Mini Guide to Iceland

Interesting Sites and Natural Wonders

Geysir

If you’ve ever wondered where the word “geyser” came from, then Geysir is your answer. It was the first geyser known to modern Europeans and it means “to gush” in Icelandic (originated from Old Norse “geysa”).

Although research shows it’s been around for 10,000 years, early accounts of Geysir dates back to 1294. In 1845, eruptions reached 170 meters, but it dropped to 70 meters in the 90s due to silica buildup around the edges. Eruptions are nowadays infrequent, but if you’re looking for reliable spouts, visit nearby Strokkur, which has them every few minutes.

NOPPAWAT CHAROENSINPHON / Getty Images

Mývatn Lake

Mývatn is a lake situated not too far from Krafla volcano. In Icelandic, the name means “midges,” which certainly pester visitors during the summer. The landscape surrounding the lake is rather unearthly due to the volcanic activity and far-reaching wetlands.

Highlights include Dimmuborgir, which are volcanic arches and pillars made from ancient black lava, and the 2,500-year-old Hverfjall Crater standing at 463 meters high. However, the region is also famous for bird watching, boasting 115 species of birds including 13 species of ducks; most prominently, the tufted duck.

Fridthjofur M. / Getty Images

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