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Famous for its contrasting landscapes, Iceland is a country that seems to be covered with ice and snow but underground, it’s a totally different story. There are so many things to in Iceland, you could spend weeks or even months exploring.
Since it has a huge number of volcanoes ready to erupt, it is perhaps one of the most volcanic regions of the world. It also has a vast amount of geothermal activity which has given rise to natural spas such as the blue lagoon among others.
Whether you like the city or nature, there are several things that you’ll enjoy. Apart from its geothermal lakes and the volcanoes you’ll also find underground caves, glittering glaciers and beautiful national parks covered with wandering reindeer.
Whatever you are looking for, Iceland is a land of legends and myths. You can also tour it learning about elves, trolls, mythical giants, and creatures that all add to the allure of this beautiful and inviting country. Considering the variety of experiences available in Iceland, choosing what one has time for can be a little bit challenging. Here is a list of some of the things to do in Iceland:
1. Explore the Westfjords
A large peninsula in the Northwestern part of Iceland, Westfjords has tons of mountains and a coastline full of fjords. As one of the rawest parts of the country, very few people live here. However, most Icelanders still frequent it for their summer vacations. It’s an area full of fishing villages, tiny towns, waterfalls, lakes, and even mountains. During the summer months, whales and puffins also call it home. Not to be missed!
2. Visit Snæfellsjökull National Park
Sitting on Snæfellsness peninsula, Snæfellsjökull National Park is known for its signature glacier. Apart from this huge glacier, you can also enjoy amazing lava fields and lava tubes. In addition, it has a wide range of flora and fauna.
If you are a nature lover, you can go for whale watching or bird watching where you’ll find a plethora of different coastal species. The park also has beautiful hiking trails that you can climb or even walk along depending on the time of the year.
3. Soak in a relaxing lagoon
The blue lagoon is perhaps the most famous attraction in Iceland. This big milky blue spa is fed by the heated sea water coming from the nearby geothermal plant. Since the waters contain silica and other minerals, it has long been said to have healing properties. It’s, therefore, not surprising that several people flock here daily to treat a range of skin conditions and other diseases. They also have a luxury spa and a clinic. This is one best things to do in Iceland in winter time due to the varying temps. Its amazing to the senses.
4. Admire the Dynjandi Waterfall
Dynjandi is famous for being one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Although it’s the main waterfall, it gives way to several other smaller waterfalls.
The area in which it sits is a protected reserve and really is one of iceland historical sites. However, if you want to stay awake and enjoy watching the waterfall, it has a camping area. However, since the water normally thunders at the side of the mountain, it’s not the most peaceful area to spend your night.
5. Do a glacial trek
Since glaciers can get a little sturdier during the winter months (Dec-Mar), most tourists are attracted to them. There is no better way to experience them than to walk on them.
Although there are other glaciers across the country, one of the most popular ones is the Vatnajökull. What’s more, several tour companies have come up to provide glaciers’ expedition. If you had just one day in Iceland to spend, then consider checking out these amazing tours.
6. Explore the tectonic plates
The tectonic plates generally sit on the point between Europe and North America where they are moving away from each other. This movement not only causes rifts and cracks in the landscape but also results in lakes, rivers, and rugged valleys.
If you want to trace the fault line, there is a path that you can use. Some of the points to look for including the Drekkingarhylur Pool and the Öxará River found off the side of one of the plates leading to a series of waterfalls.
top things to do in iceland
7. Visit Jökulsárlón
Situated in the southern part of Iceland, this ice floe is only a few decades old but now one of the top tourists attractions in the country. After Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier retreated between 1920 and 1965, it left a breathtaking lagoon behind it. With ice-bags floating all the year round, you can just sit down and listen to the ice blocks as they crash each other. You can also enjoy boat trips around it or just taken in the scenery.
8. Enjoy the best local food
If you are a fan of trying the local cuisine then visiting one of Iceland small quaint towns will be the best ways to enjoy it. Whether you are a foodie or you just want to explore the best of Icelands cuisine, it’s recommended that you give the authentic dishes a try. However, since many hotels get fully booked during the summer, it’s very important to book your trip and male plans sooner rather than later.
9. Travel Iceland Via road trip
If you are visiting Iceland for the first time, you can take advantage of their infrastructure and travel around the entire island on a road trip. Regardless of whether it’s summer or winter, you’ll be amazed by its landscapes. In fact, what you’ll see will surely exceed your expectations. Since the colors of the landscapes change depending on the season, you may want to visit the place again to appreciate the different moments. Some places are not easy to reach during winter, but there are still plenty of unique, remote places to visit around the country.
10. Pet the cutest horses on earth
Even if you have previously seen beautiful horses, Iceland is still at the next level. Just like humans, horses are very sociable and enjoy petting. Although you will find horses by the roadside, you should avoid parking in the middle of the road on the road side to get close to them. By doing this, you’ll not only annoy the drivers, but you can even cause an accident. Instead, park your car out of the way and go for that petting session.
11. Watch the northern lights
As one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, the northern lights are some of the best attractions in Iceland. Since they become more visible from September to April, to watch them well you need luck, patience, and darkness. The best place to see them is the country’s towns in the north. However, if they are strong, it’s possible to see them in Rekjyavik.
12. Visit a plane wreck at the beach
Although it’s possible to find a boat wreck at the beach, where on earth can you see a plane wreck? Of course the answer is Iceland. Apart from watching it, you can also enjoy some of the best photo seasons here. So why is a plane in the middle of a black beach?
Well, in 1973 a United States Navy plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the beach at Sólheimasandur. Fortunately everyone survived the crash! The remains are still on the sand very close to the sea and have yet to be taken away. It is in a somewhat remote area- about a 1 hour walk to visit the plane, but its a gorgeous view and unique experience. You can try a tour to the Sólheimasandur plane wreck on ATVs though.
13. Swim in Iceland
If you are a fan of swimming, you can enjoy dipping yourself into one of the geothermally heated iceland lakes or lagoons. Whether it’s summer or winter, hot or cold, you’ll realize that it’s one of your favorite things to do. While Reykjavik alone has nine swimming pools, there are a lot more in the capital area. Since they are all geothermally heated, they are very hot.
Although some people go there to exercise and swim, most people go just to sit, relax and even meet new people. However, you can still find several other lagoons all over the country. For instance, you’ll find one in Reykjavik, another one in the north and yet another one on your way to Vic. If you are fan of hot springs you’ll find plenty of them.
14. Visit the Maelifell Volcano At Myrdalsjökull Glacier ParK
Home to one of the most stunning volcanoes in the world, the Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park is another must see place in Iceland. During the warm season, the snow melts and leaves a lavish green surface. There is plenty to do and see in the park besides volcanoes, yet they are truly the most spectacular. Enjoy the hot springs, beautiful marvels, relaxing views, and fresh air.
15. Go to the Viking World
If you want to feel as if you’ve gone back in time, then visiting the Viking World will make you feel so. Here, you’ll see a replica of the Viking ship which had claim to fame of sailing across Atlantic in 2000. Apart from exploring the ship, you can also wonder underneath and learn more about Viking history through a range of rotating and static exhibitions.
So why visit Iceland?? Well, if those amazing 15 things to do in Iceland didn’t encourage you to go visit this spectacular country, then I don’t know what might. If you enjoy new experiences, you’ll realize that Iceland has so much to offer. Whether you are visiting during summer or winter, you will be captivated by the beauty of this incredible land.