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10 Best Things To Do in Iceland | Fire, Ice, And Wild Side

Iceland

Things to Do in Iceland

Alright, adventurous Viking-in-the-making, pack your thermals and ditch those clichéd destinations. Because we’re guiding you to Iceland, a place so cool (literally), it makes even the most hardcore travel snobs’ knees wobble!

We’ve been gallivanting around this volcanic gem for over five years, and trust us, there’s more to do here than just mispronouncing Eyjafjallajökull.

1. The Blue Lagoon – The Original Snapchat Filter

Blue LagoonBefore there were dog ears and voice changers, there was the silica-rich Blue Lagoon. Dip in, smear that white mud on your face, and voila! Instant makeover. As the local experts say, “If it doesn’t challenge your pronunciation, it’s not Icelandic enough.”

 Among all the mind-blowing wonders waiting for you, the Blue Lagoon stands tall as a must-visit spot. Nestled amidst rugged volcanic landscapes on the Reykjanes Peninsula, this ain’t your average spa – it’s a geothermal oasis like no other.

Indulge in Serene Relaxation: Because Stress Ain’t Invited Here…

Picture this: slipping into the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, rich in minerals like silica and sulfur that work wonders for your skin. Let the geothermal pools wrap you in warmth as the everyday chaos fades into oblivion.

Savor Spectacular Views: Where Mother Nature Shows Off

As you soak up the soothing waters, feast your eyes on the mind-blowing vistas all around you. The backdrop of Iceland’s volcanic wonderland creates an out-of-this-world atmosphere that’ll leave you speechless.

Experience Ultimate Luxury: Because You Deserve Nothing Less

Treat yourself like the goddess you are with the lavish amenities at the Blue Lagoon. Say yes to heavenly spa treatments – from blissful massages to skin-reviving facials and even silica mud masks. And hey, why not indulge in the exclusive Blue Lagoon skincare products?

Explore Surrounding Attractions: Because Iceland Has More Tricks Up Its Sleeve

Don’t limit yourself to just the Blue Lagoon – explore the epic Reykjanes Peninsula and its wonders. Lose yourself in rugged lava fields, marvel at geothermal phenomena, and soak in the coastal beauty that Iceland is famous for. Oh, and don’t you dare miss out on gems like the Bridge Between Continents and the enchanting Gunnuhver geothermal area. 

2. Reykjavik Nightlife – Where the Sun Doesn’t Set on the Party

Think the ‘City of Ice’ sleeps at night? Ha! With 24-hour daylight in summer, the party always continues. So, dance till you drop, and then maybe some more.

Explore the Cosmopolitan Bars and Pubs: Where the Good Times Roll

Get ready to experience a range of options, from cozy hideaways with dim lighting to hip cocktail lounges that are all the rage. And hey, the best part is – there’s something for every taste! Sip on local craft beers, indulge in innovative cocktails, and who knows, you might just end up making new friends with locals and fellow travelers as you soak up the lively atmosphere.

Immerse Yourself in Live Music: Where the Beats Take Over

Reykjavik is your dream destination, with a live music scene that’s hotter than a volcano. No matter your musical taste – whether you’re into indie rock, jazz, or electronic beats – this city has it all. Hit up one of the many live music venues where talented local bands and international artists grace the stage nightly. It’s your chance to lose yourself in the rhythm and melodies as you dance the night away.

Indulge in Gastronomic Delights: Where Foodie Dreams Come True

Prepare your taste buds for a gourmet adventure in Reykjavik’s bustling restaurant scene. Consider your cravings covered, because this city offers a smorgasbord of dining options to satisfy every palate. From innovative Icelandic cuisine that’ll have you saying, “Wait, what’s in this dish?” to international flavors that transport you to far-off lands, it’s a culinary paradise.

Experience the Unique Icelandic Bar Culture: Get Cozy, Get Caffeinated

Then you better make your way to one of Reykjavik’s legendary “kaffibars” or coffee houses. These cozy hangouts are where the locals gather to sip on coffee, savor mouthwatering pastries, and engage in lively conversation. It’s the epitome of Icelandic hospitality, and you’ll be mingling with friendly locals in no time. 

