16 Things To Do In Iceland

Things To Do In Iceland

Iceland, a mystical land of fire and ice, beckons travelers with its stunning contrasts and natural wonders. From the vibrant auroras lighting up the night sky to the steaming geothermal lagoons set against icy landscapes, this country offers an array of activities that are as diverse as its terrain. Whether you’re an adventurer looking to explore rugged volcanoes and glacial rivers, a culture enthusiast eager to dive into the local music and arts scene, or simply someone in search of tranquility in nature’s embrace, Iceland provides a backdrop for unforgettable experiences. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top things to do in Iceland, ensuring that every traveler finds something that resonates with their spirit of adventure.

Things To Do In Iceland

  1. Explore the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route in Southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands and back. This route offers three primary stops: Þingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and the geothermal area in Haukadalur, which contains the famous geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological significance, as it is the location of Iceland’s first Parliament and lies in a rift valley marking the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls,” is one of Iceland’s most iconic and beautiful waterfalls. Lastly, the geothermal area of Haukadalur displays the raw power of the Earth with its active geysers, with Strokkur erupting every few minutes. This tour provides a perfect snapshot of Iceland’s natural wonders.

  1. Witness the Northern Lights

One of the most magical experiences in Iceland is watching the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. This natural light display features vibrant colors swirling across the Arctic sky. The best time to view the Northern Lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April, when the nights are darkest. Although they can be seen throughout the country, locations away from city lights offer the best views. Areas around Lake Þingvallavatn and the Westfjords provide minimal light pollution and a majestic backdrop. Dress warmly and be patient, as the aurora can be elusive and visibility is subject to weather conditions and solar activity.

  1. Relax in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most famous attractions, a geothermal spa located in a lava field near Grindavík on the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland. The milky blue waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and hovering around 37-39°C (98-102°F), making it an ideal bathing spot year-round. The spa offers various services, including massages and skin treatments enhanced by the natural resources of the area. Beyond its soothing waters, the Blue Lagoon is known for its breathtaking scenery and advanced facilities, making it a must-visit for relaxation and health benefits.

  1. Hike a Glacier

Iceland’s glaciers offer some of the most stunning landscapes and are ideal for hiking adventures. Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, offers guided tours that range from easy walks to challenging ice climbs. These tours provide not only a close-up view of the glacier’s immense beauty but also a chance to learn about its ecology, geology, and the impacts of climate change. Safety equipment, such as ice axes and crampons, are provided, and no previous experience is necessary. This activity allows you to explore rugged terrains and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding areas, making it a thrilling and educational experience.

  1. Visit the Black Sand Beaches of Vik

Vik, a small coastal village in southern Iceland, is famed for its stunning black sand beaches, which offer a stark contrast to the usual white or golden sands found in other parts of the world. Reynisfjara, near Vik, is particularly famous for its beautiful and haunting landscapes featuring black pebbles, dramatic basalt columns, and powerful waves. Visitors should heed warnings about the potentially dangerous surf and enjoy the view from a safe distance. The area is also great for bird watching, especially puffins during their nesting season.

  1. Tour the Capital, Reykjavik

Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, combines colorful buildings, creative culture, and a bustling nightlife scene within a compact cityscape. Key attractions include the Hallgrímskirkja church, whose towering structure can be seen from almost anywhere in the city, and Harpa Concert Hall, a stunning example of modern architecture with a facade that reflects the light in mesmerizing patterns. The city also offers numerous museums, such as the National Museum of Iceland and the Saga Museum, which delve into the rich history and culture of the nation.

  1. Snorkel Between Continents at Silfra

Silfra, located in Þingvellir National Park, offers a unique snorkeling experience where you can glide between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates in crystal-clear waters. The fissure is filled with glacial water that has been filtered through underground lava rocks for decades, making it some of the clearest water on earth. Snorkeling in Silfra is a surreal experience, offering visibility over 100 meters and the chance to literally touch two continents at once. The water is very cold, but dry suits are provided to keep you warm and buoyant.

  1. Sail Among Icebergs at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, in southeast Iceland, is a breathtaking spectacle where large blue, white, and crystal icebergs break off from the glacier and float around before drifting out to sea. Boat tours allow you to navigate among these massive ice formations, providing up-close views and excellent photo opportunities. The lagoon is also a popular spot for spotting seals and various seabirds. After the boat tour, a walk along the nearby Diamond Beach, where icebergs wash ashore and glitter like diamonds on the black sand, is highly recommended.

