Top 9 Things to Do In Iceland
Iceland is probably the only country in the world where cold and hot come together in such perfect balance. There are so many things to see in Iceland. You have the volcanoes that burst out the hottest our earth can produce (lava), and at the same time, it has the cold northern climate (snow, ice, and glaciers).
Because of this, the country has a great variety in the landscape with huge contrasts with mountains, glaciers, hot springs and much more. A great adventure!
Let's go a little deeper...
Short facts of Iceland
• Capital – Reykjavik
• Currency – Icelandic krona
• Official language – Icelandic but they talk good English.
• Population - 332,529
What to do
Iceland may be a small country, but it has a lot to offer. There are lots of activities on this small piece of land. You can book everything in advance, and they picked you up right outside your hotel. The hotels are accommodating and can help you book the trips. They usually come in small minibusses, but one time they came in a modified jeep.
Because of the rough terrain, they buy cars and takes them to the workshop where they are modified to cope with the harsh landscape. For instance, they let the air out from the tires before off-road and on the road pumping air back in.
During the summertime, it's bright, basically almost all the time. Imagine sunrise and sunset right outside the horizon!
Things you should know
- You don’t need to tip; it is all included in the price.
- Do not eat a whale!
- The weather is unpredictable.
- Bring shoes with good grip, and that is water repellent (Hiking boots).
- Bring a wind jacket and pants; the wind is always present.
- Bring money to each event for food and drinks.
- The heated water can smell a little sulfur, but it is because of geothermal energy.
- If you want to use your smartphone, an Icelandic sim card can be purchased. The network works even in the remote areas of Iceland.
- If you rent a car be careful, the wind can be intense!
1. Silfra - A Must If You Are A Diver
• Location - Lake Þingvallavatn
• Depth – 63 m but the diving is maximum of 18 m
This lake is a magical place with a visibility of up to 100 m. The reason for this is all the glacier water trickles underground through lava rock and take 30 to 100 years to travel a distance of 50 km. I stepped into this deep, long river that flows into a lake, it was around 4 °C I was told, but with a dry suit, it is not so bad. The face is the only part that goes numb. But after a while, you are occupied with the fantastic view under water.
Sometimes I had the feeling of not knowing what is up or down because of the clearness of the water. The dive is around 40 min long, and there are no animals to see, but there are a rock formation, vegetation, and the clear water experience.
They do two dives on this trip, but I only did one pitch. The visibility is incredible, and sometimes I look and think that I must be on the surface because of the clearness. It is possible to go here any time of the year.
" Silfra is a must for a diver! "
2. The Dark And Mysterious Lava Caves
Lava cave or lava tube which perhaps is the right name is favorite places to visit. I can recommend having durable clothes and some comfortable shoes. The first thing that came to my mind when we came down in the cave, was the silence. The only thing I could hear was the water drops from above.
After a while into the cave, the whole group sat down and we turned off the lights. Then we just sat there and enjoyed the silence, and one of the guides started to tell us a fairy tale.
In some parts of the cave, we had to crawl like spiders because of the tight space. For those who won't be able to do that, another way was possible. There are some cool formation and color variation on the rocks in here.
But the most fantastic thing is the bacteria on the ceiling. After I used our headlamps on the bacteria and then turned the light off, I could see the light on the cave roof similar to a starlit sky in a small format. Awesome to be in a place where magma has been and to see all the different colors in the rock.
"I could see the light on the cave roof similar to a starlit sky"
3. The Majestic Waterfalls of IcelandThere are lots of waterfalls in Iceland and them worth a visit. Depending on what trip you take from Reykjavik you should make stops on along the way to see different waterfalls.
- Skogafoss - A high waterfall you can either stay on the ground or go up to the stairs and look. The walk up the stairs takes about 20 min but the fantastic view up here. I stand just beside the waterfall and hear the sound from the water pouring down. It is around 60 m high and 25 m wide. The guide sometimes takes it on the way back home to Reykjavik when it is fewer people here.
- Gullfoss - A massive wide waterfall. During our stay here the rainbow was present which, made beautiful photos. This waterfall has many tourists so that it can be a little crowded. Due to the waterfall is so big we had to move to different spots to see the waterfall from other angles. This waterfall is part of the Golden Circle tour.
