15 Best Things to Do in Iceland

Why travel to Iceland? Iceland has the word TRAVEL written on its lava skin. Traveling to Iceland means discovering an incredible nature that does not exist in any other country, a pure environment, clean and so, so different. Travel to Iceland means enjoying an unforgettable vacation by visiting the geysers, volcanoes or climbing the glaciers.

During your trip to Iceland you will have the chance to observe whales, ride Icelandic horses, visit lava deserts and one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe. You can visit the places to see the Northern lights, enjoy baths in natural hot springs or tread virgin lands that no tourist has yet stepped on except the Vikings.

Iceland offers immensity, landscapes and nature. You can do a thousand impressive activities with spectacular treks, amazing kayak routes, incredible glacier tours and countless activities related to nature, sports and photography. Travelling to Iceland remains a phenomenal experience as it is the land of extremes.

Iceland counts itself among the world's top tourist destinations welcoming over a million annual tourists. Travelling to Iceland remains immensely popular among backpackers and hikers searching for extreme adventure. It remains a wonder for everyone to believe how people survive the extreme climate of Iceland. The country remains beautiful and there are many top tourist attractions in Iceland.

Shortlisting the top attractions always remain a daunting task. Over here is a list of top tourists attractions and travel guide to visiting Iceland. But before we move on, let us know some unique information about this unique beautiful Island for those who are traveling to Iceland for the first time. These top tourists attractions in Iceland are recommended by an Icelandic expat.

Enjoy your holidays in Iceland and visit these top tourists attractions in Iceland with this guide to Iceland.

Best Things to Do in Iceland

Having said so, let us now discuss the best things to do in Iceland.

1. See Puffins in Vík


Just tour all of Iceland from top to bottom and your mind will be blown. One doesn't fully experience the country until seeing its most magnificent creatures. From whale watching tours to Puffin watching August is the best month among all. The water is clear and visible during this season and is the last chance to see favorite birds as they head towards south!

The best places to see puffins in Iceland or anywhere in the Arctic are, of course, the cliffs on the promontory of Dyrhólaey next to Vík, in Látrabjarg Cliffs within the western fjords, in some of the northern islets of the peninsula of Snaefellsnes or in Borgarfjörður, north of the fjords of the east.

It is in Iceland - yes, Iceland! Whilst that might not conjure up images of dreamy days on the sand and in the surf, this is one beach honeymoon you will never forget while traveling Iceland. Rugged coastline and jet-black sand are what you will find here.

Vík is one of the best places in Iceland to visit in summer. Stroll along the southern coast of this magical island, with jet-black sandy shores, waves reaching for the foothills of Reynisfjall mountain, and basalt sea stacks towering in the ocean. The orange-beaked roosting puffins and odd rocky formations along the cliffside known as Columnes Reynisfjara complete this otherworldly trek, as if you’ve stumbled into a fairytale.

2. Hike up an volcano in Vestmannaeyjar


Starting from active volcanoes to hot springs, from glacier to fjords, Iceland has natural wonders and some top things to see in a lifetime. Iceland has about 130 volcanoes. Iceland has a multitude of fjords. The northwestern peninsula (Vestfirðir, “the West Fjords) has lots of them. The largest, Ísafjarðardjúp, has many smaller “sub-fjords” including Álftafjörður, Seyðisfjörður and Hestfjörður.

The eastern coast (Austfirðir, “the East Fjords”) also have many including Reyðarfjörður, Eskifjörður and Seyðisfjörður. There are also many fjords along the north coast, including Hrútafjörður and Eyjafjörður. Wide fjords are often called “flói”. Faxaflói on the west coast is really a very big fjord. Iceland’s largest named fjord, on the west coast, is Breiðafjörður, “the Broad Fjord”.

Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar) is the largest colony of puffins in all of Iceland. The best time of the day to see this photogenic seabird is during the first hours of the morning.

