Top 10 Places To Visit in Iceland
Iceland is one of those unique destinations in the world that you just have to visit at least once in your lifetime. Iceland is as diverse as you can imagine and plenty of jaw dropping places to visit. It is one of the those where adventure waiting to happen every day. Iceland is definitely an outdoor enthusiast’s heaven, with its wealth of mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, lakes, caverns, and other harsh terrain just begging to be explored. With plethora of thrilling activities on offer, from incredible hikes, whale watching, expeditions into ice caves, exploring the quaint towns to witnessed the dramatic landscapes.
Iceland is Europe’s least densely populated country, with a pristine, unpolluted, and really magnificent scenery. During the summer months, the tempreature is warm with with days stretching until midsummer, when the sun dips beyond the horizon yet never sets and during the winter months. The beautiful, green, blue, yellow, and pink lights of the aurora borealis may be seen in the night sky throughout winter. Here are some of the best places to visit in Iceland:
1Explore the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Discover the picturesque crown jewel of Iceland and its free-flowing ice-y blue glaciers. You can find this beautiful place to visit in South-eastern Iceland, bounded around the Vatnajökull National Park. This Iceland destination is one of the more popular spots to stay and will definitely exceed your expectations. You’ll also be intrigued to know that the Jökulsárlón is Iceland’s deepest lake. There is so much to explore at the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. For better views of the icebergs, purchase a boat ride around the lagoon. Here you will get close-up shots of their beauty. This boat ride is a great way to appreciate the unblemished beauty of the glaciers in Iceland.
The landscape of the lagoon is forever changing as the icebergs constantly move in the water. So this means every time you visit, there’s always some difference to see. What’s better than looking at the glaciers from afar? Visit the ‘diamond beach’ across the road, which gets known for all its beauty. This beach is unquestionably a special place yet. What’s better than seeing glaciers from afar? It’s travelling down to the shore and getting front-row views of the hundreds of icebergs. That have gotten scattered across the seashore, like a field of diamonds.
2 South Coast : Vik & Dyrhólaey
At the southernmost point of Iceland is a picturesque fishing village, Vik. Viks’ neighbouring peninsula is, Dyrhólaey. Vik has become extremely famous, especially being a village for fishing. Vik has gotten known worldwide for its stunning black sandy beaches.
Vik or Dyrhólaey are also known to be the best for watching the sun setting and rising. It’s gorgeous to see the sunset and rises from on top of the mountains. But what’s unique is seeing the sun slowly descend over the horizon and seeing it peer through the sea arch. You can only get this view from the black beach seashore in Dyrhólaey.
Reynisfjara Beach: The Famous Black Sand Beach. Adjacent to the fishing village of Vik is Reynisfjara. Know for its unmissable volcanic landscape, Reynisfjara also showcases a world-famous black-sand beach like many neighbouring destination. It is also known for its rocky sea stacks (Reynisdrangar), which sit along the shoreline. These sea stacks caught a lot of attention after the stacks featured in the HBO Series Game of Thrones in Season 7.
If you’re heading to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, Reynisfjara Beach is on the way, and you will likely pass it on the way. Reynisfjara Beach also is observable from Dyrhólaey. This beach with roaring waves of the Atlantic waters crashing among the shoreline. And the stunning panoramas of the Atlantic Ocean. This beach is nothing but spectacular. A hidden feature that is worth doing is to take a peek into Hálsanefshellir Cave. That’s perched on the east side of the beach.
3Drive the Golden Circle
When visiting Iceland, it is a ‘must do’ experience to drive the Golden Circle. This road is one of the main routes visitors and tourists in Iceland take. And you can visit 3 equally stunning locations in southwest Iceland:
- Thingvellir National Park
- The Geysir Geothermal Area
- Gullfoss waterfall
This road is a fantastic trip to take if you’re in Iceland for a short period of time. And this route has all the best places to visit in Iceland covered.
Thingvellir National Park. Best known for continental divide to the mid-Atlantic ridge. From this park, you can view the split of the tectonic plates of Europe and North America. And Iceland’s stark geological processes get played out right in front of your eyes. In Thingvellir National Park, you will come across two submerged rifts. Silfra and Davíðsgjá. Here, you are permitted to dive. Another great feature Thingvellir National Park has is the hidden Öxarárfoss waterfall.
The Geysir Geothermal Area. This area is known for its iconic Strokkur fountain-like Geyser, which erupts every few minutes. As for the Gullfoss waterfall. This area is a place with one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Iceland in both summer & winter. This waterfall gets perched within the deep canyon where the Olfusa river flows. Another fascinating attraction worth exploring is the Geothermal Baths. These baths get situated in the centre of the most popular tourist route in Iceland, the Golden Circle. One of the more recommended activities is to soak in a natural pool. This pool is a unique experience of the healing powers of the geothermal springs.
4Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
Iceland’s most popular, modern wonder of the world tucked away in a jet-black lava field. Famous for its geothermal heated pools, which are pristine blue, or some say a milky colour. The Blue Lagoon is the momentous geothermal mineral bath on Earth and one of the best things to do in Iceland.
A fair warning the Blue Lagoon can get super busy, so book your tickets a couple of days to a week in advance. And make sure to visit at less busy times to enjoy more of what the Blue Lagoon has to offer. Typically, the morning is the quieter time of the day that don’t get many customers. If you arrive in winter, you can head to the Blue Lagoon and watch the sunrise, a magical experience. Find more information about visiting blue lagoon here.
Related: Sky Lagoon : Iceland’s Largest Geothermal Lagoon With Ocean Views
5 See the roaring Skógafoss
After Gullfoss waterfall, Skógafoss is Iceland’s second most popular waterfalls to visit. This epic waterfall is a towering force of nature and worth a visit. Particularly on sunny days, you might even see one of the waterfall’s famous rainbows that fill the cove. What activities can you do at Skógafoss? If you feel adventurous, you could climb the stairs to the top of the waterfall for stunning panoramic views. Or you can get pleasant views from ground level.
6Walk-behind a waterfall at Seljalandsfoss
Just a ten-minute drive from Skógafoss is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. During the winter months, the waterfall is typically frozen, with this getting said. It is often transformed into an ice rink. One of the best things about Seljalandsfoss is that you walk behind the waterfalls. Forewarning, prepare to get wet. Not far from the incredibly popular Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland’s most magnificent hidden gems, the Gljúfrabúi waterfall. This waterfall gets hidden behind a large cliff which gives it a mystical aura and has spectacular views.
7Go Whale Watching
If you’re interested in seeing these majestic animals in the wild, most Iceland whale watching tours depart from Reykjavik. Although. Húsavík town is one of the best places to spot whales in Iceland. Húsavík town also have whale watching tours available, but they tend to run out of tickets faster.
Whale watching tours are tremendously popular in Iceland. This popularity is because there is an abundance of whales that call the shores of Iceland home. Although whale watching tours get offered year-round, the best time to participate is between April and September. Seeing whales come up to the surface during sunset hour is absolutely mesmerising.
8Ice caves of Vatnajokull Glacier
At the Ice caves of Vatnajokull Glacier, there are plenty of activities on offer. These activities include glacier hiking, skiing, and even riding a snowmobile. It gets known that the Vatnajokull glacier is the biggest in Europe and is also the largest ice cap in all of Iceland, covering Iceland’s landmass of at least 8%. This park is home to multiple waterfalls, volcanoes, mountains, glacier lagoons, and glacial rivers. There are also plenty of glaciers in Iceland for you to experience hiking through and witness.
During the wintertime, water freezes to create breathtaking caves get naturally made from formed ice. You can attend expeditions into these caves and explore more of the natural formations of the glacier. Typically, these hiking activities and tours get permitted during the winter months. This restriction is due to safety precautions.
9Visit the capital city, Reykjavik
On your trip, you should visit the capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik. Reykjavík is used as an industrial, commercial and cultural centre for the island and is a great place to stay if you’re going to spend one or two night. During the day, explore the city itself and visit the Hallgrímskirkja Cathedral or even head over to the Harpa concert hall. The Harpa concert hall is home to the national opera and symphony. And this hall is a beautiful glasses structure that is picture-worthy. If you’re planning on staying in Reykjavik, plan your visit on weekends when the bars get filled with live music, friendly locals, and an astonishing atmosphere.
10Take a Helicopter Tour Over Iceland
Iceland is known for having sprawling contrasting landscapes. Such is the beauty of Iceland with its many volcanoes and geothermal activity, glittering glaciers, elegant national parks, and roaring waterfalls. You will always find the mention of Iceland in some of the best helicopter rides in the world and it certainly is one of the best things to do in Iceland.
Begin your helicopter ride with the magnificent views of the country’s tallest waterfall Glymur. From dramatic mountaintops to the ice-covered valleys and many dormant volcano craters, fly on to get the best view of Langjokul, the second largest glacier in Europe. Explore Thingvellir National Park’s raw plate tectonics from the air, then land at Hengill geothermal ( Mt. Hengill volcano ) area where boiling mud and steaming springs are hidden, bear in mind this is not a common tourist place so with a helicopter ride in you are truly getting a unique experience of Iceland.