  1. Discover Icelandic Cuisine in Husavik

Husavik, often regarded as a gateway to the Arctic and known for its whale watching opportunities, also offers a deep dive into Icelandic cuisine. Restaurants here specialize in fresh seafood and traditional dishes like hákarl (fermented shark), which is an adventurous delicacy not for the faint of heart. Sampling locally sourced meals gives you a taste of Iceland’s culinary heritage, enhanced by the town’s charming setting and friendly locals.

  1. Go Horseback Riding on Icelandic Horses

Icelandic horses, a breed known for their small stature, strength, and unique gaits, offer a fun way to explore the Icelandic countryside. Numerous farms and stables around the country provide horseback riding tours through lava fields, along mountain tracks, and across rivers. These tours cater to all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced riders, and provide a unique perspective on Iceland’s diverse landscapes. The connection with these gentle creatures adds a personal touch to your Icelandic adventure.

  1. Explore the Lava Caves

Iceland’s volcanic activity has created numerous lava caves that you can explore for a look at the island’s fiery underbelly. One of the most accessible is Raufarhólshellir, located just a short drive from Reykjavík. Inside, you’ll find a stunning display of natural color and rock formations, including stalactites and stalagmites, formed by centuries of mineral deposits. Guided tours are available, providing insights into the geology and history of these fascinating structures.

  1. Visit Akureyri and the Northern Fjords

Akureyri, known as the capital of North Iceland, is a charming gateway to the attractions of the northern part of the country, including the dramatic landscapes of the fjords. This small city offers a vibrant cultural scene with museums, galleries, and the Akureyri Church. From here, you can embark on tours to nearby natural wonders like Goðafoss, known as the waterfall of the gods, and Lake Mývatn, which offers rich birdlife, strange lava formations, and relaxing geothermal baths.

  1. Walk Through the Streets of Húsavík

Húsavík, situated on the north coast of Iceland, has gained fame as a prime location for whale watching. Besides its marine attractions, Húsavík offers quaint streets lined with colorful houses and a beautifully situated wooden church, Húsavíkurkirkja, that is one of Iceland’s iconic structures. The town also hosts the Whale Museum, which provides extensive information on the diverse marine life of Icelandic waters.

  1. Birdwatching on the Westman Islands

The Westman Islands, located off the south coast of Iceland, are one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching. The islands are particularly famous for being one of the largest puffin breeding grounds in the world. During the breeding season, millions of puffins, along with other seabirds, can be seen here. The natural scenery is spectacular, featuring volcanic cliffs and lush greenery. Visitors can explore walking trails, enjoy local seafood, and learn about the islands’ volcanic history.

  1. Experience the Midnight Sun

During the summer months, particularly around the summer solstice in June, Iceland experiences the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the sun remains visible at midnight and the sky never fully darkens. This phenomenon provides unique opportunities for activities at unconventional hours, such as golfing, swimming, or even taking a late-night hike or photography session. Popular spots to experience this are along the northern coast or in remote western regions like the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

  1. Attend a Festival in Iceland

Iceland hosts numerous festivals throughout the year that showcase its vibrant culture and arts. The Reykjavík Arts Festival, held in the spring, offers a range of performances and exhibitions in various art forms. Summer brings the Secret Solstice Festival, celebrating the midnight sun with music from both Icelandic and international artists. Another must-see is the Iceland Airwaves music festival in November, where Reykjavík’s venues teem with the best of new music from Iceland and around the world.


Exploring Iceland is about more than just checking items off a travel list; it’s about immersing yourself in the natural beauty and vibrant culture of one of the world’s most unique destinations. Each of the activities highlighted in this post—from walking through lava caves to witnessing the majesty of the midnight sun—offers a unique way to connect with the environment and learn more about this fascinating island nation. Whether you find joy in the solitude of a puffin-filled cliff or the warmth of a lively festival crowd, the variety of things to do in Iceland ensures that every journey here is as enriching as it is exhilarating. So pack your spirit of adventure, and prepare for an Icelandic adventure that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

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