greatest of all spouting hot springs, the Geysir Hot Spring Area is the most active with boiling mud pits, plus exploding geysers as well as the highly active Strokkur that spouts 100 feet (30 m) of water into the air.

There is a newly opened facility in the area, the Geysir Center, which showcases informative presentation and exhibits year round. The entire Great Geyser is composed of over a dozen of hot water blow holes, although less active recently. This Iceland’s area offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to boil eggs over a hot spring and dig up rye bread that’s been baking underground for 24 hours.

Asbyrgi Canyon

In the northern portion of Iceland lies the Ásbyrgi Canyon. It is a horseshoe-shaped depression that is part of the famous Vatnajökull National Park. It measures about 3.5 kilometers (2.1 miles) in length, while 1.1 kilometers (0.68 miles) across. The entire canyon is divided in the middle by Eyjan or “the Island”, which is a unique rock formation, 25 meters (82 ft.) in height, and most-loved by hikers coming from across the globe.

The canyon has steep sides that form 100-meter-high (328 ft.) cliffs. Down the canyon, tourists can walk through woodland of willow and birch, and mountain ash. It also hosts a number of tree species like the pine, larch, and fir. A small lake called the Botnstjörn is also found in the area that is home to different waterfowl species and surrounded by lush vegetation.

Vatnajökull National Park

The Vatnajökull National Park is one of Iceland’s 3 national parks, which encompasses extensive surrounding areas and the entire Vatnajökull glacier. In fact, it is Europe’s biggest glacier with a total surface area measuring at 8,100 square kilometers (3,127 square miles). The glacial ice measures between 400m (1,312 ft.) and 600m (1,968 ft.) in thickness, and 950 meters (3,117 ft.) at its maximum that tends to conceal a number of plateaus, valleys, and mountains.

Some active central volcanoes are also hidden within the area, including the Bárðarbunga, which is the largest, and the Grímsvötn, which is the most active, by far. The icecap rises over 2,000 meters (6,562 ft.) above sea level, while the glacier reaches 300 meters above sea level at its lowest point. The whole subglacial landscape is divided into different, narrow and broad subglacial valleys and magnificent canyons.