Cultural Experience | All Destinations

8 Tips for Exploring Iceland

Iceland is the perfect destination if you’re looking for the unexpected.

Pack appropriately

Iceland is close to the Arctic Circle, which means the temperature will be cool no matter what time of year you visit. If you’ll be traveling through Iceland during the fall or winter months, be sure to pack your winter clothing, including a hat, scarf, gloves, knit socks and of course a long, thick parka. Waterproof snow boots are also a must! If you’re visiting during the spring and summer months, make sure you bring a few warmer outfits, including sweaters and jeans. Summer in Iceland can still be rather chilly.

– Brooke Stafford

Don’t forget your camera

Iceland is every photographer’s dream. It’s untouched beauty makes it seem like a place in a fairy tale. Landmannalaugar is a great destination to photograph, with it’s multicolored rhyolite mountains that create a beautiful surreal landscape. Landmannalaugar is home to the Hekla volcano and several different lava fields. It’s natural lush landscape is a sight everyone needs to experience, and take pictures of!

– Jonathan Drapinski

Image credit to: Ben Rissler

Image credit to: Ben Rissler

Visit Reykjavik- “Iceland’s Capital of Cool”

With traditionally built, wooden houses and small, packed shops, Reykjavik has a small town feel. While staying here, make sure you take a walk around downtown. It is very compact, so it is easy to tour by foot and since there is under-road heating to keep the roads clear of snow, your feet will never get cold!

The beautiful Hallgrimskirkja Church is a must see and is conveniently seen from pretty much everywhere in Reykjavik! This is the city’s most imposing building with the spire rising 244 feet above the town. The wonderful part about it is that there is an observation deck that you can take a lift to get up to. It is a breathtaking view and it is well worth the 700 ISK (equals approx 4.50 euros!).

– Paige Wagner

See the Northern Lights

Take a trip to Iceland during the winter! The daylight hours are short but this means you can gaze at the Northern Lights all you want. Go outside the city lights to see them.

– Sammy McIsaac


Visit Snæfellsjökull National Park

Snæfellsjökull National Park (or Snow Fell Glacier) is a truly natural experience. Located on a peninsula in western Iceland, this park is a must-see with its coastal relationship and nearness to Reykjavik (this is a possible day trip from the capital). With a landscape that has been shaped by the Ice Age, this national park offers such original earthly sights. This park is home to a glacier-topped volcano, “singing” caves (Sönghellir), moss covered lava fields, and misty waterfalls (Rauðfeldargjá- hidden inside a gorge). This national park will impart a deep appreciation for the power of earthly wonder on anyone who visits.

– Kristin Naujok


Go Whale Watching

With 23 different whale species to be found in Iceland, it’s no wonder this country has some of the best whale watching in Europe. Whale watching is best to do during the summer months where the success rate of seeing whales is much higher. While there are some places on land to whale watch, taking a boat tour can provide amazing up-close opportunities. Types of whales that frequent the coastline include humpback, sperm, killer, orca and blue whales.

When choosing a company to tour with, make sure to do your research regarding their code of conduct and stance on whale meat consumption, which is a problem several tour programs are campaigning against. Tours can be found leaving from most cities around the country including Reykjavík, Dalvik, Húsavík, Grundarfjordur and Ólafsvík.

– Rachel Jenkins

Image credit to: Angela Serednicki

Image credit to: Angela Serednicki

Walk the beaches

When you think of visiting Iceland, you probably don’t picture yourself wandering along golden beaches at sunset, but if you visit Breiðavík in the northwest region of Iceland, this is exactly what you can do! Unlike the beaches of Spain, Greece and other summer destinations, this beach will provide you with expanses of untouched sand to explore – all without the cheap ice cream vendors or hoards of tourists to annoy you! Make sure you stay for sunset to watch the sky turn to fire above the brilliant blue Atlantic. Bring a tent and camping bag and fall asleep to the sound of the waves breaking on the shore or stay at one of the few guesthouses nearby.

– Veronica White

Have a spa day

If you’re in Iceland, visiting the blue lagoon geothermal spa is an absolute must! This large spa filled with warm water is rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur which is known for being great for the skin. Many people visit to dip into the bathing/swimming area where temperatures are on average 99-102 degrees. This attraction was man-made and gets its water from a nearby geothermal power plant. The spa is kept very clean and it is required for those to shower before dipping in. It is not only relaxing but a beautiful place to visit!

– Alyssa San Agustin

Read more on Iceland from Author, Ben Rissler here and solo travel from Author Angela Serednicki here

Brooke Stafford

Pennsylvania State University | 11 stories

Brooke is currently a senior studying public relations and psychology at Penn State University. She is a curious mind, a social media enthusiast and well-traveled daydreamer. When she isn't fantasizing about her next big adventure, she is drinking chai, napping, or scrolling through

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