Iceland is a country that is full of natural wonders. And besides the beautiful landscapes, the country also boasts of rich history. Iceland is known for several unique attractions, including one of the world's earliest parliament buildings, impressive glaciers, geysers, and much more. It's no wonder that it has become such a popular tourist destination in recent years. In fact, according to Schengenvisainfo, over 700,000 tourists visited Iceland in 2021. If you are thinking of heading out to Iceland for your next vacation, you will not want to miss out on these incredible things to do in Iceland. Here are the 20 best things to do in Iceland.
20. Visit the Spectacular Dynjandi Waterfall
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland is the Dynjandi Waterfall. The waterfall is located in the west of the country and is fed by glacial runoff. It is 100 meters high and one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls. You will relish the experience of standing in front of it. The highlights of this waterfall include the enormous size of the waterfall and the fact that it is one of the few waterfalls you can walk behind. Moreover, this fall has seven different cascades, which make it even more special.
19. Hike the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Escaping the city life to a nature reserve for several days can be refreshing. And if you are looking for such an escape in Iceland, you should consider hiking the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The reserve is located in the northwestern part of the country and is only accessible by boat. In terms of size, it is about 580km square. Hence there are plenty of open spaces to explore. Once you reach there, you will be mesmerized by the dramatic landscapes, which include mountains, glaciers, and fjords. The best time to hike the reserve is between June and September.
18. Experience the Tectonic Plates at Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. The park is located in the southwestern part of the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see the effects of the tectonic plates. The park is situated on the boundary of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. And as a result, you will find many geological features in the park. These include fissures, lava fields, and hot springs. Moreover, the park also has a beautiful lake, which is a popular spot for swimming.
17. Relax at Rauðasandur Beach
Rauðasandur is a beautiful beach located in the west of Iceland. It is well-known for its red sand, which is a result of the high iron content in the area. The beach is about two kilometers long and famous for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. Furthermore, it is also an excellent place for birdwatching as there are a lot of birds that inhabit the area. So, if you want to take a break from other activities, you should head to Rauðasandur Beach. Some of the hotels near this beach include Hotel Rauðasandur and Fosshotel Rauðsandur. And apart from delicious meals these hotels provide 5-star accommodation and great views of the beach.
16. Visit the Famous Sólheimasandur Crash Site
In 1973 a US Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crash-landed on the black sand beach of Sólheimasandur. The aircraft had 24 people onboard; fortunately, they all survived. The aircraft is now abandoned and has become a popular tourist attraction. You can reach the site by taking a bus from the capital city. The journey takes about two hours. Once you are there, you can see the plane's wreckage. And if you are feeling adventurous, you can even go inside the plane. While at it, you can take photos of the beautiful surroundings.
15. Explore the Reynisfjara Beach
The Reynisfjara beach is nothing like you have ever seen before. It is located in the country's south and is well-known for its black sand and dramatic cliffs. According to Grunge, this beach has black sand due to past volcanic activity. The beach also has a lot of interesting rock formations, which were created by the erosion of lava. Furthermore, you will also find a lot of caves in the area. And if you are lucky, you might even spot some seals in the water. Due to its intrigues, filmmakers have shot some of the biggest films on this beach. These include Star Wars and Game of Thrones.
14. Ice climbing Tours
Iceland is widely known for its glaciers. And if you want to experience them, you should go on a guided hiking and ice climbing tour. These tours are conducted by experienced guides and will take you to some of the best glaciers in the country. Some of the popular glaciers include Vatnajökull, Langjökull, and Hofsjökull. And most of these are between 800 and 1000 years old. Besides climbing, you can explore the hidden caves and tunnels found in the glaciers. However, the best time for ice cavings is when the weather is coldest in Iceland. Usually, this is between October and the beginning of much. At this time, the caves will be pretty stable and safe to explore.
13. Visit the Plummeting Skógafoss Waterfall
Iceland has many waterfalls, but only a few can rival Skógafoss. It is a magnificent waterfall located in the south of Iceland and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The fall stands 200 feet high. By standing beneath it, you will get a chance to experience the sheer power of the fall. A thirty minutes from this fall will get to Kvernufoss, another equally beautiful waterfall hidden in the gorge. And since most tour guides overlook it, it will undoubtedly be less crowded.
12. Stop By the Gorgeous Vestrahorn Mountain
You cannot travel to Iceland and not see some of its striking mountains. And Vestrahorn is one of the most breathtaking mountains you will find in the country. The mountain is located in the east and is popular among hikers and photographers. The best time to visit the mountain is in winter when you can see the stunning Northern Lights. However, it is an absolute spectacle throughout the year. Its formation rises upto 1500 feet and is a popular spot for hiking.
11. Guided Hiking
Iceland is widely known for its glaciers. And if you want to experience them, you should go on a guided hiking and ice climbing tour. These tours are conducted by experienced guides and will take you to some of the best glaciers in the country. Some of the famous glaciers include Vatnajökull, Langjökull, and Hofsjökull. Besides that, you can explore the hidden caves and tunnels found in the glaciers.