3. Golden Circle – Not a Lord of the Rings Spin-off

Golden Circle
By Jniemenmaa (talk)

This popular route isn’t about finding Frodo. You can walk between geysers, waterfalls, and tectonic plates (avoid the lava).

Witness the Mighty Gullfoss Waterfall: Where Nature Goes Beast Mode

Alright, fearless adventurers, it’s time to kick off your Golden Circle escapade with a visit to Gullfoss, aka one of Iceland’s most badass waterfalls. Prepare to be utterly gobsmacked by the epic power of the Hvítá River as it plunges like a dramatic diva into a majestic canyon, sending misty spray soaring into the sky. Feel the thunderous roar of the cascading waters and take oodles of photos from every possible viewing platform.

Experience the Geothermal Wonders of Geysir: Where Mother Earth Gets Spicy

Get ready to witness the explosive power of the Strokkur geyser as it puts on a show, shooting boiling water high into the air like a volcanic superstar. Take a leisurely stroll through this otherworldly landscape, admiring the steam vents and gawking at the colorful mineral deposits.

Discover the Historical Site of Thingvellir National Park: Where Vikings Had Clout

Walk in the footsteps of Vikings as you explore the ancient assembly site of the Althing, one of the OG parliaments of the world. Marvel at the rift valley of Almannagjá, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are doing their dramatic dance, creating a landscape of cliffs and fissures.

Get Up Close with Icelandic Horses: Where Horseplay Rules

Swing by one of the many farms or stables in the area to meet these friendly and ridiculously photogenic creatures up close. Learn about the unique characteristics of Icelandic horses and, hey, why not take a guided horseback riding tour through the scenic countryside? 

4. Horse Riding – The Fluffier the Better

Icelandic horses aren’t just any horses. They’re small, fluffy, and have a gait smoother than your pick-up lines. Saddle up!

Horse Riding Credit: Red Charlie

Connect with Icelandic Horses: Where Horses Rule and Humans Drool

As you saddle up and prepare for your epic riding adventure, get ready to form an instant bond with these friendly and intelligent beings. Whether you’re a seasoned equestrian or a total newbie, these Icelandic horses are the ultimate partners in crime for exploring the Golden Circle. Who needs a human travel buddy when you have a horse as your trusty sidekick?

Ride Through Stunning Landscapes: A Visual Feast That Will Make Your Eyeballs Swoon

Prepare to have your mind blown by the jaw-dropping beauty of Iceland’s countryside. From lush meadows to rugged lava fields to expansive vistas that make you want to burst into spontaneous poetry, every moment of your ride offers a new and awe-inspiring landscape to behold. Feel the wind swirling through your hair and embrace the rhythm of your horse’s hooves as you embark on a journey through this land of natural wonders.

Discover Hidden Gems: Where the Mainstream Crowd Goes “Well, Shoot!”

Say goodbye to the mainstream crowd and venture off into the Icelandic wilderness where hidden gems await. Picture yourself stumbling upon a secret waterfall, stumbling upon a tranquil river valley, or stumbling upon a panoramic viewpoint that will make you go, “Well, shoot, this is what the Golden Circle is all about!” Your horseback adventure will unveil the secrets of the region in ways that’ll make other travelers green with envy.

Experience Authentic Icelandic Culture: Hoofin’ It Through History

We’re talking about a tradition that dates back over a thousand years to the time of the mighty Vikings. As you gallop through the countryside, you’ll gain fascinating insights into the cultural significance of horses in Icelandic society. Listen intently to the stories and folklore shared by your local guides who are passionate about preserving Iceland’s equestrian heritage.

Enjoy Personalized Guided Tours: Because One Size Fits All is Sooo Last Century

You didn’t come all this way to be treated like just another tourist, did you? Of course, not! So, opt for a personalized guided horse riding tour led by experienced local riders who eat, sleep, and breathe the Golden Circle. These folks know this land like the back of their hand and will tailor the experience to suit your preferences and skill level. 

