Top 11 Things to Do in Iceland
Iceland offers a travel experience unlike any other.
This wonderful little country could keep you busy for weeks with all of its exciting attractions. Whether you like to travel with a tour group or you like to adventure with your pals, Iceland is full of opportunities and excitement that will allow you to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Since there is so much to do in Iceland, we narrowed down our top 11 favorite things to do in Iceland to help you plan the holiday of a lifetime.
Grab your jacket and your passport. Iceland is calling your name.
Best Things to Do in Iceland – 11 Fun-Filled Activities
While you could spend months in Iceland, experiencing all that it has to offer, your time there is likely limited. We compiled a list of the best 11 things to do in Iceland so that you can plan your trip in a way that allows you to get the most of your time in this precious country.
Whether you’re a foodie, an adventurer or a history buff, there is so much to in this little Nation that will keep you busy throughout your entire holiday.
1. Dynjandi Waterfall
If you are looking to feast your eyes on a scene of pure magic, you must visit the Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland.
No matter what time of year you visit Iceland, you cannot not miss this wonderful sight. Whether it is surrounded by lush, green foliage in the summer or is frozen over in the winter, this beauty will make you feel at peace.
While you can camp around this beautiful cascade, keep in mind that it never stops roaring. You can enjoy the beauty all night long, but you may not get a wink of sleep.
2. Explore National Parks
National Parks in Iceland offer an array of natural beauty in the most special forms. Each park offers unique experiences and views that you will not find anywhere else in the world.
Check out some of these wonderful locations!
Þingvellir National Park is one of the most sought after destinations in all of Iceland. This park is full of beautiful landscapes and Icelandic history. This park is great for hiking, camping, fishing and more! If you want to be one with the great outdoors (or view if from your car if you’re a little less adventurous) Þingvellir National Park is the spot for you!
Snæfellsjökull National Park is known for their gorgeous glacier and indigenous plant life. This wonderful park was established at the turn of the 21st century in order to protect and preserve all of the natural beauty surrounding the nature. This park offers free entry, so be sure to check it out!
Vatnajökull National Park is famous for its immense diversity in the realms of landscape, landforms, plantlife, animals and more. This park offers so much to its visitors and it seldom disappoints. In Vatnajökull’s visitor areas, you can check out cultural artifacts and handcrafted goods.
3. Take a Dip in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most majestic spots in Iceland. This nearly natural outdoor spa is filled with healing waters and exfoliating muds that will give you the relaxation and rejuvenation that you’ve been yearning for.
The Blue Lagoon was created by a pleasant mistake. A local geothermal power plant had a small eruption a few years back when they accidentally drilled in the wrong lot. This drilling caused the hot spring to crack open. Ever since this fortunate accident, the Blue Lagoon has been a highly visited spot by tourists all around the world.
The water is full of sulfur and the mud is rich in silica. This combination of the two is both healing and relaxing. Many bathe in the Blue Lagoon as an alternative treatment for psoriasis.
Book your entry to the Blue Lagoon in advance to make sure that you get the chance to relax in this ethereal body of water.
Check out our Ultimate Travel Guide to the Blue Lagoon to learn more about this wonderful hot spring and to better prepare for your trip.
4. Travel Iceland’s Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a road trip route that gives you a little taste of many aspects of Iceland. This route begins in Reykjavik and can be driven in less than three and a half hours.
Take a tour of Iceland’s Golden Circle or rent a car to drive it on your own. If you’re traveling the Golden Circle by yourself, slow things down and extend your trip. Grab a tent and camp along the way or stay in a hotel in one of the cozy little villages along the Golden Circle. It is up to you!
5. Admire the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, which are also commonly called “Aurora borealis,” are among the most magnificent sights that Mother Nature has to offer.
On a clear, cold winter night in Iceland, you may be able to see the sky painted in a variety of greens and blues. This phenomenon is caused by the clashing of electrically charged particles from the sun with atoms from the Earth’s atmosphere.
Here are a few of the best places in Iceland to see the Northern Lights:
- Grotta Lighthouse (Reykjavik)
- Perlan Observation Deck (Öskjuhlið)
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach (Vík)
- þingvellir National Park (Austurstræti)
Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates and you get a few great views of the Northern Lights.
6. Eat Your Way Around Iceland
When you visit Iceland, be prepared for lots of seafood, langoustine and lamb. There are many delicious gems hidden amongst the villages, volcanoes and hot springs in Iceland. Explore the culture of Iceland through their simple yet delicious cuisine.
Check out some of these amazing restaurants around Iceland:
Many locals and visitors are wise to the wonders of these delicious restaurants, so several of them require that you reserve a table in advance. Check out their websites for more information.
