Þósmörk, Iceland

A place of great natural beauty,Þósmörk is situated in the south of Iceland between the Eyjarfjallajökull and Tindfjallajökull glaciers. With its name derived from Thor (Þórr) - the Norse God - it is a mountain ridge with the river Krossá winding its way through the valley between the mountains. The valley is enclosed between glaciers, with Mýrdalsjökull situated at the valley's rear. This makes the climate especially warm, warmer than the rest of southern Iceland. With the valley being so protected, it is amenable to vegetation, giving rise a host of small shrubs, birchwood, fern, and moss.

Visitors can enjoy excellent views of the glacier and the ice tongues that extend towards the valley fromÞósmörk. It is one of the country's most popular hiking areas with a choice of short and easy routes or longer and more difficult ones. For example, walking enthusiasts can hike on the volcanic glaciers or do a spot of trekking - from Laugavegur to Landmannalaugar or take the Fimmvörðuháls trail to Skógar. For those who prefer a gentler pace, there are a number of smaller excursions to partake of, such as to the Stakkholtsgjá canyon with its waterfall, or there are an array of five small treks to the summits of surrounding peaks, all of which can be achieved in a day. The views from any of these peaks are most rewarding, even when the weather is bad. In the summer months, it can get quite crowded when local students come in their droves to party and generally enjoy themselves. The Krossá river, which flows down from the glaciers, is cold and fast with a bridge across it to facilitate pedestrians.

The lush vegetation of the valley stands in stark contrast to the glaciers and volcanic mountains that can be seen in all directions across the landscape atÞósmörk. The views are stunning as is the spectacular meeting of fire and ice in this amazing place.