Your Guide to All of Iceland's Most Incredible Sights
Discover Why Iceland Is on So Many Bucket Lists
Iceland’s name is a bit of a misnomer. It actually has a fairly mild climate for its northern locale, and in the summer it boasts a practically endless intensely green landscape dotted with other-worldly volcanic rock formations, glacial rivers and cascading waterfalls.
It’s also become one of the hottest vacation destinations on the planet, in particular for traveling alone. But for a country that many people don’t know much about, it can be difficult to know what to do in Iceland.
If you’re fortunate enough to be making a trip to this “Land of Fire and Ice,” be sure to experience these Iceland points of interest.
Hallgrimskirja Church, Reykjavik
When visiting Iceland, you’ll likely begin your journey in the colorful capital of Reykjavik. There are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik to keep you entertained, but one of the best ways to start your trip is to take in the panoramic view from the top of Hallgrimskirkja Church.
You’ll not only be able to soak up the gorgeous vista of the city, the sea and soaring mountains beyond, but it’s a great way to get a perspective of the city’s layout before visiting its shops, galleries and unique museums like the Icelandic Phallological Museum.
Located atop Skolavorduhaed Hill, this impressive church was inspired by the beautiful columnar basalt of Svartifoss waterfall. In front of the church is a statue of Leif Ericsson, an early explorer who discovered North America in the year 1,000, centuries before Christopher Columbus.
After you’ve taken in the view, get a taste of community by visiting the Northern Lights Bar at the ION Luxury Adventure hotel, one of the best pubs in the world.
Soak in the Blue Lagoon
Located just a short drive or shuttle bus trip from Keflavik International Airport, the Blue Lagoon may be touristy, but it’s really not-to-be-missed when it comes to things to do in Iceland. Ideal for soaking away jet lag after you arrive, or saving for the grand finale, Iceland’s most famous pool offers an unforgettable experience.
Soothe your cares away in the milky, warm, aquamarine waters that are surrounded by black lava rocks, occasionally swimming out to the bar that sits in the middle of the lagoon to sip strawberry champagne, enjoy a beer or healthier beverages like green smoothies.
Take the experience up a notch by requesting an in-water massage or indulging in one of the many skin enhancing treatments like volcanic rock scrubs and algae face masks.
Photo Credit: K.C. Dermody
The Golden Circle
This approximately 100-mile-long route boasts some of the nation’s most stunning sights, including waterfalls and geysers. The Continental Divide is also along this route, where you can actually walk on a path in the rift valley between the North American and Eurasian plates.
You can even go diving in the strikingly clear waters that have been filtered through the surrounding lava fields from a nearby glacier.
The Haukadalur geothermal area is another highlight, home to two famous geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. Geysir, the original geyser for which all the others were named, no longer erupts, but Strokkur explodes about every 10 minutes, shooting water 100 feet into the air.
Visitors can also walk along the path to the geysers and spot numerous vents with steam rising from the earth, as well as mud pots and fumaroles.
Golden Falls, or Gullfoss Falls, is just a short drive from the geysers. Its powerful waters plunge 100 feet into a canyon, producing a thick mist and frequent rainbows.