Seljalandsfoss – A famous waterfall and little different from the others. When we came to this waterfall, it was in the evening and noticed you can walk behind it. A fantastic view to see the sunset and the waterfall together. The guide probably will but make sure to visit this in the evening. Don't forget! Go behind the waterfall and enjoy the magnificent sunset.
4. The Perfect Way To Relax Is To Step Inside A Natural Hot Spring
This has probably not escaped anyone that Iceland has hot springs. They are all around Iceland, but some are too hot to swim in. Usually, you can see where the locals swim. If you swim in the outdoor temperature varies (it could be 20 °C or 40°C) depending on where you sit in the stream.
I think you should try both when you are here. The deep varies, but it is usually around 1 meter in depth.
I can recommend visiting the Blue Lagoon on the last day before leaving.
5. A Boat Ride With Big Icebergs
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a lagoon where you can go out by boat and see the glacier (Breiðamerkurjökull) blocks. First thing when we arrived was to change into something warmer. They give you winter overalls, but you have to have your hat and warm shoes. Then it is a short trip from the road to the boat, in our group we were six people.
The whole group go in the boat and look at these massive ice blocks, with sizes as a house floating around. It is a fantastic feeling to see these naturally created sculpture of ice and see the sun hit the surface. The guide told us that the blue blocks (the beautiful ones) are those who have not been hit by the sun, in other words just turned or loosened.
The trip takes around 4, 5 hours from Reykjavik and is located southeast of Iceland. But this trip is usually combined with others.
6. How Is Reykjavik City?
It is pleasant to stroll around and look around in the small shops and eat the fresh food direct from the sea. The city is not that big, but you are not here to see the buildings. Iceland is a country for those who want to explore the natural wonders of the planet.
It is fashionable to buy sheep fur here because of the quality. Iceland has a lot of sheep, and in the summertime, they walk around free without fences. I heard from a guide that if someone drive on a sheep that person has to pay for that sheep and one more in compensation. If that is true or not, I don’t know. I have heard tales from the guides while they were driving to the different locations.
Buildings - Harpa opera house is a must for lovers of architecture or appreciate beautiful buildings. Recommend also to take a tour inside. Church Hallgrímskirkja a big church centrally located in Reykjavik, you can go up to the top and get a beautiful view of the city.
7. Take A Hike On A Big Chunk Of Ice
When you think of Iceland, you think of ice. There is one great natural power on this planet, and it is the glaciers. First thing when we step out of the bus and the guide gather the group and handing us the equipment for this event.
- 1 Ice ax
- Traction Cleats
The guide took us for a walk around 30 min until we came to the glacier. Once at the iceberg, we prepared ourselves to go down to the mighty ice. The feeling I got when I came down and knowing that I was standing on approximately 400-meter thick ice was an incredible feeling.
During our walk on the glacier, the guide took us on a different path, and we had to stick with him. Very important to know if you take the wrong way it can be dangerous, always follow the guide and it will minimize the risks.
8. The Incredible Scenery Of The Geysir
On the way from the road up toward the different geysers, I walked by some small pools with boiling water. Also around the area, there was smoke with boiling pools of water, and you could smell the sulfide (smells like rotten eggs).
Finally, after a short walk, we were there at The Great Geysir. They say that It can take between 7 to 9 min before the blast. I just stood there and stared for a while, and suddenly I can see the water being sucked in the hole with great force, I could see the hot water fly up into the sky. It must have been 20 to 30 meters up in the sky!
9. The Amazing Hiking In The Landmannalaugar
With a big specially modified car we drove out to this hiking place. The viewer feels like it's taken from a place in outer space or a fairy tale. Back home, I have a photo from this place on the wall and friend asked me who has painted this. I just said this is not painting this is Iceland.
This is a commonplace to hike, and it is possible to walk for days here, but we did it just in an afternoon. The hike starts with a large camping site where you can see mountains rise with snow at the top. Some parts along the way you can see smoke bursting out and different color of the rock. By the river, you could see green vegetation with grass and small bushes.
During the colorful hike, black rock, and rivers pouring down from the mountain. After an incredible hike, a warm bath was waiting for us in the hot springs near the camp.
Of course, there are much more to see but this is the top things I recommend to see in Iceland.
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