Top 10 Things to See and Do in Iceland

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Iceland

With the start of summer comes the beginning of tourist season in Iceland. Luckily, Iceland’s busy season is still probably less crowded than most of the State’s hot spots during the off season. Even the Golden Circle – Iceland’s most traveled route right outside of Reykjavik that takes you to some amazing places – was pretty quiet when we were there in the heart of the tourist season. As we traveled further from Reykjavik, Iceland’s capitol, the crowds thinned even more.

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since we were in Iceland. On the other hand, so much has happened since then that it seems like much more than a year has passed. We went through a sudden move from Indiana to New York, I (Beth) had and recovered from a major surgery, we both started new jobs, sold our house, paid off our student loan debt (can I get a big “WAHOO”!!), ran a couple marathons, went on countless weekend trips exploring the east coast, and had our first big vacation of the year — 9 days camping in Maine.

Summary: a lot of life has happened between now and Iceland. To make Iceland and our campervan feel a bit nearer, we decided to come up with our top 10 favorite things to do in Iceland. They are in no particular order, because just narrowing it down to 10 was hard enough. Here we go!

Top 10 Best Things to Do in Iceland

Geysir

The geyser that all other geysers are named after. Found along the famous Golden Circle route, this powerful and smelly geyser erupts very regularly so you’re pretty much guaranteed a show. We actually watched it erupt over 5 times in our time there.

Geysir exploding in Iceland

Gulfoss

Also along the Golden Circle, this was the most built up (in terms of stairs and railings and whatnots) of Iceland’s waterfalls. In spite of that, it’s absolutely worth seeing.

Gullfoss High Up

Seljalandsfoss

There’s a path to walk behind this tall waterfall. With a bit of adventure, you can trail blaze a path to the top of the waterfall for spectacular views.

Seljalandsfoss Upper View.iOS

Fjardrargljufur 

You can hike along the top cliff of this ancient canyon.

Fjardrargljufur Canyon

Vatnajokull Glacier

Look at the glacier, take pictures of the glacier, hike on the glacier (with a guide…you don’t want to die). This glacier covers almost a tenth of the entire country, so it deserves to be seen.

Vatnajokull Glacier (ice cap) in Iceland

Fjallsarlon and Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoons

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we hear ya. This is technically 2 different places, but they’re so close together and it’s just so dang hard to pick! We’re digging in our heals and refusing to choose just one. Deal with it. 🙂

These glacial lagoons are ponds full of icebergs (some bigger than houses!) that have just split off of the glacial tongue. You’ll watch them float towards the ocean, occasionally break apart with a loud thud. It’s so peaceful we could have sat there for hours soaking in the views.

Huge icebergs float to sea from Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon in Iceland

 

Whale Watching Tour in Husavik

On the nothern coast of Iceland, Husavik is an adorable town worth exploring on its own. Just be sure to take the time to get out on the ocean for a boat tour of some sort. We chose to do a whale watching tour, where we saw tons of dolphins and a few whales. Even if we hadn’t seen any sea life, the views of Iceland from a distance were totally worth it.

Husavik, a quaint town in northern Iceland.

Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area

The area around Lake Myvatn makes you feel like you’re on Mars. It’s a mixture of ground covered in lava fields from past volcanic eruptions, several active volcanic craters you can hike around (and in!), and bubbling geothermal pools emitting a strong sulfuric smell. Up until this point most of what we’d seen in Iceland had been the vibrant hues of the green landscapes and the bright whites of the glaciers. This dark volcanic area stood in stark contrast to the rest of what we had experienced.

The stark lava fields around Lake Myvatn in Iceland

Hraunfossar Waterfall

The water for this waterfall is literally coming out of the rocks below ground. Amazing. Just amazing.

For the Hraunfossar Waterfall in Iceland, the water actually comes from below ground!

 

The Blue Lagoon

Take a soak in the huge hot spring just outside of Reykjavik before you hop on your flight home. It’s expensive and crowded (you must, must, must reserve a time slot ahead of time), but you still need to go at least once. After 9 days of camping in our little campervan, the pool felt amazing.

The milky blue waters of the famous Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Have we inspired you to hop on a plane and head to Iceland? I’m pretty sure we just inspired ourselves to figure out when, exactly, we get to go back.

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