Beautiful is the most effective phrase to explain Iceland. It is an attractive nation with lovely waterfalls, nationwide parks, mountain climbing trails, and wildlife. Even its lively volcanoes are gorgeous, simply in a barely terrifying and humbling approach. Iceland has an addictive high quality, and whether or not it’s your first go to or fifteenth, there may be all the time a brand new place or factor to expertise.
With such an thrilling and picturesque panorama, it’s no marvel there are various issues to do in Iceland. This information will cowl the most effective issues to do in Iceland – hopefully providing you with some inspiration earlier than your journey.
Top Things to do in Iceland
Iceland is a giant nation and it’s filled with issues to do and see, so let’s dive straight into all the most effective issues to do in Iceland.
Note: If you’re visiting Iceland, one of the simplest ways to get round is to hire a automobile. You can try automobile rental costs at RentalCars.com
1. Bathe within the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is definitely certainly one of Iceland’s most well-known vacationer sights. And is it well worth the hype? We assume so.
The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa advanced. The water incorporates a number of minerals and is a clouded, milky blue colour due to the excessive silica content material. The well being advantages of bathing within the Blue Lagoon are infinite, however the water is very helpful to pores and skin well being. You may go to the Blue Lagoon all yr spherical, because it stays fixed temperatures between 37 and 40 levels Celsius.
The Blue Lagoon is commercialized sufficient to make the spa an acceptable day journey. There is a pool bar, synthetic caves, bridges, particular person swimming pools, and a face masks kiosk handing out pure lotions. Each visitor additionally receives a gown and slippers.
Unlike most geothermal swimming pools in Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is definitely artifical somewhat than pure. The Blue Lagoon will get its water from a geothermal energy plant subsequent door and is an unusable by-product. It positively looks as if a reward for funding in renewable power sources. Read extra: How to Visit The Blue Lagoon in Iceland – Is it Worth It?
Where to remain close to the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Retreat is an opulent escape that overlooks the lagoon and stands excessive sufficient to see the lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula Your keep contains entry to the Blue Lagoon, and Private Retreat Lagoon.
The Silica Hotel is only a 10 minute stroll from the Blue Lagoon, nestled among the many lava fields this award-winning lodge is a superb choice when staying over evening on the Blue Lagoon.
2. Visit a black sand seashore
Black sand seashores are probably the most extraordinary phenomena in Iceland. If you’ve needed to journey to Iceland for some time, you’ve most likely already seen the photographs of dramatic black sand seashores and the arty pictures on social media.
While black sand could appear uncommon and weird, its clarification is simple. Iceland’s volcanoes have shaped a number of volcanic minerals and rocks over the previous hundreds and hundreds of years. In some areas of Iceland, this volcanic matter has damaged down and been worn into black sand.
This private South Coast Tour affords a glimpse into the most effective issues to do on the South Coast.
- Admire the black sand seashores of Reynisfjara in Vik
- Enjoy magnificent views as you drive previous the Eyjafjallajökull and Mýrdalsjökull glaciers
- See the Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss waterfalls
- Option to customise the tour to your pursuits. See more details here.
Visiting a black sand seashore is definitely top-of-the-line issues to do in Iceland. Luckily, you’ve got a number of choices. Reynisfjara Beach is likely one of the hottest and was used as a movie set in Star Wars’ Rogue One. Reynisfjara Beach is positioned in south Iceland, alongside the south coast.
Vik Beach is one other good black sand seashore to go to in south Iceland, and Vik is a well-liked vacation spot on south coast street journeys anyway, so it’s usually a handy add-on. You could discover it quieter than Reynisfjara Beach, which is all the time a bonus. Read extra: Best of Iceland’s Ring Road – GLACIERS, VOLCANOES AND WATERFALLS
3. Take a Golden Circle street journey or tour
The Golden Circle is like the last word introduction to Iceland. The 186-mile route loops by way of Reykjavik, Geysir geothermal space, and the Icelandic highlands. You’ll additionally go sights like Gullfoss waterfall (extra on that later). The route has turn into so iconic that it’s now probably the most in style issues to do in Iceland.
To drive the Golden Circle takes round 4 hours, though plan to take longer in winter months when circumstances require slower, extra cautious driving. If you select to self-drive the Golden Circle route, you must enable at the least a full day to cease and revel in all of the completely different sights that you just go.
