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Must do things while visiting Iceland

Visit a black beach

Visit one of the black volcanic beaches on the south shore. My favourite one is at Ingólfshöfði, by the roots of Vatnajökull glacier. The landscape is breathtaking and makes for some dramatic pictures.  To get to the beach you need to get a ride with a tractor from one of the local families that will happily take you there for a small fee.

Black Beaches of iceland

Go glacier hiking

Iceland has numerous glaciers around the country, one of them, Vatnajökull, is the biggest glacier in Europe. Hiking on one of the glacier tongues or exploring one of the many and constantly reforming ice caves is one of the best experiences you can find in Iceland. There is a good variety of glacier tours suiting your budget.

Glacier hiking in skaftafell Glacier hiking with glacier guides

Visit Glymur waterfall

At the deep end of the Hvalfjordur lies Glymur waterfall, just an hours drive from Reykjavik. What we love about this hike is that you won’t have to walk the same way back…this trail is a loop! However, you’ll have to wade through the freezing river that feeds the waterfall to reach the other way down. A thrilling adventure and a good massage for your tired feet!

Hiking up Glymur waterfall is incredibly scenic and beautiful. You will catch a view over the whole fjord as well as the huge waterfall, which is otherwise hidden behind the gorge when viewed from below.

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Experience bright summer nights

You have maybe heard about the midnight sun in Iceland. Because of how close Iceland is situated to the arctic circle, the nation gets the full on effect of seasonal changes on a unique scale. Winter comes with complete darkness but summertime brings bright nights with 24 hours of sunlight. As early as May and as late as August, Iceland’s nights are bright.

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Get a taste for Icelandic music

Not everyone is familiar with Icelandic music but maybe you have heard about our famous Björk, Sigur Rós or Of Monsters and Men? In addition to them Iceland is buzzing with new and great artists. As far back as Icelandic history is recorded, music has played a major part in the nation’s culture and tradition of story telling. There are a number of music festivals all year round where you can get a real taste for Icelandic music. Our most popular music festival, Iceland Airways, is held in the capital and takes place early November every year.

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Get inside a volcano

Þríhjnúkagígur is the only volcano in the world that you can actually explore from the inside, so I’d say it’s a must see when you visit Iceland. During your trip you’ll be descending 120 m into this massive magma chamber. The colours inside will amaze you! Obviously you need to do it with a guided tour, you can find the prizes here. 

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Visit Kirkjufell mountain

Kirkjufell is probably the most photographed mountain of the country. It isn’t difficult to see why; it has a unique shape and stands kind of solo in the middle of nowhere. Also, the close by waterfall (named after the mountain) gives you the perfect picture! You can easily reach the mountain at the north coast of Snæfellsnes peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður.

Kirkjufell

Go sea kayaking in a fjord

During summertime when the sea is calm you can go sea-kayaking. It’s a great opportunity to explore some of the beautiful fjords in Iceland from a different perspective. If you are lucky you might spot some unique birds or seals relaxing in the sun.

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 Go pub crawling in Reykjavik

The nightlife in Reykjavík is world famous! Many cafés and restaurants downtown turn to pubs after midnight and they’re all at a walking distance from each other. Icelanders don’t seem to be satisfied with spending their whole night at one club but instead visit a few pubs seeking the best mood or music, despite risking to wait in line for most of the time. If you get the chance to stay a weekend in Reykjavík you can join one of the pub crawls that take place every weekend and visit a few of the best places while meeting fellow travellers.

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Taste the world’s best coffee and cakes

After many days of exploring Iceland there is nothing better than strolling around the center of Reykjavík. At every corner you will find cozy cafés with different themes and atmosphere. One thing is for sure, the cakes and coffee are world class.

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Meet the world’s friendliest police

The Icelandic police got world famous after their Instagram feed went viral. People loved seeing photos of them rescuing kittens and buying ice cream for the kids. The police in Iceland does not wear guns and are indeed very friendly!

