The Land of Fire and Ice: Why Iceland Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination
Iceland is a Nordic island covered in snow and ice, with veins of red hot lava racing along its surface. It offers black sandy beaches, raging waterfalls, and hot springs for visitors to soak in. Geysers shoot steaming water at one end, while frozen ice caps cover land on the other.
While this magical place sounds like a fantasy, it can be the destination of your next getaway. Iceland has a variety of activities and sites suited for the entire family. Here is what you can expect to find on your trip to this Nordic nation.
Game of Thrones filming locations
If you are a fan of television’s “Game of Thrones,” you may recognize much of Iceland’s natural scenery. Originally the first story in a growing book series from author George R.R. Martin, “Game of Thrones” is set in the fictional land, Westeros. The saga is filled with dragons, pirates, and territorial conflict, with royal families fighting to claim the throne of a thousand swords.
Most of the snowy scenes of the North take place in Iceland, and you can enjoy them all through an exclusive Game of Thrones Tour. Though it can have rather cool temperatures, Iceland also has its share of warm weather for tourists to enjoy. Be sure to visit the best of both fire and ice at Eyjafjallajokull, a volcano-covered ice cap that erupted in 2010. Since then, over 2.4 million people have visited Jon Snow’s home, and you can surely join them.
Though you won’t see dragons soaring majestically through the clouds, bird and whale watching can be enjoyed by everyone who visits the island.
One bird is to keep an eye out for is the raven. Ravens can be as large as red-tailed hawks with a wingspan of four feet. “Game of Thrones” fans know that ravens are used in the show to deliver messages back and forth between houses. Known for their intelligence, these large black birds play an important role in Icelandic history and are monitored and tracked by the Icelandic Museum of Natural History. Other birds you may see during your trip include falcons, ducks, and puffins.
Animals play a large role in the “Game of Thrones” series, especially through the wargs, or men who can see through the eyes of animals. You can enjoy learning about animal habitats and their role in Iceland’s conservation during a trip to the natural history museum.
If you plan your trip between the months of March and September, you may be able to witness the Northern Lights, commonly known as Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights are caused by electrically-charged particles in the air that make it shine waves of color which can be seen from campsites at one of Iceland’s national parks.
Daenerys Stormborn’s dragon had a snack of goat at Thingvellir National Park, which has tons of activities perfect for the entire family. For gelology fans, the rifts in the park display the natural movement of the Earth’s tectonic plates. Earthquakes shook these places in the past, causing seismic events such as the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull.
Another rare natural phenomena are the geysers or vents in the Earth. Iceland is infamous for its geysers, particularly the Strokkur Geysir which erupts almost every 20 minutes. Fans can sit back and imagine their beloved characters walking across the exact natural landscapes seen throughout the series.
Jon Snow and his “Kissed by Fire” love interest, Ygritte, took a dip in a secluded cave’s hot spring. Iceland is home to many pockets of water that you, too, can warm up in. Thanks to geothermal warming, the lava cave and other hot pots are an inviting place for you and your family to spend an afternoon in after hiking around the trails with your equestrian guides. The native Icelandic horse can help carry you around the rocky hills and terrain that influenced stories of elves and trolls, in addition to Martin’s “Game of Thrones” novels.
A trip to Iceland should be at the top of any “Game of Thrones” fan’s getaway destination list. Not only will you enjoy witnessing and learning about the series’ different filming locations, but you’ll experience all the serene beauty and natural wildlife this Nordic nation has to offer.