7. Ride a Special Icelandic Horse
Iceland has its very own breed of horse that is very carefully contained in the country. A select population of Icelandic horses are not to be bred with other breeds of horse. They are inbred to maintain their shaggy coats and stocky stature.
Horseback riding offers a relaxing way to slowing make your way across the countryside without having to walk all day or be stuck in a car. Riding across the beautiful land will leave you feeling liberated and connected to nature all at once.
Horseback Riding Near Reykjavik, Iceland
Explore lava fields and rolling green spaces on the back of one of Iceland’s most beloved creature: the Icelandic horse.
Take a tour out of a stable near Reykjavik and learn all about the Icelandic horse and the nation’s rich history and culture.
Horseback Riding in the East of Iceland
If you are traveling the Golden Circle or you find yourself based out of the Eastern side of Iceland, check out a horseback riding excursion that explores some of the most beautiful waterfalls, geysers and mountain ranges in the entire world.
This horseback riding tour is not something that you want to miss. Book today.
8. Take a Walk on Rauðasandur Beach
In Iceland, a lot of your activities are centered around land masses created by geothermal activity and winter weather. While lounging and sunbathing on Rauðasandur Beach may not be the most comfortable, option talking a nice stroll along this pink and red sand beach is truly relaxing.
From this lovely little beach, you can see a plethora of birds and some native seals. How neat is that?
9. Explore All that Reykjavik Has to Offer
Iceland’s capital, Reykjavik, surely is an amazing city. Whether you want to relax and sip a craft beer at a local cafe or pack your day with sightseeing and national landmarks, there are plenty of options for you!
This seaside city is known for its unique nighttime scene. While you may typically think of wild clubs and loud music when you think of going out, Reykjavik will show you a good time in the most unexpected venues and fashion.
Hop into the Happenin’ Nightlife
The nightlife in this town is pretty diverse. Some bars and cafes have music and dancing, while some are intended only for drinking and chatting. You’ve just got to find the scene that works best for you.
In Reykjavik, locals love a good bar crawl. Who really wants to stay in one venue all night long when there are bars to be seen and new friends to be met? This long standing tradition truly allows you to get the most of your night out on the town!
10. Visit the Puffins on Auckrey Island
While whales and seals tend to steal the spotlight when people think of Iceland’s wildlife, a little tiny island just north of Reykjavik is home to a population of cute little birds: puffins.
No humans inhabit Auckrey Island, but flocks and flocks of puffins do. The puffins share the island with ducks, seagulls and some other types of birds, but the puffin population is by far the most prominent.
You can take a ferry from the mainland to visit these beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
11. Learn the History of Iceland at Viking World
The Viking World Museum, which is not far from Reykjavik, is famous for their exact replica of The Icelander, a ship that the vikings left behind in Norway many, many years ago.
In addition to the replica of The Icelander, some of the most famous exhibits in this museum include Vikings of the North Atlantic, the Settlement of Iceland and Fate of the Gods.
In this museum, you’ll learn about the history of the vikings, how Iceland was settled and a bit about pre-Christian theology of Scandinavia. Dive into the role of vikings in the development, culture and history of this wonderful country.
If you book tickets online at the Viking World Museum Website, you will receive 10% off of your admission. This attraction is very affordable and is fun for all ages, so bring the whole family!
A Few Things to Know Before Traveling to Iceland
Traveling to a new place can be very exciting, but you’ve got to do a little preparation in order to stay safe and have a good time. Follow these few tricks and you’ll be sure to have an Icelandic experience like no other!
- Exchange cash before coming to Iceland. You will pay an arm and a leg to exchange money in the airport. You should bring a decent amount of spending money in cash, just to be safe. Shop around a different banks and exchange counters for the best deal.
- Learn some key phrases in Icelandic. While you can get away with speaking English across most of Iceland, locals appreciate when you make the effort to speak their language, too. You don’t have to become fluent in Icelandic, but check out a free online resource to help you learn a few important words.
- Pack according to the weather. Iceland has two temperatures: chilly and freezing. Make sure you pack thermals and coats. The key to dressing for cold weather, especially when you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors, is to layer, layer, layer.
These simple tips will set you on track to have the holiday of a lifetime.
Find the Best Icelandic Tours for More Things To Do
Tours are a great option when exploring a new country because you’ll be guided by an expert who knows the land inside and out. Traveling of a tour also is great because it gives you the opportunity to connect with others from all over the world. Making new friends as you travel is a blast!
Check out some of the best tours of Iceland on the market. Hekla has been touring Northern Europe for several decades and has built relationships with many local businesses in order to give our guests the best experience possible.
We want you to have the most amazing time in Iceland so book one of our wonder tours today!
