The Essential MUST DO guide to Iceland
Here’s our travel guide to one of the most awe-inspiring countries on the planet - Iceland.
In my opinion, this place is purely magical. If you've already booked your ticket - amazing! If not - do it now! I think the phrase “you won't regret it" gets thrown around a lot, but I can say with all sincerity, you most definitely won't regret travelling to this icy paradise.
"I think you can almost touch heaven from Iceland” - Sonny Moore a.k.a. Skrillex
In this travel guide, I'm going to give you a rundown of the best things to do whilst you're visiting the so-called “Land of Fire and Ice”.
If you’ve ever heard about the Blue Lagoon, then trust me, the hype is all too real. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of listening to someone to shout about how amazing it is, don't worry because I'm about to do that for you.
The Blue Lagoon is roughly a 45-minute journey from Reykjavík, Iceland’s capital city. This hot spring is powered naturally by Iceland's underground molten rock. The site has been renovated into a top tourist attraction, with naturally powered saunas, massage areas, a café, changing facilities, accommodation, and a luxury restaurant.
I thought we'd spend a couple of hours here before heading home, but we ended up staying from first thing in the morning until the last thing at night. So make sure you plan to make a full day of it!
Some recommendations: opt for the premium package which guarantees a table at the Lava restaurant - this way you know you're not going to be worrying about your dinner, especially if you're going to be there for the whole day. Also, with the premium package you have a bunch of added essentials, including slippers and a robe - if you are going during the winter months, you will most definitely need those when getting in and out of the springs!
Packages start from 6990 ISK ($55), however, the premium package I’m recommending is 9900 ISK ($80).
Glacier hiking is the perfect way to absorb the true essence of Iceland.
The tours usually take up a whole day, and they’re amazing! You will be guided to the highest possible vantage point near the peaks of the glacier which will allow you to appreciate all of the breathtaking Icelandic scenery in its full glory.
You can book glacier tours on extremeiceland.is, or you can make arrangements with a local tour guide shop.
The packages will usually include the travel, so expect to be picked up from your accommodation, or from a select place in the Reykjavík city centre first thing in the morning.
Make sure to wrap up warm, and wear properly insulated, waterproof boots. I recommend bringing food with you, as you'll only be stopping off once before you enter the wilderness for the whole day.
I mean, take your pick, waterfalls are everywhere in Iceland. Trust me though, the pictures don't do them justice at all, you have to see them to grasp a true idea of how colossal they actually are.
My favourite by far is the Skógafoss falls. If Heaven were a place on Earth, then I'm pretty sure this would be it. Standing at nearly 200 feet high, and 80 feet wide, it's one of the biggest waterfalls in the country.
Be prepared to get slightly wet as you approach the falls, as there is a huge cloud of mist surrounding the area as a result of the water crashing down.
You can book your waterfalls tour separately, however, you can sometimes visit the falls on the way to your glacier hike as part of a package. I'd highly recommend doing this as you will be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Surreal. This will be literally one of the best experiences of your life.
I'm sure you have seen images and films on the TV, but to see this galactic spectacle in real life is truly mind-blowing. The fact that a solar flare leaving the surface of the Sun is colliding with our Earth's magnetic field to create this miraculous show of lights, really puts into perspective how small we really are.
A truly humbling experience
Prepare yourself for this one, as you'll likely be cold whilst watching the lights in their full glory. So (again) wrap up warm in brace yourself to be blown away.
When booking your Northern Lights tour, I recommend that you use a Northern Lights forecasting app so you can be sure that you are picking the best time to view this natural phenomenon.
Is it a big town? Or a small city? Let us know your opinion when you land back.
Either way, it's one of the most beautiful places to wander, with a whole host of awesome tourist attractions.
I highly recommend you visit the Harpa, situated right on the coast, in the north of Reykjavík. The Harpa is a concert hall which hosts a multitude of shows and conferences. The architecture of this building is truly magnificent, and you'll be able to gain an amazing view of the city if you climb to the top.
Another awesome place to explore is the Hallgrímskirkja church. Again, another piece of beautiful architecture, this church was completed in 1986, so it’s fairly new in relative terms. If you ever get lost was wondering Reykjavík, you’ll be able to count on the church as a trusted checkpoint, as it stands right at one of the highest points in the city.
The Hlemmur food hall is a brilliant place for those of you looking for a taster of traditional Icelandic cuisine. It also provides options such as pizza, tacos, and even Vietnamese street food, so you'll definitely be spoilt for choice!
Another great option to food, especially to those of you visiting during the winter months, is Svarta Kaffid. This little gem of a café serves its freshly made, hearty soups inside a delightfully crusty bread roll - the absolute perfect winter warmer!
Book your tickets now
I hope this guide has inspired you to get the most out of your Icelandic adventure. If you haven't already booked your tickets, then do so now! It will truly be the trip of a lifetime.
We'd love to hear about your trip to The Land of Fire and Ice, so let us know how you get on in the comment section below!
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Lewis is a U.K. Based writer, with a huge passion for music, travel, health, fitness, finance, and self-development. He truly believes that the pen is mightier than the sword and wants to utilize his passion for writing to help empower people with information that could help them greatly improve their lives and the world around them.