Beyond the Golden Circle - Unique Experiences in Iceland
Iceland is a land of fire and ice, where volcanoes and glaciers, rivers and waterfalls vie for space amongst the untamed landscape. There is no other destination in the world quite like Iceland, and its world famous sights along the Golden Circle, from the Blue Lagoon thermal pool to the Great Geyser, are rightly top on most people’s bucket list. Yet venture off the beaten path just a short distance, and Iceland is simply full of wondrous destinations. Here we look at 5 unique experience you can embark on in Iceland. 1 - Hike through the Spectacular Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon Emerald green, moss-covered cliffs plunge down to meet a silver ribbon of river which weaves through this staggeringly beautiful canyon in the south of Iceland. The canyon shot to stardom when it appeared in Game of Thrones, and standing amidst its ethereal beauty it is easy to imagine dragons swooping through it. Spend a day hiking up the precipitous path and standing on knee-tremblingly high viewing platforms for panoramic views that will take your breath away. 2 - Explore inside the Þríhnjúkagígur Volcano Plunge into the belly of an enormous magma chamber inside this long-dormant volcano in Iceland’s western Blue Mountain range. When Þríhnjúkagígur last erupted over 2,000 years ago it left an unusual empty magma chamber, which today offers visitors the only chance in the world to step inside such an astounding geological formation. Descend down a height the same as the Great Pyramid of Giza to see first-hand fascinating lava formations and swirls of colour. 3 - Snowmobile or Dog-sled on the Langjökull Glacier Iceland’s dramatic landscape has been carved out by vast glaciers over millennia, and the Langjökull Glacier stands today as the second largest in Europe. Embark on a tour of the top of the crevasse-filled glacier, either by snowmobile or dog-sled, to experience the power of nature. Tours usually begin near the world famous Gulfoss Waterfall, and climb atop Langjökull which is some 31 miles long and 12 miles wide. With the ice up to 2,000 feet deep at its thickest it is a humbling and powerful adventure to experience. 4 – Walk along the Red Sand at Wild Rauðasandur Beach Iceland’s rugged coast is pocketed by grand cliffs and sweeping beaches, yet few are as impressive as Rauðasandur Beach where, with the right light, the sand shimmers a deep red colour. Stretching for 10 kilometres, this wild and windswept beach in the Westfjords is as untamed as they come, and offers walking and exploring opportunities galore. A short distance away at Látrabjarg cliff, you can see puffins nesting in the rocks in the summer months. 5 – Hike a Volcano on Heimaey Island The Westman Islands, or Vestmannaeyjar, lie a few miles off the south coast and make for a day trip with a difference. Experience life on a tiny wind-battered Icelandic island as you explore the main island of Heimaey and meet its few hundred residents. Looming over the island is the Eldfel Volcano, which famously erupted in 1973 causing the residents to flee. Today you can hike the volcano, or hop on a boat trip around the island in search of puffin colonies.