5. Chase Northern Lights – Not for the Faint-Hearted

Northern lights

Remember playing hard-to-get in high school? The Northern Lights are nature’s version. But when they decide to show, it’s magic. It is a mix of neon nightclub vibes and celestial elegance.

Extended Icy Adventures: Unraveling More Icelandic Wonders

Hold onto your thermals, folks, because we’re not done yet! You thought we spilt all the Icelandic beans? Ha! Think again.

Join a Guided Tour: Because Who Needs Google Maps When You’ve Got Local Guides?

Enhance your Northern Lights experience by jumping on a guided tour with those local pros who know all the secret viewing spots and ideal conditions. Whether you like your tours small and cozy or rugged and wild in a super jeep or even on a boat, these guides will school you on the aurora’s science and folklore while ensuring you nail those Instagram-worthy shots like a pro.

Stay Flexible and Patient: Because Patience is a Virtue, Especially When Aurora is a Tease

Strap in for hours of outdoor fun and embrace the unpredictability of nature – hey, the aurora works on its own schedule, not yours. Stay limber with your schedule because those lights can pop up at any hour, with the peak show usually around midnight.

Capture the Moment: Say Cheese to the Galactic Light Show

Grab a tripod and a fancy wide-angle lens with a low aperture setting for those jaw-dropping shots. Get experimental with exposure times and ISO settings to snap up those vibrant colors and intricate patterns of the aurora – I mean, who needs a kaleidoscope when you’ve got the real deal dancing above you?

Immerse Yourself in the Experience: Get Lost in the Cosmic Symphony

As you stand there, gazing up at the cosmic ballet of lights swirling in the sky, let yourself be swept away by the enchantment of the Northern Lights. Embrace that childlike wonder and let the awe wash over you as you witness nature’s grand spectacle. Listen to the silence of the night, broken only by the whisper of the wind, and transport yourself to a realm where magic and reality blur into one. 

6. Black Sand Beaches – No, not a Goth Festival Venue: 

Reynisfjara, near Vik, boasts sand darker than your ex’s soul and rock formations that look like trolls have handcrafted them. And hey, who knows? In Icelandic folklore, maybe they were!

7. Whale Watching – Because Land Mammals are So Last Season

Step aboard, prepare those binoculars and witness the ocean’s majestic giants. If you’re lucky, you might also spot some playful dolphins, puffins, and, if you’re super lucky, a mermaid. Okay, we made that last one up, but who’s judging?

8. Ice Caves – Elsa’s Real-life Castle

The crystal-blue ice caves are nature’s art installations. But remember, always visit with a guided tour. We wouldn’t want you to become a permanent ice sculpture, now, would we?

9. Icelandic Festivals – Where the Real Party’s At

From Viking reenactments to music festivals under the midnight sun, there’s always a party happening somewhere. Why not?

10. Road-Trip on Ring Road – It’s Exactly What It Sounds Like

Circle the entire country on this iconic route. Dramatic landscapes, hidden waterfalls, and maybe an elf or two await.

Expert Tips Because You Deserve the Best:

1. Bathe in Random Hot Springs: The Blue Lagoon is posh, but there are countless hidden hot springs across the country. Strip down and jump in! Nature’s Jacuzzi, anyone?

2. Treat Yourself with Skyr: This creamy Icelandic yoghurt is to die for. Top it with berries, and you’ve got yourself a Viking-worthy breakfast.

3. Avoid the Tourist Traps: The popular spots are popular for a reason. But venture off the beaten path, and you might discover a hidden gem known only to locals and elves.

Wrapping it Up (or Should We Say, Melting)?

Iceland’s not just a country; it’s an emotion. A chilly, wondrous, and occasionally bizarre feeling. If you want glaciers and beaches on the same day or fancy nightlife where the biggest star is the sun, this is your jam.

So, brave wanderer, gear up for an experience that’s more electrifying than accidentally stepping on a Lego. Iceland awaits, and remember: if you can’t pronounce it, you’re probably in the right place! Safe travels, and may your journey be as spicy as the local Brennivín! Adventure, in its most authentic and untamed form, awaits and Travel Till You Drop!