3. Whale Watching in Husavík


The best options to see whales in Iceland are Husavik and Reykjavík. Whale watching at Reykjavík remains a most popular tourist attraction when you travel to Iceland. In Reykjavík it is easier to see the minke whales (the smallest and the ones that likes to hunt the Japanese whalers). Whales are large mammals of the sea and watching them in their natural habitat always remains a unique experience.

The whale watching tours are so popular that it runs day and night during summer when there is 24-hours sunlight. Exceptionally, the blue whale (the largest animal on the planet) and sometimes killer whales are even seen in both cases, even if this is a lottery. It is recommended to book whale watching trips in Iceland in advance both in Husavik and Reykjavík. Daily departures are not guaranteed as it depends on the weather.

In the case of Husavík, considered the capital of whale watching in Iceland, one can observe mostly humpback whales, usually in good numbers and an amazing closeness to the boat.

4. Glacial Lagoons in Jökulsárlón


As a low-cost activity and, we would almost say, a national sport, bathing in hot pools stands out among things to do in Iceland. The Blue Lagoon in Iceland has the best facilities and is one of the icons. It is close to Keflavik airport and can be a great (and relaxing) way of saying goodbye to your trip to Iceland.

Take the opportunity and make a trip along the Golden Circle with Iceland's natural highlights. One of the favorite places for travelers to Iceland is the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, filled with ice floes and icebergs detached from the great Vatnajökull. A few kilometers from the Jökulsárlón Lagoon in Vík direction there is another glacial lagoon called Fjallsárlón.

The spectacular geothermal spa, Blue Lagoon remains a major tourist attraction. The natural hot-spring water temperature remains around 37 degrees full of mineral-rich components. The natural mud remains extremely beneficial for health and skin. Make sure to book your ticket before you arrive at the Blue Lagoon.

5. Exploring the extraordinary Mývatn


Myvatn Nature Baths in the north of Iceland is much cheaper, and in a supernatural environment. One of the world's most famous outdoor pools get their water directly from geothermal sources, 2,000 meters below surface. The water is 36-39 degrees year round!

6. Soaking in Geysers in Grindavík


Experience boiling nature in the form of hot springs and geysers. The most famous is the Blue Lagoon, and Strokkur.

The Strokkur Geysir remains a spectacular natural attraction and a wonder to the world. On visiting this place, you find hot water shooting fountains up to 30-meters high into the air. This spectacular area remains named as the Golden Circle and counts among the top tourist's attractions in Iceland.

7. Northern Lights in Siglufjörður


Among the things to do in Iceland is to just laze around the beach and wish for the Northern Lights to appear and illuminate the sky. Completely unforgettable. The most astonishing attractions of Iceland remain this spectacular natural light show known as the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. In the middle of winter, when the cold is evident and it gets dark at night, you can attend a northern light show live.

Tourists folk around to see this wonder of nature. Visibility of this spectacular light remains absolutely unpredictable just like the rainbow.

However, the best time to visit Iceland is during the fall and winter, when the chances stay high to see this spectacular natural phenomenon. April is not a bad month to travel to Iceland and it allows to do many of the things that can be done in summer with serious options to see auroras, although it is complicated since it gets dark around 10 o'clock at night.

8. Waterfalls in Grundarfjörður


Iceland is the country of the waterfalls like Gullfoss in the Golden Circle, Skógafoss, Svartifoss with basalt columns, Seljalandsfoss, Godafoss and Dettifoss and Öxarárfoss in Thingvellir.

9. Visit Westfjords Dynjandi Waterfall


Fall in love with Dynjandi, in the West Fjords region, or Kirkjufellsfoss in the Snaefellsnes peninsula, which also has other upper falls. Reaching this amazing waterfall site is easy and just an hour drive from Reykjavík. Don’t flip out about driving on winter roads in Iceland. Unless you’re from Asia, South America and Australia and have never seen ice and snow on a road before, you probably already know how to drive in rough winter conditions — if it’s even rough.

This waterfall has two drops, 11 meters and 21 meters respectively. It remains a breathtaking view seeing the high speed falling water.

