Iceland is a location filled with adventure and is a very authentic place to travel to. When visiting this country, your expectations will be exceeded by the hidden gems and spectacular landscapes which can be found throughout this country. Before you travel, it is also a nice to know what to expect in terms of what to do and what to see whilst you are there.
I have decided to put together an in-depth guide for anyone who has not yet had the opportunity to visit this special part of the world.
Best time to visit: February, March, September and October are typically the best time to visit Iceland for the Northern Lights.
Currency: Icelandic króna
Things to do
Depending on when you stay, I suggest setting your sights on Reykjavik to start with. Here, you can hire a car for the duration of your stay. From Keflavík International Airport, you can drive through the lunar vistas that make up the Reykjanes Peninsula and immerse yourself in Iceland’s spectacular landscapes as you spontaneously discover them on your journey.
One of the most popular attractions, if of course the Blue Lagoon. This geothermal spa is located in the middle of a lava field in Grindavick, which is a 25-minute drive from Keflavík International Airport. Your trip to Iceland will not be complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon; however, prices do start at ISK 6100 or around £45pp.
If you drive 20 km east of Reykjavík, into the Bláfjöll Country Park, you can spend half a day exploring what is widely considered the most magnificent natural phenomenon of its kind, the empty magma chamber of the Þríhnúkagígur volcano. The tour is an excursion which will take you into the heart of a dormant volcano. After a short hike through Bláfjöll’s volcanic wonderland, a cable car can take you through a narrow, opening, and lower you 120 metres into the enormous magma chamber.
Due to the volcanic activities underneath the surface of Iceland, a lot of geysers, underground springs and thermal pools can be found throughout the region. I suggest heading to Strokkur which lies in the southwest of Iceland beside the Hvítá River. It is a popular fountain geyser, and many other geysers can be found in Haukadalur in the south of the country.
Skaftafell Ice Cave in Vatnajökull National Park is an overwhelmingly beautiful ice cave which attracts avid adventures. The only time you can visit these spectacular caves is in winter when the ice doesn’t melt, and it is safe to enter. Many local travel agencies will organise the trips to the glaciers.
The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, is a phenomenon and is also among the most popular attractions in Iceland. The dazzling lights can be seen from September to mid-April and are best viewed in remote places away from lights away from the urban lights.
Before you go
Iceland’s reputation as a budget-friendly destination is very much a thing of the past. The depression on the currency has lifted, and prices have inflated considerably with alcohol and food which are particularly expensive. With the huge increase of tourism over the last five years, I recommend limiting the amount of time you spend in Reykjavík, but instead, venture out to explore the smaller towns and villages scattered around Iceland’s coast.
My Travel Tips
- Don’t be afraid to drive as hiring a car is the best way to get about.
- If you’re visiting in the summer be prepared for nearly constant daylight.
- Food is a little on the pricey side but overall of very good quality.
- Cafes and bathrooms near National Parks and major attractions may not be open so carry some extra snacks and plan accordingly.
- Be prepared for any, and all kinds of weather.
If you have visited Iceland before, I would love to hear your stories or advice; just leave a comment below!