10. Explore Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. The park is located in the southwestern part of the country and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the few places in the world where you can see the effects of the tectonic plates. You can even swim between the two plates at the Silfra fissure. According to Thecrazytourist, the park is also home to many waterfalls, hot springs, and lava fields. This epic park's geological features include cracks, lava fields, and hot springs. Furthermore, it boasts a beautiful lake, a popular swimming spot.
9. Traverse the kerlingarfjöll Mountain Range
The kerlingarfjöll Mountain Range is located in the central part of the country and is about 100 km square. And it sits deep inside central Iceland. The range consists of several glaciers, volcanoes, and hot springs. It is also home to some of the tallest mountains in Iceland. As part of an active volcanic system, it's marked by some captivating geothermal sections. While exploring these ranges, you will come across the valley of red rhyolite. Its highlights are bubbling rivers and steaming vents. The best time to visit the range is between June and September. And if you are an experienced hiker, you can consider traversing the entire range. However, it is essential to note that the weather in this region can be pretty unpredictable. So, you should always be prepared for all eventualities.
8. Explore the Magical Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon
Before you leave Iceland, you want to experience the magical Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. The canyon is located in the country's southeastern part and is about 100 meters deep. The canyon is thought to be over 2 million years old. It was formed by retreating glaciers, which left behind a deep valley. The canyon is also home to a river that flows through it. And as you would expect, the river has carved out some exciting features in the canyon. These include a series of waterfalls, which are indeed a sight to behold. The best time to visit the canyon is between May and September. And if you are lucky, you might spot some of the local wildlife. These include reindeer, foxes, and eagles.
7. Go Puffin Watching in Iceland
According to Icelandontheweb, this country is home to about 8 to 10 million puffins. If you love birds, you want to go puffin-watching in Iceland. Puffins are a type of seabird found in the waters around Iceland. They are most active during the breeding season, which takes place between May and August. During this time, you can take a boat tour from Reykjavik and head out into the waters in search of puffins. Alternatively, you can also take a helicopter tour, giving you a bird's eye view of the puffins. Whichever option you choose, you are sure to have a great time.
6. Go Whale Watching
whaling may not be the most significant industry, but it is still an exciting part of Iceland's culture. And if you are interested in seeing these animals in their natural habitat, you should consider whale watching. Such a tour will undoubtedly be an incredible and rare experience. You will get to see different types of whales, such as humpback whales, minke whales, and sperm whales. Apart from that, you will also see dolphins, porpoises, and seals. The best time for whale watching is between April and October.
5. Visit the and Take Photos of the Blue Lagoon
Iceland is a renowned tourist destination due to its many attractions and diverse and intriguing water bodies. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Blue Lagoon. The lagoon is located in the southwestern part of the country and is one of the largest geothermal spas in the world. It covers an area of about 12 square kilometers. The water in the lagoon is rich in minerals and is said to have therapeutic properties. And taking a dip in this natural spa will leave you feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated. It is also famous for its beautiful blue waters resulting from the sun's reflection.
4. Visit the Picturesque Kerid Crater
Craters are a rare phenomenon. And if you get a chance to see one, then you should consider visiting the Kerid Crater. The crater is located in the south of Iceland and is a popular tourist destination. It is about 3000 years old and was formed by a volcanic eruption. It is about 170 meters wide and 50 meters deep. The unique thing about it is its vibrant red color. This is due to the presence of minerals in the rocks. Moreover, the crater also has a beautiful lake, which makes it even more picturesque.
3. Explore the Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is one of the revered tourist routes in Iceland. It covers about 300-kilometer starting and ending in Reykjavik. And it takes you on an adventure through the country's marvelous wonders of nature. These include Thingvellir National Park, Geysir hot springs, and Gullfoss waterfall. It is arguably the area that provides the most tours and activities. While on it, you will also see the Strokkur geyser, one of the most active geysers in the world. The Golden Circle is a great way to experience the best of what Iceland has to offer.
2. Go on Road Trip Along Ring Road
Are you always looking forward to the next road trip? Ring Road in Iceland is the perfect trip for you. The road is about 1332 kilometers long and encircles the entire country. Ring Road, also known as route 1, is the ultimate road trip experience for most tourists and locals. It starts from Reykjavik, Iceland's capital city, and takes you through some of the most stunning landscapes in the country. The good news is that this trip never gets boring because you are treated to ever-changing scenery.
1. Experience the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights are one of the most incredible natural phenomena in the world. The Aurora Borealis occurs when the sun's electrically charged particles interact with the Earth's atmosphere. These lights are usually seen in the northern part of the world. And if you want to see them, you should consider visiting Iceland. Although this light show is never guaranteed, your chances of experiencing it are much higher in Iceland than anywhere else. According to Heyiceland, the best time to see the Northern Lights is between September and April.
If you're looking for an excellent and unique travel experience, look no further than Iceland. Iceland is a nature lover's paradise with its volcanic landscape, glaciers, and geothermal hot springs. And don't forget the incredible night sky – Iceland is one of the best places to see the Aurora Borealis. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to this beautiful country today.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn