25 Absolutely Breathtaking Photos From Iceland

Posted by , Updated on November 18, 2014

Most people think Iceland is just a cold, little country somewhere up in the north, near the Arctic Circle, which is somewhat right. Iceland really is a cold country with the sub-polar oceanic climate; its population is just about 325,000 people and it does lie just outside the Arctic Circle but if you think there is nothing but cold and ice in Iceland, you are wrong. Thanks to its totally unique landscape featuring all possible and sometimes almost impossible natural beauties, this isolated country became one of the world´s very top destinations for photographers, adventurers and travelers looking for extraordinary experiences. Check out these 25 absolutely breathtaking photos from Iceland and see why so many people are adding this to their travel bucket list.

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Iceland occupies an area of over 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) but is home to only about 325,000 people. With a population density of just 3.1 inhabitants per 1 square kilometer (7.5 inhabitants per 1 square mile), it’s the most sparsely populated country in Europe. But it’s the lack of density which allows you to enjoy such incredible views.

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And if you do come across a settlement when roaming the Iceland´s countryside, it can look as astonishing as this secluded picturesque house built in the middle of a green cliff.

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What most people don’t know is the fact that Iceland is – from a geological point of view - relatively young country. It is believed to have formed only 16 to 18 million years ago.

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Waterfalls are one of the most iconic features of Iceland. Hraunfossar, a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of about 900 meters (almost 3,000 feet) out of a lava field, is a very popular spot for photographers.

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The waterfalls pour into the Hvítá River from ledges of less porous rock in the lava. Hvítá means "white river" in Icelandic language.

www.rodplanck.com Rod_Planck_Hvita_River_Iceland_6790www.rodplanck.com

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Volcanoes are another thing Iceland is famous for. This volcano is a part of Eyjafjallajokull, a small ice cap located in southern Iceland. The volcano has erupted relatively frequently since the last glacial period, most recently in 2010, resulting in closure of airspace over many parts of Europe.

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Situated near a small village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur in southern Iceland, the Laki volcano hasn’t been causing any troubles in recent times. However, in 1783, the volcano’s eruption caused widespread devastation throughout Europe, caused a famine in Egypt and interrupted monsoon patterns in northern Africa and India.

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In total, there are hundreds of volcanoes in Iceland with approximately 30 volcanic systems still active. The eruptions are sometimes accompanied by these lava cascades which create truly breathtaking sceneries.

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Another dominant feature of the country is icebergs and glaciers. These can be found in Jökulsárlón, a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland. With a depth of over 248 meters (814 feet), it is the deepest lake of the country.

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The lake is also home to these bizarre black-striped icebergs which attract photographers from all over the world.

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There are 3 national parks and several nature reserves in Iceland. Established in 1979, the Fjallabak Nature Reserve offers its visitors astounding mountainous landscape, sculpted by volcanoes and geothermal activity, covered by lavas, sands, rivers and lakes. Occupying about 47,000 hectares, the reserve boasts of over 150 types of flowering plants.

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Covering 14,200 square kilometers (5,500 square miles), Vatnajökull National Park is Europe's second largest national park. It also includes Skaftafell, a preservation area famous for its spectacular ice caves.

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Yes, even this picture is real and comes from Iceland. What may look like an abstract painting is an aerial view of a volcanic river. Flowing through glacial fields and volcanic ash, there are many of such amazing rivers in Iceland.

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What may be even more beautiful than a volcanic river? A volcanic lake. In many of Iceland’s volcanoes, especially in the western volcanic zone, crystal clear lakes have formed in the craters.

anthonylukephotography.blogspot.com Volcanic Iceland by Andre Ermolaev 1anthonylukephotography.blogspot.com
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After spending some time in Iceland´s nature, you just get used to the fact that almost everything around you is unearthly beautiful. Then, seeing a church like this is no surprise to you. Built in 1884, the Hofskirkja Turf Church is one of just six turf churches still standing in the country.

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Thanks to its unique location just outside the Arctic Circle, Iceland offers its visitors another astonishing attraction – the northern lights. Ranked among the most spectacular natural phenomena on Earth, the northern lights can be observed in Iceland usually from middle September to middle April.

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Erupting volcano with the rare red northern lights in the background is an amazing combination that you can only see in Iceland.

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Located in a rural area in the south of Iceland, the Rangá Hotel is known for having excellent conditions for watching the spectacle. No air and light pollution in the area allows you to experience this wonderful phenomenon at its best.

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Iceland is also home to plenty of fantastic mountain ranges that could keep any hiker occupied for a lifetime. Covered with ice caps and icebergs, they may look like something from another planet.

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Situated in the south of Iceland between the glaciers Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull, Thorsmork Moutain Ridge is often considered the most popular hiking area of the country. Accessible by daily coaches from the capital Reykjavík and other towns, Thorsmork always offers unparalleled views.

25 Absolutely Breathtaking Photos From Iceland500px.com
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Some people say Iceland and New Zealand have quite a lot in common and geysers and hot springs are certainly one of the great natural features these two countries share. Iceland has many geysers including the well-known Geysir and Strokkur. Located in the geothermal area in the southwest part of the country, Strokkur erupts every 4–8 minutes, usually 15 – 20 meters (50 – 65 feet) high, sometimes even up to 40 meters (130 feet).

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What makes the Iceland´s hot springs different from those in New Zealand though, is the freezing temperature of the surrounding air and the immediate proximity of ice and snow. Tourists in the picture bathe in the famous Blue Lagoon Hot Springs just outside Reykjavik.

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Surprisingly enough, Iceland can also boast beautiful beaches. It is not the type of beaches you are probably used to but they are definitely still worth visiting. Located near the village of Vik on the south coast of Iceland, the Reynisfjara Beach with its typical black basalt sand and mesmerizing rock formations is one of the most popular.

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However, since ice is such a distinctive feature of Iceland, you can also come across these spectacular beaches with chunks of ice scattered around.

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Obviously, Iceland´s unspoiled breathtaking nature is home to numerous animal species. Local wildlife is particularly rich with sea birds and marine mammals. Coastal cliffs, for example, provide perfect nesting places for abundant populations of Atlantic puffins.

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