This is the ultimate guide for things to do in Iceland in 2020.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover many exciting things to do in Iceland so that you can have the best experience possible during your trips.
To make this guide complete, we’ve asked 3 of Iceland’s most experienced guides, so we can show you the best things to do in Iceland during your days here.
So if you want to read the tips of the best guides in Iceland, you’ll love this guide.
Let’s get started.
Here’s our content table where you can check everything that we’ll cover.
Things To Do At Iceland & Iceland Travel Experiences
Iceland is well-known for being located so far north, so most of the people think that the country is perpetually covered in ice and snow.
However, underground Iceland is one of the most volcanic regions in the world because of the significant number of active volcanoes that are ready to erupt at any moment.
Iceland Things To Do
All of this geothermal activity allows you to enjoy many ancient natural warm pools and spas such as the famous Blue Lagoon.
All of these healthy spa options can be combined with the engaging capital of Reykjavik, which offers one of the best-hidden nightlife and dining scenes in Europe.
With this in mind, you need to know that near Reykjavik.
You can find amazing natural phenomenons like underground caves, glittering glaciers, volcanoes, geothermal lakes, and magnificent national parks, which are covered with wandering reindeer.
That was to say that whatever you are looking for, Iceland probably has it, so keep reading.
What should you avoid in Iceland?
Here are 4 things you should avoid doing during your days in Iceland.
1. Don’t Tip. It’s not needed in Iceland.
2. Don’t think that everything you’ll do in Iceland will be expensive.
3. Don’t buy bottled water. (There’s no matter if you’ll use the tap or you’ll buy a bottle)
4. Don’t do grocery shopping in 10/11 (10/11 is a shop’s brand in Iceland)
What is the best time of year to go to Iceland?
The best time to go to Iceland is from May to August.
During these months, the temperatures are pleasant, and the days are long.
However, this is the high travel season, so the flights, tours, and hotels should be booked earlier.
If you’ve missed the high season, April and September are no way inferior to the months above.
So keep reading, and you’ll learn our tips on the perfect time for visiting every sightseeing in Iceland.
How many days do you need to explore Iceland?
You need to spend at least five days in Iceland, so you can have an epic day trip experience.
If you go for fewer days, you won’t have enough time in Iceland, beyond the Reykjavik and the western section of the South Coast.
This country has everything for people searching for fresh experience during their days in Iceland, so keep reading to see our tips for visiting the most famous sightseeings.
Our advice for you is, starting at 8-10 days or more, so you can enjoy the natural beauty in all its glory.
Iceland Things to Do
Visit The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is rated at the top of Iceland’s tourist spots.
It is located on the south coast of Iceland, and Many people believe that the Blue Lagoon is a natural spring, having said that the Blue Lagoon isn’t one of them.
The heating is a result of runoff from the geothermal plant, which uses the Icelandic volcanic landscape.
And here’s the difference between the hot spring and the Blue Lagoon.
As you maybe already know, the famous Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions during all days of the year.
What do we mean with this?
It’s that the Blue Lagoon is also one of the most amazing things to do in Iceland for the crowds, which are peaking between June and September.
Our advice for you is going there during the winter months because they’re typically the calmest.
You’ll have perfect chances for watching the dramatic northern lights if you book a ticket for the night hours.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the perfect days of the week…
The middle of the week is the least crowded period for going there.
Tuesday and Wednesday are the two least crowded days of the week, but the day is not that important as the moment of the day you visit the Blue Lagoon.
If you book your ticket for the early morning, you won’t see waiting for lines or crowds. There will be only 20-25 people during the first hour after the opening.
It’s almost the same during the late evening, so if you book your ticket, for example, 2 hours before they close it will be good for you.
Moreover, if you follow our advice and go during the winter, you’ll have a chance for seeing the Northern Lights, which are filling the sky while you’re swimming and having fun.
Do the Golden Circle with Snowmobiling or Snorkelling
The Golden Circle is one of the best things to do in Iceland.
It’s comprised of three big attractions:
- Þingvellir National Park
- Haukadalur Geothermal Valley
- Gullfoss Waterfall
The most visitors are visiting the Golden Circle during the morning, but there are many others who choose to undertake the route out over a single day.
For a perfect experience, some tourists are adding a snowmobiling or snorkeling tour during their Golden Circle Tour experience.
