Iceland – 21 incredible experiences in the ‘Land of Fire & Ice’

iceland things to do

The famous ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, Iceland is known around the world for its spectacular natural sights.

Ranging from the natural dancing lights performance, the Northern Lights, to the beauty of the country’s many waterfalls, the country boasts a number of magical experiences, most natural, some man-made.

Join us as we begin our look at this incredible country and the sights on offer.

1. Aurora Borealis

iceland things to do

One of the biggest reasons to visit Iceland, the Northern Lights are a wonderful sight and an experience sure to live long in the memory.

Visible for just over half a calendar year (September – April), Iceland’s position near the Arctic circle plus its sparsely populated landscape makes this the perfect place to catch a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis phenomenon.

Caused by the interaction of solar wind, Earth’s magnetic field, and the planet’s atmosphere, the two poles act as magnets attracting the solar wind particles.

When in our atmosphere, the particles interact with gases which causes the glowing phenomenon.

Expert-led tours are available taking you to some of the best viewing spots. Most of them leave from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.

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2. Blue Lagoon

iceland things to do

The Blue Lagoon is a thermal spa in the south of the island

Attracting over a million visitors in 2017, the Blue Lagoon is one of the country’s most popular attractions.

Rich in minerals, the warm waters are known to have beneficial properties for your skin, helping restore your skin’s natural balance.

With a range of additional options on offer including relaxing steam rooms and in-water massages, you are sure to leave the Blue Lagoon feeling refreshed and ready to continue your adventure.

Easily reached from Reykjavik, this beautiful lagoon rests within a lava field.

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3. Akureyri Public Park and Botanic Garden

iceland things to do

A popular attraction for green-fingered holidaymakers, the Akureyri Public Parkand Botanic Garden celebrated its 60th birthday in 2017.

A great selection of both native and foreign flora can be found prospering in the garden.

This attraction offers another timely chance to take time out and relax in the exciting range of colour on display.

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4. Eyjafjallajökull

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Infamous thanks to the disruption to air travel caused by its 2010 eruption, Eyjafjallajökull is Iceland’s most famous glacier, concealing a volcano under the surface.

After making headlines around the world, the volcano has since returned to a relative state of calm with tourists from all the world paying this landmark a visit.

Pronounced as ‘Ay-yah-FYAH’-plah-yer-kuh-duhl’,  tours are available that can take you to the glacier that can often be found hidden slightly under a dusting of snow, adding to its natural beauty.

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5. Ice Cave & Glacier Ice Tours

iceland things to do

Mostly accessible in Winter (some ice caves can be accessed year-round), Iceland has a range of glacier ice and ice caves that can be explored.

Local tours are available that offer expert guidance.

The caves, many found deep within glaciers, are locally known as ‘Crystal caves’, a nod to their startling beauty and the effect created when light shines through the ice.

As glaciers melt, the resulting water creates rivers that flow through the ice.

As the temperatures drop in winter, glaciers stop melting and the winding river tunnels are left to be explored.

Many caves can be found in Vatnajokull National Park.

The ice caves are a fantastic experience. If you are planning on taking an ice tour, be sure to allocate sufficient travel time. Reykjavik is over 4 hours away by car.

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6. Sólfar Sun Voyager

Iceland Cruise - Solfar

Also known as the Sun Voyager, this a fantastic sculpture found in Reykjavik.

This beautiful sculpture also goes by the name ‘Ode to the Sun’.

One of the most photographed spots in Iceland, the Sun Voyager, designed by Jón Gunnar Arnason, bears resemblance to a historic Viking ship.

We recommend stopping by the sculpture at either sunrise or sunset where the Icelandic sky provides a dramatic backdrop to this beautiful sculpture with it almost appearing to set off in the direction of the sun at the start of a long voyage.

This stunning, romantic location, is a must during your visit to Iceland.

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7. Svartifoss Waterfall

iceland things to do

A waterfall found in the region of Skaftafell, Svartifoss Waterfall is one of Vatnajokull National Park’s key attractions.

Head to the Park to experience is striking waterfall.

Bit of Trivia – Svartifoss Waterfall translates to ‘Black Waterfall’

Falling several metres, water is sent off the edge falling past huge, black, basalt volcanic rock columns.

Appearing almost man-made the columns may some holidaymakers of the mythical Giant’s Causeway in Ireland.

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8. Kirkjufell Mountain

iceland things to do

Kirkjufell Mountain is one of Iceland’s most recognisable locations.

If you have tuned into some of Hollywood’s major film and television events in recent years, chances are you may have spotted this famous mountain as characters set off on an adventure.

The mountain has been heavily featured in both the culture phenomenon HBO series Game of Thrones and can also be spotted in the science fiction epic Prometheus.

Towering over the surrounding area, the mountain is over 400 metres tall.

Close by, Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall only adds to the beauty of the spot.

Standing close to the waterfall, you will be able to capture a great photo of this iconic Icelandic tourist attraction.

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9. Hallgrimskirkja Church

iceland things to do

Designed by Guðjón Samúelsson in the late 1930’s, this stunning national landmark pays homage to the island’s unique landscape.

Housing a wonderful organ, the church has different opening hours in both the summer and for winter.

Standing proud front and centre, a statue of famous Icelander Leif Erikson, the first European explorer to discover America during his voyages, looks outward.

A famed Norse explorer, Erikson is believed to have discovered America long before Christopher Columbus and is celebrated here in fitting style with a wonderfully sculpted statue.

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10. Gullfoss

iceland things to do

Also known as ‘Golden Falls, Gullfoss Waterfall is Iceland’s most famous waterfall.

