Iceland is widely known as the “The Land of Fire and Ice,” home to some of the largest glaciers in Europe and the world’s most active volcanoes. The country is a nature lover’s paradise, things to be seen and done riddled everywhere. Many of the landmarks are also apart of myths and legend, you can hear stories of troll and elves roaming the land. If you love animal spotting, hiking, or exploring, Iceland is the place for you!
Top things to do in Iceland
Go Puffin Watching
Iceland is home to 60 per cent of the Atlantic puffin population. These puffin nest where they were born and nurture their chicks in couples. However, they can not be seen year round, they come back on land to nest and raise their chick until they fledge. This happens throughout the summertime so June to September would be the best time to catch a glimpse of these birds.
Keep in mind to be mindful and respectable when approaching the birds, they often travel and flee together as a colony. Puffins are very sociable as a colony and look at each other for protection, if one flees, others may follow suit flying in tight circles to intimidate predators from the ground.
Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon
Iceland has many geothermal pools, the Blue Lagoon is just the most well known. The pool is made with heated seawater and is believed to have many healing properties from the silica and other minerals found in the pool. Many come here to help with skin conditions and other ailments, as well as to raise their spirits.
Visit the Þingvellir Plain
Located in Þingvellir National Park, the plain is actually situated on tectonic plates where North America and Europe splitting from each other. The tear splits at a rate of 1mm to 18mm per year. This shift cause rifts and crack resulting in rivers, lakes, and rugged valleys. The Öxará River marks the western part of the plate and leads to dramatic waterfalls and eventually falls off to the Drekkingarhylur Pool.
Hike in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Anyone who loves hiking should not miss this remote part of the country. The area has always been cut off from the world and isolated, it attracts casual half-day visitors and hikers alike. You can see the sea cliffs, waterfalls, and mountains all within the terrain. The reserve is also famous for Arctic fox sightings, along with other wildlife. There is also a hunting ban in the reserves, meaning the animals are free to roam without threat.
See the Glaciers
Eleven per cent of the country’s landmass is covered by glaciers and ice, seeing these masses are a must. Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake which is filled with broken up icebergs from the tongue of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Or visit the Langjokull Glacier for some fun activities, like riding a skidoo. However, as of August 2019, Okjokull is Iceland’s first glacier to lose its status as a glacier and is predicted that many others follow suit.
Take Stroll on the Beach
Iceland is definitely not a place you would visit for the beaches. Beaches here are obviously not tropical, but the beaches here have their own uniqueness. Djúpalón Beach is a black sand beach with towering rock formations surrounding it. It is also apart on many myths and legends, and is easily accessible to the public. On the other hand, Rauðasandur Beach is filled with pink and red sand. Here you can have a stroll along the seaside and take in the scenery.