Iceland is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise and we completely understand why you’re so eager to get there. There are hundreds of amazing things to do in Iceland but we know you won’t be able to do them all. That is why we have compiled a list of the highlights and must-do’s. Whatever your style, we are sure you will enjoy these top 13 things to do in Iceland.
Skaftafell Ice Cave (Vatnajökull Glacier)
If you’re seeking a memorable glacier trip, great hiking, and wonderful views, this should definitely be at the top of your list of things to do in Iceland. Experience the magnificent beauty of an ice cave while exploring hidden gems near the Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe.
This geothermal spa with milky blue waters has become the island-nation’s leading attraction. Relaxing in the mineral-rich water, grabbing a drink from the swim-up bar, and enjoying spa amenities are just a few things this picturesque attraction has to offer. This all-inclusive luxury resort is a must-see on your list of things to do in Iceland.
The surreal landscape is what will draw you here. Rich with bird life, beautiful lakes, and volcanic craters, there is much to discover. While enjoying the beautiful surroundings, you can also bathe in Mývatn Nature Baths.
Whale watching in Iceland is a must-do on every itinerary. During the summer months the shores of Iceland become the primary feeding ground for whales and other large marine animals, giving you the chance to observe these amazing animals in their natural habitat. This is your chance to finally see a humpback or blue whale in action.
Previously ranked as one of the top ten non-tropical beaches, Reynisfjara is a black sand beach featuring a cliff of basalt columns. The water is a great sight to see, but keep in mind the waves can be dangerous and unpredictable. In the sea, you can find the uniquely-shaped basalt sea stacks, Reynisdrangar.
The Great Geysir
This natural attraction is a highlight on The Golden Circle tour, and for good reason. Geysir eruptions can shoot water up to an impressive height of 70 meters, and quickly disappear back into the ground within seconds. This is truly a sight to see. Enjoy a walk through hot, bubbling fields of steam, as well as primitive plants, mud pots, steam vents, and warm streams at this geothermal park.
Enjoy this 1,360-meter lava tube cave journey as you get to trek over colorful lava rocks. For the adventure seekers, Raufarholshellir is a super cool alternative to the overcrowded tourist attractions.
A notable landmark, this church is situated in the middle of Reykjavík. As one of the tallest structures in the country, this tower can be seen from almost every point in the city. But of course, you need to see and explore it up close. Make sure to take in the breathtaking panoramic view of the city once at the top.
This has been called one of the best kept secrets in Iceland, and should be at the top of your list of things to do in Iceland. Silfra is a great diving and snorkeling spot, and is the only place in the world where you can swim between two tectonic plates. This unique phenomenon has some of the clearest water in the world, and will likely be the only chance you have to touch North America and Europe at the same time!
This natural waterfall is one of Iceland’s most popular waterfalls, and a main stop on The Golden Circle tour. Snow-peaked mountains act as a beautiful backdrop to the already stunning view of the waterfall. The nearby café is a great spot to get soups or sandwiches while enjoying the panoramic views.
Dettifoss Waterfall is another big favorite, and is often a location for movie sets. Most recently, it served as the opening scene of Prometheus. Dettifoss is not only beautiful, it’s Europe’s most powerful waterfall.
After crossing raging rivers and gentle streams, you’ll finally get a chance to see this lush valley bordered by glaciers, as well as enjoy unmatched views. If you’re up for it, you can also hike up to the volcano to add even more oomph to your adventure.
Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)
If you’re visiting Iceland between September and April, make sure to put the Northern Lights at the top of your list of things to do in Iceland. On clear winter nights, you should have no problem finding a tour that you can join. If you’d rather go without a tour guide, go somewhere outside of populated areas, away from light-pollution where the temperature is below freezing to see the exquisite Northern Lights.
Insider tip: If you’re able to stay somewhere with outdoor hot tubs, you’ll be able to keep warm while watching the bright, dancing lights.
This beautiful country has so much to offer, and you can check a lot of things off your bucket list with a visit to Iceland. Whether your trip focus is on the picturesque landscape, the unique wildlife, or thrilling adventures, we know your list of things to do in Iceland will yield unforgettable memories.
Note: If you are thinking about doing a road trip, make sure to check out this Iceland road trip itinerary from our friend Mary over at A Mary Road.
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