Golden Circle is a circular route that runs through places such as the fallaingvellir waterfall and fault, the Geysir geothermal area, the impressive Gullfoss waterfall, the Kerið volcano and some smaller waterfalls such as Bruarfoss and Urridafoss.

10. Ice Swimming in Reykjavik


You’re amidst civilization in the capital city of the safest country in the world. There are no deadly wild animals in Reykjavik, and you are too far from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. Get to know Iceland and the northernmost capital, Reykjavik, with its fabulous spa facilities, your way.

Enjoy your time in Iceland savoring the exceptional Icelandic food, its culture, unforgettable parties under the light of midnight in Reykjavík, or meet the gorgeous Icelanders in the thermal pools. Iceland probably has the most picturesque coastline in the world. This is what beaches would look like on another planet! But it’s chilly here, even in the summer, yet completely worth a visit!

Here in Iceland, the sun shines almost around the clock during the summer months. The capital Reykjavik is a perfect weekend city with lots of sights and baths in hot springs.

If this excites you then Nauthólsvík, located in the capital Reykjavik, has an excellent beach resort for ocean swimmers. You can take a hot shower or jump into a hot tub right after your swim in one of the best hidden things to do in Iceland. Now remember you are closer to the North Pole, so yes the ocean around Iceland is one of the coldest place on earth.

11. Wildlife in Ísafjörður


Take a tour with a guide who can tell you the story of the town. Go up the mountain and take some breathtaking photos, enjoy the food. There are so many things to see and do in Ísafjörður.

Go whale watching or a dog sled ride. The Westfjords region of Iceland is a rugged and remote group of peninsulas and cliffs that offers incredible outdoor scenery and hiking. One major highlight of the trip is being only a few meters from several arctic foxes, as they roam the cliffs in search of food.

12. Sail to Húsavík


Well, do you know where the Arctic Henge is? It’s in the tiny village of Raufarhöfn, way up on the top of the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula in extreme northeast Iceland. The small island of Grímsey is farther north than the top of Melrakkaslétta. Even in Iceland, which is filled with isolated and creepy places, Raufarhöfn is among the most isolated.

It wasn’t always this way. Although Raufarhöfn now has only a couple of hundred inhabitants, in the middle of the twentieth century herring was a big deal in Iceland, and the village exploded with fishing boats and factories. The herring eventually got all fished out, and most of the people left. The cool old factories are still there, but not a whole lot else.

Except for the Arctic Henge. The Arctic Henge is a huge monument, sort of styled after the much more famous Stonehenge. It was started around 1996, and is based on an ancient and well-known poem from the Poetic Edda, called Prophecy of the Soothsayer. The poem is filled with all kinds of bizarre and cool things about Norse Mythology, and the monument reflects all this weirdness.

I don’t believe the Arctic Henge is complete, and it’s one of those things that will take a long, long, time to finish.. But when it is finally done it will be over 150 feet in diameter, and have huge stones over 20 feet high. Lots of smaller stones will represent dwarfs and other fun things from the Prophecy of the Soothsayer, and like Stonehenge, will be sort of a giant sundial.

It is supposed to attract pagans from around the world. If you are really interested in paganism and weird monuments, Arctic Henge might be worth going to. But Iceland is filled with natural beauty and spectacular things to see and do. And most of them are a whole lot easier to get to, and probably a whole lot more fun, than heading out to the Melrakkaslétta Peninsula.

13. Coastal hike in Snæfellsjökull National Park


This small fishing port is located almost at the entrance to the Snæfellsjökull National Park, on the south-west coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Nestled in a small inlet that serves as a port, Arnarstapi has taken advantage of one of the few protected and accessible enclaves of an abrupt coast where the basaltic cliffs serve as housing to thousands of seagulls and arctic terns.

14. Hiking in Arnarstapi


The place, like the whole Snæfellsnes peninsula has many legends to tell. The name appears in the Icelandic Saga of Bardar and Snæfellsáss, where there is talk of a peasant, Bardar who would have settled in the area. The Danish farmer who after multiple adventures, ended up transforming into half troll.

