Eccentric, dramatic, versatile, and beautiful; there is a shortage of words that can be used to describe the wonder that is Iceland. The country will leave you spellbound and in awe of all its majestic views.
You must have seen thousands of beautiful postcard style pictures of the country. But, as they say, a true natural beauty can never be captured in a camera. And Iceland can be the Capital of Natural beauties. There are just so many stunning, aesthetic and picturesque places in Iceland that your camera reel will certainly be full by the time your tour ends. Winter in the country is beautiful and gives a fairy tale vibe whereas summer is bright and wonderful. You will surely want to visit the country again and again. Moreover, you will never find an end to the places that you can visit in Iceland.
But, we have taken up the difficult task to do so. Here goes the list of 20 things that you must see and do when visiting Iceland.
20. Run in the famous “midnight sun marathon”
The one most unique thing about this marathon is that it starts late in the evening, on a bright and beautiful summer night. Also, the other unique thing is that the “night” does not get dark at all! The marathon takes place in the month of June and is the second biggest running event in the Icelandic racing calendar. There are three distances to choose from 21.1km, 10km, and 5km. It truly is a midsummer night dream!
19.Swim in the Seljavallalaug Pool
Seljavallalaug is a 25-meter outdoor pool in southern Iceland. Built in 1923 it is the oldest geothermal pool in Iceland. It is tucked in a beautiful valley not far from Seljavellir. The 82-foot-long pool is built next to a rock wall on one side and gets it water from a natural hot spring (so it is warm throughout the year). Also, don’t forget to charge your camera, because the hike and the valley is a photographer’s dream.
18.Watch the puffins
Iceland is home to almost half of the population of these teeny tiny birds. Around 8-10 million Puffins live in the country (more the human population). Puffins come to nest in the coast from May to august, so you can go on a hiking trip to a Puffin colony or get on a Puffin cruise. And again don’t forget your camera, these birds are the top models of Bird photography.
17. See the beautiful Lupine flowers
Lavish, vibrant blooming Lupines are truly a purple miracle. You can see them growing all over the country during summer. If you are a lover of bright colors of nature and exhilarating fresh air, a Lupine meadow is a place to be. Watch these lupines under the midnight sun around mid-June and there you will find a piece of heaven.
16. Whale watching
Watch these giant sea creatures in all their might by taking a whale watching tour in Reykjavik, Iceland. The tours are organized by several companies and are usually of 2-3 hours. The best time to go watching these wonder sea animals out in the wild is may to September.
15. Taste the Icelandic Cuisine
The Icelandic cuisine is almost as eccentric and wondrous as the country itself. Being an island country, the Icelandic cuisine has an abundance of seafood. Oher mainstay food item includes skyr, hangikjöt, kleinur, and bollur. But the main celebrity of the cuisine is the mink whale. Out in the wild is not the only place you can watch a whale in Iceland, they can be found on your plates and restaurant menus as well!
Being surrounded by the Artic Oceans give Icelandic people and visitors an abundance of fishing opportunities. With tons of brown and sea Trouts, Arctic Char and Icelandic Salmons, there are ample opportunities to fish. There are various fishing tours and treks conducted by various companies in the country or you can join a real fishing crew.
13. Hunt for elves
Iceland is very rich in folklore and myths with those involving Elves, Giants, trolls, and hidden people. In fact, there is an Icelandic Elf School in the country where you can actually learn about the hidden people and the 13 different kinds of elves. Remember Dobby and Kreacher in the Harry Potter series? In Iceland, you can go and hunt for such Elves except they are portrayed a little more gruesome manner.
Located in Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Landmannalaugar is a lava field formed during a volcanic eruption in the year 1477. The vibrant and the colorful Rhyolite mountains in the highland are a sight to behold. It looks as if a painter has done beautiful strokes of red, pink and purple on the land. Moreover, the colors seem to change with the change in direction of the sun!
