Why Visit Iceland? – Convince Me!

by | Last updated Apr 28, 2024 | Scandinavia Live Work and Play

Why Visit Iceland? There are many top things to see in Iceland, and it is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights

 

Why Visit Iceland? – Convince Me! Iceland is famously referred to as the Land of Fire and Ice, but this fascinating country is so much more than that! It is mind boggling landscapes with steaming earth and exploding volcanoes. It is freezing glaciers, majestic waterfalls, relaxing lagoons and I could go on for days! So, if you need convincing on why to visit Iceland, guest blogger Sue from Sue, Where? Why? What? Is going to convince you.

She will help you discover the top 10 reasons why you should place this epic land at the very top of your travel Wishlist. And once you know the best things to visit in Iceland you will be able to work out the best 7 day itinerary for Iceland, or will that be a 14 day itinerary for Iceland? Plus in this post, you will get details to how to best organise your one or two week Iceland itinerary to ensure you have the best holiday in Iceland so as not to miss the best places to visit in Iceland.

 

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Iceland

 

There are many great attractions in Iceland to visit, here are what I think are the top 10.

 

Volcanoes

 

Topping this list of things to visit in Iceland is the volcanoes. You can’t have fire and ice without the fire! Back in 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and sent clouds of ash & dust high into the atmosphere. It caused chaos across Europe with over 100,000 flights grounded and millions of passengers left stranded. The event put Iceland well and truly on the tourist map and confused many reporters as they tried to pronounce its name!

Back in March 2021, Mount Fagradalsfjall started spewing molten lava, and a new volcano was created in the process. It is the longest eruption the country has seen for more than 50 years & the first of new volcano in over 1000 years. What’s even better is that it lies just 40 minutes out of Reykjavik and you can hike to see it in all its explosive glory. For this reason you can base yourself in Reykjavik as visit the volcano on a day trip.

Book your day trip to Mount Fagradalsfjall here.

 

Glaciers

 

And what about the ice? And plenty of it too in the form of all the epic glaciers that freeze the landscape. So next on this list of what to see in Iceland is the glaciers.

A visit to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is a must on any trip to Iceland. The distant glacier has created what will unfortunately soon become the largest lake in Iceland. It is an education in the impact of global warming before your eyes, as well as a beautiful sight as icebergs break off & float in the lake. But you can also get up close and personal through hiking on glaciers, kayaking or taking a boat tour to gain a different perspective. 

If you want to visit the glacier on a day trip from Reykjavik, you can book it here.

 

Waterfalls

 

Female In A Red Jacket And Beige Pants Enjoying The Skogafoss Waterfall In Iceland.

Enjoy the Waterfalls!

 

What can I say about the waterfalls in Iceland? I have seen Niagara, got soaked at Victoria, stared in awe at Iguazu but was still blown away by the sheer number and epic scale of some of Iceland’s finest waterfalls. There’s one named after the Gods (Goðafoss), the one you can walk all around (Seljalandsfoss), the photogenic one used in all the films (Skógafoss) and then Gullfoss, the most famous of all. So a must see in Iceland is definitely the waterfalls so ensure you include them in your Iceland itinerary.

 

Geysers

 

What can make a country more famous than having a whole natural phenomenon named after theirs? There aren’t many Icelandic words which have made their way into other languages, but this country is home to the mother of all geysers, literally. Geysir has been sporadically active for around 800 years however, not right now. When she does blow, she can reach a height of 120 metres. The good news for visitors is that her neighbour Strokkur its explosive plume of hot water up to 30 metres into the air, roughly every 5-10 minutes. And she is magnificent!

 

Tectonic Plates

 

Iceland marks the point where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet which is responsible for all the volcanic activity and fascinating landscapes along its length. The plates are separating on an average of 2-3 centimetres each year. In Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park (part of the Golden Circle) you can snorkel in the glacial waters of the fissure. It is the only place in the world that you can experience this unique activity and one of the best things to do in Iceland on any visit. 

You can book this experience now, just click on the link here.

 

person scuba diving in the cold waters of Silfra Iceland.

