Iceland is an island of extreme contrasts: its dramatic landscapes, shaped by fire and ice, are sure to take your breath away. Iceland is a nature lover’s paradise, with volcanoes, hot springs, lava fields, glaciers, underground caves, and ice fields to explore. Moreover, its untouched countryside is perfect for hiking and bird watching, and its sea offers some of the best whale-watching excursions in the world! In the winter months, the incredible natural light shows of the Aurora Borealis illuminate endless nights, while in the summer the country is bathed in the midnight sun‘s ethereal light. Our Best Things to Do in Iceland guide offers some ideas for tours and hotels in Iceland to help you get started!
Situated on the southwest coast, the island’s capital is perfect to explore on foot – with museums, art galleries, and botanical gardens to keep you entertained. One of the best places to get a panoramic view is from atop Hallgrimskirkja, the iconic church inspired by the Svartifloss Waterfall. Then, head down to Laugavegur, the main street lined with shops, restaurants, pubs, and micro-breweries. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a traditional Icelandic meal and people-watch in the process. Additionally, the harbor is also a popular area to hang out and watch while fishermen unload their daily catch. Reykjavik has an up-and-coming nightlife scene with music bars, nightclubs, and weekly concerts. Moreover, Reykjavik’s attractive hotel options make it the perfect launchpad to explore all of Iceland’s top attractions. Peruse our abundance of tours leaving from the capital, like this one of Iceland’s southern coast.
Discover Kerid Crater
Kerid Crater is the best known of three craters in the area (the others are Seydishólar and Kerhóll). This unique Icelandic feature is over 3,000 years old and surrounded by the reddish rocky slopes of an old volcano. Kerid Crater is one of the highlights of Iceland’s iconic Golden Circle route – an absolute must for your itinerary!
Visit Thingvellir National Park
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Thingvellir National Park is a truly remarkable place where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. The gap between the two plates is slowly widening, and the water-filled gully between the fault lines widens by 2.5 cm each year. Divers and snorkelers, take note: the park is renowned across the world for its underwater adventures. We recommend hopping on a horseback tour of Thingvellir and beyond.
Experience Glaciers & Geysers
Iceland has some of the largest glaciers in Europe! Vatnajökull is 8,000 square kilometers of ice with glaciers and frosted caves, while Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon, with thousands of icebergs that have broken from its glacier. At Langjökull, see a 500-meter tunnel carved through the ice, beckoning you to venture in and explore.
The Geysir geothermal area looks like a scene from a sci-fi film, with bubbling pools and two impressive geysers. Strokker emits a 20-meter plume of boiling water every 5-10 minutes. Nearby, you’ll find the ‘Great Geysir’; the first discovered geyser in the world which is now temporarily dormant. The term ‘geyser’ comes from the Icelandic ‘geysa’ meaning ‘to gush’. Adrenaline-seekers can snow-mobile along the stretch of a glacier, or descend into the magma chamber of an extinct volcano at Thrihnukagigur. Seeing any one of these natural wonders on its own is enough to make your trip memorable. But if you want to explore all the essential natural wonders of Iceland, this 5-day tour leaves no stone unturned.
Unwind in the Blue Lagoon
Among the several geothermal spas in Iceland, the most famous is the Blue Lagoon. The iconic attraction boasts bright blue milky seawater rich in silica and minerals. Beyond bathing, there is a variety of spa treatments available for those who want to relax and recuperate. If you feel like being pampered, check out this handy guide to all of Iceland’s spa and wellness experiences.
Admire Local Wildlife
Iceland is the perfect destination for travelers who want to get up close and personal with local wildlife. The country has some of the best bird-watching opportunities in the world. Whale-watching excursions will give you the chance to see Humpback and Minke whales, as well as dolphins and porpoises! Jump on a boat to the Akurey and Lundey islands to admire the puffin colonies. Or head to the Snæfellsner Peninsula, home to the Ytri Tunga seal sanctuary!
Take in the Northern Lights
No ‘Best Things to Do in Iceland’ guide is complete without the iconic Aurora Borealis. Experiencing this natural phenomenon is a must for your itinerary, and the ideal time to catch a glimpse is between September and March. On a clear night, you can observe the Northern Lights from Hallgrimskirkja and the Perlan Museum in Reykjavik. But a journey with expert guides ensures the ideal backdrop to take in this spectacular natural light show.
The Best Way to See It All
To sum up, Iceland has no shortage of mind-bending natural wonders, stunning landscapes, and fascinating cultural stories and experiences to explore. So if you want to take in all this incredible country has to offer, our single and multi-day package tours ensure that you don’t miss any of the highlights. Whether you have a whole week to really get into Iceland, or just a day or two to visit a specific area, options abound. Ultimately, you’re sure to have some unforgettable experiences along the way.