11. See the mystical Magma Chamber
Iceland is the only place where you can claim to have taken an elevator (literally!) down a volcano’s magma chamber. The dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano is truly a mystical wonder with an unsealed magma chamber (only one in the world), that offers its visitors a journey towards the center of the earth! All you need to have is the guts to take a 45-50 mins hike and descend to 120 meters to the bottom of the chambers.
10. Snorkeling between the Tectonic Plates in Silfra
First of all, swimming in Silfra would mean that you are swimming between two tectonic plates and moreover, can touch two continents (North America and Europe) at the same time! The translucent water is one of the clearest in the world and so clean that you can actually drink it while snorkeling or swimming!. Additionally, the scenery is mind blowing, with the underwater landscape made of lava rocks, sand, and algae.
There are so many Geysers in Iceland that there can be a list of Top 10 Icelandic Geysers. Moreover, all of them are equally spectacular and fascination. But the one that stands out the most is the highly active “Geysir hot spring area”. The area is filled with boiling mud pits, popping geysers and the vigorous Strokkur which squirts water 30 meters (100 ft) high every few minutes.
8. The cone shaped Maelifell Volcano
The perfectly cone-shaped Maelifell Volcano is a sight to behold. The mountain is 800 mt tall.In winter it is completely covered in thick glorious snow and looks like a lush green mossy surface in summer. Don’t forget your camera this dormant volcano is very photogenic.
7. Skaftafell Ice Cave
Skaftafell Ice Cave in Vatnajökull glacier, Iceland is quite literally a cave full of ice! It is a temporary phenomenon that appears at the glacier during winters. They are beautiful from the outside and even more magical on the inside.The bluish-black fraction that is visible to the naked eyes provides an excellent photographic opportunity and a mindblowing experience.
6. Gullfoss Waterfall
Gullfoss or Golden Waterfall is one of the biggest and most popular waterfalls of the country. It is called so because, on a bright summer day, when the sediments carrying water plunges down the three steps staircase, it looks truly golden. The river Hvítá dives from a height of 32m to create this grand waterfall. In summer, with a rainbow in view, the waterfall looks like a majestic wonder.
5. Spa treatment in the Blue Lagoon
Let go of all your worries and dilemmas in this geothermal spa. The milky-blue water of the lagoon is fed from seawater of a nearby geothermal plant. The bathing experience in the blue lagoon, no doubt is quite expensive and remains crowded throughout the year. But, something so incredible is definitely worth it.
4. Take a guided Game of Thrones tour
Are you a fan of the epic television series? If yes you are in luck, because a number of series scenes are shot in the country. Especially those featuring the harsh cold winter scenes beyond The Great Wall.
3. Reynisfjara Beach
One of the top black sea beaches in the world, Reynisfjara Beach looks like a picturesque heaven. The contrast between the stark black sand and the crashing waves gives it a breathtaking view. Additionally, it also has a cliff of basalt columns called Gardar and a shallow basalt cave. The dramatic scenery of the beach is sure to give you goosebumps!
2. Behold the Aurora Borealis
There can be nothing more mystical, enigmatic and captivating than the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. It is something you will never be able to erase from your mind after to witness it. The ideal time to catch the northern lights is from mid-September to mid-April. The only predicament is that the phenomenon is a crapshoot. But, don’t lose heart, you can camp for a few days at the Kirkjufell Mountain and you might be lucky enough to behold the phenomenon.
1. Traveler’s day out on the Golden Circle
You can rent a taxi or hop on one of the company organized tours and take a drive down many wonders of this amazing country. The golden Circle tour is one of the most famous of tourist destinations in Iceland. Along the way, you can see Geysers, The blue lagoon, the Gullfoss and can taste the delicious Icelandic cuisine among other attractions. It is one of the most scenic drives of the world. And what’s more, you will be able to do most of the above sightseeing activities on this tour. *wink*
With so many wondorous volcanoes, geysirs, lagoons, glaciers and of course the northern light; Iceland is truely the land of Fire and Ice. Surely an island as tiny as Iceland can’t hold so many diverse landscapes. But, it does. It is a must see piece of heaven this amazing planet of ours has to offer. I hope you are already planning a trip or atleast leaving a spot open for this country in your bucket list.