Those who can’t drive can all the time buy a Golden Circle tour. This highly rated tour takes you to see the most effective of southwest Iceland. This 8-hour Golden Circle tour takes you by bus from Reykjavik to the Geysir space Gullfoss Waterfall. Discover and the place the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet in Þingvellir National Park.
4. Visit Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is magical. An outlet glacier feeds the meltwater lake, however not simply any outlet glacier – Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull.
If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting Antarctica, this glacier lagoon is the subsequent neatest thing. The lake is filled with huge icebergs, and guests can e-book zodiac excursions to expertise the lagoon from the water. On the water, you’ll be able to recognize the dimensions of the icebergs significantly better, and the expertise is really awe-inspiring.
You can e-book a zodiac tour on-line or whenever you arrive in Iceland. Keep in thoughts that issues are likely to promote out shortly, so attempt to e-book upfront the place attainable.
5. Hike to glacier ice caves
When you consider issues to do in Iceland, mountain climbing to a glacier ice cave has acquired to be probably the most magical. You’ll discover many inspirational journey footage of ice caves in Iceland on-line. The ice is a shocking turquoise, and the tunnels and caverns appear like they’ve been carved from crystal.
Caves are scattered throughout Iceland, however the preferred are on the Katla, Vatnajokull, and Skaftafell glaciers. The most necessary factor to learn about ice caves is their lifespan. Ice caves usually kind over winter and ultimately soften in summer time. Therefore, winter and early spring are the most effective months to see glacier ice caves in full glory.
Because ice caves are continually melting and forming, one of the simplest ways to go to them is with an organized tour. There aren’t any set mountain climbing trails to achieve the ice caves, and you’re normally guided on a brief stroll throughout the glacier to search out them. It is most secure and handiest in case you go to on a tour like this one.
6. See the northern lights
Seeing the northern lights is likely one of the most superb issues to do in Iceland. Sadly, it is usually one of many least predictable issues to do in Iceland.
As it’s possible you’ll know, the aurora borealis will not be particular to Iceland. However, the nation is legendary for having improbable northern lights shows. In winter, the lengthy nights additionally create the proper circumstances for aurora looking. The additional dead nights and lack of sunshine air pollution are supreme and infrequently end in lovely northern lights shows.
You can observe the northern lights your self utilizing apps and monitoring web sites. If you get lucky, it’s possible you’ll even see them by chance. However, we advocate buying a northern lights tour to maximise your probabilities. You can e-book loads of excursions on-line, together with this tour on Get Your Guide.
7. Take a dip within the Myvatn Nature Baths
The Blue Lagoon is improbable – there isn’t any denying that. But if you need naturally heated and fewer touristy thermal baths, add Myvatn Nature Baths to your listing of issues to do in Iceland.
Myvatn Nature Baths are positioned in Myvatn in North Iceland. The advanced is business however quiet and is equally visited by locals and vacationers. The baths are proper subsequent to Myvatn Lake, so they’re a superb addition to a day on the lake.
While the lagoon is artifical, the thermal power supply is solely pure. The lagoon was constructed over pure scorching springs, so you’ll be able to reap all the advantages of mineral waters, alkalines, and naturally heated water all yr spherical.
If you’re planning to journey to north Iceland, it could be price skipping the Blue Lagoon for this quieter and cheaper spot in Myvatn. Alternatively, deal with your self and go to each. Iceland is thought for its thermal baths. As the saying goes, ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’.
8. Visit the Geysir Geothermal Area
Everyone is aware of that Iceland is filled with geothermal exercise. And in case you are questioning the place is greatest to expertise it first hand, Geysir Geothermal Area is your reply. Haukadalur is residence to the Geysir Geothermal Area, an approximate 3km space of effervescent geothermal swimming pools and extremely lively geysers. Even higher, it’s free to enter.
Great Geysir is likely one of the most well-known geysers on the earth, though sadly not often explodes as of late. Keep your fingers crossed, although, and it’s possible you’ll get fortunate. Stokkur Geysir is essentially the most dependable and explodes each jiffy.
You can simply spend about an hour strolling by way of the geothermal reserve and watching the explosions. Remember to respect the roped-off areas. Anything that might explode, collapse, or in any other case harm you is roped off, so pay shut consideration to the place you’re strolling.
9. Visit Asbyrgi Canyon
Remember the whale-watching capital of Husavik? Well, Asbyrgi Canyon is only a forty-five-minute drive east of the city. The canyon sits within the Vatnajokull National Park, and visiting it is likely one of the most lovely issues to do in Iceland.