Þingvellir National Park is home for one of the top 10 snorkeling spots in the world, and its name is Silfra.
Furthermore, it’s famous for many reasons, and one of them is the aesthetic beauty of nature here.
As well as the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, standing exposed from the Earth.
The hot spring Geysir and Strokkur are located in Haukadalur, Golden Circle.
An interesting fact here is that the water of these two springs erupts to 20 m high in every five minutes.
The third and final stop of the Golden Circle is the Gullfoss waterfall.
So keep reading to learn why the Gullfoss Waterfall is worth visiting.
Visit Snæfellsjökull National Park
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the home of the Snæfellsjökull National Park which is best known for its fantastic glacier called Snæfellsjökull.
On the other hand, the glacier is not the only thing that you can enjoy on the snæfellsnes peninsula.
On the peninsula, you’ll also see fantastic lava fields and tubes combined with the wide range of local flora and fauna.
If you love nature, the whale or bird watching can be the perfect activity for you.
The Snæfellsjökull National Park has a plethora of local coastal species that you might love to see.
In fact, coastal life is not everything that the national park has to offer…
…Also, there are plenty of beautiful hiking trails where you can climb up and walk the Earth by Jules Verne.
The park is covered with attractive hiking trails, and you can climb up and walk along the glacier, depending on the time of year.
Interestingly, it is this glacier that was featured at Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.
See the Northern Lights
Not a long time ago, the capital Reykjavik went fully dark after the City Council turned off all kinds of lights on the streets such as street lamps and also encouraged residents for turning off their views too.
The reason behind this is the goal, which is very simple.
Limit the light pollution, so the city can provide the best view of the aurora borealis or its more popular name – the Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights are one of the most famous things to do in Iceland because they are stirring the imagination of almost everyone.
There are so many people all around the globe whose dream is seeing the aurora.
And that’s not surprising as once the dramatic light show begins, you can take your eyes off because it’s giving you a great experience.
So if you search for something amazing, the Northern Lights are one of the most beautiful things that you can see at Iceland.
The best time to spot them is from the start of September until mid-April.
However, if you want to know the best time to go to Iceland, especially in 2020, you can check this complete guide.
Go on a Whale Watching Tour
How many people can say that they have seen the Blue Whale in the wild?
The answer is simple: only those who have been on a whale watching tour.
One of the most famous species that you can see during your tour is the Minke Whales and the Humpback Whales.
By contrast, there’s also a chance for spotting animals such as Killer Whales and Fin Whales.
However that whales are not the only animal that you can spot during your tour.
Also, there is a wide range of seabirds, such as the Arctic Tern, Guillemots, Skuas, and even the colorful Puffins.
Some of the most famous towns for whale watching tours are the capital Reykjavík, Husavík, and Akureyri.
Our recommended city to add in your list for whale watching is Husavík because it’s considered as Iceland’s whale watching capital.
The reason behind this is that many of the whales’ traffic pass through Husavík’s fjords.
Vatnajokull glacier is considered as Europe’s largest glacier, with its area of 8100 km2. And it’s one of the best attractions in Iceland.
An interesting fact about this Icelandic natural phenomenon is that it’s covering more than 1/8 of the country, which is amazing.
The normal thickness of the ice is around 400m, but there are places where you can see ice, which is with more than 900 m of thickness, which makes it a great adventure for most travelers.
Vatnajokull is the only one cap glacier in Iceland except for the Myrdalsjokull glacier.
There’s no other glacier that has more water drain to the sea or more precipitation fall than on the south side of Vatnajokull.
Another interesting fact about Vatnajokull is that there are stored so much water that even Olfusa, which is well-known for being the greatest flow of Iceland, will need over around 190-200 years to carry it all to the sea.
There are some volcanoes under the ice cap, as under many other glaciers at Iceland.
Thirty outlet glaciers are flowing from the Vatnajokull ice cap, and one of these outlet glaciers is called Breidamerkurjokull.
The glacier is ending in one of the most popular tourists’ attractions in Iceland- Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon.
Vatnajokull National Park
Near the glacier, there’s one more place which is worth visiting.
It’s called The Vatnajokull National Park, which was established back in 2008.
Moreover, this is one of Europe’s largest national parks.
