08 Jun

Polar Effect’s Icelandic Adventure!

Always on the lookout for unforgettable vistas, at the end of March we embarked on an epic Icelandic adventure and took all our 360° gear with us. Now we can proudly say that we’ve joined the illustrious company of Game of Thrones, Top Gear, Interstellar and Batman Begins, all of which were shot on this unforgettable volcanic island. In fact, our fabulous helicopter tour guides actually filmed a lot of the aerial shots for those productions!

We’re gonna let the images and videos speak for themselves on this one, but since there’s a lot of interest surrounding Iceland as a destination, and our hosts were so awesome to us, so here are some of the things we got up to on our flying visit.

• Helicopter flight with Norðurflug Helicopters to Reykjavik summit. This was a fantastic opportunity to properly see Reykjavik from above. The helicopter landed on a nearby mountaintop and gave us a chance to enjoy stunning views of Reykjavik, the coastal plain and distant mountains. Great photo opportunity.

Reykjanes Peninsula - Polar Effect

Aerial 360º Video – Reykjanes Peninsula Iceland (Click photo to enlarge)

Norðurflug Helicopters also gave us a once in a lifetime helicopter ride of the Reykjanes Peninsula when the rains let up. We strapped our rig to their badboy and filmed the first ever 360º video of this shockingly beautiful landscape. Watch the video here.

Whales of Iceland. A fascinating exhibition all about our giant underwater friends. It’s actually the largest whale exhibit in Europe and is definitely not to be missed, especially if you’re into sea-life. We also took the opportunity to film some great 360° footage, check out the VR Experience here.

Icelandic Mountain Guides. These guys also really looked after us. We were on a search for the Northern Lights, but along the way we got to see so much of Iceland’s stark and majestic beauty. Our first outing with them was a bit of a bust, we got a snowstorm instead of the Auroras, but we did get to see Iceland’s amazing black beaches. They also took us on a glacier walk where we visited the Skógafoss waterfall, Dyrhólaey Peninsula, Sólheimajökull glacier and Seljalandsfoss waterfall with a faint view of the Aurora Borealis (yes!).

-We also took the Golden Circle route with them. This took us to Þingvellir National Park, where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates drift apart to form a valley, the geothermal greenhouses of Friðheimar, Gullfoss waterfall, Strokkur Geyser (fantastic hot water spouts up to 30m high). It was on this tour that we got to experience some intense Aurora activity for around 10 minutes, a truly epic conclusion to our trip. Follow this link to look around some of South Iceland’s incredible landscapes.

Iceland Scapes 360º

Iceland Scapes 360º – Click on the photo to view the interactive video

1. Iceland is an island almost the size of England with less than the population of Malta. Almost 50% of Icelanders live in the capital city, Reykjavik.

2. It’s not actually as cold as the name implies. The weather changes extremely fast. Locals say: “If you don’t like the weather, just wait for five minutes”.

3. Icelandic surnames consist of the father’s name + -son (for boys) or -dóttir (for girls).

4. Iceland has one of the worlds’ longest life expediencies.

5. Believe it or not, Iceland is one of Europe’s largest banana producers! Thanks to the country’s geothermally-heated greenhouses, they also produce most of the nations’ cucumbers and tomatoes!

6. Iceland boasts one of the world’s fastest internet connections (available on buses too!), also censorship is prohibited by the Icelandic Constitution.

7. There are more Icelandic horses in Iceland than there are Icelanders. The horses are from a very old stock, they can swim and don’t you dare call them ponies!

Geysir Iceland - Polar Effect

Strokkur Geyser Iceland – Polar Effect (Click photo to enlarge)

 8. Every Icelandic home has hot water pumped to it straight from the geothermal power plants! 

9. Þingvellir sits on the Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates which drift apart 3-5 cm every year forming a rift valley.

10. Askja was used to train astronauts from the Apollo for their lunar missions.

11. Leifur Eirikson, the first North European to land in North America, did so around 500 years before Columbus.

12. Trolls, hidden people, elves and ghosts do exist.

We’d like to give a special thank you to Norðurflug Helicopter Tours, who flew us over Reykjavik and the steaming Reykjanes Peninsula. Also, an extra special thank you goes to our pilot, Gísli, without whom all the wonderful 360° aerial footage we captured would not have been possible.

Another special thank you to Icelandic Mountain Guides who provided us with unforgettable tours of south-west Iceland. More to come on this in our following post.

Finally a super special thank you to Islandsstofa.

Visit our LittlStar page to view the 360º videos from Iceland.

Check back for the next instalment of our amazing Icelandic adventure!

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