Handy Hints for the Over-Eager Explorer:

1. Currency Woes: No, the Króna isn’t a mythical beast. It’s their currency.

2. Dress in Layers: Iceland’s weather is more unpredictable than a soap opera plot twist.

3. Stay Safe: Those geysers are hot, cliffs are steep, and elves… well, don’t disturb them.

Quotes to Spice Things Up:

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert. But in Iceland, you’ll feel like the world revolves around you!

“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” – Elizabeth Gilbert. Especially if it’s to see a geyser erupt or float in the Blue Lagoon.

Final Musings for the Road:

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.” – Amelia Earhart. And when the adventure is in a land of fire and ice, it’s double, no, triple worthwhile.

Iceland is a dream, a chilly fairytale that defies reality. Whether you’re bathing in ethereal lagoons, dancing under the neon lights of the aurora, or attempting to chat up a puffin, it promises experiences that you’ll recount at every dinner party for the rest of your life.

And when you finally set foot on this enchanting island, remember our golden advice: go with the flow… even if the flow is a stream of molten lava. Embrace the magic, the mystery, and the sheer wonder of Iceland.

Pack your bags, your sense of humor, and possibly a pronunciation guide. 

FAQs – Because We Know You’ve Got ‘Em:

Q: Is it always cold?

A: Nah. Just when it’s not warm.

Q: What’s the local food scene like?

A: Fermented shark, sheep’s head, and hot dogs. Quite the gastronomic adventure. Remember, “Eat at your own risk” isn’t just a quirky cafe sign here.

Q: Do they speak English?

A: Yes, and probably better than some of us.

Q: Is Iceland as expensive as I’ve heard?

A: Look, it’s not a bargain basement. But can you put a price on witnessing the dance of the auroras or soaking in a geothermal pool in the middle of nowhere? Okay, yes, you can, but it’s worth every penny.

Q: Can I see puffins?

A: Absolutely! These cute little tuxedo-wearing birds are the unofficial mascots of Iceland. Just resist the urge to take one home.

Q: Are there actual volcanoes?

A: Oh, honey. Iceland is like the Hollywood of volcanoes. They’ve got stars like Eyjafjallajökull (try saying that three times fast) and Hekla. And yes, some are still very much active. A little thrill never hurt.

Book Your Trip : Check Out My Resources for Your Travel Needs

 

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.  This is my very first stop when I’m looking for my next trip. It’s a fast, easy-to-use search engine that is perfect for finding an affordable flight, a perfect hotel, and the right rental car for you in locations around the globe.

Book Your Accommodation

If you are looking for a super budget friendly location and are open to a hostel stay, make sure you book your hostel with Hostelworld. It offers the broadest range of quality hostels around the world. 

If you’d prefer a hotel or a guesthouse for stays less than 28 days, drop on over to Booking.com It’s perfect for providing excellent options, a ton of user reviews, and prices to fit every budget.

For stays over 28 days, AirBnB still remains my #1 choice. User reviews and monthly pricing allow for some incredible deals all around the world.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is but a small up-front investment that you won’t want to leave home without. After just one experience of having to delay or cancel your trip or having your luggage stolen, you’ll wish you would have made that investment.  I’ve hated my life a few times when the moment arose, and I decided to skip out.  Let’s just say, I’ve changed my ways and recommend each of the following companies to protect your ass-ets.

My favorite companies are:         

Want to Travel for Free?

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to getting free flights to get started.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Check out my Resource Page for the best companies to help you book your travel at reduced rates!  This list will help you get to where you’re going.  I know-I use them ALL the time!  

Jill Charpia
Author Bio
Jill Charpia

Jill Charpia, founder of Travel Till You Drop and creator of inspiration. A full-time Wanderluster, lover of oddities, the weird, and the dark. Traveled to over 70+ countries and counting; Now dedicated to sharing her travels around the world in hopes of inspiring hearts and open minds. want to know more? Click here to learn more About me.

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About Jill

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Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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