Asbyrgi Canyon is a deep glacial canyon that runs over two miles. Its cliffs are as much as 100 meters tall, and the canyon is unfold out in a horseshoe form. The horseshoe form is a big consider Norse mythology. According to Icelandic legend, the god Odin was driving his horse too near the earth, and the horse left an enormous hoofprint on the bottom – forming Asbyrgi Canyon.
The canyon continues to be considerably of a hidden gem amongst vacationers, primarily as a result of it’s off the primary journey routes. In summer time, you must have the mountain climbing trails to your self or at the least be very quiet.
10. Admire Diamond Beach
Unlike Asbyrgi Canyon, Diamond Beach is established as a vacationer attraction. The black sand seashore is legendary for its chunks of washed-up glacial ice, which some have in comparison with diamonds resulting from their glistening look.
Outlet glaciers encompass Diamond Beach, so new chunks of glacial ice are continually washing up alongside its shores. Even in summer time, the temperatures keep delicate sufficient to permit an extended sufficient melting cycle that recent ice chunks are washed up as others disappear.
Diamond Beach is straightforward to search out on Google Maps, positioned close to Reynivellir, slightly below Vatnajokull Glacier. We advocate combining it with an ice cave or glacier mountain climbing expertise.
11. See Dettifoss Waterfall
It is protected to say that Iceland has an attractive waterfall or two, however if you wish to be blown away, visiting Dettifoss is likely one of the most superb issues to do in Iceland.
Dettifoss is (controversially) essentially the most highly effective waterfall in Europe – a title that we predict warrants a go to. The falls are forty-five meters tall and create a mist surrounding the waterfall for a several-mile radius. Dettifoss is fed by a number of water, and the Jokulsa a Fjollum River is the most important in Iceland. Visitors can rise up shut by standing on the commentary deck, only a brief stroll from the automobile park.
If you’ve watched the movie ‘Prometheus’, put together for deja vu as Dettifoss is featured as a movie set.
12. Go for a glacier hike on Vatnajokull glacier
Even in case you don’t go to an ice collapse Iceland, you must go glacier mountain climbing on the Vatnajokull glacier. The glacier is the most important in Iceland and is located in Vatnajokull National Park. The dimension of the Vatnajokull glacier is tough to understand, and it covers an astounding 8% of Iceland’s land mass.
To go glacier mountain climbing, you want a information. Vatnajokull glacier will not be a straightforward atmosphere to navigate, and also you’ll want a information with the most effective native information, tools, and glacier mountain climbing expertise. The firm will offer you crampons, an ice axe, and a helmet. Warm, waterproof layers are a should, so pack and gown correctly.
The glacial terrain is genuinely gorgeous. And, in case you’ve not skilled it earlier than, having the ability to stroll on ice is an unbelievable expertise. Adventure lovers ought to add glacier mountain climbing to their listing of issues to do in Iceland.
13. Snorkel Silfra
Everyone discovered concerning the tectonic plates in school. But what if we advised you that you would snorkel between them? You can book this tour the place you’ll have the possibility to discover this UNESCO World Heritage Site the place the tectonic plates of North America and Europe. You’ll hold dry and heat with the top quality dry fits which are included within the tour.
The Silfra fissure is a rift within the mid-Atlantic ridge, a boundary between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The fissure is positioned underwater in a slim passage resulting in Thingvellir Lake and is as much as sixty meters deep in sections. The water is crystal clear, and adventurous guests flock to dive or snorkel the channel.
Silfra is positioned in Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, an space of Thingvellir National Park. It is on the Golden Circle route and fewer than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, so it is extremely simply accessible.
It could also be probably the most enjoyable and weird issues to do in Iceland. After all, how many individuals are you aware who’ve snorkeled between tectonic plates? Read extra: Diving in Silfra – Iceland Underwater
14. Akureyri Botanic Gardens
Botanical gardens is probably not the very first thing that pops into your head when taking a look at issues to do in Iceland. However, Akureyri Botanic Gardens are undoubtedly price a go to.
The backyard is likely one of the northernmost botanic gardens on the earth. In spring and summer time, it’s a gorgeous spot to wander and admire over 7,000 completely different plant species. There are additionally stone busts of necessary Icelandic figures and benefactors of the gardens scattered all through.
