Iceland is the bucket list of all bucket list destinations. A trip to Iceland is one of the most surreal adventures you will ever go on and is most definitely a once in a lifetime adventure. My 5-day road trip around Iceland is still one of my favourite adventures to date.
I actually got to enjoy Iceland as a holiday, I got to enjoy a slow-paced van life adventure around this island and it was just insane. Iceland is full of extraordinarily beautiful landscapes and stunning volcanic terrain. It feels like the closest thing to life on another planet. Iceland can be an expensive place to visit but it’s honestly worth every single penny and of course there are ways to save money in Iceland. If you’re looking for things to do in Iceland or places to visit in Iceland, or wondering what to see and do in Iceland, I promise you that you’re in for an absolute treat.
Whether you want to wake and watch the sunrise as you sit on volcanic sands, trek across glaciers, or soak up the benefits of a natural hot spring, there are so many awesome things to do in Iceland (in winter and in summer!). From things to do on Iceland’s south coast to things to do in Iceland’s golden circle, and even some cheap things to do in Iceland, this blog post will fill your Iceland bucket list with ideas and inspiration for planning your trip.
Longer days, warmer temperatures, whale watching and beautiful hiking routes make Iceland in summer (May-September) very popular, although for the Northern Lights, it’s best to go in September/October or February/March. November-January really lacks daylight, and on the flipside, in Iceland in July there is the midnight sun (little to no dark hours!) which can take time for your body to adjust to.
There are loads of things to do in Reykjavík, including visiting Hallgrímskirkja Church, engaging in the Icelandic bathing culture at a local swimming pool, admiring the brightly coloured buildings, street art, and city pond, getting a bargain at the flea market, immersing yourself in art and culture, exploring the food scene and night life, and marvelling at view of the city from Perlan on Öskjuhlíð hill. Reykjavík is also a really good base for whale watching tours, a trip to the Blue Lagoon, or a starting point for the infamous Golden Circle.
Driving the Golden Circle is one of the top things to do in Iceland and with the amount of landmarks you can see when you take this route, it’s easy to see why. The three most popular attractions on the Golden Circle route are the Gullfoss Waterfall, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, and these can be done in a day trip. If you are self-driving though, I fully recommend spending longer on this route, stopping off in more places, and really enjoying the ‘life on another planet’ that Iceland has to offer.
The Blue Lagoon is Iceland’s most visited attraction and one of the top things to do in Iceland. Located just 15 minutes from Keflavík Airport and 30 minutes from Reykjavík, it makes for the perfect start or finish of your Icelandic adventure. The Blue Lagoon is a (man-made) geothermic pool, and the water is approximately 39°C all year round… pure bliss! The milky-blue water and silica mud have amazing benefits for your skin, and the lagoon is surrounded by volcanic terrain and stunning landscapes. If you’re there in winter, it’s also a great place to catch the Northern Lights and the sunrise too!
A chillier lagoon experience compared to the Blue Lagoon, but Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the top places to visit in Iceland and what better way to see it than from the water! Jökulsárlón is full of icebergs made of ice that is over 1,000 years old. As the glacier lagoon increases in size and the glacier itself retreats, the effects of global warming are becoming more and more visible. Explore the lagoon on a kayaking or boat tour, or simply admire it from the shore. It’s unique colour comes from the combination of sea and fresh water, and you frequently see seals dipping in and out of the water here.