Iceland is truly the land of fire and ice. It is a playground of volcanos, hot springs, glaciers and ice caps, but also so much more. You can find country farmhouses, fresh seafood, city nightlife and a never ending list of things to do. Here are some of our top things to do in Iceland:
Dotted with colorful houses, thriving cafes, seafood restaurants and laid back pubs, Iceland’s hip capital is a destination in itself. For such a small city, there is not a shortage of activities to do or things to see. If you enjoy a party scene, you’ll love the nightlife in Reykjavík. From walking around the old harbor, checking out settlement museums and eating the freshest seafood, it is worth devoting a few days to.
Tour Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is like a mini sample of everything Iceland. Country views of old wooden churches, glacier topped mountains, underground lava caves, and beautiful black sand beaches - not to mention some of the most beautiful towns in Iceland. It is a hotspot for setting out on whale and puffin spotting tours as well as hiking through the Snæfellsjökull national park. We highly recommend spending a few days exploring.
Tectonic Plates at Þingvellir National Park
In Þingvellir National Park there is an entire rift valley formed by the separation of the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasia tectonic plate. They are drifting apart at about 2 centimeters a year and it is quite an astonishing site. This is also an extremely important area of preserved land in relation to its historical importance to the settlement of Iceland.
Geothermal Pool Hopping
One of the hottest things to do in Iceland is to get out of cold temperatures and into the naturally occurring, heated, geothermal pools all around the country. One of the best known is the Blue Lagoon which is extremely close to both the international airport and the capital city of Reykjavík. There are so many though that you could make a trip just traveling around the country and enjoying the “hotspots”.
The Golden Circle
A popular tourist track for good reason, the Golden Circle has a lot to offer. See Gullfoss, one of the craziest waterfalls in the world. Visit Geysir, the geyser of which all others get their name and it’s much more active companion Strokkur, which spouts 15 meters of water every 5-10 minutes. It is also where you will find the Þingvellir National Park which we previously mentioned.
See the Northern Lights
One of the biggest attractions in Iceland are the Northern Lights. From September to April you have the opportunity to spot the colorful lights of the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky. The conditions have to be just right and it requires patience and darkness. It’s no guarantee that you’ll spot them but if you do, you won’t be disappointed.
With a never ending list of beautiful waterfalls, one of the best things to do in Iceland is to seek them out. We can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. Gullfoss and Skógafoss are two of the most popular.
Iceland is a go to spot for whale watching and it’s easy to understand why. You can set off on whale watching tours from convenient locations all over the country - even Reykjavík. There are an incredible 23 different types of whales to see including humpback whales and minke whales. If you have never seen these incredible animals in person, you are in for a treat!
Black Sand Beaches
Several black sand beaches dot Iceland’s coastline and are truly unique and special places. They occur in nature in areas around high volcanic and geothermal activity and are made up of volcanic minerals and lava fragments. The most famous one in Iceland is Reynisfjara on the South Coast near Vík.
Explore Lava Caves
Lava caves or lava tubes are sometimes formed during volcanic eruptions when lava hardens around free flowing lava streams which eventually drain the tubes leaving only the hardened shell. These are incredibly interesting and are actually all over Iceland. However, there are only a few that can be accessed and are open to explore with a guide. We recommend Vatnshellir Cave on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.
Iceland is truly a special place with nothing like it anywhere else on our planet. If you have the chance to visit you should definitely take advantage and explore all there is to do, you won’t be disappointed.