School Tours to Iceland
Although schools may opt to visit Iceland for a number of different curriculum subjects, the vast majority of you will be travelling to this incredible country to study some aspect of its geography and geology. Iceland is a product of the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. And it is the mix of Arctic ice and hot geothermal conditions that make Iceland such a fascinating place to study on a school field trip.
So what makes Iceland such an interesting place for school visits?
Iceland has it all - overloaded with physical Geology, including active volcanoes, regularly erupting geysers, thermal pools, icy glaciers and breathtaking waterfalls! Geography students will find a land of wonders, a land of ice and fire, and the perfect place to witness many of the Earth's natural processes in action.
You can see straight away why Hollywood is attracted to this wonderful geographical location too and in recent years Iceland has been featured in a number of huge Hollywood successes such as Game of Thrones and Star Wars.
Popular destinations for schools include the Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls, the Great Geysir and the glacier at Solheimajokull. See below for more information...
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Wrapped in Nordic culture, Iceland is where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates collide, resulting in some spectacular and unusual rock formations across the country. This has provided the location with plenty of challenging hill climbs and brilliant bike trails, which are perfect for getting your students active.
Also between these two tectonic plates lies Lake Þingvallavatn, a lake filled with super-clear water which has ran off of a glacier. This creates a superb destination for scuba diving with visibility of over 180 metres! The lake is also filled with a huge array of underwater rock formations, creating one of the worlds most spectacular diving destinations.
Talking more about Iceland's above land wonders, we of course have to mention it's collection of volcanoes. Situated on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland has around 130 volcanoes across the country, made up of a mixture of active (around 30) and non active volcanoes.
Your students can take a look at the magnificent Maelifell Volcano, one of the islands most known, which is a stratovolcano and has an elevation of over 1770ft tall. The last eruption of Maelifell was at the end of the last ice age which was over 10,000 years ago.
Another popular excursion is the Thrihnukagigur volcano, where you can hop onto a lift and be lowered down into the heart of the volcano. Once inside you will see the scorched red and orange fire covered walls of the volcano first hand, a truly once in a life time sight.
Also, if you head down to Hvolsvöllur they have a brand new interactive, high tech educational exhibit called The LAVA Centre ,which is Iceland's Volcano and Earthquake centre. Here your students can learn about lava flows, glacial floods, how Iceland's earthquakes and volcanoes are monitored, along with examiningnatures epic forces that created Iceland over millions of years. It's truly spectacular!
Other popular exclusions for education visits include:
Vatnajokull - Europe’s largest glacier
Myvatn – Volcanic Lake with naturally heated lagoon
Blue Lagoon Pool – Geothermal Spa/Hot Springs
Langjokull Glacier – Head deep inside the glacier through a man made tunnel
Solheimajokull Glacier – Using Ice Axes and crampons an experienced guide will teach you how to trvel across the glacier
Jokulsarlon Beach – A beautiful black sand beach and Jökulsárlón Galcial lagoon where table sized icebergs was up on the shore
Aurora Borealis – More commonly known as the Northern Lights. Witness the natural light display across the Arctic sky. (Don't forget, in the summer months the sun barely sets! So if you're planning to see the Northern Lights it's best to go outside of these months)
Reykjavik – Capital city of Iceland
Whale Watching – Europe's best location for whale watching with an upwards of 95% record of sightings. This can include Humpbacks, Bottlenose, Orcas and many more.
Golden Circle – Comprised of three natural wonders. Thingvellir National Park, Strokkur Geyser (Erupting roughly every 6 mins) and the Gullfoss Waterfall, a tiered waterfall with a drop of over 100 feet
Waterfalls – The Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss waterfalls are also a must see, both with nearly 200 foot drops
Eruption Sites – There are a number of fantastic sites to see, in particular the 1973 eruption which engulfed one third of the the houses in Heimaey with ash and lava! (It also created the Eldfell crater).
Volcanoes – Eyjafjallajökull (Which is 800,000 years old!), SNÆFELLSJÖKULL, Katla, Askja and many more
Reykjanes Peninsula - A UNESCO national Geopark with an active volcanic system under its surface
Þingvellir – Thingvellir national park, known for being the site of the Icelandic parliament between the 10th to 18th centuries
Another great reason that Iceland is so popular with school trips is the practically non existent language barrier. Although everyone speaks in the traditional Icelandic language (Pretty much ancient Norse which the Vikings spoke), you will find that virtually everyone speaks excellent English too, which makes navigating the country extremely easy for your students.
So whether you're studying A level Geography or just want a Icelandic Woolly Jumper, the Land of Fire and Ice has plenty to offer for school groups.