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