A Nordic paradise for adventure-seeking travellers

Iceland has so many dazzling landscapes and attractions that it can be an impossible task deciding what you want to see. See below for some of the best things to do in this beautiful country.

Take a walk in the colourful Thingvellir Natural Park

This historic natural park is located 50 km east of Reykjavik and offers one of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. Thingvellir was added to the World Heritage list back in 2004 for its cultural, historical, and geological importance. This natural park is one of Iceland's most popular tourist destinations as people come from all over the world to see its vast valleys and colourful vegetation. The park has a rich history and over the centuries it has been expanded to protect the diverse plant and animal species in the area.

Don't Miss:

  • At Lake Þingvallavatn, see the fissures and fractures of the earth's crust, where the tectonic plates meet.
  • Try out your favourite outdoor sport in the spectacular nature, whether it's hiking, horse-riding, angling, or diving.

Marvel at the wondrous waterfalls

Iceland's South Coast is home to the most legendary falls on the Golden Circle: the Gullfoss Waterfall. This is a must-see natural wonder, with crystal clear waters flowing into Hvítá River Canyon. While this waterfall is truly impressive, it's not the country's tallest. Just a 20-minute drive from Seljalandsfoss, you will come across the largest waterfall in Iceland: the Skógafoss. While you're there, take a hike to the top of the waterfall's summit, where you can enjoy the magnificent views of southern sea cliffs and mountains.

Don’t Miss:

  • Look out for the double rainbows created by the water sprays of the falls. 
  • Legend has it that there's buried treasure behind the curtain of water at Skógafoss!

Visit a traditional museum... or two

If you like museums, you'll love Glaumbaer, located in the small village of Varmahlid, which shows how the Icelanders lived in long and harsh winter climates. Another museum that's worth visiting is located just 1 minute from the Skogar Waterfall, 150 km east of Reykjavík: the Skógar Folk Museum consists of over 1000 regional folk craft artefacts.

Don’t Miss:

Admire the architecture of Glaumbaer from the outside, or pay to go indoors to learn the details of the history and feel fully transported in time.

Watch the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, occur through electrically charged particles that are caused by the sun hitting the planet Earth's magnetic field, forming unique green streaks form across the skies. Iceland is one of the best places on earth to watch the Northern Lights. When the winter skies are free from clouds, you can easily experience these beautiful lights dancing across the sky from September to mid-April, with the peak times for viewing the auroras being in November and February.

Don’t Miss:

  • Consider camping in Iceland - if you're under the skies every night, you've a much better chance of seeing the lights
  • If you take a guided tour, you'll be taken to spectacular natural sites and will have more information on how to photograph the Aurora. 

Take a tour through Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

The largest glacier lagoon in Iceland can be found on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Jökulsárlón has crystal blue waters between vast icebergs. In summer you can take a swim, and in winter the snow turns the river lagoon into a true wonderland. Here you can watch the Northern Lights reflecting against the ice during dark nights and take Instagram-worthy photos.

Don't Miss:

  • This picturesque glacier lagoon has appeared in two of James Bond movies! 
  • Explore the extraordinary blue ice caves next to the lagoon.

Sample heart-warming Icelandic cuisine

Traditional Icelandic cuisine centres around dairy, bread, fish, and lamb. While Icelandic food has its roots in Scandinavian cuisine, there are some authentic local dishes that you must try. Two examples include a traditional lamp meat soup called Kjötsupa, which is made from lamb, vegetables, and herbs and is mostly enjoyed during cold months of winter. The other traditional dish is a fish stew known as Plokkfiskur, which consists of boiled haddock or cod with mashed or roast potatoes.

Don't Miss: 

  • Round off your meal with the national liquor of Iceland - Brennivín
  • If you're travelling on a budget, Skyr is a delicious Icelandic yogurt available everywhere in various flavours. 

Attend an annual festival

Check out Iceland's top cultural events, with the best of dance, theatre, music, and visual art to suit all ages. The small music festival Innipúkin previously held performances from Blonde Redhead, Dikta, and Mugison, as well as a pub quiz, a music market, and BBQs for all the attendees. Reykjavik Culture Night fills up the streets of downtown Reykjavik with thousands of participants to celebrate the country's diverse cultural scene.

Don’t Miss:

  • Reykjavik Art Festival runs for several days at the end of May
  • Innipúkin is held in Reykjavík's downtown in July

Go hiking in Skaftafell Nature Reserve

The Skaftafell Nature Reserve is located within the Vatnajökull National Park and is the largest nature reserve in Europe. Skaftafell is filled with glaciers, volcanoes, mountains, and forests that are surrounded by sandy deserts. This nature reserve is a hiker's paradise so no matter whether you're a beginner or experienced hiker, taking a walk through the breathtaking forests will take you back to nature and be a highlight of your trip.

Don't Miss:

  • Keep an eye out for furry arctic foxes along the trails.  
  • The reserve is also the perfect base camp for those wishing to climb Iceland's highest peak, Hvannadalshnúkur. 

Explore Reykjavik

No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to Iceland's capital city. This vibrant metropolis is home to around 200,000 people; it is located on the coastline, and has been the capital of Iceland since the beginning of the 19th century, after the country claimed its independence from Denmark. Today, Reykjavik is a must-see, especially during the warm summer months when you can watch the midnight sun. This city is also the best place for music lovers, with some of the liveliest nightclubs in the country.

Don't miss:

  • Head to the viewing platform at Hallgrímskirkja Church for a panoramic view of the city.
  • Watch the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra at the famous Harpa concert hall

Take a swim in the mystical Lake Mývatn

Lake Mývatn alone is worth a trip to Iceland. This dreamlike lake was formed by a volcano lava eruption thousands of years ago, and the lake is therefore surrounded by mountains, volcano craters, and lava caves, all of which you can explore. The sandy black mountains of Lake Mývatn are fantastic for hikers, but the unmissable part of the area is the nature baths. Take a dip in the relaxing waters and connect with the best of Iceland's natural treasures.

Don't Miss:

  • There are plenty of bird-watching opportunities for nature enthusiasts. 
  • Include a visit to the nearby sauna for a full experience at the nature baths.

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