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Go horseback riding

The Icelandic horse is smaller then most other breeds but what makes them really unique is their unique walking style. The Icelandic horse has 5 different gaits but most horses have only 3. The most famous is “tölt”, where at least one foot touches the ground at any given moment. The result is the smoothest ride you’ll ever experience! You could easily have a cup of tea while riding without spilling a drop.

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Go river rafting in a glacier river

Iceland has some top notch rivers where you can go river rafting. Our favourite river is Jökulsá Eystri running from Hofsjökull glacier, located in the north of Iceland in Skagafjörður. Here, you get the chance to experience a full day of action and adrenaline. You will also get the chance to witness unspoilt nature at its finest that’s hardly reachable otherwise. The feeling of riding down this mighty river in-between towering cliffs of moss-lines lava rocks is truly magical!

Skagafjordur Iceland Rafting

Go snorkeling in Silfra

The Silfra fissure is one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets and is world famous for its amazing visibility. The Silfra fissure is located in Þingvellir National Park where the tectonic plates are moving apart, so you will get the chance to swim between two continents – North America and Eurasia. Make sure you wear proper dry suits since the temperature is usually between 0-5 °C!

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See the one true Geysir

Due to the volcanic activities, Iceland has a lot of geysers, underground springs and thermal pools. Just an hours drive from Reykjavik you’ll find Geysir, the first geyser known to modern Europeans and where the name “geyser” derives from. Unfortunately it has been inactive for the past years, but the nearby “Strokkur” won’t let you down!

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Hot Springs

Iceland has numerous hot springs and geysers all over the country. Some of the hot springs are boiling hot but other ones have the perfect temperature to bathe in. Relaxing in a natural hot tub is a perfect way to experience Iceland.

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Explore some of the amazing waterfalls

Iceland is the land of ice, fire and water! You don’t need to look far to find some stunning waterfalls. The most popular ones are Gullfoss, Glymur and Háifoss. Our favourite one is Svartifoss situated in Skaftafell, Vatnajökull national park.

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Blue lagoon

The Blue Lagoon offers the most relaxing natural bathing found only 40 minutes away from Reykjavík. The water from the underground hot springs reaches 37–39 °C and is beneficial for health and skin.

Blue-Lagoon

Meet the friendly city cats of Reykjavík

Many visitors in Iceland get surprised over the number of cats in downtown Reykjavík. Many have misunderstood the situation and thought that many of the cats are stray cats. The truth is that people of Reykjavík love cats and they are popular house pets. Since the capital is small and safe, the cats get to roam freely around making their own business. They even have their own facebook page! 

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Visit Snæfellsnes

Snæfellsnes is a peninsula situated to the west of Borgarfjörður, in western Iceland. The whole peninsula is full of interesting places. You will drive past small fishing villages, lava caves, glaciers and volcanic craters.

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Get lost on the roads of Iceland

The best way to explore Iceland is by car! I will promise you as soon as you leave the city you will find so many places that you want to stop at. It’s either lava fields, dramatic mountains, waterfalls or simply just a stunning road view.

Roadtrip

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Must Do Things

Planning a trip to Iceland? Contact me through Guide To Iceland and I’ll help you to plan your Iceland trip for free! :) Click the image below. 

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Birthe (from Wandering.World)
    February 8, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Love your photos! Just added Iceland to our Bucket list. 🙂
    Birthe (from Wandering.World) recently posted…What to do in BaliMy Profile

    • Reply
      Ása Steinarsdóttir
      February 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Hey Birthe! 🙂
      I’m so glad you liked the post…You should definitely come and visit Iceland. I recommend doing it sooner rather than later…Tourism is just all of a sudden exploding here! :O 😀
      Ása Steinarsdóttir recently posted…Must do things while visiting IcelandMy Profile

      • Reply
        Birthe (from Wandering.World)
        February 28, 2016 at 10:59 am

        Probably because of you blogpost. 😉 We’re on the road until half August (Australia, New Zealand and North America), so it won’t we that soon that we’ll be visiting Iceland, but it’s on our list!
        Birthe (from Wandering.World) recently posted…We received a Liebster Award!My Profile

      • Reply
        Michele
        March 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

        Hi Asa, I’m heading to you’re beautiful country in a few weeks. I’ve enjoyed reading your information on top 10 things to do in Iceland. Thank you to posting.

