There’s no doubt that Iceland is one of the hottest travel destinations in the world these days. The Land of Fire and Ice is the perfect travel spot for those who crave adventure around every corner. There is no shortage of natural wonders to discover in Iceland, including ice caves, glaciers, thermal springs, and more. Whether you are chasing the Northern Lights or simply being at one with Mother Nature, Iceland begs to be explored in detail. Here are ten of the best things to put at the top of the list of your Iceland travel itinerary!
Take a Dip in Some Natural Hot Springs
Thanks to Iceland’s geographic profile, the country is a natural mix of ice, water, and serious geothermal activity. The result is a slew of natural hot springs, some of which are actual perfect for a relaxing soak (as opposed to boiling you alive), and the most famous one of them all is the Blue Lagoon. It’s a forty-minute drive from the capital of Reykjavík and consists of massive complex with spa facilities, restaurants, bars, and even a VIP section. But if that strikes you as being too touristy and overdeveloped there is still a ton of other hot springs to check out!
Go Whale Watching
A must-visit locale for any whale enthusiast, Iceland’s waters are known to be home to over twenty different species of whales. Visitors can take their pick from any number of boat tours that’ll take watchers out on to the ocean to spot the majestic creatures or even stay on land, possibly even having a meal at a restaurant, to see some whale action just off shore.
See the Northern Lights
After hot springs and whales, Iceland other famous feature is the Aurora Borealis, AKA “the Northern lights”. The natural light show created by cosmic rays bouncing around in the upper atmosphere is best seen between September and April. You can choose to either be guided on a tour by an expert or go looking for the light show on your own. If you choose the former, just be sure to use the Aurora forecast from the Icelandic Meteorological Office to find out where to catch the show.
Hang Out in Reykjavík
Once you’ve taken in the natural wonders of Iceland, it might be good to check in with Iceland’s culture. And the cultural central of Iceland is its capital city of Reykjavík. You can spend the day checking out the city’s variety of historic and art museums and galleries and then enjoy downtown’s famous nightlife!
Search for Elves & Trolls
Icelanders have a long tradition of paying tribute and honoring their folklore beliefs. The most popular Icelandic folklore creatures are elves, known as Huldufólk (hidden people) and is so ingrained in the national culture that road are rerouted and construction projects redesigned to avoid harming their fabled homes. Oh, then there are trolls, too. You can arrange to take a tour to see some elvish and troll stomping grounds, check out the museum dedicated to Iceland’s mystical wonders, and even get a lesson at the country’s elite school about elves!
Visit the West Fjords
A magical land awaits you with a visit to the West Fjords. This corner of Iceland features a rich cultural history and ancient folklore. Good sites to visit include the Museum of Witchcraft and Sorcery and the Westfjords Heritage Museum. Explore the towering bird cliffs of Hornstandir before heading to see the Drangajökull glacier, the northernmost glacier in the country. Animal lovers will delight in a visit to the remote Flatey Island to see all of its native puffins. The diverse landscape of the West Fjords offers something for everyone!
Traverse the Golden Circle
As Iceland’s most popular drive, the Golden Circle is a must-see sightseeing route. The drive is home to three of the country’s most popular sites with the Þingvellir National Park, the Haukadalur Geothermal Valley, and the Gullfoss Waterfall. While you can complete the drive in just a few hours, it’s better to take your time so that you can take in all of the spectacular beauty along the way. While in the Haukadalur Geothermal Valley, don’t forget to visit the hot springs, Geysir and Strokkur.
Hike a Glacier
Because of its climate, the awe-inspiring glaciers of Iceland are accessible at nearly any time of the year. This allows you to get up close and personal with these beasts regardless of when you visit Iceland. While some people are content to simply view the towering glaciers from a distance, others want to take it another level by hiking them. Be sure to sign up for a guided tour if you are not experienced with glacier hiking. But remember: You will need specially decided crampons to navigate these beauties!
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Take in an Awesome Waterfall
While traversing the stunning landscape of Iceland, be sure to take the time to take in the amazing waterfalls. One of the most popular waterfalls is the Dettifoss waterfall located in Northern Iceland. You will find Dettifoss off of Route 862 along the Diamond Circle portion of the Golden Circle. The Dynjandi waterfalls in the West Fjords are another popular place. For a truly unique experience, head to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall where you can actually walk behind the cascading falls in all of their glory.
Go on a Hiking Trip
In addition to hiking the glaciers, booking cheap flights to Iceland will also allow you to try less adventurous feats, like exploring the non-frozen ground at your own pace. Choose a short hike to check out a waterfall or stretch your limits by signing up for a multi-day hiking adventure. Iceland offers hikes for every age and skill level, making it easy to find the perfect trail for your needs. To put the cherry on top, hiking is also a great opportunity to spot some of the natural wildlife of this country!
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