Iceland is known for it's serene landscape and beautiful natural wonders and there is no end to the amount of amazing, once in a lifetime sights to see.
This list will break down a few of our must see/do list while in Iceland. Of note, we booked all of our tours through viator.com. Not only were they the best prices around but they were efficient and organized which made the whole trip that much more enjoyable!
1) Cave Hike/Golden Circle Tour
This all day, action packed tour took us through the southeastern part of Iceland. We started out with an early morning exploration of a volcanic cave. There was lots of crouching, sliding, and some crawling involved but man was it fun! Check us out!
After a much needed lunch, we were refueled and ready for our afternoon which consisted of a hike around Thingvellir National Park, watching the roaring cascade of Gullfoss waterfall (insanely beautiful!), and awed over the massive Geysir eruption in the geyser fields.
Because our tour guide was phenomenal (seriously Icelandic Adventures is the best!) we made a quick pit stop to feed and faun over some Icelandic horses.
2) Waterfalls/Glacier Walk/Black Sand Beaches
This tour was a spur of the moment decision for us, we had booked and planned our entire trip prior to coming, leaving ourselves 2 free days in our week long vacation in case anything interesting appealed to us, and thank goodness we did! During our brew tour, we met a really cool couple who had taken this tour the previous day and raved about it, so we knew we had to check it out on one of our free days!
This all day tour took us to the waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss (stunning), where we hiked behind the falls and then just generally stood drooling at the sheer beauty,
Next in the tour was a stroll along the black sandy beaches of Reynisfjara. This unique beach is comprised of basalt lava and is utterly breathtaking.
After a quick lunch in Vik, we headed out for our glacier hike at Solheimajokull Glacier. This serene and peaceful site looked like something from a land before time. You can totally imagine you are the other person in the world standing looking at the rolling hills and snow white ice.
3) Blue Lagoon
Now after all those days of hiking, and sightseeing, you would be insane not to take an afternoon to soak and relax at The Blue Lagoon geothermal hotsprings.
FOR A MORE IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE BLUE LAGOON- CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE HERE
Your entrance fee gets you admission into the facility, one towel, 2 drink vouchers, and unlimited volcanic ash face masks.
We soaked our weary travel bones until we were sweaty prunes, and then soaked some more. With a swim up bar, we could honestly have stayed forever. The steamy haze and sheer size of the pool made the experience intimate and despite the crowd when checking in, spacial and relaxing. It was definitely one of our more memorable experiences.
4) Food/Brew Tour
You all know by now that we are huge self proclaimed foodies who make it a mission to try all the local cuisine, including, strike that, especially the strange and unusual. Singing up for a food/beer tour will definitely knock off some of those must eat items from your list. We booked one that paired a local brew with a local sample sized serving of food. Expertly timed courses and great explanations of flavors, this was a fun one.
If you want to wing it- we recommend checking out this restaurant which offers a seven course meal which highlights all the unusual foods Iceland has to offer. We chowed down on horse, puffin, and whale to name a few. The step price tag of 70USD per person was worth it in my opinion to sample all these rarities in one stop.
5) Northern Lights Hunting
You can't visit Iceland and not try to catch a glimpse of the illusive Northern Lights. Hailed as one of the seven wonders of the world, this scientific phenomenon is simply put, magical. Our nighttime tour took us several hours outside of Reykjavik to literally, the middle of nowhere. Our gregarious tour guide kept the late night ride entertaining with old folk lore, Icelandic facts, and interesting stories along the way. While they (obviously) can't guarantee that you will see the lights, they do everything they can to make it the best possibility (they have scouted out several prime locations, kept a close eye on cloud coverage, and are flexible with viewing spots, etc) and will even offer to reschedule you free of charge for another day of your trip if the lights don't cooperate. While the lights weren't out in full force for our hunt, we did catch some truly magical glimmers.
**Download the Northern Lights app if you are an iPhone user before you go and take pics from there with a steady hand for your best shot at catching the lights on camera. If you don't have a fancy one that is.***
In addition to these stunning sights around the countryside, there is plenty to keep you occupied in the city of Reykjavik as well. A few must see places/activities within city center include:
- Weekly Fleamarket, Kolaportið which is opened every Friday/Saturday and features some really unique hand crafted items including jewelry, wool sweaters, hats, etc.
-Saga Museum: Play dress up like a Viking and enjoy this 50 minute self guided tour through some of Iceland's history as depicted through wax figures.
-FREE city walking tours" You don't want to miss the opportunity to take advantage of a FREE walking tour all through downtown Reykjavik. Sponsored by the city, this guided tour will show you all the historical spots around town in this two hour guided tour.
-Elevator ride up to the top of Hallgrimskirkja church. Check out this view!
-Puffin/Whale Watching Tours: Depending on what time of year you travel, be sure to check out the puffin and/or whale watching tours. This was a fun (if cold!) few hours on the sea and a good alternative to hiking around the countryside if you have physical limitations or just need a more relaxed day. Experience the beautiful landscape from the sea!