Iceland’s Top 5 Natural WondersIceland is full natural beauty from hot springs to glaciers. Here are our top 5 natural wonders of Iceland.1. Northern LightsOr the Aurora Borealis if you prefer a more scientific term for the colours that light up the sky like a neon sign. The colours we see are reflected off gas particles with gases at high altitudes resulting in reddish tones and gases lower down producing blues and purples. Science aside it really is other worldly and one of nature’s most impressive and surreal performances. The Northern lights happen all year round but can only be seen between September and April in the dark winter skies. Whether or not you see them depends very much on weather conditions but it’s worth a bit of camping out. You’ll never be impressed by a firework display ever again.2. GlaciersThe glaciers and ice caps cover over 10% of Iceland’s surface area and these great frozen rivers have carved out a unique landscape. Vatnajökull is actually the largest ice cap in Europe and Iceland’s South Coast is lined with countless glaciers.In a sea of white draped with swathes of snow you can only really appreciate the magic when you have immersed yourself in the landscape through hiking or ice climbing. Awe inspiring and so, so peaceful. Magical.3. Whale watchingMan and nature seem somewhat closer in Iceland so sighting one of the world’s biggest creatures there is rather appropriate. The chances for sightings are good what with Iceland being completely surrounded by the North Atlantic sea. The most common is the Minke whale but you can also see dolphins and porpoises which is a treat. But that’s not all; humpback whales, killer whales and sperm whales are commonly sighted making for a veritable plethora of sea mammals. There are plenty of places just a thirty minute drive from Reykjavik, (including the Old Harbour in Reykjavik itself) that are ideal for sighting these mammoth creatures. The crafts you venture out in are tiny and the only other beings you will spot are fisherman. You can also see seals out there and birds aplenty with gannets, arctic terns and puffins. 4. Geysers and hot springsYou can’t get much more of a connection with nature than witnessing water heated from the very core of the earth. In Iceland this comes in the form of hot springs and geysers due to volcanic activity under the surface of the earth. The geyser is the rather more aggressive of the two, the verb ‘geysa’ in Icelandic actually meaning ‘to gush’ which makes perfect sense seeing as geysers are rather like miniature (and slightly more watery) volcanoes. These hot springs which periodically erupt and shoot water into the air are a perfect showcase of the power and force of nature. A slightly calmer geothermal phenomenon rife throughout Iceland is the hot pool or spring which is a rather relaxing (not to mention mineral rich) bathing option even during the deep Winter freeze. A lovely gift from nature.  5. Bird CliffsThe most famous of the Icelandic bird cliffs is Latrabjarg which is not only covered in millions of birds but also marks the Western most part of Europe. That’s multi-tasking. It’s somewhat of a hero as cliffs go, providing a home for up to 40% of the world’s population of some bird species.Iceland is actually the world centre for the Atlantic Puffin population meaning there are between 8 and 10 million birds so no shortage for a good bit of ornithology. They are joined by guillemots, razorbills, gannets and arctic terns. The sea birds are incredibly beautiful to see up close and many Icelanders take this to the extreme scaling down the cliffs to get a closer look at the birds.All these natural wonders are within your reach with Inspired by Iceland which is offering real Icelandic experiences to visitors by asking Icelanders to share their homes and their lives over the next few months. For your chance to try glacier hiking with the locals, photograph the Northern Lights with a professional or bathe in a hot spring in the back garden go to Inspiredbyiceland.com to get your place. Visit the site to see what other experiences are available and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.
  • Camera: Nikon D700
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Exposure: 1/400th
  • Focal Length: 66mm

Iceland’s Top 5 Natural Wonders

Iceland is full natural beauty from hot springs to glaciers. Here are our top 5 natural wonders of Iceland.


1. Northern Lights
Or the Aurora Borealis if you prefer a more scientific term for the colours that light up the sky like a neon sign. The colours we see are reflected off gas particles with gases at high altitudes resulting in reddish tones and gases lower down producing blues and purples. Science aside it really is other worldly and one of nature’s most impressive and surreal performances.
 
The Northern lights happen all year round but can only be seen between September and April in the dark winter skies. Whether or not you see them depends very much on weather conditions but it’s worth a bit of camping out. You’ll never be impressed by a firework display ever again.

2. Glaciers
The glaciers and ice caps cover over 10% of Iceland’s surface area and these great frozen rivers have carved out a unique landscape. Vatnajökull is actually the largest ice cap in Europe and Iceland’s South Coast is lined with countless glaciers.
In a sea of white draped with swathes of snow you can only really appreciate the magic when you have immersed yourself in the landscape through hiking or ice climbing. Awe inspiring and so, so peaceful. Magical.

3. Whale watching
Man and nature seem somewhat closer in Iceland so sighting one of the world’s biggest creatures there is rather appropriate. The chances for sightings are good what with Iceland being completely surrounded by the North Atlantic sea. The most common is the Minke whale but you can also see dolphins and porpoises which is a treat. But that’s not all; humpback whales, killer whales and sperm whales are commonly sighted making for a veritable plethora of sea mammals.
 
There are plenty of places just a thirty minute drive from Reykjavik, (including the Old Harbour in Reykjavik itself) that are ideal for sighting these mammoth creatures. The crafts you venture out in are tiny and the only other beings you will spot are fisherman. You can also see seals out there and birds aplenty with gannets, arctic terns and puffins.
 
4. Geysers and hot springs
You can’t get much more of a connection with nature than witnessing water heated from the very core of the earth. In Iceland this comes in the form of hot springs and geysers due to volcanic activity under the surface of the earth. The geyser is the rather more aggressive of the two, the verb ‘geysa’ in Icelandic actually meaning ‘to gush’ which makes perfect sense seeing as geysers are rather like miniature (and slightly more watery) volcanoes. These hot springs which periodically erupt and shoot water into the air are a perfect showcase of the power and force of nature.
 
A slightly calmer geothermal phenomenon rife throughout Iceland is the hot pool or spring which is a rather relaxing (not to mention mineral rich) bathing option even during the deep Winter freeze. A lovely gift from nature.
 
5. Bird Cliffs
The most famous of the Icelandic bird cliffs is Latrabjarg which is not only covered in millions of birds but also marks the Western most part of Europe. That’s multi-tasking. It’s somewhat of a hero as cliffs go, providing a home for up to 40% of the world’s population of some bird species.

Iceland is actually the world centre for the Atlantic Puffin population meaning there are between 8 and 10 million birds so no shortage for a good bit of ornithology. They are joined by guillemots, razorbills, gannets and arctic terns.
 
The sea birds are incredibly beautiful to see up close and many Icelanders take this to the extreme scaling down the cliffs to get a closer look at the birds.


All these natural wonders are within your reach with Inspired by Iceland which is offering real Icelandic experiences to visitors by asking Icelanders to share their homes and their lives over the next few months. For your chance to try glacier hiking with the locals, photograph the Northern Lights with a professional or bathe in a hot spring in the back garden go to Inspiredbyiceland.com to get your place. Visit the site to see what other experiences are available and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.


For 17 days I travelled solo around the entire island shooting almost 24 hours, sleeping in the car, and eating whenever I had the time. During my days shooting this film I shot 38,000 images, travelled some 2900 miles, and saw some of the most amazing, beautiful, and indescribable landscapes on the planet. Iceland is absolutely one of the most beautiful and unusual places you could ever imagine. Especially during the Midnight Sun when the quality of light hitting the landscape is very unusual, and very spectacular.

Scientifantastic

(Source: themillions.com, via shannybasar)