15 miraculous days of Iceland

Michal Lyczek
Sep 25, 2015 · 5 min read

A few weeks ago, I traveled with my camera across the cold lands of Iceland.

Sunsets over fjords and hot springs

Sunset over the fjord, as captured from the hot baths in Pollurinn, Talknafjordur, Westfjords, Iceland

One of the most relaxing activities after a long day’s hiking is to bathe and relax in hot springs. You can find them almost everywhere on the island, but I would particularly recommend remote Pollurinn, which offers relaxing bathing pools with magnificent views of the fjord.

Flowing glaciers

Glaciers cover more than 10 percent of Iceland, and Vatnajökull is one of the largest of them, indeed it is one of the largest ice caps in Europe. This majestic and dangerous landscape is in a constant flow and must be treated with the highest respect.

The Vatnajökull ice flow, Iceland

Martian landscapes

A few kilometers north of Lake Myvatn, you will find a surreal martian-like landscape. Carefully walk around the hot fields and you will realize that powerful and dynamic natural processes are taking place just a few feet below the surface of the ground.

Geothermal area Hverir, Iceland

Flying penguins

Látrabjarg cliffs offer a chance to meet some of the cutest flying birds living in the northern lands — puffins — as well a chance to see a huge variety of other sea birds, with millions of birds making the cliffs their home.

Puffin in the Látrabjarg bird cliffs, Westfjords, Iceland

Northern jazz

Often, some of the most beautiful moments come as a surprise.

Next to the airport, an almost forgotten industrial fishing town, Grindavík may provide one of those unexpected surprises. After a long ride from Highlands, you may anticipate nothing more than a few hours sleep, especially if you need to catch an early flight in the morning.

However, if you are adventurous, hidden deeply in the harbor, you will find Bryggjan café, which not only serves a delicious lobster soup but also hosts a vibrant jazz community.

Jazz at Bryggjan, Grindavík, Iceland

The land of sheep

Sheep are everywhere, seriously, everywhere! You will find them on mountain hills, roads and even on lava fields. They are an inherent part of Iceland’s landscape.

Flock of sheep, Westfjords, Iceland

Driving across the Highlands

Iceland’s highlands are covered with a network of mountain roads. Most of which are closed during the winter, but even if open in the summer, they might still be very challenging to pass without a really good 4WD car…

Traversing the F35 road, Highlands, Iceland

Mysterious rivers of the Golden Circle

Surprisingly, most people only visit Skógafoss but forget about the waterfall’s source — the Skógá river. However, only a few hundred meters from the cowded viewing point, you can experience one of the most beautiful river canyons in Iceland.

Skógá river, Iceland

Ancient ice

It takes more than 150 years to form blue ice, where, under extreme pressure, regular ice crystals melt and recrystallize into this unique crystal form. In Jökulsárlón, you can see large blue ice blocks gently flowing towards the open sea.

Glacial ice blocks at Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Arctic savannah

The Lake Myvatn region is sometimes called Iceland in a thumbnail. From the rim of the old crater of Hverfjall, you can enjoy spectacular views over diverse the landscapes of the surrounding areas.

Southern view of the lava fields from Hverfjall, Iceland

Energy from the depths

Almost 97 percent of all households in Iceland are heated using geothermal energy. This massive energy source is far from invisible though; even from a few kilometers away you can hear the two giant steam nozzles of Krafla power plant. Have you ever tried to walk next to a starting jumbo jet? That will give you some idea of the incredible sound produced.

Walk along the canyon

It takes almost three challenging days to walk along the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river in Jökulsárgljúfur, part of the second largest European national park Vatnajökull. At the end of this amazing journey though, you will be rewarded with an extraordinary view of the powerful Dettifoss waterfall.

Jökulsárgljúfur, Iceland

Bird sanctuary

Iceland is home to more than 400 bird species. Puffins and arctic terns, are just a few of the inhabitants of these northern lands. This variety enables us to enjoy the incredible natural show that takes place every day in the sky above us.

Arctic tern, Westfjords, Iceland

Born of the geyser

Iceland is home to the father of all geysers — Geysir. Currently, it’s quiet, and you would be extremely lucky if you see its magnificent 70-meter water fountain. But, luckily, you can always count on his smaller yet more reliable brother Strokkur, who dazzles tourists with shows every few minutes.

It takes just a fraction of a second before pressure inside the hot water bubble builds up and, finally, the hot water spectacularly explodes from the geyser.

Strokkur, Haukadalur, Iceland

What’s next?

Self-portrait, Barcelona, Spain

It’s just the beginning of a journey…

To further explore with me, follow me on Medium, Instagram and Facebook.

Michal Lyczek

Written by

Travel & photography

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