Eyjafjallajökull, a mountain glacier in Iceland, erupted in 2010. The volcanic eruptions created a huge ash cloud in the air that led to the closure of air spaces in about 20 countries. And it was the time for the world to become more aware of this northern country’s beauty.
Iceland has 130 active volcanoes, many of those are on the brink of eruption. These are the volcanoes responsible for spewing lava and creating geothermal water bodies and caves, the lava then forms colorful landscapes. Iceland also has the most beautiful flora, fauna, marine life, and birds. But the volcanoes are largely responsible for the beauty of Iceland.
There are some things in Iceland that are wonderful but might seem strange or unbelievable at the first encounter. These are the things that someone might not come across in normal life but in Iceland, where the beauty is almost unbelievable, it is worth doing a few weird things.
Here is the list of five of those strangely awesome things to do in Iceland:
1. Grjótagjá Hot Spring
Imagine a chasm in the earth that has a deep, dark bottom and in the bottom, there is a beautiful hot spring. It is Grjótagjá. So be prepared with a flash light, a swimsuit under warm clothes, and good shoes to descend into the hot spring (be careful of the slippery terrain.) It is also recommended to test the temperature of the water before taking a dip since the temperature of the water is not constant and might rise to the level not suitable for bathing.
This small hot spring is located in northern Iceland near Lake Mývatn. And since the news about the shooting of some scenes of the Game of Thrones Season 3 episode Kissed by Fire in this spot broke, the tourists are visiting it more than ever.
2. Midlina: A bridge between two continents
Is it possible to be in Europe from North America in less than a minute? In Iceland, it is. There is a small footbridge on a shallow chasm of Reykjanes peninsula that connects the two continents. Located in the Sandvik area on Road 420, which is not too far from Reykjavik, the bridge is a connection between two tectonic plates. It is simply unbelievable to walk on the bridge and look at swathes of beautiful lava fields. It is a wonderful spot to visit with family and kids. It is advised to check the weather before going to the bridge as it can get really cold and wet, and the fog might blur the view in winter.
3. Chasing Aurora Borealis
It can be both adventurous to chase northern lights in the middle of the night in Iceland by driving through pitch dark roads. And it can also be frustrating to refresh Iceland’s meteorological office’s website—that measures solar activities—every few seconds to see whether there are chances to see aurora borealis on a short trip to Iceland. But the entire experience is extraordinary. And the view of northern lights in the dark sky covered with tiny stars is more than extraordinary. If it is the right season for northern lights, the chase can be two to fifteen days long. Some people go every day to try their luck and some people see it on their first time. It is highly recommended to wear extra layers of clothes while chasing the lights because Icelandic cold can be really brutal in the night.
4. Going inside a volcano
Thrihnukagigur volcano is one of those dormant volcanoes in Iceland that has a deep crater, about the size of Statue of Liberty. It is recommended to take a guided tour to the volcano, which is located near Blue Mountains Country Park, Bláfjöll. The entire trip includes a 2-mile hike from Blue Mountains Country Park to the crater, mounting on an elevator wearing safety gears and flash lights, and descending 400-meters deep into the chasm. It is recommended to wear layers as it can be really cold inside the crater. This activity can be done only during summer months, i.e., between mid-May and mid-October.
5. Eating a shark
The aquatic life in Iceland is rich and are spawning ground of fish—from sea turtles to whales and from seals to sharks. And Hákarl, also known as Greenland shark, is eaten all year round in Iceland. It is the traditional Icelandic food (because it goes back to the Viking times) also considered as the national dish of Iceland. The shark that is fermented for days is rich in ammonia and the smell (which is a combination of rotten cheese and ammonia) might not be something the first-timers might be able to bear and the taste can be extremely strange. But for fish lovers, it can be an experience.
Updated: August 24, 2017