So if you want to visit one of the unique places of the world, you can see a great combination of dynamic ice cap and outlet glaciers, active volcanic activity, and scenic mountain grandeur.
Where to spot the Ice Caves in Vatnajokull?
One more fantastic place that you can visit during your stay at the national park is the ice caves in Vatnajokull.
If you’ve ever seen a photo of an ice cave, you know that the ice cave is a hell of a travel destination.
It’s normal such a natural wonder to be hosted in the largest glacier in Europe.
So visitors from all around the globe are taking the opportunity to spot the naturally formed ice cave at Vatnajokull National Park.
There’s one key thing to remember here, and it’s that the only time you can see the ice cave is during the WinterWinter.
So check when is the best time to go to Iceland for many other destinations here.
Have a Dip in a Natural Hot Pool.
Iceland is a young country, so that means that much of its landscape is still geothermally active.
All of this is used to churning mud pools, which are steaming volcanic vents and erupting springs.
One of the most famous of them is the Strokkur, which is included on the Golden Circle sightseeing tour.
Coupled with that visiting in a geothermally active country is not that bad, because there are plenty of natural hot pools which are dotted in the landscape waiting for you to give you the needed great experience.
If you’re looking for a functional medicine counter jet lag or a hangover, maybe one of the many hot springs tours in the Golden Circle can be helpful.
It’s a great place to have a rest and also kick back with a beer if you want to.
Furthermore, if you plan your trip carefully, you can be inside the spring under the lights of the Northern Lights, which can be one of your best experiences for life.
Visit Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland, and it’s located on the south-west coast of the country.
There’s a big airport welcoming tourists from all around the world.
But what makes this town so great?
Maybe it’s the thriving cafes, incredible high-energy clubs, brightly colored old town, or the friendly pubs…
There’s one thing you can be sure about, and it’s that you’ll need a few extra days if you really want to get a feel for the café culture and the art of this city.
You’ll love the party life at Reykjavik, Iceland.
Icelanders just know hot to drink, give you the best experience, and if you’re a night owl, you can become one of them and spend a lot of fun time in the Icelandic bars and clubs.
Also, during the summer season in June, July, and August, there are plenty of puffin and whale watching tours available from the capital Reykjavik.
The Besalt column places in Iceland
There are only two main premises when choosing which to explore from the many basalt column places at Iceland.
There are two factors which are important to check before visiting these type of rock formations.
Firstly the place needs to be a joy to visit and secondly it needs to be easy to access.
So we’ve chosen 4 of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.
All of them are great for photography and easily accessible.
So check out our top 4 Basalt columns to visit in Iceland.
1. Stuðlagil canyon in Jökuldalur, Iceland
Stuðlagil canyon is located at Jökuldalur valley at the Northeastern Region in Iceland.
It’s well-known for being one of the most beautiful basalt column attractions on Earth and a favorite spot to explore.
The cliff formation around the turquoise blue river is just incredible.
Once you’re done in the canyon, you’ll feel like you’ve just entered another world.
The Basalt column has many forms, and all of them are simply unique and can be called gold for photographers from all around the world.
So if you want to see the mother’s nature art don’t think twice and just keep Gerðuberg is located at Snæfellsnes Peninsula, and it’s an almost unbelievably regular cliff which is composed of many basalt column stacks.
First, when you’re looking from the road, it can seem like any other cliff in the landscape…
…However, once you approach, you can see the real beauty of this amazing natural wonder opening up.
There are two options for you.
The first one is to observe the stack from below, and the second one is to make the same from above.
The key thing to remember here is that you don’t need steep climbing.
Here like near any basalt column attraction, you can capture many exciting moments, so you can make the best photos for the social media to show off your adventure.
Learn more and more perfect places to visit during your stay there.
In past Iceland, haven’t become a favorite destination for tourists, so Reynisfjara was never a big attraction because almost only the locals traveled the south coast during the summer season.
However, now this place is invented as one of the best Icelandic tourist experiences to explore by our guides.
And there’s a reason behind that…
One of the best parts of Reynisfjara is its basalt column cliff, which is by the black beach.
So the picture above is only one of the thousands of photos floating the internet taken of people who have climbed the basalt column in Reynisfjara.
Hljóðaklettar or also known as Echo Cliffs, is something remembering of wonderland.