The statue of the famous Icelandic sculptor Ragnar Kjartansson shows the mythical importance of the subject, constituting the most important human monument of the town. Because there are natural monuments to dozens.

15. Visit the Coast in Hellnar


In fact, the coast between Arnarstapi and Hellnar (a little to the south, where there is a typical Icelandic chapel) has been declared a Nature Reserve. The hiking route is spectacular. The cliffs of Hellnar with their stone spiers and their heights are an impressive place. Búdakirkja church is the only vestige of civilization in a place that looks like another planet.

Have you ever seen a church surrounded by lava? That is Búdakirkja. Surrounding the enclosure of the church is a wall not very high but rather interesting as it was formed by blocks of lava covered with grass. There are not many hotels or places in Iceland to sleep, neither in Arnarstapi nor in almost any town in the area.

Other towns in the Snaefellsnes peninsula have some hotels, hostels, B&Bs and campsites such as Ólafsvík or Sttykishólmur. The new law forces to sleep in a campsite even if we have a campervan or autocarvan.

Among things to see between Arnarstapi and Bruarfoss are the basalt columns of Gerduberg, the sandy landscapes of Löngufjörur, the rock formations of Hellnar and Lóndrangar, the cave of Vatnshellir, the beach of Djúpalónssandur, the Snæfellsjökull volcano, the Svödufoss waterfall and the Mount Kirkjufell (one of the most emblematic places of this peninsula and Iceland).

Food to Eat in Iceland


Eat lamb or fish when in Iceland. Sure there are fantastic beef restaurants there, but the beef is very expensive and you get better beef for way less in other countries. Reindeer and some birds are great as well. There are many restaurants that specialize in vegetarian foods and get excellent feedback. Most restaurants have vegetarian options. It might be a bit harder on the country side, but you always have salads and pasta dishes.

Some foods you must try on your visit to Iceland are the famous Reykjavik's hot dog, called pylsur in Icelandic and Skyr. It is an Icelandic cultured dairy protein product. It has the consistency of Greek yogurt, but with a milder flavor. It is low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein. Has been eaten for centuries!

Icelandic ice creams are delicious. I think this is one of the most foods that Icelanders miss when they go live abroad. Some ice cream stores to check out to are Vesturbæjar ís, Isbúð Huppu & ísbúð Valdís to name a few. Icelanders are known for eating ice cream all year round, even in cold winter!

Festivals in Iceland


There are so many festivals throughout the year and all over the country.

Reykjavik Pride has become the largest festival in Iceland. Everybody come together and celebrate the LGBTQ community. This event is free to attend.

Aldrei fór ég suður or I never went south is more for rock music fans. This festival takes place yearly from Good Friday to Easter Sunday.

The Secret Solstice Music Festival is in June when the summer solstice happens around the 21st of June each year when Iceland is granted with the beautiful midnight sun.

Iceland Airwaves is not relatively new like Secret Solstice. This event takes place in November every year, but you can already see in February the line-up of the artists that will perform. Iceland Airwaves takes place in various venues and bars around Reykjavík. This festival is very popular and attracts many tourists.

For food lovers, a Food Festival takes place in late February or early March. Chefs from around the world come to Iceland and make delicious food with. They team up with some restaurants in Reykjavik and get creative and invent another Menu for the food festival week.

How To Travel in Iceland


A good way to travel Iceland on your own is to do it in a rental vehicle using the circular road that completely surrounds the island, the Ring Road or Route number 1.

Best time to Visit Iceland


It’s beautiful in winter. Probably even the best time of year to visit. The average low temperature in January is 27 F (-3 C). Summer is also beautiful up there, but more crowded. And in general, summer everywhere is overrated. If you travel to Iceland in summer, light comes in no matter how much you cover the windows with a curtain.

October is probably the best time of year to travel in most of the Northern Hemisphere. The best time to visit Iceland is February to March and September to October to see the Northern Lights in a camper van or in rotels.

