The Famous Iceland Northern Lights Are Not the Only Attractions

The Iceland Northern Lights are not the only reason for a trip up north; South Iceland’s extensive charms lie in its impressive collection of majestic waterfalls and glaciers, unique geology and fascinating medieval history.

South Iceland is the setting one of Iceland’s most popular sagas and home to many of their heroes, for instance, Njáll’s saga – which is arguably the finest of the 13th century Icelanders’ sagas – is largely set in southern Iceland. The renowned saga is based around the problem of blood feuds in the Icelandic Commonwealth, demonstrating how the requirements of honour can lead to minor slights spiralling into destructive and prolonged bloodshed.

Njáll, the title character, was said to be living at Bergþórshvoll, which was where he, his wife and his grandchild were burnt to death in 1011. The other principle character, the formidable warrior, Gunnar Hamundarson, supposedly hailed from Hlíðarendi in Fljótshlíð, near Hvolsvöllur. However, don’t expect to see any medieval ruins, for while the farms still exist, the farm buildings are purely twentieth century constructs, although the scenery is still very impressive.

The southern region of Iceland also contains two of the most important seats of power in medieval Iceland. Skálholt was where the bishop of Iceland was located from 1056 until 1106, when north Iceland received a bishop of its own. It is deemed a place of special historical interest and provides something to do in between watching out for the glorious Iceland Northern Lights. The other historically important seat of power in south Iceland is Thingvellir, which was the meeting place of the Althingi, the joint parliament and court founded in 930, and where Iceland was finally declared a republic in June 1944.

The eastern region of South Iceland is dominated by the glacier Vatnajökull, which together with some of the surrounding area, forms Vatnajökull National Park, the biggest national park in Iceland. It is the largest and most voluminous Icelandic glacier, as well as the whole of Europe, and covers more than 8{d12c25610243042b09500b0060ea6d37dace7f22fb8ef1db378f2f4a8d1039ec} of the country. Interestingly, according to the Guinness World Records, Vatnajökull is also the object of the world’s longest sight line of 550 km, although this has been hotly debated as it appears to be based on an alleged sighting by a British sailor in 1939. Can you imagine a finer backdrop to the breathtaking Iceland Northern Lights?

Clearly, when visiting the famous Iceland Northern Lights, you will not have to struggle to keep yourself entertained during the daylight hours, with the numerous other fascinating landmarks and attractions that South Iceland offers.

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