If you’re in Akuereyri, the botanic backyard is a superb place for only a brief stroll. Nature lovers and botany fanatics will particularly recognize the number of vegetation on present. Read extra: 30 of the Best Places To Visit In Iceland
15. Go whale watching on a zodiac tour
For many individuals, whale watching is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Iceland. In truth, many individuals plan their Iceland journey dates to match the whale season simply to allow them to go whale watching. Book this whale watching tour from Husavik as you undergo Skjálfandi Bay. Besides whales, you’ll additionally see dolphins, and sea birds as you cruise in a standard oak boat.
Iceland has a number of whales. The commonest to identify are blue whales, humpback whales, minke whales, and fin whales. If you’re fortunate, you may additionally spot orcas – the most important dolphin species on the earth.
May to September is the most effective time to see whales in Iceland. While you’ll be able to take whale-watching excursions alongside the south coast and Reykjavik, north Iceland attracts extra whales with its quieter waters. Husavik is in northeast Iceland and is taken into account the whale watching capital – so in case you are severe about whale watching, head there.
16. Kerid Crater
Looking for pure issues to do in Iceland? Kerid Crater is a improbable place to go to. The crater is over three thousand years outdated and has a milky blue lake in its middle. Kerid Crater was shaped by a collapsed magma chamber somewhat than a regular explosion like most of Iceland’s crater lakes. While the common customer gained’t discover the distinction, this does make Kerid a particular scientific location in Iceland.
The crater is lower from hanging deep purple rock, which creates a shocking distinction to the usually gray skies and boring inexperienced of the Icelandic highlands. Visitors can stroll the crater rim and all the way down to the crater lake at its base. We advocate permitting an hour to go to Kerid Crater and full each walks.
17. Get up near Gullfoss Waterfall
So, as we talked about, Gullfoss Waterfall is a well-known pure vacationer attraction and is a part of the golden circle route. But, in case you don’t drive the golden circle, must you nonetheless go to Gullfoss as a stand-alone attraction? Yes, after all.
Gullfoss Falls isn’t simply a regular single-drop waterfall. The waterfall cascades down a number of drops because the Hvita River turns a 90-degree bend. It is taken into account to be essentially the most iconic waterfall in Iceland – which is spectacular when you consider the variety of lovely waterfalls in Iceland.
Visiting the waterfall is likely one of the most impressionable issues to do in Iceland. It is simply an hour and forty-minute drive from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital metropolis, so it’s a possible day journey. You could want to cease in Thingvellir National Park on the best way, because the route cuts straight by way of it.
18. Visit certainly one of Iceland’s lively volcanoes
With all that geothermal exercise, it’s no marvel that Iceland normally has an exploding volcano or two. The nation is filled with lively volcanoes, so it’s all the time a matter of ready for the subsequent explosion. Since Iceland is the ‘land of fire and ice’, you’ll wish to expertise some fireplace, proper? Just from a protected distance.
Of course, volcanoes are life-threatening and very harmful. It is crucial to observe updates and subscribe to alerts from the Icelandic authorities whilst you journey Iceland. Similarly, you must all the time go to an lively volcano with an skilled information. Dangers aren’t all the time seen; gases could be a silent, invisible danger to volcano guests.
Fagradalsfjall, Eyjafjallajokull, Katla, and Hekla are a number of the greatest volcanoes to go to. Fagradalsfjall famously exploded in 2021, Eyjafjallajokull grounded flights with its explosion in 2010, Hekla final erupted in 2000, and Katla brought on chaotic flooding when it erupted in 1918. All highly effective and lively, you will need to go to these volcanoes on an organized tour.
19. Spend a day in Thingvellir National Park
Of course, in case you are brief on time, prioritize visiting Silfra in Thingvellir National Park. But in case you have just a little longer and have a automobile employed, think about spending a complete day within the nationwide park.
Thingvellir National Park is filled with cultural historical past, geography, and geology, and the world is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates break up the nationwide park in half, and also you stroll between them at Almannagja Gorge or snorkel between them at Silfra. However, the park can be residence to the world’s oldest surviving parliament, established in 930. Norse tradition and traces of paganism can nonetheless be present in Thingvellir, making it an fascinating place to spend a day.
Game of Thrones followers ought to observe that the park was additionally used as a filming location – so hold your eyes peeled for acquainted locations. Read extra: Game of Thrones Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
20. Ride an Icelandic horse
Riding an Icelandic horse is likely one of the most enjoyable issues to do in Iceland. You could not know, however Icelandic horses are very particular. The breed has a specific, distinctive gait referred to as a tolt, which to non-equestrians seems to be hilariously like a velocity stroll.