This popular is a key stop if you decide to follow the Golden Circle Tour, a great trail that takes you to some of the country’s most popular attractions including Strokkur Geyser, Blue Lagoon, and Thingvellir National Park.

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11. Reykjavik

iceland things to do

On the southern tip of the island lies capital Reykjavik, a great holiday destination that can act as the perfect base for exploring the rest of the country.

Here, you will be able to plan your day and arrange any tours not included in your chosen holiday.

As you can imagine, there are a range of Tour Operators offering all manner of great packages.

iceland things to do

Take to the high seas on a whale watching tour. This is a fantastic opportunity to get up close (safety first folks!), to some of the largest mammals Earth has ever seen.

Architectural masterpiece Harpa Music Hall & Conference Center is a great stop on any tour of the city. Be sure to try and take in a show or two during your time on island.

Learn more about this wonderful city and country with a stop at the National Museum of Iceland.

A cultural hotspot, this museum will fill your mind with over 1000 years of history (condensed of course).

Icelandic cuisine can offer up a few surprises. With a lot of dishes incorporating seafood, many restaurants offer a ‘Fish of the Day’ option.

Trying one of these dishes may take your taste buds to some unexpected places as the local chefs take in influences from across the globe when preparing the freshest of fish.

The Icelandic capital can also boast of a great nightlife. A wide selection of restaurants, bars, and live music venues cater to all tastes.

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12. Godafoss

iceland things to do

Another of Iceland’s famous waterfalls, Godafoss is one of the great waterfalls of the world.

Found in the North of the country, the waterfall sends water cascading down over 12 metres at points, with water pouring down from multiple positions creating an almost foamy whirlpool at the foot of the fall.

The short walk up to this stunning waterfall is well worth the effort, particularly if you happen to catch sight of a rainbow forming just over the river, a result of the vapour rising up from the crashing waters.

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13. Thingvellir National Park

iceland things to do

Thingvellir National Park is one of the world’s most beautiful protected parks.

The Park sits on the point where the North American and European continental tectonic plates meet.

A truly special sight, you can actually walk between the two plates that have risen out of the ground.

There are few other locations on the planet where Earth’s eve shifting tectonic plates are more visible.

Also found within the Park, Thingvallavatn Lake is just over 30 minutes away from the Icelandic capital Reykjavik.

The country’s largest lake, Thingvallavatn at points plunges down to depths of over 100 metres.

Residents beneath the surface of the lake include Trout.

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14. Fjadrargljufur Canyon

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One of southern Iceland’s most well-known attractions, the natural Fjadrargljufur Canyon sees the Fjadra river twist its way through a narrow passage where the rocks are consumed by greenery during the warmer months.

This blend of colour, with the rock, greenery, and splashes of blue from the river makes this one of Iceland’s most photogenic natural wonders.

That is some compliment given the country’s wealth of famous natural sights!

At points, the canyon stretches down over 100 metres before reaching the river bed and is over a mile in length.

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15. Strokkur Geyser

iceland things to do

Strokkur Geyser forms part of the iconic Golden Circle trail.

This dazzling spectacle is a true natural phenomenon that sees water being sent skywards several metres on a regular basis.

Every few minutes the Geyser erupts in a great display of the power of nature.

Extremely popular with visitors, the geyser and surrounding pools give the landscape an other-worldly feel.

Strokkur Geyser was once overshadowed by the neighbouring Great Geysir that suddenly stopped erupting.

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16. Lake Myvatn

iceland things to do

The volcanic Lake Myvatn in the north of the country is one of Iceland’s key natural wonders.

With water varying in fantastic shades of blue and intriguing geological features, including a number of volcanic rock formations, the lake is a magnificent sight.

Shallow waters allow you to peer into the water looking right down to the river bed shaped by volcanic activity.

A trip to the lake is a must if visiting the country and for that a key Icelandic experience that makes our list.

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17. Seljalandsfoss

iceland things to do

A short walk from the nearest parking area can take you behind the falls of the famous Seljalandsfoss.

Observing from this great vantage point, the water appears to fall from nowhere, dropping from a height of almost 60 metres.

Instantly recognisable around the world, the waterfall is located on Iceland’s South Coast.

Prepare yourself for getting a little wet if you opt to navigate your way through to the viewing point behind the fall!

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18. Jökulsárlón

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Iceland’s famous Jökulsárlón lagoon rests close to the border of Vatnajokull National Park in the south of the country.

The icy Icelandic highlight is one of the most tranquil sights in the entire country.

The lagoon, fed by melting ice, often has huge chunks of ice floating, partially submerged beneath the waterline.

As well as stunning views looking out across the lagoon, there is a striking black beach found close by worth visiting if you have time.

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19. Skogafoss

iceland things to do

Another one of the country’s famous waterfalls, Skogafoss is as dramatic as they come.

Carving its way towards the ledge, water falls spectacularly over 50 metres, returning to the flowing Skoga River.

Depending on the season, the waterfall stands alone surrounded by lush greenery, or during the colder months, the surrounding landscape matures in tandem with the seasons.

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20. Askja

iceland things to do

Found in Iceland’s own Highland region, the former volcanic region of Askja is home to magical looking Viti Geothermal Lake (pictured).

A shade of Turquoise, the water contrasts beautifully with the surrounding rugged landscape and is one of Iceland’s most recognisable locations.

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21. Reynisdrangar

iceland things to do

On the south of the island, the iconic rock formations known as Rynisdrangar are mightily impressive.

Just off the coast of the black sand covered Reynisfjara beach, these spikey rock formations rise out of the Atlantic Ocean and can be seen for miles.

Technically Sea Stacks, these jagged rocks have been slowly shaped by water erosion that has helped give them their intimidating appearance.

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