Iceland – The unique land of contrasts
- Iceland is the second largest island in Europe, Britain being first.
- Iceland has just over 300,000 inhabitants, who share this land of stunning landscapes, where we find:-
- Europe’s largest waterfall, Dettifoss, each second falls between 200 and 1,500 cubic metres of glacial water into a great canyon.
- Europe’s largest glacier. If you added all the rest of Europe’s glaciers together, the size would not match the mighty Vatnajokull glacier. The phenomenon, a “glacial blast”, is unique to Iceland, when volcanoes erupt beneath 1,100 metres of ice causing massive flooding. At its height the waters equalled that of the Congo river.
- The world’s largest hot spring area Deildartunguhver, with Geysir being the original name given by Iceland to their most famous hot spring. There are over 2,000 hot spring zones in the country.
- Iceland is a paradise for photographers, ornithologists, botanists, geologists and lovers of literature and nature.
- Iceland is the land of the Trolls, Little People and Spirits, Sagas, Eddas, Poets and Writers, with a Nation’s whole history laid down to be read.
- The whole island contains stunning waterfalls, raging rivers, tranquil lakes teaming with trout and salmon, slumbering volcanoes and mighty glaciers.
- Iceland sits astride the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the whole island being pulled apart.
- Iceland is a microcosm of a world being made. It is the youngest country on Earth in geological terms. Here every day is a discovery. Nowhere else can we witness such a display of creativity – not only in nature but also in the people.
- Group members become captivated with the tranquility and beauty of the Icelandic landscape. For many it has a magnetic pull and they have to return again to the magical atmosphere which is Iceland.
Every type of lava found on the planet can be found in Iceland, there are bubbling mud pools, beautiful mountains, some deep purple and blueberry in colour and giant basalt columns are found throughout the island. As if this was not enough, the island is visited by huge flocks of birds arriving from Northern Europe to nest and feed and so is a paradise for ornithologists. Its native birds of prey are spectacular, with a huge variety of sea birds to be seen, including the endearing puffin.
There are many varieties of wild flowers, which always surprises visitors, there are also over 400 varieties of lichen growing in the purest air found, as Iceland is not situated in the path of Europe’s pollution, Iceland having hardly any factories, most articles being imported.