Iceland, the land of fire and ice is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. The stunning landscapes, huge volcanic mountains and glaciers that stretch for miles never ceases to amaze. This diverse and beautiful terrain is not just a destination, it’s an adventure in itself. One will be spoiled for choice after learning what this tiny piece of land has to offer. From its snowcapped mountain peaks to hot volcanic fields, hiking the glaciers to exploring the primeval forests, this place never lets you down. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Iceland. Hope this compiled list will help you make the right choice. By the end of this blog, I am sure you’re going to fall in love with Iceland!
Here Are The Top Things To Do in Iceland All Year Round
Soak In The Hot Pools Of The Blue Lagoon
The famous Blue Lagoon, not to be confused with the one on the Italian island of Capri, is a geothermal hot spring. Located just outside Reykjavik, this popular spot is the perfect place to relax. Head straight to the Blue Lagoon Iceland which is just a 10 minute drive from the airport. The water here contains lots of minerals and hence bathing here is very beneficial for skin health. Because of the high silica content the water is a clouded milky blue in color. Hot springs are an ancient Viking tradition, but you’ll be expected to shower before entering these pristine springs. No matter the season, spending a good few hours relaxing in this piping hot pool is one of the best things to do in Iceland.
Experience Reykjavik By Day And Night
The capital city is a vibrant place, full of trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes. English is widely spoken here. Reykjavik is home to the National and Saga museums that trace the country’s proud Viking history. Experiencing Reykjavik’s nightlife scenes is one of the best things to do in Iceland. Live music, friendly locals and an amazing atmosphere makes everything feel and look special here. The city runs on geothermal energy, so don’t be surprised if the showers have a sulfuric smell! It’s just the minerals in the natural underground spring waters delivered to the plumbing using geothermal pumps. The water is still totally safe, and clean.
Go Whale Watching In Skjálfandi Bay
Whale watching in Skjálfandi Bay is one of the best things to do in Iceland. Located near the town of Húsavík, the bay is famous for being home to numerous whales. You might encounter a white-beaked dolphin, a gentle minka whale, migrating humpback whales, or even the titanic blue whale. Whatever you see, Skjálfandi Bay is an enthralling experience. Best time to spot whales in Iceland is between May to September. There are many whale-watching tours in Reykjavik. Book yours soon to be amidst these majestic animals in the wild.
Visit Gullfoss For A Surreal Experience
The ‘Golden-falls’ waterfalls, fed by the Hvítá river, is about 120 kilometers from Reykjavik. It is one of Iceland’s most astonishing sights as it is made up of two tiered waterfalls. The falls cascade over 30 meters into a gaping gorge. With the average flow of 1400 m³/s in the summer and 80 m³/s in the winter, Gullfoss waterfall easily takes a place in the world’s top ten waterfalls. On sunny days the sun shines through the billowing spray, giving it a golden hue, hence the name ‘Golden Falls’. In winter the waterfall freezes to form undulating waves of glistening ice making it a spectacular view. You can follow the Hvítá River to its source, the Langjökull glacier, where you can hire a snowmobile and explore it.
Take An Unforgettable Tour Of Cave Víðgelmir
Close to Reykjavik, this 5250 foot deep cave offers a glimpse at the Hallmundarhraun lava field. The giant eruption close to the Langjökull glacier was formed around the year 930 AD. The 1.5 hour tour of this place takes us through the underground world of crystal lava and the forces behind these stunning rock formations. A great opportunity to learn how the volcanic eruptions helped create this stunning cave beneath the earth. The paved walkway and installed lights makes touring of Viðgelmir cave less challenging. Viðgelmir, one of the largest lava caves in the world, is best experienced and understood when witnessed in person. Your tours of Iceland will be incomplete if you do not visit this hidden wonder.
Come Home To Spectacular Geysir Hot Spring
Sitting in the Haukadalur valley in southern Iceland, this geyser is home to spectacular hot springs that spout boiling water up to 70 meters into the air every few minutes. When groundwater comes into contact with hot bedrock it heats up and gushes out as sprouts into the air. This water is extremely hot, so please keep a safe distance. The Great Geysir was among the first known to modern Europeans and even gave its name to the very word geyser. Geysir has been active for almost 10,000 years, though eruptions have become infrequent in recent times.
Drive To The Vatnajökull Glacier
There are plenty of glaciers in Iceland but the best of the lot is the Vatnajökull Glacier. Europe’s largest glacier with over 8100 square kilometers covers almost 8% of Iceland’s landmass. Due to its enormous size one cannot see all in just one visit. Multiple self-drive tours or guided packages can help you experience the most of it. Located in the south-east, there are hundreds of things to do here. Glacier hiking, boat tours and ice caving tours are few of the many popular activities here. From the mighty Skaftafell glacier, with its canyons and icy expanses, to the breathtaking subterranean crystal blue ice caves, and the Jökulsárgljúfur National Park, this landscape of icy beauty looks like it was plucked off the screens from an episode of Game of Thrones.
