Visit Iceland: Top activities to see and do
Georgina Willcox | 18 May 2021
The Land of Fire and Ice is filled with natural wonders and stunning sights. Here are some of the best activities you must do during your trip to Iceland, which will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Relax in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon, a man-made geothermal spa, is located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Its warm waters, kept at a perfect temperature, 37°- 39°, are rich in minerals, such as silica, which can do wonders for your skin! Around the perimeter there are buckets full of clay, which you can apply to your skin and will make you feel more invigorated. You can also enjoy a drink in the Blue Lagoon. They have a little bar that you swim up to, so there’s no need to get out at all. You don’t have to worry about carrying cash either; they give you a bracelet at the entrance which records what you buy at the bar, and you settle up when you leave!
The world’s most northerly capital, the city of Reykjavik is fairly compact, so you can easily explore by foot. We suggest walking along the seafront en route to the city centre and see the striking Sun Voyager sculpture along with a few others. The Harpa concert hall is an impressive glass building and looks even better when it is lit up in the evening. There are not many historic buildings due to the country’s volcanic and earthquake activities. The Hallgrímskirkja is a church completed in 1974 and it’s a very distinctive building. You can go to the top of Hallgrímskirkja and get a fantastic view of Reykjavik. For history enthusiasts, there are several fascinating museums to visit such as the National Museum of Iceland, Saga Museum and the Perlan or The Pearl, an iconic landmark of Reykjavík.
Taste Icelandic cuisine
Iceland has a unique and varied cuisine, many of the dishes have developed from the Viking age and commonly include fish, meat like Hangikjöt (smoked lamb) and potatoes. The dishes that are created are usually made with local and seasonal ingredients. A famous dairy product native to Iceland you must try is Skyr which is like a creamy yoghurt and it’s a versatile ingredient that is used in sweet and savoury Icelandic recipes. If you’re feeling peckish, a hot dog from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur will do the trick! Roughly translated in English: “The Best Hotdogs in Town”; when you go to order just ask for ‘one with everything.’ You’ll love the combination of crispy fried and raw onions, good quality hot dog and topped off with mustard, ketchup and remoulade. Delicious!
Take the Golden Circle Route tour
The Golden Circle is a popular tourist route which takes in a number of Iceland’s famous sites. Þingvellir, Iceland’s most important historical location, is where the Vikings established the world’s first democratic parliament in 930 AD. It also happens to be situated where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. Gullfoss, which means ‘Golden Waterfall’ in Icelandic, is one of the country’s most iconic and stunning sights. The Strokkur is a geyser in the geothermal area of Haukadalur valley, it erupts approximately every 10 minutes and is remarkable spectacle. You may also pass the Hellisheiði Power Station, which converts the geothermal energy into electricity and is extremely eco-friendly.
Go whale watching
If you have time, whale watching in Iceland is an incredible experience, where you can spot various wildlife , such as Minke Whales, Harbour Porpoises,Puffins, Gannets, Humpback Whales and Orcas. There are various companies, such as Elding Whale Watching, where you can easily book whale watching trips.
Experience the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are one of the most spectacular shows on earth and seeing them is a real treat. Although sightings of the Northern Lights are never a guarantee when you travel to Iceland, for a better chance to see them visit between October and April.
Enjoy Happy Hour
Amazingly, there was a ban on beer in Iceland until 1989! Icelandic breweries have only recently come into their own, such as Einstök and Borg. Iceland has a reputation for being expensive, but you can take advantage by going to bars that offer Happy Hours, where they usually have a great selection of Icelandic craft beer.
Between dramatic landscapes with volcanoes, geysers, hot springs and lava fields, Iceland has everything, and more; it’s no wonder why this country is on so many people's travel wish lists. Discover our Iceland holidays; experience its vast history, culture and many natural sights.