Icelandic horses are additionally very uncommon, and as soon as they’ve been exported from Iceland, they’re not allowed to be imported again into the nation. Because of this, you very not often discover an Icelandic horse exterior of Iceland.
There are trekking facilities throughout Iceland, so you’ll be able to take your choose of which space you wish to discover on horseback. If you need, you’ll be able to select a black sand seashore trip. If you’re skilled, attempt a herd trip, the place you run alongside lovely Icelandic terrain with a herd of free horses. Read extra: The Icelandic Horse – All you Need to Know About this Beautiful Breed
21. Eldhraun Lava Fields
A lava area could be essentially the most Icelandic factor you’ve ever heard. Yes, whole sections of land at the moment are lava fields following volcanic explosions from centuries in the past.
Eldhraun Lava Fields have been shaped by an explosion within the late 18th century. Over two years, the lava ultimately cooled to kind a lava rock space of 218 sq. miles. Over the centuries, a fragile inexperienced moss has grown over the rock – creating the lava area phenomenon.
Moss is extremely protected in Iceland, so that you mustn’t stroll on the lava area. However, you’ll be able to park alongside the fields and take photographs from the roadside. Think of it as an enormous, fully protected nature reserve.
22. Take a day journey across the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
A day journey across the Snaefellsnes Peninsula is our last advice of issues to do in Iceland. Short on time? Fancy a street journey? Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a good choice. You’ll want a automobile, however you’re richly rewarded for the drive. A day journey across the peninsula is an effective way to cram quite a bit in a short while as there may be a lot to see in such a small space.
We advocate together with Budir Black Church, Kikjufellsfoss Waterfall, Landbrotalaug Hot Springs, Vatnshellir lava tube, and seal recognizing at Ytri-Tunga Beach. Pick a couple of sights earlier than you set off and plot a tough route. Then you’ll be able to all the time detour as you go. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is an ideal place to unleash your inside adventurer.
Iceland Quickfire FAQs
Now we’ve lined the most effective issues to do in Iceland, let’s have a look at some generally requested questions.
How to get to Iceland
Flying is the preferred option to go to Iceland. As an island, Iceland is unimaginable to achieve by any transport aside from ferry or airplane. And whereas ferries sail from Denmark and you should buy cruises to Iceland, flying is way more sensible.
Keflavik International Airport is the one place you’ll be able to fly to from abroad, and it’s only a brief drive from the capital metropolis, Reykjavik. Reykjavik is in northeast Iceland and is the proper base to discover northern Iceland, the south coast, or the golden circle route.
If you wish to go to western Iceland or are on a time restrict, it can save you an overland journey by catching a home flight from Reykjavik Airport.
Getting round Iceland
As we’ve touched on, home flights are a very good choice to skip overland journey when visiting Iceland. However, one factor to emphasize is that Iceland primarily consists of wilderness and the occasional sparsely populated, distant city or village. You can drive for hours simply to achieve a ‘nearby’ attraction or a café to eat. Read extra: Icelandic Food: 15 Traditional Dishes to Try in Iceland
Therefore, even in case you take a home flight to achieve a selected space, be ready to rent a automobile or buy coach excursions to see stuff you need. Buses aren’t all the time dependable, and the routes are normally very restricted.
Of course, you’ll be able to all the time simply embrace the space and embark on a road trip. Car hires and gas might be costly in Iceland, however the freedom could also be price it. Reykjavik is an effective place to begin for street journeys and has essentially the most automobile rent choices. Save time to weigh up and analysis your transport choices. Compare rental car prices here.
Best time to go to Iceland
The greatest time to go to Iceland is massively depending on what stuff you wish to do.
If you wish to go whale watching, you’ll have to go to between late spring and fall. If you’re going to see the midnight solar, you’ll have to go to in the summertime months. And, if you wish to see the northern lights, keep away from summer time and go to within the winter months – when nights are darkish and lengthy.
Planning a visit to Iceland is exclusive in comparison with different locations. You actually should know all the most effective issues to do in Iceland earlier than selecting when to go to. In brief, weigh up what you wish to get out of your journey to Iceland, after which let the seasons choose your dates for you. Check out What to Pack for a Winter Trip to Iceland
Visiting Iceland is unbelievable. Whether you go to the highest Iceland sights, see the northern lights, or simply admire volcanic landscapes, Iceland can be memorable. There are so many locations to go to in Iceland that touring across the nation feels easy at instances.
Iceland is all about journey, so tick off the bucket listing issues to do, uncover the hidden gems, and also you’ll quickly be taught firsthand how superb the nation is.