If you are ready to make the most of every minute in Iceland by hitting 20 cities in 8 days, we’ve got the tour for you. Hekla wants to show you all of the most spectacular places in Iceland.
The tour starts in Reykjavik and makes its way north to the Valley of Horses. You’ll head towards some of the most famous National Parks, but first you’ll stop to see a few glaciers, geysers and famous waterfalls.
Explore the “dramatic coastline” of iceland and check out some of the amazing floating icebergs before looping back to Reykjavik. Of course, much more is included in this tour, but you’ll have to book it to experience it for yourself!
Eight days hiking and camping the Laugavegur Trail is exactly what you need to experience Iceland’s most authentic form. Hiking this trail with a group offers a safe and fun alternative to a solo hike because you will have en expert guide who knows the land like the back of his or her hand, as well as strength in numbers.
This amazing tour is jam packed with amazing views, exciting adventures and memories that will last a lifetime.
Explore the elvish history of Iceland and take a hiking across the beautiful with a skilled guide and a wonderful group of peers. This tour beings in Reykjavik and hits all of the following wonderful destinations:
- Stóraurð Hallow
- Gönguskurð Pass
- Breiðuvík Bay
- Borgarfjörður Valley
- Brúnavík Bay
Learn more about this phenomenal backpacking adventure.
Best Icelandic Excursions
If you’re traveling Iceland on your own or with a group of friends, booking day tours and excursions can be a fun way to experience attractions in ways that you would have never dreamt of.
Explore some of the most amazing ways to spend your days in Iceland. These tours will leave you full of knowledge and memories that you will carry with you for the rest of your days.
Learn all that there is no know about the Icelandic horse. This excursion includes a two hour guided horseback ride through lava fields and rolling hills, multiple presentations and one film on horses, history, music and mythology, snacks, refreshments and a meal of traditional Icelandic meat soup.
This entire excursion typically lasts about 8 hours, but length time varies depending on the season. During the winter months, this tour will take you searching for the perfect view Northern Lights when the sun goes down! This excursion is best horseback riding experience around Reykjavik.
If you’re stationed further east, do not fret! Hekla offers an amazing horseback riding tour for those who are traveling the Golden Circle or are staying in eastern Iceland.
You will ride around erupting geysers, breathtaking waterfalls and a beautiful national park, full of natural phenomena and historical landmarks. At the end of this beautiful tour, you’ll be treated to a wonderful lunch at the Vellir farm.
You can’t beat a classic tour of the Golden Circle! This tour leaves from Reykjavik and hits three major spots on the beloved loop.
You’ll take a jump back in time to the formation of the Icelandic parliament at Þingvellir National Park before heading onto the Gullfoss Waterfall. This lovely waterfall is actually ranked among the top ten waterfalls in the entire world. Your final destination is a geothermal activity area that is the home to the Great Geysir and the sprouting Strokkur.
You’ll be wowed of the natural beauty of the Golden Circle on this amazing excursion.
If you go to Iceland from September to March, you must try to chase the Northern Lights a time or two. What is more fun than admiring this natural while riding ATVs? Let your adrenaline run wild as you check “See the Northern Lights in Iceland” off of your bucket list!
Many people don’t think of fun in the water when they think of Iceland, but the beauty of Silfra is not to be missed. This fissure was formed by the divergence of tectonic plates and has created an underwater wonderland for divers and snorkelers.
Take an 8 hour excursion to explore all that the Silfra Fissure, Leidarendi Lava Tube and Þingvellir National Park have to offer. If you are worried about enjoying water activities in cold weather, you’re right there with many, many others. With the right wetsuit, you’ll be good to go!
Contact us today for any additional information about these amazing tours and excursions.
More Travel Guides for Your Trip to Iceland
When you come to Iceland, we want you to have the trip of a lifetime. We’ve prepared a few tour guides for our favorite spots in Iceland that will help you plan the best trip ever. Believe us, you do not want to miss a thing when you visit this magnificent nation.
Check out some of the informative travel guides that recommend the favorite restaurants, hotels and activities of both locals and tourists!
- The Golden Circle: How to Plan your Trip
- The Blue Lagoon: The Ultimate Travel Guide
- 10 Spots Not to Be Missed in Reykjavik
Have you booked your flight to Iceland? What are you waiting for? Book now!
Iceland has so much to do for any type of traveler. Whether you’re interested in staying in fine hotels and sightseeing during the day or pitching a tent and fully immersing yourself in all that Iceland has to offer, there is an option for you.
From snowmobiling over glaciers to bathing the Blue Lagoon, your holiday can be as fast-paced or laid back as you’d like it to be. The choice is yours.
The beauty of Iceland is begging to be seen. Grab your passport. Adventure awaits.