  • Reply
    Patrick
    February 8, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    What a nice post! Beautiful pictures that remind me just of how much I miss Iceland!

    • Reply
      Ása Steinarsdóttir
      February 27, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Hey Patrick! 🙂
      I’m so glad you like the post and pictures!
      I just got back to Iceland after being abroad for more than a year…I felt it to, I’ve missed Iceland!! 😀
      Ása Steinarsdóttir recently posted…Must do things while visiting IcelandMy Profile

  • Reply
    Dominique
    February 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    When I started reading this post I started to imagine me visiting those places at the end of this year when I visit Island. Then I scrolled further and further and I realised there is too much gorgeousness to see; I can’t cover it all in a long weekend 🙂 I’ll have to make some decisions, but this a great post to bookmark to see all the different options!
    Dominique recently posted…Alkmaar – Weekend TripMy Profile

    • Reply
      Ása Steinarsdóttir
      February 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Haha, that’s true!
      Even we haven’t explored nearly all of the gems of Iceland. It’s a lot to see and explore and also the season change the country so much. So visiting Iceland during summertime is so different from visiting in Winter. Then it’s snow-covered, really dark, northern lights, ice everywhere. But in summer it’s bright 24/7, people do more kayaking and river rafting, everything gets green 😀
      So I really love both!
      But nobody can cover Iceland in one trip, so I guess it’s a country you should visit more than once 🙂
      Ása Steinarsdóttir recently posted…Must do things while visiting IcelandMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kait
    February 15, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Love it! Great pictures 🙂 Iceland is definitely on my to-do list

  • Reply
    Crystal @ Stranger in a Strange Land
    February 16, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Wow, what a great list of suggestions in Iceland! I’ve just moved to Iceland for work and visited last year. I’ve been to a few black sand beaches, but not Ingólfshöfði! I’ve actually only done about half of the things on your list! I’ll add them to my to-do list! You’re from a gorgeous country. 🙂

    • Reply
      Ása Steinarsdóttir
      February 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Wow, that’s so impressive! 😀
      What kind of work are you doing here?
      Yes there is so much to see and explore in Iceland, even we haven’t covered half of the things we would like to do and see here 🙂
      Ása Steinarsdóttir recently posted…Must do things while visiting IcelandMy Profile

  • Reply
    Keri (Baby Globetrotters)
    February 27, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    Some great insider views thank you – I fell into the trap of not allowing enough time and enjoying the 24 hour sunlight too much, so only got to do the Golden Circle. Plenty of reasons to come back!

  • Reply
    Henar
    February 29, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Amazing tips, I’ve been planning/dreaming about visiting Iceland for about 5-6 years now (never really worked out :/). Hopefully this will be the year, and your tips will be put to good use ^^ Thanks a lot! By the way, absolutely in love with your blog! 😀
    Henar recently posted…Hostal & Backpackers Osio de CórdobaMy Profile

  • Reply
    Erin
    March 11, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Love, love, love this post! I’ve always wanted to visit Iceland and that calling just got stronger thanks to your post. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Breck
    November 23, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for this great information! I’m planning a trip for September 2017. Do you think it would be best to stay at a hotel or rent a camper van? I love the idea of a camper van but am not really sure where to park it at night. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Delaney
    May 18, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Hello! I came across your blog via instagram and it’s been really helpful! I’ll be in Iceland in 3 weeks and I’m planning on camping throughout. Would you recommend getting the Camping Card or paying for sites as you go?
    Also, I’d love any recommendations on your favorite hot springs!
    I appreciate your help 🙂 your blog makes me want to drop everything and travel!
    Thanks again,
    Delaney

  • Reply
    Indrarini Tiksnowati
    September 4, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    Hello…
    Thanks for your information.
    I’m planning atrip in mid sept 2017.
    This will be my first trip to Iceland.
    I only have 5 days in Iceland.
    What is your sugest, where places can I see

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