There are a multitude of things to see and do when visiting Iceland. Here are ten of our recommendations:
Soak in the hot springs
Iceland offers several geothermal spas where visitors can relax in the warm mineral waters, naturally heated by underground geothermal activity. The most famous is the Blue Lagoon – its relaxing properties and close proximity to the airport make it one of the most popular tourist locations in Iceland. Soak in its rich milky waters, enjoy a spa treatment, and even sample the self-serve silica mud mask.
Visit the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
Watch as spectacular, luminous-blue icebergs drift across Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. Located beside the Ring Road between Höfn and Skaftafell, this natural wonder is worth a special trip. Down the road can be found the smaller, but no less amazing, Fjallsárlón iceberg lagoon.
Take in the view of Reykjavík atop Hallgrimskirkja Church
Located atop a hill in the center of Reykjavík, beautiful Hallgrimskirkja Church’s observation tower is the perfect place to take in the unique and vibrant city and beyond – nearby mountain peaks and the ocean.
Ride an Icelandic horse
To ride an Icelandic horse through the sprawling countryside is one of the most authentic Icelandic travel experiences. Icelandic horses are smaller in size and are known for their fifth gait, the tölt.
Go whale watching
Iceland is among Europe’s best whale watching destinations. April through October is a great time for whale watching from Husavík in North Iceland where Humpback whales, Minke whales, dolphins, and porpoises are a common sight. Year-round whale watching boat tours can also be had from Reykjavík’s old harbor.
Experience the Golden Circle
There are three big sights of Iceland’s Golden Circle route, located not far from Reykjavík: Gullfoss, the Geysir Hot Springs, and Thingvellir National Park. Gullfoss (“Golden Waterfall”) is an iconic multi-level waterfall offering a spectacular view of the forces and beauty of untouched nature. Walk the narrow trail beside the roaring falls to a roped-off rocky overlook and feel the spray of the water. Visit the Geysir Hot Spring area, the main attraction of which is Strokkur, a geyser that erupts high in the air every few minutes. Thingvellir National Park is of both historic and geological significance, both the birthplace of the Icelandic parliament and site of the mid-Atlantic ridge. You can take a stroll by lava rock walls or perhaps snorkel in the Silfra Fissure.
Check out a lava or ice cave
Take a walk through Iceland’s Crystal Cave, Skaftafell Ice Cave in Vatnajökull National Park. It is truly an awe-inspiring natural wonder. Or, you may wish to explore a cave formed by lava flows.
Drive the Ring Road
There are many amazing sights to see in Iceland, most of them close to the Ring Road, which goes all the way around the country. Self-drives can be done as a circle tour around all of Iceland, or as a shorter distance concentrating on certain areas.
Chase the Northern Lights
September through early April offers visitors a chance in the evening to try and view the Aurora Borealis dancing in the sky. Nightly tours are offered (weather permitting) from Reykjavík or Akureyri, on land or by boat. Or if you stay in the countryside, select hotels offer wake-up service should the Northern Lights make an appearance during a clear night.
Get up close with a glacier
Active adventures await on Iceland’s glaciers. Put on your crampons and take a guided glacier hike, or ride across the glacier on a snowmobile. The Into the Glacier excursion offers a “monster” snow truck ride to an ice cave that visitors can wander through.