It’s constructed by patient people who are dedicated to detail rather than by the hand of mother nature.
When you arrive, you can be tempted to think that this is a bit strange. Every rock formation there can be fuel for your imagination, so it’s perfect if you need a right place for thinking time.
This is the perfect place to understand why Icelanders are so interested in stories about elves or small people living in a cliff.
Westfjords are located on the northwest coast of Iceland, and they are not that much-traveled as the most other corners of the country, because of their vastness and distance from the other “must-see” destinations.
However, it’s not a bad idea to add them to your list, planning where to book your hotel.
For instance, some of them are the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, Lake Myvatn, and the sites of the Golden Circle.
Having said that, this means nothing about the incredible wonders to be found here.
In fact, this is one of the most beautiful and spectacular areas of the country.
It has dramatic landscapes and untouched nature, which is featured throughout the whole country.
This is one of the places in Iceland which has a lack of tourist traffic, and it’s because people just don’t know what they can see and experience here.
However, there’s no matter if you’re hiker, photographer, biker, road-tripper, adrenaline junkie, history Budd, wildlife enthusiast, or just an average traveler, you can find so many incredible places that will match your personal need in this fantastic region.
Iceland can brag with the largest lava flow in the world.
It’s called Eldhraun and is situated along the Icelandic south coast.
Why is the Icelandic south coast definitely a must-visit attraction?
Let us tell you…
It’s created during the Laki eruption in the late 18th century, and the enormous 565 km2 site is of both geologic and historical importance as well as being a place to explore the Icelandic flora and fauna.
An exciting fact about this place is that here the Apollo 11 crew did their pieces of training for the impending moonwalk back in 60 st, because of its similarity to the surface of the moon.
Behind the creation of the immense lava field stays, the eruption lasted from 1783 to 1784.
This eruption is considered the most poisonous to date.
The moss which covers the lava field took decades to grow, but Eldhraun lava field is very fragile, so nobody is allowed to explore the lava field while walking on it.
If you want to experience adventure and take some incredible photos of the attractions is by stopping at one of the parkings which are just off the Ring Road.
There are sharp and black lava rocks that can be easily spotted when jutting from beneath the soft green moss.
Visit Iceland’s tectonic plates
When you hear about tectonic plates, the first thing that come to mind is that you need to go back to your eighth-grade science class.
So let us tell you more things about them.
Most tectonic plate boundaries are located under the waters.
However, there’s one particular place in Iceland where you can quickly see two different tectonic plates that are above the ground.
The Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates are meeting in Thingvellir.
There they become visible to visitors who are walking through the Thingvellir National Park.
Many people recognize them because they are part of season 4 of the popular movie “Game of Thrones,” so if you’re a fan of it, this could be one more reason to go to Iceland during 2020.
In fact, this place is part of the famous Golden Circle, which, as we already told above, is one of the most popular tourist routes.
It’s for tourists who want to see the national park and the plates where Iceland’s first parliament used to meet.
Once you’re there, you can also practice incredible activities to do like scuba diving or snorkeling in the crack between the plates whose name is Silfra.
This is the perfect place to touch both plates at the same moment, but also one of the best places to see some of the clearest water on Earth.
Explore the Lake Myvatn Geothermal Area, Iceland
The geological and geothermal wonderland called Akureyri is also known for being the “Capital of the North.”
There you can find the Lake Mývatn Area.
The area contains a series of lakes which are formed between some of the biggest eruptions before millions of years ago.
If you take a tour of Myvatn during one of your days at Iceland, you can reach many different hidden gems end enjoy many Icelandic natural attractions.
There are also many other things to do and hidden gems that visitors can reach by taking a tour of Myvatn.
However, that’s not all here.
You can spot dozens of bird species that stay near the waters during the summer season.
There’s something for those with interest at flora…
They can see some moss balls, which can’t be spotted anywhere on Earth.
On the other hand, the geology surrounding Mývatn is even more spectacular.
The Dimmuborgir or also known as the Black Fortress is a very dramatic expanse of lava, which is located in the Lake Mývatn area.
This is one of the most famous tourists’ spots in Iceland.
Another great place to visit here is the Grjótagjá hot spring, which again was a shooting location for one of the most loved scenes in the movie.
However, it will be very difficult for you to catch the perfect moment to bathe in the ever-changing water temperature.
