Over the last few years, tourism has exploded in Iceland. An easy stop between Europe and North America, more and more people are turning to Iceland as the new “it” destination. With thundering waterfalls, friendly people, dramatic landscapes and beautiful wildlife to be found at every turn, it’s no surprise that Iceland is getting more and more attention by travelers.
1. Check out Reykjavik
Reykjavik is one of the coolest little capitals around the world, and it definitely merits a day or two of exploration. Packed to the gills with fun bars, trendy restaurants and hip cafes, there is plenty to do, and more importantly, eat in this little city. Best seen in summer under the midnight sun, spending time in the capital is a great way to meet the locals and get to know how Icelanders really live.
2. Drive the Ring Road
Route 1 is the main highway in Iceland, and as you can probably guess, it is a ring encircling the whole island. If you have a week in Iceland, it’s the perfect amount of time to drive it. Iceland has an incredible landscape, and although Reykjavik is a fun place, the best way to see Iceland is by car on a road trip.
3. Find some waterfalls
There is no shortage of waterfalls to be discovered around Iceland. Just driving along countryside roads will almost always offer you a glimpse or two of a waterfall in the distance. Dettifoss is in northern Iceland and is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. It’s incredibly impressive to witness and if the sun is shining, you’re likely to see a rainbow arch over top it as well. Another popular waterfall in Iceland is called Skógafoss, which is quite tall and wide and you can walk almost right underneath it. No matter where you travel around Iceland, you are sure to see a waterfall.
4. Relax in the thermal spas
Because of its geothermal and volcanic landscape, there are many spas and hot springs dotted around Iceland. Due to the dramatic weather that is constantly changing, when traveling in Iceland, even in summer, it can suddenly get quite cold. I found my favorite way to warm up was to hop in one of the many hot springs around the country. There are plenty of free ones out in countryside or ones turned into more elaborate spas, fitting for anyone’s budget.
5. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Whether you want to spend some time trekking around the mountains, climbing on a glacier or driving around a volcano, the varied landscape around Iceland never ceases to amaze. If I had to choose a favorite spot, it would be Jökulsárlón on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park in the south. After the glacier started to recede, it left behind a deep blue lagoon that fills with icebergs that break off and drift off to sea. Seeing the massive glacier and mountains in the distance with the bright blue ice in the lagoon is not something anyone will soon forget.
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Are you ready for your first trip to Iceland?