What a bucket list experience to swim between the Tectonic Plates

 

Golden Circle

 

Speaking of the Golden Circle, this is the most popular tour in Iceland for good reason. After all, where else can you explore the land between two continents (Thingvellir (Þingvellir) National Park). Get soaked in spray from an epic waterfall (Gullfoss) and watch a geyser explode every 5 minutes (Strokkur)? And all in one day and in easy reach of Reykjavik?  Yep, the Golden Circle is around 300km taking some 3-4 hours to drive, add in time at some of the best things to see in Iceland and you are looking at a good day trip from Reykjavik.

You can book a Golden Circle day trip here.

 

Lagoons

 

You don’t have to delve too far into your research on Iceland to discover the Blue Lagoon. It is famous across the world for its warm, healing opaque waters. So much so that it featured on a list of National Geographics 25 Wonders of the World. But this famous lagoon isn’t the only one you can choose to relax in. You can find a pool to soak your bones practically anywhere in Iceland. The locals love to do it as well, but you will rarely meet any at the Blue Lagoon. They go to their public baths, meet their friends & pay a fraction of the price for the privilege. But if only the Blue Lagoon will do, it is the perfect stop on the way to or from Reykjavik airport.

 

Northern Lights

 

The Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis, are one of the big things that Iceland is famous for and it is a great place to attempt to see this iconic natural phenomenon. The best time to increase your chances is during the winter months from September to March. However, I was surprised to learn that they are always “ON”, it just depends on the conditions whether you can see them or not. The prerequisites are that your surroundings are dark & there are few clouds in the sky. So why not go & try your luck?

You can go on a tour leaving from Reykjavik to get a better look of the Northern Lights. Most tours include a visit to the Aurora Museum. Book your evening tour here.

 

Wildlife 

 

Icelandic horses are special. Whereas others have the gaits of walk, trot and gallop, Icelandic horses add tölt and skeið to their repertoire. Tölt is known for its speed and riding comfort. They say you can hold a pint of beer in one hand and not spill a drop while riding. Skeið on the other hand is a rhythmic gallop which makes you feel like you’re flying. ride on one of these beautiful creatures is a uniquely Icelandic experience. 

But it’s not just the horses that can tick your wildlife boxes, because who doesn’t love seeing whales in their natural habitat? Or how about puffins? Iceland is home to 60% of the worlds Atlantic Puffin population, which adds up to 6 million of these colourful beaked creatures. 

 

Reykjavik

 

Reykiavik Is The Capital Of Iceland. There are Many Colourful Buildings In The City By The Water. It Is A Great Base For Any Holiday In Iceland.

A great place to base yourself on your visit to Iceland is the capital Reykjavik

 

For anyone visiting Iceland, Reykjavik will be the first port of call on any Icelandic itinerary. Although Iceland has so much more to offer than just its capital city, by basing yourself in Reykjavik, you have all of these unbelievable landscapes and features within very easy reach. Add into that a stunning church, interesting history, a very safe environment and excellent food and why wouldn’t you?

I hope I have been able to convince you to visit Iceland. And if you do, trust me, you will not be disappointed! So why visit Finland – I think Sue just convinced me! Now you know some of the best things to see in Iceland, it is time to organise your Iceland holiday.

 

Organise Your Iceland Holiday

 

Now to organise your Iceland trip.

 

Best time to visit Iceland

 

If wondering when the best time to visit Iceland is, well, considering Iceland is a country that has long cold winters, the summer months of June through August really is the best time to go. And yes, there will be plenty of other people touring around Iceland then to, but the days will be long and the weather at its best. But if it is your aim to see the Northern Lights, then the best time to visit Iceland will be between September and March. Just make sure you take the appropriate clothing to the time of year you choose to visit Iceland.

 

How to Get to Iceland

 

There are two ways to reach Iceland. First by air, on a plane landing at The Keflavik Airport located some 30 miles outside of the centre of Reykjavik. There are plenty of shuttles that will get you into the centre of Reykjavik in about 40 minutes. There is also the public bus 55 or you can take the most expensive option, a taxi. Depending on your itinerary in Iceland you may want to rent a car at the airport. You can get details of cars here.

Another option to get to Iceland is to take a ferry. The M/S Norröna sails weekly from Denmark to Iceland via the Faroe Islands. So if you want to bring your own vehicle to Iceland, this is the way to go.

