When someone says ‘geography’, most of us think of volcanoes spurting lava, meandering rivers or dusty deserts. I know I do. Imagine visiting a place which includes all of the above, as well as interesting examples of sustainability, human culture and cool architecture. That’s Iceland.
I visited Iceland when I was 18, as a “well done” for making it out of my A-Levels alive. It was the first time I had traveled alone and probably one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on. The landscape blew me away time after time: ranging from volcanoes to glaciers; lagoons to mars like landscapes; cities to the empty fjords. I am sure my background in geography helped me fall in love with the place, and why this place helped me fall in love with geography.
Plate tectonics and Volcanoes
Iceland sits on the divergent (pully aparty) plate boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates. As a result the landscape is peppered with volcanoes and a lovely rift valley that forms its national park Thingvellir. I was lucky enough to visit the rift valley, see plenty of volcanoes and even venture down into one (obviously it had long been extinct).
The most sustainable country ever?
Due to its plate boundary, Iceland is sat on top of a mantle plume. Basically on a big blob of magma. Therefore, all the ground water is hot, resulting in steamy landscapes and exploding geysers. It also means lots of geothermal energy for the people that live there. Somehow during my trip I ended up in a geothermal power plant (goodness knows how, you gotta go with the flow sometimes) and it was incredible.
Weird and Wonderful
Iceland has some of the craziest landscapes. Some bits of it are green and grassy with waterfalls that will take your breath away.
Some parts honestly look like its another planet. These bubbling mud pits in the Myvatn area (North Iceland) smell awful because of the sulphur but look amazing.
Hopefully by now I have convinced you that Iceland needs to be on your bucket list asap. Its a truly wonderful place, with incredible scenery and lovely people. If you love geography, you will love it. Even if you hate geography, you will still love it. So grab your walking boots, zip up your coat and discover one of my favourite places on this planet.