The best time to travel to Iceland and have a more benevolent climate is, of course, the summer (June, July and August) with its 24 hours of light. The best time to observe the northern lights in Iceland is between November and April, although the ideal is in the months of December, January, February and part of March. In April the thing gets complicated.

Iceland is only really cold to people from countries like Asia, South America and Australia. If you live in Canada, the northern US, or most of northern Europe, Iceland in the winter is just winter. The high winds can make things seem colder than they actually are, and the wind can be so fierce, it’s been known to rip car doors off. Otherwise, the temperature is pretty moderate.

The Atlantic Ocean moderates the temperature. Normal winter temperatures in Iceland typically hover in the 20s and low 30s Fahrenheit. From 21st May to 30th July, there is 24-hours sunlight in Iceland which remains a unique natural phenomenon. Don’t freak out about the so-called lack of sunlight. Yes, it gets dark earlier.

But the MAJOR upside to the sunlight situation south of the Arctic Circle in winter is that, unless the sky is completely overcast, the entire day is like one long sunrise/sunset. The sun basically goes up a little above the horizon, sits there for a few hours, then goes back down. That means optimal light for photography. Unless it’s cloudy, there’s no flat light. Noon looks like sundown.

More darkness also means you’re way more likely to see the Northern Lights. Or if the Northern Lights aren’t out, and the sky is clear, and there isn’t a full moon butting in, the stars will be like nothing you’ve ever seen, and there’s more time to see them. You’ll never see the night sky in Iceland in July. Because it never gets dark.

While the actual ball called “the sun” technically creeps over the horizon from about 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. around December 21, there will be some light in the sky from about 10 a.m. to almost 5. You might also get to experience the cool color combinations caused by the sun being off to the south which can mean a pastel pink sunset on the southern horizon set against an amazing pastel blue off to the north.

Sometimes there’s a clear dividing line between pink and blue in the sky. Get outside, go to thermal springs and saunas, embrace the cold, and appreciate winter for what it’s worth. Winter can be a rich and beautiful season, an amazing, relaxing, even transcendent experience. Just accept it for what it is.

Iceland Travel Tips


• Reykjavík goes crazy at night. So you know, if you're looking for a party Reykjavik is the place.

• Hotels in Iceland are expensive. On the other hand there are a good number of campsites where sometimes there is nobody to pay.

• There is free internet in almost 100% of Icelandic accommodation.

• If your budget is limited, a good way to save is to buy food in the chain of supermarkets in the cities and towns of Iceland. Expect a lot of things to be cheaper — at least a little. Honestly, Iceland overall isn’t all that much more expensive than traveling in the pricier parts of the United States or somewhere like London. But it definitely ain’t cheap. And if you’re flipping out about the cost of food in restaurants, just eat at grocery stores. Food at grocery stores in Iceland costs about the same as it does in the rest of Europe and North America.

• Some things are just cheaper in the winter. Car rentals are less. You should rent a car if you can. Drive the circle road. Have a look at the Fjords on the east side. Don’t just go to the same 3 places as everyone else. Don’t drive offroad, ever, never. This could be the last thing you do. There are sketchy roads for offroad cars which take you to places straight out of the Lord of The Ring scenario. But they are still roads. The other land is loose and you car can sink completely and totally. If you just get stuck, you have to pay a fortune to fix your damage.

• Don’t carve your names in hill sides even if some other idiots did so. It takes thousands of years for the moss to grow. Don’t spray paint inside caves.

• If you don’t see a sign that it is safe to bathe, don’t bathe. When you are at Reynisfjara, don’t run into the waves, this will be the last thing you do. This isn’t like a movie.

• Bottled water. Don’t buy it unless you are in the middle of nowhere and thirsty. This is just tap water. All over the island, tap water is as clean as it gets. Never feel pressure to buy bottled water. When in a restaurant, ask for tap water.

• Your favourite fast-food chain McDonald's doesn't have an outlet there.

Time for Bon Voyage

A holiday in Iceland comes with some incredible experience as you travel to the land of ice and fire. Did you know that Icelanders actually believe in elves and that the country does not have the mosquito or forests?
Kalyan Panja