There is a reason for everything but one disputed fact is where Iceland’s name comes from. Iceland is after all quite green while Greenland, for example, is extremely icy. Old folk lore says that the original settlers of Iceland tried to throw others off by naming it Iceland, thinking it would attract fewer settlers and divert more people to the deceivingly named Greenland. While the name-giving deception of original Viking settlers sounds mischievously fun, the fact remains that nearly 11% of Iceland’s land mass is covered by glacier and so it is actually quite aptly named.
There are a number of large glaciers in Iceland, the largest being Vatnajökull, which alone covers approx. 8% of the country. Many of Iceland’s glaciers cover volcanoes with their ice caps, which when they erupt cause massive floods of glacial waters and there you have your reason for why Iceland is often referred to as “the land of fire and ice”.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, “jökull” is the Icelandic word for glacier. It is notoriously difficult to pronounce which is rather inconvenient for such an internationally popular phenomenon. If you want to show off to your friends when you return home, here’s a little tip: yoeh-kuutl. We know that’s not very helpful but don’t feel bad, when Eyjafjallajökull erupted and grounded all those people in 2010, news reporters all over the world tried their hardest, much to the amusement of Icelanders.
So what do you do on these glaciers exactly? The sky's the limit really! How about snowmobiling across an icy desert to go the distance on a glacer? You could also go sailing around magical blue ice bergs in a glacier lagoon like James Bond. Or step inside an ice cave to get a feel for a glacier from the inside. Some even hike up Hvanndalshnúkur in Öræfajökull, Iceland's highest peak, for some glorious views. Whether you're in for a thrill, a challenge or a meditative personal experience with the natural forces, the glaciers of Iceland will not disappoint. Read up on more interesting glacier facts and activities here and book a tour that will surely be unforgettably cool.