There are so many incredible things to do in Iceland… the Land of Fire and Ice!
So when you visit, you need an Iceland bucket list! Iceland is most famous for its waterfalls (there’s over 10,000), hot springs, volcanoes, geysers and its ultra hip and highly progressive capital city Reykjavik. While here visitors watch the Northern Lights, bathe in the Blue Lagoon, zen out in volcanic hot springs and marvel at the midnight sun. Iceland really does have something for everyone, particularly the foodies among us (hello Pylsur… Iceland’s version of a hotdog). So here is what we consider to be the top things to do in Iceland, worthy of being on your Iceland Bucket List thats for sure.
Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Iceland
Reykjavik, the country’s capital and largest city, is on the coast of Iceland. Reykjavik has a bustling bar scene, trendy cafes and high-energy clubs, the nightlife is awesome here with epic parties happening throughout the city. Once you’ve partied all night visit the the National and Saga museums which trace Iceland’s Viking history. This naturally beautiful town is as rich in natural beauty as it is in technology and is highly hip and progressive.
Golden Circle Tour
The Golden Circle is basically referring to the area in Iceland that contains most tours and travel-related activities. With selective stops, your Golden Circle tour can last anywhere from 6-10 plus hours and it will take you about three and a half hours to drive. The classic Golden Circle tour consists of Iceland’s three most popular tourist attractions: Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park.
The Blue Lagoon
This geothermal spa in southwestern Iceland, called The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland‘s top tourist attractions. The spa is located in a lava field near Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, in a location favorable for geothermal power. Bathe in the warm water which is rich in blue-green algae, fine silica mud and mineral salts; all great for your skin. Most people stay for about 2 hours at the Blue Lagoon but for many 90 minutes is more than enough.
Iceland is well known for its many stunningly beautiful waterfalls and there are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland. The waterfalls are as diverse as they are many, and they are all worth a visit. The three top waterfalls that you must visit while in Iceland are Gullfoss (‘The Golden Waterfall’), widely considered the most famous of Icelandic waterfalls. Seljalandsfoss, another popular waterfall when traveling Iceland’s South Coast. This is narrow and tall waterfall, with a drop of 63 meters, that you can walk behind for a great photo. Godafoss is the only waterfall specifically featured on the classic ‘Diamond Circle’ route and at 12 meters high and 30 meters wide, is the most famous of the Skjálfandafljót waterfalls, and one of the most famous in the country.
The Northern Lights
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. The Northern Lights occur high above the surface of the earth where the atmosphere has become extremely thin, at an altitude of 100-250 km. These incredibly beautiful scene is created by electrically charged particles that make the thin air shine, not unlike a fluorescent light. Finding a tour guide in Iceland will be easy and let them take you to the best spot for viewing this spectacular natural phenomenon.
Skaftafell Ice Cave
Take a guided glacier hiking & ice cave tour with a certified Glacier Guide while in Iceland. Skaftafell is a wilderness area in Iceland and its huge glaciers include Svínafellsjökull and Skaftafellsjökull. Soak in this life-changing experience as you step inside a natural blue ice cave and walk on Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, in Skaftafell National Park.
Over the last two decades, Iceland has become one of Europe’s premier whale watching destinations and whale watching is a top thing to do in Iceland. The best time for spotting whales such as Minke, Orca, Blue Whale and Humpbacks around Iceland is the summer: June, July, and August. Whale watching tours are usually combined with sea angling and puffin watching too. Although the high season for whale watching begins in April and lasts until mid-October, many whales stay in the Icelandic waters all through the year.
Truly one of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks! Go on a jeep tour to the unforgettable Mount Mælifell volcano in Southern Iceland. Mælifell stands 200 meters above its surroundings and it is a composite cone volcano formed by volcanic eruptions underneath the Myrdalsjökull glacier. Mælifell has surfaced ca 10,000 years ago as glaciers receded after the last ice age.
Learn about Renewable Energy
Due to its geology and geography that make the country rich in both geo- and hydrothermal resources, Iceland has an abundance of clean, renewable energy. At power stations in the countryside, there are visitor centers where you can learn about how geo- or hydrothermal energy is converted into electricity and the way in which geothermal water aids in space heating. These exhibitions are pretty interactive and teach you about how the energy sector can thrive using modern technology.
For safety reasons, different caves are explored during different seasons in Iceland. One of the most popular caves to visit during Summer is the beautifully preserved 364-meter long Gjábakkahellir (aka “Little Girl’s Cave”) lava tube. Take an exciting caving tour at the heart of Thingvellir National Park. The cave is quite rocky and you will have to walk, crawl and scramble at times so be prepared. The Leiðarendi Cave in the Bláfjöll area is great for winter trips.
Other cool things to do in Iceland…
There is so much more to see and do in this amazing country. Plan ahead and take your time exploring. Sometimes travelers you meet on your trip will have the best suggestions for undiscovered gems and fun things to do in Iceland.
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