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.

Where to see puffins: Dyrhólaey, southernmost point of Iceland, Heimaey island in Vestmannaeyjar, Ingólfshöfði, one and a half hour drive east of Dyrhólaey. Papey island, just off Djúpivogur, East Iceland, Borgarfjörður eystri. Grímsey island, north of Iceland, and the only place which touches the Arctic circle in Iceland, and finally, Látrabjarg cliff in the West Fjords.
Puffin Island, Iceland

Photo: dbrooker1 via Flickr

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.

Iceland blue lagoon

Photo: facrice via Flickr

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.

Pingvellir Plain, Iceland

Photo: Duncan Stonebridge via Flickr

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.

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Iceland

Photo: Rob Oo via Flickr

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.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake, Iceland

Photo: Christian Keller via Flickr

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.

Djúpalón Beach, Iceland

Photo: David Cobb via Flickr

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