Iceland vast beauty of the landscape
Although a relatively new island (approx 20 million years old) – Iceland has an archaic first appearance, with large glacial springs and mountain passes, yet do not be fooled. Head into Reykjavik and you’re in the centre of a thriving city. As the largest town in an otherwise sparsely populated country, it is of course home to the main shopping centre and population of Iceland. Despite the vast beauty of the landscape, the houses are also something to behold as they are clad in brightly coloured sheets of corrugated metal.
Although this can seem like a bold architectural statement, it is in fact practicality that forces the locals to deck their houses in such attire as the corrugated iron perfectly withstands the wind and heavy rain the island is prone to. However don’t let this put you off. Beyond the shops and houses are graffiti strewn walls with street music parties raging, I would say until night fall – but during the summer months it stays unnaturally light and doesn’t ever fully get dark. Therefore if things like the Northern Lights are on your agenda, it is best to visit during times in Iceland when the nights are darker in the months usually between September and April.
The Aurora Borealis is best seen from locations outside the city where the air is clearer. Beyond Reykjavik the land is sparser and far less populated so heading further out offers you the best opportunity. Driving along these mountainous regions require a 4×4 vehicle as roads are dirt and it is necessary to cross and drive along river beds at certain points.
A tip to bear in mind seems the most obvious, but being prepared with a fair amount of money is essential as the prices of objects such as beer and car hiring is expensive out in Iceland. However hitch hiking actually comes strongly recommended, if you are wanting to wait it out as outside of the main city the rate tends to be about one car every hour – so thank your lucky stars for longer day light hours!