Catch The Impressive Northern Lights
The northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are predominantly seen in high-latitude regions. Iceland is the perfect place to see the northern lights as it sits at a latitude of approximately 64 degrees north. Thousands of people visit Iceland every year just to witness this natural phenomena. When solar particles enter the Earth’s magnetic field there appears a swirling rivers of blue and green lights. If lucky you can even get to see purple, red, pink and orange lights. Catching the impressive northern lights is probably on top of every travelers bucket list of things to do in Iceland. The best months for your aurora hunt are between October and March and the best time would be around midnight.
Hike Around Lake Myvatn
Set against a unique volcanic landscape, Lake Myvatn is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s a lake in northern Iceland that was created by enormous volcanic activity 2300 years ago. Some famous hot spring baths, including Hverir, Krafta, and Myvatan, will be familiar to fans of Game of Thrones. Both the Dimmuborgir frozen lava fields, and the Grjótagjá cave were used in scenes beyond the Wall. The shallow volcanic lake is packed with mysterious crevices, craters, and lava towers. One can also go hiking or bird-watching here. Due to its serenity, volcanism and many lakes, this place is one of the most amazing natural attractions in the country.
Walk Between Two Continents At Thingvellir National Park
This National Park is the site of the world’s first parliament. The Althing sat here from the 10th to 18th centuries. The Crown Jewel of Iceland, Thingvellir is also home to a church and many old ruins. Anglicized from the name, Þingvellir, it sits in a valley caused by a rift between two tectonic plates. This is the only place in the world where you can stand and walk between two continents (North America and Europe). To experience this visitors come in from all around the world making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. Numerous scenes from Game of Thrones, from the pass to the impregnable Eyrie to the site of the epic battle between Brienne and the Hound was filmed here. This place has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage site since 2004.
Explore The Beautiful Thjorsardalur Valley
This natural phenomenon is right at the Edge of the Icelandic Highlands along the river Rauda. This lush green valley is known for the Hjalparfoss and Haifoss waterfalls, the highest in Iceland. It was also a Viking era settlement, which was recently excavated after being abandoned in 1104 after an eruption of Mount Helka. Like Pompeii, it was preserved in ash. The settlement was reconstructed to showcase life in the Saga Age. Their strange lava formations and craters are worth taking a look at.
Climb Kirkjufell Mountain For That Perfect Click
On the north coast of Iceland, near Snæfellsnes Peninsula and close to the town Grunda rfjörður, this is one of the country’s most spectacular sights. Its isolation, jutting out from the sea, makes it a focal point for miles. Kirkjufell (literally Church Mountain) has numerous hiking and walking trails. You can even walk to the top and look for the many animal fossils left there. Like so many other locations in Iceland, this mountain can be seen on screen in Game of Thrones, where it stands in for the arrowhead mountain. Kirkjufell is believed to be the most photographed mountain in Iceland and also confirms a spot in the top 10 most beautiful mountains in the world.
A Month By Month Quick Guide On The Weather And Things To Do In Iceland
The weather in Iceland is prone to changes all the time. It takes just a few minutes to move from a bright sunny day to rainy, hailing or snowy. To experience all the above activities the weather needs to be favorable. Let’s take a look at how the weather in Iceland looks from January to December and what are the things to do in Iceland throughout the year.
January – You’ll likely to experience rain, snow, hail, wind, and some sun during January. One can expect an average low of -3°Celsius (26.6 F) and average high of 3°Celsius (37.4 F). During this time of the year the nights are long as the sun rises around 11:00am and sets about 4:00pm. It’s the perfect time to catch the Northern Lights as the nights are long. With less tourists coming it, this place is generally uncrowded at this time of the year.
February – February is one of the coldest months in Iceland, hence a perfect month to experience the Nordic winter. You’ll likely experience rain, wind, snow, sun, storms and blizzards. With temperature dipping to -6°Celsius you can expect a lot of snow. Best time for boat tours or wildlife photography excursions. Many roads in North and East Iceland are impassable especially during this month. Always check weather conditions before driving in Iceland during the month of February.
March – It is in this month that you can expect a transition from winter to spring. There is a gradual increase in temperature during this time. You can expect an average low of approximately -2.2° Celsius and average high of 3.3° Celsius. Visit to Iceland in March gives a chance to take part in some unique Icelandic festivals and events. Winter activities like ice caving, snowshoeing and northern lights hunting are possible during this time.
