10 really cool things to see in Iceland
There are so many amazing things to see in Iceland.
We visited Iceland back in August of 2015 and we still get questions every now and then about where we went, what we did and what our favorite things were! Why not write a blog post 3 years later?!
There are COUNTLESS things you can do and see while in Iceland. Really, the only disappointment you’ll encounter is not having enough time to see and do everything! That being said, we recommend spending at least a week if you’re able to take the time to go.
We spent the first 4 days of our trip on a backpacking trek of the Laugavegur Trail. We can’t recommend this enough. This trip alone deserves its own post, so I’ll be writing one in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Without further adieu, here are the 10 really amazing things to see in Iceland.
1. Geothermal Springs
Iceland is a hotbed for geothermal activity (no pun intended!). We knew we needed to check out the hot springs while visiting. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to hit up the Blue Lagoon, which is a very popular hot springs destination close to Reykjavik. However, we enjoyed the natural hot springs in Landmannalaugar (at the start of our backpacking trek) and the in Myvatn Nature Baths on the way to Akureyri.
2. Eldhraun Lava Fields
First of all, moss covered lava is freaking cool as shit (pardon my French). If taking the Ring Road counterclockwise, you’ll drive through moss covered lava fields in just a few hours of leaving Reykjavik! Try to take paths that are marked that way you’re not damaging the moss by walking directly on it.
I may have lost count of how many waterfalls we saw in Iceland. Some of the waterfalls we saw included Seljalandsfoss, Skógafoss, and Goðafoss. Our favorite waterfall (which name I couldn’t find) you could literally walk into and was a short walk from Seljalandsfoss (to the left). You head away from the more touristy area, find a path that heads into the rock and trek through some slippery rocks. If you don’t mind getting wet, it’s worth the short trek!
4. Icelandic Horses
If traveling the ring road you’ll see plenty of Icelandic Horses. They are the only breed of horse in Iceland and no other breeds are allowed in. We think they’re quite majestic but they’re also pretty friendly and curious too! If you can safely pull off the road, we’d recommend stopping for a meet + greet!
Try saying that 5 times fast! Landmannalaugar is the name for the beautiful mountains of the Icelandic Highlands. These mountains here are pretty unique. The stark landscape and beautiful colors mixed with snow/ice are one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. As I mentioned before, this was the start of our backpacking trek and we took a very burly tour bus to get there. You can book a hiking passport (a bus ticket that takes you to the trailhead) by visiting this bus website.
They say to reserve in advance, though if I remember correctly we just went straight to the station the evening before and were able to book tickets for the next day.
6. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
We didn’t know what to expect when we arrived at Jökulsárlón. Simply breathtaking. At the far edge of the lagoon is a glacier that calves and fills the lagoon with beautiful icebergs of all shapes and sizes. The icebergs are slowly (over many years) making their way to the shortest river in Iceland and out to the Atlantic.
BONUS: Cross the Ring Road (Rt 1) and head to the black sand beach across the road to check out the ice that’s been washed up on shore. If you’re cool like us, you’ll drink Icelandic vodka with glacial ice in your camp mug!
7. The tiny town of Seydisfijordur
Seydisfijordur is a small, quaint little fishing village nestled in one of the East Fjords. The town was great but the best part was was the windy roads down to the village where there were dozens of cascades flowing down and lush green scenery surrounded you. Oh and sheep too. Many, many sheep.
8. Mudpots of Mývatn
Seriously, if I could image what Mordor would be like… this is it! You’re surrounded by smoke rising from the earth and giant pots of boiling mud. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the first explorer to stumble upon this in the night!
9. Snæfellsnes Peninsula
We heard a lot of great things about the West Fjords, but due to lack of time, we decided to check out the Snæfellsnes Peninsula instead. We were not disappointed! Quaint little towns, waterfalls and ocean views. Plus, this just meant we needed to make a trip back to Iceland in the future to check out everything we couldn’t see the first time.
10. The Vibrant City of Reykjavik
We do wish we had a little more time to explore Reykjavik. They have so many amazing restaurants, bars, shops, and museums. Plus the music scene is great too! If you’re looking for cheap lodging, the backpacker’s hostel/bar on the main Laugavegur Street came highly recommended. We stayed in an Airbnb a few nights at the beginning of our trip and spent one night at the end of our trip at this campground right in Reykjavik which was awesome! Hot showers, wifi and a nice community of fellow campers/trekkers. Plus, you’re only 3km from the center of town!
Our Iceland Trip 2015
Here’s a map we created via Snazzy Maps that corresponds to the “10 cool places to see in Iceland” based on our trip in 2015. As we mentioned, we were there in August. We’d love to return to Iceland sometime during the winter to see the aurora borealis.
We’d love to hear if this post was helpful to you or if you have any questions at all – give us a shout in the comments below.
All photos in this post are subject to copyright and are original images by Jay Rogan. If you’d like to use them, please reach out!