Dubbed “the land of fire and ice,” Iceland is a kaleidoscope of Mother Nature’s awesome wonders, from glaciers to volcanos. The European country is slowly becoming a popular tourist destination, especially during its summer months when the temperature ranges from 68–77 °F.
Aside from its welcoming atmosphere, Iceland is famous for its untouched nature, and as such, ecotourism thrives in the country. Visiting this Nordic destination will let guests in for some subarctic surprises. Heard of that trivia that Iceland is actually green and Greenland is icy? There’s only one thing to confirm that: book that flight to Reykjavík. Leisure and learning await.
Planning Your Visit To Iceland
A worthwhile trip to Iceland starts with a solid travel plan, so to avoid any inconvenience, here are some reminders before going to the airport.
The citizens of the United States can enter the country without a visa for up to 90 days (Schengen Agreement.) However, the passport must be valid for at least three months beyond the departure date. Additionally, the travelers must present a return ticket and sufficient funds for the trip.
- There are no COVID-19 restrictions in the country. However, tourists must always check the latest travel advisories.
Best Places To Visit In Iceland
Iceland offers lots of activities and attractions, from its urban areas to its rich nature spots. Here are some must-visit places for a blissful day in this Nordic paradise.
The bustling capital region of Iceland is like the welcoming committee for the country. Here, Reykjavík flaunts its rich culture, history, and mesmerizing natural wonders. Wherever the gaze is focused, Greater Reykjavík spells enticement.
The capital city, Reykjavík, is the starting point of any Icelandic adventure. It's top attraction is the Perlan Museum, which houses exhibits that showcase the country’s rich nature. Another site to visit is the impressive Hallgrímskirkja, the largest church in Iceland. The port town of Hafnarfjordur, meanwhile, is perfect for strollers who want to visit museums, parks, galleries, and places where elves reside. Exciting! Gardabaer is perfect for wildlife adventures, thanks to its brimming nature reserves. And for the hikers, Mosfellsbær’s trails and outdoor spots await.
Whatever the season and whomever the tourist, the capital region is chock-full of surprises.
This scenic route is the most famous in Iceland. A three-day trip along the 155-mile Golden Circle is paradise in 3D: dazzling and dreamy destinations.
Sightseers will have a chance to be in awe as they visit the majestic Gullfoss, one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. Another popular landmark is the Geysir in Haukadalur, which is among the places on Earth where active geysers can be observed. The Thingvellir National Park is a must-visit as it is filled with scenic wonders like the canyon of Almannagjá, where continental drift can be seen. This historic place is nothing short of geological beauty.
Vatnajökull National Park
This destination is home to Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier. The area is packed with mesmerizing views, thanks to its picturesque rivers and glacial ice. Here are some attractions that will wow travelers.
Climbers will enjoy taking on the challenge of the Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest point. The glacier lagoons of Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón are perfect spots for boat tours. Watch out for some seals. The Jökulsárgljúfur, meanwhile, will wow tourists with its majestic canyons and waterfalls, which can be closely seen by hikers. With its rich hiking trails, the Hólmatungur is perfect for trekkers. Drink in all the views. The wilderness areas of Snæfell and Lónsöræfi will let guests enjoy the views of the volcano, picture-perfect landscapes, brimming alpine, and majestic reindeer. There are lava fields west of the park that are must-see attractions, too, aside from unique hyaloclastite ridges.
For a laid-back journey after exploring Iceland’s glacial spots, the town of Akureyri offers travelers some rest. Here are some things to do and attractions to visit in the “Capital of the North.”
Visit cultural spots like museums, galleries, the library, Art Street, and the historic House of Shark-Jörundur. Tourists can enter the towering Akureyri Church, considered a town symbol. Travelers can also have a fruitful time in the botanical garden, city square, a medieval trading place, and the historic Old Town. There are also natural wonders in the town like the Kjarnaskógur Woods, Glerárdalur Valley, Krossanesborgir Reserve Area, Dettifoss Waterfalls, and the Ásbyrgi, among others. When hunger strikes, lots of dining options await guests with a wide range of cuisines.
The spectacular Lake Mývatn is another must-visit location because it is Iceland’s “Northern Lights Capital.” Visit the place and have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of watching the Aurora Borealis. If that’s not enough, here are other spots to check out in the area.
There are four majestic waterfalls at this destination, with their raging cascades a welcome sound for travelers. The valleys, meanwhile, are a sight for sore eyes. Picture this: as guests stare at the greens, the subarctic breeze hugs them -- a reminder that there's more to come.
Tourists can also try horseback riding, biking, sledding, hiking, and other day tours that will take them to the lake's spectacular sites. The area is teeming with wildlife like marimo (that cute plant), plus ducks, arctic birds, waterbirds, and other feathered friends. Birdwatchers heads up!
Want a dip in milky blue waters? The geothermal spa of Blue Lagoon is all about rest and relaxation. It is located in a lava field and its water is supplied by a geothermal power station. Talk about authenticity.
- Pre-booking is required. There are three package options for a day trip costing from 8,490-59,000 krona ($66-$459).
- The opening hours vary depending on the season.
- Guests can try float therapy, water massage, the sauna and steam room, bars, and various restaurants.
With all that, expect paradise in Iceland. In this Nordic destination, wherever a tourist looks, there’s always a surprise: above, they’ll find the northern lights; afar, the glaciers; below, the pristine waterways. A trip to this mesmerizing country is all about cool experiences, literally and figuratively. Iceland, what a nice land.