Yet the Mývatn Nature Baths are one of the best geothermal waters to take a bath when traveling through this region.
Having said that, this area has a wide range of other fascinating sites, which are just a short drive away.
For example, Mývatn Area is very close to Námaskarð Pass, which is located in the north of Iceland on the mountain Námafjall.
It’s also a geothermal area, so don’t miss it because it’s only less than a half an hour’s drive from Lake Mývatn.
Because of the geothermal activity and the connection to the Krafla volcano system, it’s is home to many fumaroles and springs.
Moreover, the Mývatn Area is also close to some of the fantastic waterfalls, such as Dettifoss, which is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe.
Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Iceland
Located only 120 kilometers away from the capital Reykjavík, Seljalandsfoss is one of our favorite Icelandic waterfalls to explore.
With its amazing height of 65 meters, according to the National Land Survey of Iceland, it’s an amazingly cool experience.
It is a must-visit adventure if you’re visiting the south-coast on one of your trips during your stay.
The key thing to remember is that when the path leads you behind the waterfall, it’ll be good for you if you bring a raincoat with you as you will get soaking wet from the drizzle.
If you choose a sunny day, you’ll have great chances of catching a rainbow while walking behind the waterfall.
If you want to take a photo, you need to turn on your flashlights because nobody wants to look like a silhouette against the waterfall.
During the winter days, you can’t have a walk, because the path is closed because it gets too dangerous and slippery to walk behind the waterfall.
It’s nature, and if we’re not careful enough, it can get dangerous instead of beautiful…
…So follow this rule!
If you want to know the best time to visit this waterfall, just check the link below.
Visit Hallgrimskirkja Church, Iceland
Situated in Reykjavík Hallgrímskirkja Church is one of the capital’s main attractions and can be seen from almost everywhere in the city.
The church is designed by Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, inspired by the fascinating forms and shapes which are created when lava cools into basalt rock.
The construction of the church began back in 1945 and ended as late as 1986.
Gargantuan pipe organ created by the German organ builder Johannes Klais of Bonn is featured by the church.
It has a wide range of tones going from the dulcet to the dramatic, so since it had been completed in December 1992 has been utilized in a many different recording, and one of them is by the famous Christopher Herrick.
There’s a fine statue of Leifur Eiríksson standing directly in front of the church.
If you don’t know who is r Eiríksson, he’s the first European to discover America.
It’s considered that Leifur was there even before Christopher Columbus in the year 1,000 A.D, which is 500 years before Columbus.
Landmannalaugar is one of the geothermal oases which are found in the remote tundra of the interior of Iceland.
The exact location of this natural phenomenon is in the Icelandic Highlands, and to make this more clear in the Southern Highlands within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, which means the “Mountain’s Back.”
If your accommodation is in Reykjavik or near the south coast, you will need to drive for about 3 hours or 180km until you get to Landmannalaugar.
However, it can take more time because of the beautiful landscape, which makes it difficult to drive without stopping to watch nature.
So in our opinion, you can prepare it for one of your day trips, so you can experience the most of it as it’s a great adventure.
However, the vital thing to know before going there is that the roads which are going into the Highlands are only accessible during the summer months, which are from late June until early September.
On the other hand, the road conditions can quickly change if the weather gets snowy and colder, so we recommend using a 4×4 vehicle to make sure you can get there.
When is the best time to visit Landmannalaugar?
During the summer days in Iceland, you’ll catch the landscapes in their fullest glory, as the best thing to do in Landmannalaugar is to explore the area while walking, it’ll be most enjoyable in the summer hotter days.
If you don’t want to drive by themselves, they are is accessible also during the WinterWinter, but you’ll need to buy a ticket for a tour because they use specialized Superjeeps that can reach the Highlands.
During the winter in Iceland, this plays shows off a completely different side.
The campground is empty, and the valleys and the mountains are covered with snow, but the springs stay still warm, and there’s a big chance of catching the Northern Lights which can appear at any time.
We hope that this guide helped you to find the best things to do in Iceland for your personal needs.
We want you to make the best experience possible during your stay here, so let us know in the comments what’s your favorite natural phenomenon in Iceland…
And if you’ve discovered any hidden gems, it’ll be great to share with the rest of us!
Don’t hesitate to put your comments and questions down below.