April – April is considered the off-season, and hence flights and accommodation prices are much cheaper compared to the other months. You can expect an average high temperature of 6.8° Celsius and a low temperature of 3° Celsius. This is the time when weather starts brightening and the day creeps up to a whole 13 hours of sunlight. Best month for seeing the northern lights, visiting glaciers, and to catch the wilderness of Iceland.
May – With daylight increased and improved weather, May is a great time to visit Iceland. The worst of winter has passed and you can expect some blue skies and sunshine. Average temperature ranges from 2° Celsius to 11° Celsius. One thing you need to know about May is that you can’t get to see the northern lights as there are only 4 hours of darkness in a day. Don’t be disappointed, one can indulge in short cruise, whale watching, bird watching and boat tours.
June – June is the official summer month in Iceland. With average temperatures consistently above 10° Celsius, June offers some of the best weather of the year. Long daylight hours, low winds and with most roads clear of ice this is the safest time to drive in Iceland. Self-driven tours to the country’s vast and wild interior, camping to witness the midnight sun and kayaking trips are things that you can do this month.
July – July is probably the best time to visit Iceland in summer. The average daytime temperature is 13° Celsius but it can go up to 20° Celsius. The warmest and driest month in Iceland is generally bright all day and most of the night, too. Long days with mild climatic conditions makes it ideal for camping, hiking, photography and whale watching. This is the time of the year when almost all activities open up; festivals and events kicking in with a bang.
August – August is the peak of summer season that brings back the beautiful night skies which the locals are waiting to see. As it’s the peak tourist season things are more expensive and can get really crowded. Iceland has many events happening in August, literally something is happening every weekend. This is the time of the year where you can get your hands on some free seafood buffet and free whale watching tours. Take advantage of the warm weather by going for outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, kayaking, and river rafting. There are multiple bus tours and private tours available during this time.
September – September marks the beginning of the off-season with autumn depression starting to set in. This can cause sudden heavy downpours and strong blowing winds. With average temperature hitting 8.5° Celsius; average high of 11° Celsius, and the average low is 6° Celsius, you’re unlikely to see any snowfall. The nights start getting longer with each passing day which increases the chances of catching the northern lights of Iceland. This month gives the opportunity to experience both summer as well as winter in Iceland.
October – This month is the beginning of winter in Iceland. Temperatures in October have been known to range from -7.2° Celsius to 15° Celsius. High winds and heavy rains bring about a drop in the temperature making it very cold. The daylight hours reduce towards the end of the month. Be ready for unexpected rain, strong winds, dense fog, snowfall, and ice. You can see the summer tours coming to an end and winter tours kicking in during this month. One can experience the best of both if you visit Iceland in October.
November – The quietest month in Iceland has an average high temperature of 4° Celsius. By mid of November, daylight hours drop even further as the sun rises only after 10 a.m., and it sets before 4 p.m. This is the time for winter sports to be added to the itineraries. Ice carving, hot spring soaks, hiking and other snow-related activities can be experienced. The snow in November can be six times more than in October. So consider booking with tour operators who has the experience to handle the rough terrain safely.
December – With the New Year’s Eve celebrations ticking in and festive spirit all around, this is the perfect month for romantic getaways. The weather in Iceland is one of the coldest out of the year with temperatures dropping to -1° Celsius and 4° Celsius. Be prepared for the darkness, coldness and wetness. The otherwise cold and dark place is decked with lights and decorations to welcome the New Year. The Northern lights Iceland and a variety of winter tour activities will make your visit during this time memorable.
The most beautiful European destination, Iceland, is popular for all the good reasons. For many travelers this place is a dream destination, no wonder Iceland tourism is booming like never before. Get set to embark on a journey to the friendliest country in the world and don’t forget to share your experience in the comment box below.
Apart from the beautiful landscapes, Iceland is also famous for glaciers, active volcanoes, and geysers.
Iceland is a European island country located between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. It’s midway between North America and mainland Europe.
Though Icelandic is the official language, almost every Icelander speaks English fluently.
There are plenty of places in Iceland where you can play and swim in waterfalls.
The top two places that cannot be missed are the Iceland Blue Lagoon, Golden Circle and the northern lights.
The summer months between June to August is the best time for Iceland visit.
Gullfoss waterfall also called the Golden waterfall is considered Iceland’s most beautiful waterfall.
The most famous waterfall in Iceland, Seljalandsfoss waterfall is where people can walk behind.
Snorkeling, Ice Climbing, Glacier Hiking, Skiing, Snowboarding and Horseback riding are some of the adventurous things to do in Iceland.
Yes, you’ll be able to use your mobile phone in most of the main cities and towns. For remote and isolated areas do check with your service provider.