 

Where to stay in Iceland – Your Iceland Accommodation options

 

As Sue mentioned, a great place to base yourself for your visit to Iceland is in the capital Reykjavik. There are a number of accommodation options depending on your budget.

Hostels: Galaxy Pod Hostel is comfortable, relaxing and cozy offering a bed in a dormitory room or a capsule. Check availability and pricing for Galaxy Pod Hostel here. Another hostel, Loft – HI Hostel, features a lounge, bar and a rooftop terrace with a city view. Check availability and pricing for Loft – HI Hostel here.
Budget Note: Travel Inn Guest-house is found in the heart of Reykjavik and is a short (mostly) stroll to some of the popular attractions. Check availability and pricing for Travel Inn Guesthouse here.
Splurge Hotel: Canopy by Hilton is in a popular spot in Reykjavik and offers all the services you would need. Check availability and pricing for Canopy by Hilton here.

For other accommodation options in Reykjavik check out the options following.

 

Booking.com

How to Long Spend in Iceland

 

How long have you got? If seven days in Iceland is all you have, then you will get to see plenty. This is because Iceland is a small island. If you drive the Iceland Ring Road, known as Route 1, that takes you around the island, the loop is 825 miles or 1,328km long which can be driven in 2 days. But as you will want to make many stops along the way, a 7 day Iceland itinerary will let you see some of the best places to visit in Iceland. If you have time, you could always extend this to a 14 day Iceland itinerary. A suggested 7 day itinerary could include:

Day

1 – Arrive in Reykjavik, settle in your accommodation and get to know Reykjavik.
2 – Reykjavik
3 – day trip to volcano
4 – day trip to waterfalls
5 – Golden Circle day trip
6 – day trip to Geysirs and other hot springs
7 – Reykjavik and leave

or

1 – Arrive in Reykjavik, settle in your accommodation and get to know Reykjavik
2 – Reykjavik
3 -7 – hire a car and follow Iceland Ring Road taking in the Golden Circle before leaving from Reykjavik

 

Extend your holiday in Iceland on a working holiday. Get the lowdown on working holiday visas for Scandinavia here.

 

Are You Ready to Visit Iceland?

 

Why Visit Iceland? Here's 10 Reasons Why Including Seeing The Northern Lights. Green Lights In The Sky.

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Sharyn McCullum Sailing Through The Panama Canal With Storm Chasing Boat.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

10 Comments

  1. Ava

    Every time I read about Iceland I am amazed by the beauty and diversity of the country. I’d love to see the Northern Lights there.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I know right! I loved Sue’s reasons to travel to Iceland. I can’t wait to get there myself!

      Reply
  2. Cris

    Iceland is for me, like it is for many people, a bucket list destination. There are so many amazing sights and natural beauty. And I just love how colorful the buildings in Rekjiavik are.

    Reply
  3. Lucia

    Iceland was set on my travel plans till covid hit then I forgot all about it but now I’m really looking forward to visiting there soon. Other than the northern lights, I’d love to dive and see the tectonic plates and also dip in their lagoons. Definitely lots to do and explore. Thanks for the informative article.

    Reply
  4. Angela Price

    I loved Iceland; such a dramatic landscape. Did you do the tectonic plate dive?

    Reply
  5. Samantha

    I’m going to be honest – you didn’t need to convince me, but I devoured this whole post anyways. Iceland is hands DOWN one of the most magical spots I’ve ever visited. We loved every single day. I hope to go back soon!

    Reply
  6. Jan

    Iceland has long been in my bucket list. I enjoyed reading your blog post with the best things to see including waterfalls, geysers, volcanos, northern lights (if we are lucky) and glaciers. I am bookmarking your blog post for my future reference. 🙂

    Reply
  7. Melissa

    I just love Iceland! Went there last summer and I still think about that trip every day! I’ll definitely be back!

    Reply
  8. Eriel Cleveland

    Two months ago, my friend and I went to Iceland, and we had a BLAST! Our favorite moment was the Northern Lights, and it was a sight to see! Great read!

    Reply
  9. Tess

    I tend to avoid cold-weathered destinations when I travel, so I never thought too much about visiting Iceland, but you definitely have convinced me to add it to the list! It seems like such an amazing country with such diverse landscapes. Thanks for such an informative post!

    Reply

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