Iceland is mystical. Magical. Incredible. Dreamy. Words cannot describe enough the euphoria you feel when you’re there. If you’re planning a visit this year or have already booked your flights, I’m going to help you make this trip the best you’ve ever had! And for those of you who’ve never thought to visit Iceland… uhm.. what’s wrong with you??(ok, sorry.. a little harsh) but seriously, you’re going to want to start planning your trip after you read this.
I’m just more than excited to share some of my favourite places and spots in Iceland that you must, must see (if you can) during your visit. Most of these places are possible to see in a single 4-5 day visit to Iceland, so if you’re staying longer than that then there’s no excuse! Get these places on your list!
One more tid-bit before we dive in, there are a lot of suggested things to do, sights to see and places to go in Iceland. If I’m being honest everything in that country is mystical and you wont have a bad time but there are a few tourist trap locations that I felt weren’t exactly worth the buzz so I’m sharing places we loved visiting as well as places we wish we visited!
- Stay at the Blue Lagoon Hotel
So this may seem like an incredible splurge (our stay cost us about $500CAD for one night), but if you’re already planning a visit to the public lagoon you’ll see how quickly it all adds up. First your entry tickets at 65euro a person plus round trip transport at anywhere from $100USD per person and then you’ve got the hassle of being on the bus schedule and not your own. The Blue Lagoon hotel takes away all the stress, includes it’s own (far better) private lagoon and free admission to the public lagoon. After you add up your Lagoon trip costs, you’ll find the hotel really works out to be an affordable rate, plus they serve the most delicious breakfast! I’d highly, highly recommend it. (pssst.. read more about it here 😉
- Explore the streets of Reykjavik
This was a really fun day for my Husband and I. We loved strolling down Laugavegur street popping in and out of the boutique shops, stopping in their quaint cafes for coffee and visiting the restaurants. The street is very lively, there’s lots of good shopping – and good quality shopping too. While many people tend to enjoy souvenier shops to pick up little trinkets for loved ones back home, I really do love shopping like a local and getting things that don’t nessessarily say the name of the country on them. I found the most gorgeous wool coat there, some lovely wool hand warmers, the cutest wooden spoons and a few other neat things I brought home to remind me of Iceland in a more subtle way.
- Get to Fraser Canyon (Fjaðrárgljúfur)
So this may not be possible if you don’t either book an excursion, rent a car or if you’re simply staying in Reykjavik for you entire visit, however if you can get there – go. It’s seriously one of the most awe-inspiring places that will take your breath away. It’s also the most picture perfect place to get some incredible travel photos and you can easily, hike, canoe and picnic there for an entire days adventure.
- Visit the Waterfalls
And not just Gulfoss found on the Golden Circle route. While it’s incredibly beautiful I think I was a bit less impressed being a Canadian whose visited Niagara Falls numerous times. There are so many impressive waterfalls around the country that are far less busy! Skogafoss, Seljalandsfoss, Haifoss to name a few are gorgeous and worth every penny to get to. There’s just something about waterfalls that gives you this – I’m in another world – feeling.
- Hit Up the Black Sand Beach
You’ll probably spot a few puffins along the way and get some Giant’s Cosway like photos with the unique cliff background. It’s located about 10 minutes out of Vik and is something we definitely wish we had more time to see.
- Visit the DC 3 Plane Crash Site
You’ll find everywhere on the internet complaints of people having a hard time finding it, but if (and when) you do, you’ll see why it was all worth it. It’s incredibly chilling and interesting and creates very journalistic like photographs. A worth-while stop!
- Check Out The Gorgeous Icy Blue Glaciers in Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Too many people find this place the ultimate sight to see in all of Iceland. In certain ways I’d have to agree, as it’s not every day you can go to a beach and see insanely icey blue glaciers at the same time. It’s the ultimate gorgeousness and a true way to really appreciate nature. This is one of our biggest regrets (no, we didn’t go..) but it is first on our list for our revisit!
- Take a Helicopter Ride
Alright, so this one is a bit of a stretch and of course is not for everyone (we couldn’t afford to do it) but if this is your splurge trip or if you’ve got lots of money to spend I’d highly highly recommend doing this!The views are just incredible and depending on the package you select you can even fly right over an active volcano! An unforgettable experience for sure.
- Snorkel in the Silfra
This had to be the highlight of our trip (I blogged all about it here). Not only because the experience is truly incredible and you cant do this anywhere else in the world, but the team we went with were just fantastic! We booked with Dive.is (whom I’d recommend again and again) and the experience was just the best. If you want to know more check out my post here! (Yep, that’s really me in the photo!)
- See an Active Geyser
This is such a unique phenomenon that is a must-see in my books. You really get to see how powerful the earth is and it’s awe-inspiring when it explodes. There is a really famous one along the Golden Circle path, however there are geysers all over Iceland so you’re sure to find another one if you do some research.
- See the Northern Lights
So, I know I said 10 things and now I’m on #11.. well.. this one is not possible all year round, plus it’s kind of an unspoken must for every person to see or try to see on their trip. The Northern lights are strongest during the months of September – March. They are an incredible wonder. In a very crazy phenomenon when I was a kid I actually got to see some green ‘northern lights’ one evening in Canada and it was truly memorable. They are even more phenomenal in Iceland and will be a lasting memory for you and your travel mates.
There you have it, some incredible things to do in Iceland even on a quick visit that will makes your trip that much more memorable. Have any of you been to Iceland? What were some of your favourite sights?
*There are sourced photos in this post. The original link is credited and embedded in the photo.