Top 10 Things to Do In Iceland

Iceland has so many extraordinary natural wonders that it is hard to know where to start when visiting. This top 10 list is designed to cover all bases, from the basics to the hidden treasures, in order to get the most out of a trip to Iceland.

1.  Rent a car 

First thing’s first: you want to see all of Iceland, not just a few cities. The best way to see Iceland is in a car, and renting one is easy. Ring Road is one common route that many tourists take, as it circles Iceland on a safe main road. The cheapest way to rent a car is to book online in advance, for example through website’s like https://www.reykjavikcars.com/.

2. See the northern lights

Of course, this had to be on the list. Just because it is far from a secret, its levity cannot be underestimated. The northern lights arise from solar particles entering the magnetic field and ionize from the high atmosphere. The best time to see them is between September and April on a dark night (i.e. not a full moon). It is best to go somewhere remote, without artificial light, and just hope there are not going to be many clouds.

 

3. Day tours

This goes hand-in-hand with tip number 1: renting a car. Because there are so many incredible settings and natural wonders in Iceland, the day-tour business is rife (and rightly so!). Taking advantage of them (many are free) is a great way to learn about what you’re seeing. Day tours from Reykjavik are a great place to start.

 

4. Hike around Landmannagaugar 

There are many one-day hiking trails. It will even be possible to see Brennisteinsalda, a small yet incredible volcano which sits approximately 800 meters high. However, the elevated walk only needs to be a 200-meter ascent because the service center gives you a 600-meter head start.

 

5. Fly to Keflavik international airport

Not only is Keflavik – a small, volcanic town of Reykjanes – a great place to start off the Icelandic adventure, but it is also where every major car rental presence is. It is the largest Icelandic airport by far and is therefore usually the cheapest to get to. This might be a good place to get out some money when you first arrive. However, it is worth viewing a guide to Iceland currency before taking any action.

6. Visit Askja

Contrary to the above advice – get off Ring Road! And get yourself down Askja. It can be a little dangerous to get there along the F roads, but Askja is perhaps the most beautiful place in Iceland. It is situated in the Dyngjufjoll Mountains, just next to the Vatnajökull National Park. Askja is 50 square kilometers of subsidence cauldron, which was formed by a volcanic eruption. It is worth the adventure to get there.

7. Drive the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle is a great choice when driving if you want to catch many of Iceland’s natural wonders. It is a common path taken where you can see many volcanoes and glaciers along the way. It stretches 300 km along the southern uplands and back up to Reykjavik. Geysir is the favorite stop for many, which has an active hot spring area as well as mud pits, the Strokkur (sprouting water) and explosive geysers.

8. Check out the Dettifoss waterfall

The Dettifoss waterfall is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of volume. For every second that passes, 500 cubic meters of water plummets down the 45-meter high drop. The sheer volume of water that falls comes from having a large 100-meter width. Nearby is a 34 km hiking trail with a campsite in Vesturdalur. Many European tourists will have never seen a waterfall before, and what a great place it is to start.

9. Akureyri

With many of the above natural wonders, there is a preferred time of year to visit. The great thing about visiting Akereyi, is that it is incredible all year round. Akureyri is Iceland’s second-largest city, though it is still tiny in the context to many other cities around the world. It is a charming place with many things to see, such as the Ásbyrgi canyon, the two waterfalls, and the beautiful Mývatn region. The Laufas turf homes are really worth checking out – built in 1865, they are a well-preserved example of how Icelanders lived for so long.

10. Vik

Vik is a village at the very south of Iceland. It has a population of 300, with no towns for over 50 km. You could walk around Vik and see the whole village in under an hour, although it would be nearly impossible with all the picturesque settings. There is a famous church and a few amenities. Visiting Vik is the perfect way to round off a trip to Iceland and see the slightly less-touristy side of Iceland.

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