Iceland has become an emerging tourist destination with amazing places to visit, explore and experience. And it seems logical when you look at its charms: a moderate climate that allows one to escape the rigors of summer, its natural attractions, the feeling of being on the edge of the world and, above all, a generally hospitable and tolerant population. It is definitely a different destination to take into account.
Here are the 12 amazing places that you must visit on your trip to Iceland:
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a hot spring lagoon and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. You can reach this geothermal spa from Reikaivik, which is only 40 km from the capital. The waters maintain a temperature of between 37 and 39 degrees Celsius, perfect for taking a revitalizing bath. In addition, they are rich in properties. The mud here is rich in sulfur and silica and also beneficial for the skin. Also, is there anything better than taking a hot bath while surrounded by this exuberant nature?
Geysers: Haukadalur Valley
Geysers are a natural phenomenon for which Iceland is most famous. A good idea to witness this breathtaking spectacle is to go to Haukadalur Valley, where geysers are located. Geysir geyser, known as the “father of geysers” since his name is generically given because of this natural phenomenon and although dormant for some years, this valley is home to other active geysers, such as Stokkur. On the other hand, this valley also has some wonderful thermal pools where, if you wish, you can take a bath.
This natural wonder is located in the southwest of the island at the Skaftafell National Park. It is a waterfall surrounded by hexagonal columns of basalt rock. They are formations common to places of volcanic origin. They are not the only basalt formations in Iceland; in fact, if Svartifoss has given you enough, you can always visit the basalt columns of Reynisfjara.
The Golden Circle
Or Gullni Hringurinn, whichever you prefer. In any case, the one known as the Golden Circle is one of those obligatory visits. It encompasses three of Iceland’s most impressive natural sites: the Gullfoss waterfall, the Haukadalur valley and the Thingvellir national park. And, best of all, you can reach them shortly from Reykjavík, in approximately 53 minutes by car.
La Cascada Dettifoss
It is yet another island’s natural spectacles that you cannot miss. Dettifoss is an impressive waterfall located in the north of the island, about 550 km from the capital (or what is the same, 7 hours by car). If you like the overwhelming beauty of nature unleashed, this waterfall will captivate you; And if you’re into science fiction movies, too: the first scene of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus was shot here.
The Northern Lights are one of Iceland’s main attractions. The time when they occur most often is in winter. There are several tourist tours to see auroras, called aurora-hunters, and frequently organized in the middle of nature. They are the ideal space to see them since visibility is better than in urban centers. However, you should know that in winter the Northern Lights can even be seen from Reykjavik itself.
Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, has just 120,000 inhabitants, which brings together a third of the total population. When you visit it you have to bear in mind that it is the northernmost capital in the world, so the daylight hours vary a lot from what we are used to. For example, in winter there are barely 4 hours of light a day, while in summers, the nights can be as bright as the day. For a first contact with the city, you must visit the Austurvöllur, the most remarkable square in Reykjavík.
Also, something well worth a visit is the Hallgrimskirche, one of the tallest buildings in the city. This church of contemporary architectural style is one of the most artistically and interesting monuments in Reykjavík. In addition, you can visit it and climb its tower and from there enjoy the views of the city.
Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi Waterfalls
In Iceland, waterfalls are as common as the paintings in the Prado Museum. And, it is a fact that you can not expect to see all the falls on the same trip. However, there are two that you will love: Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi.
The drop of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall is about 60 meters. The remarkable thing about it is that you can go behind it and see it from the inside.
Gljúfrabúi is unique because it falls into a cave. It is 500 meters from the Seljalandsfoss through a very comfortable path. Access to the waterfall is easy and exciting since it consists of going from stone to stone. Once you are inside, the image is idyllic.
Near Lake Jökulsárlón is the Skaftafell campsite. It is one of the best campsites in Iceland, as it has many services, including glacier tour agencies and hiking trails. Skaftafell is an area of untouched nature located in the Vatnajökull National Park. At the campsite, you can hire excursions or book them online. The route is led by a mountaineer, who insists on safety, providing crampons and ice axes. During the tour, the guide tells you interesting facts regarding the glacier. They also teach you the skills to go up and down the undulations of the ice without falling. Quite an experience if you have never done it.
The diamonds that give this beach its name are actually the icebergs that have followed their path from the lake to the sea. The black color of the volcanic sand, and the white and blue of the icebergs make a unique contrast. And if it’s mid-afternoon, even better.
Not more than 15 kilometers from the Strokkur geyser is the Gullfoss waterfall. It has a height of 30 meters and is made up of two falls. The noise is deafening as it is surrounded by mountains and runs through a gorge that amplifies its sound. Both admission and camping are free. There is also a visitor center where you can have a coffee or buy something.
Our Final Word
Iceland is filled with amazing sights and locations to visit and explore. The people are warm and welcoming as long as you are respectful and the landscapes are surreal. We now see many discounted trips to Iceland for 3 or 4 days, but we recommend at least 5 to see and experience all there is to see. Iceland is truly amazing.