Library of Water
Hot Spings

Ionised water

Iceland is one of the very few countries in the world that has almost limitless access and sources to clean water, both hot and cold. Naturally ionised (or alkaline) water, which is water that has pH level higher than 7, is good for health.

The pH levels of Icelandic water reach 8.4 out of a possible 10. Icelandic water also only has 0.1mg of naturally occurring fluoride, far ahead of its closest competitor Fiji, where the water holds 0.26 mg of natural fluoride. All this means that Icelandic water is the purest and most refreshing water you will ever taste. Cold water from the taps runs straight from the country’s natural springs, filtered through lavas and rocks for a smooth taste with no additives since you can safely drink the water from almost every single free flowing lake. Iceland sits on so-called Ring of Fire which creates hot, sulphurous-smelling water straight from the ground which can be enjoyed at many of the natural hot springs around Iceland.

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. Thomas Fuller

Library of Water

On a coastal promontory in the town of Stykkishólmur, is a former library building in which an art installation is also a natural history collection, being a long-term project that has set out to capture the spirit of Iceland through its waters, weather, and words.

To gain entry, tickets should be purchased from the volcano museum in the centre of town, where you will be given a code to unlock the door to the ‘library’ at the top of the hill. You may be fortunate enough to have the entire space to yourself as you admire the view overlooking the harbour, which is stunning. It is worth returning to view the sunset from this location.

Library of Water - the building
Water Sources in Iceland

The installation is in three separate parts. One part is a collection of audio recordings accompanied by visual displays of Icelandic weather as reported by the local people around the town. There is also the main room display which has a floor made of rubber on which is etched both English and Icelandic words relating to the weather.

The centre-piece of the site is the “Library of Water” or in native Icelandic “Vatnasafn”, which is kept in floor-to-ceiling clear cylinders. The Library of Water was conceived by Roni Horn, reflecting his intimate involvement with the geography, geology, climate and culture of Iceland. Each pillar standing throughout the main room is filled with water that was melted from one of Iceland’s 24 glaciers. Every tube holds the liquid of a single glacier, allowing visitors to take a sort of tour all across Iceland in just one room.

The columns of water from glaciers in different eras, are all juxtaposed like liquid sculptures in an art-deco house. The creator has brought the outdoors in as the glass columns refract and reflect the light, and whilst the room is used for a wide variety of community uses, it also offers a space for private reflection

Each glacial melt is different as the chemical and mineral content in each is unique. Each of the cylinders is therefore also different, capturing as they do a little piece of the country’s natural history. This has since become historical interest as the melt of the OK glacier is all that is left since it disappeared. The lower floor of Vatnasafn / Library of Water is a private writers' studio where each year writers are invited to spend a some months living and working. The residencies alternate between Iceland-based and overseas writers, and have so far included Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, Rebecca Solnit, Anne Carson, Oskar Arni Oskarsson and Oddny Eir Ævarsdóttir.

Water Collected - Part of Library of Water Project
Glaciers in Iceland

Iceland Tourism

The number of tourists to Iceland each year has grown to be more than six times the total population, with latest figure from the Icelandic Tourist Board showing a total of almost 2.2m.

Iceland is a very romantic place to visit, whether you steal a kiss under the northern lights or cuddle under the midnight sun, one of the most romantic presents would be a trip to the land of fire and ice. You can experience the country with an adventurous self-drive journey around Iceland's Ring Road or see some of the most romantic landscapes in Iceland with a private guide who can open up opportunities for unique cultural experiences, gourmet dining and thrilling activities. Some of the suggestions for your visit include a trip to the Glacier Lagoon to see the vast floating icebergs; touring the south coast to include the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss.

Perhaps you would prefer to walk the Diamond Beach with its glistening ice or discover the volcanic Lake Mývatn in beautiful surroundings or bathe in the relaxing Blue Lagoon and Mývatn Nature Baths. Alongside nature, you can also spend time walking the quaint streets of the capital city, Reykjavik and of Akureyri, the unofficial capital of north Iceland.

The Blue Lagoon is probably Iceland’s most famous attraction, mostly due to the romantic movie of the same name. The pool looks stunning with its milky blue colour set against the stark black lava landscape. A soothing bathe in the mineral-rich waters of the Blue Lagoon are said not only to be relaxing but are also said to help with ease skin conditions. Today the Blue Lagoon offers showers and changing facilities, a spa, exclusive lounge, and café for guests.

Blue Lagoon in Iceland