Iceland, the “land of fire and ice”. This northern European country is well known for being a country that boasts it all: dramatic landscapes, glorious beaches, friendly people, and interesting food.
There is something for everyone in Iceland, and it’s the perfect location for families, singles, newlyweds, and those looking for adventure. So if you’re packing your bags and buying your plane ticket, here are some must do’s when visiting this Nordic island nation.
Explore the Ring Road
Iceland only has one major road, Ring Road, that traverses the entire country. Driving along Ring Road is a great activity for first time visitors to Iceland, as you can see the entire island this way.
All you need to do is rent a car, pack some snacks, and you can see all of Iceland in just a few days. On the way, there are plenty of lodgings and restaurants to stop for food with incredibly friendly locals.
Head into an ice cave
Iceland ice cave tours boast some breathtaking views and sights. There are few places in the world where you can safely hike into a ice cave with a local guide. These are available only via a guided tour, and you can prepare to get to the ice cave via a jeep. Be prepared to hold your glacier hiking equipment on your shoulders.
Walk around Reykjavik
There’s tons of stuff to do in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, considering that the majority of the Icelandic population lives within the city limits. This city is always reinventing itself, and within a single day, you can pass gorgeous churches, visit fascinating museums, and see boats float around the magnificent harbor.
During your time in Reykjavik, make sure to visit the imposing Hallgrimskirkja, which is Iceland’s national sanctuary. Then you can head to the National Museum of Iceland and the Settlement Exhibition, which explains more about the long history of the Nordic people.
You can walk around and take in the large street art, try an Icelandic hotdog, and visit some shops. There, you can buy an authentic Icelandic wool sweater so you can look like a local.
Bask in the golden circle
As one of the most popular guided tours in Iceland, the Golden Circle is a route in Southern Iceland that shows a miniature version of all of Iceland in one day. The tour will stop at a geyser, you’ll visit the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, and then end off the day at Thingvellir National Park.
Not only is this park the site of the first parliament gathering in Europe, it is the place where the North American and European tectonic plates are pulling apart from each other. So when you visit, know you’ll be standing in what is considered a “geographical no man’s land”, as you technically won’t be standing on any tectonic plate.
Check out the seals at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
Located at the southeastern corner of Iceland, this glacier lagoon is a must-see for anyone who visits Iceland. There is a massive glacier that melts into the ocean below, creating a stunning landscape of ice chunks floating around seals and other aquatic wildlife.
The best time to see the glacier lagoon is when the sun sets, as the light bouncing off the ice creates an unforgettable vista. You can get to the glacier lagoon via a South Coast tour, filled with black sand beaches and Icelandic ponies.
Iceland has the perfect attraction for any visitor. With waterfalls, volcanoes, black sand beaches, glaciers, and those adorable Icelandic horses, an Iceland trip should be on everybody’s bucket list.