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12 points of interest you must see in Iceland!

Iceland is one of those holiday destinations that's becoming more popular as time goes by.
For many, the capital Reykjavik is the only destination during their city trip to Iceland. Sad, because like this you can't enjoy the gorgeous nature that lies ahead. The dreamy landscape of the island speaks to the imagination, and when traveling to Iceland you will find truly everything: snowy hills, glaciers, lava fields and even forests. In this blog post I tell you what I think you must see in Iceland. If you have any tips yourself, feel free to leave them in the comment section!

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what to see in iceland

11 things aren’t nearly enough to sum up the beauty of Iceland, but… It’s a start!


Things to do in Iceland

In this blog post, you’ll also find my favorite tours and excursions with GetYourGuide. I used this website to get more inspiration during my holidays in Iceland. They’re easy to use and you can cancel every tour or ticket up to 24h in advance without losing any money.

 

1. Whale watching

There’s a lot of whales swimming around Iceland all year round. These giant mammals are the largest in the world, and it’s therefore fantastic if you see a few of them swim by just a few meters away. These giants are actually quite curious, and if things go well they even jump out of the water and perform for you!
Expect a lot of tails, backs and spraying. A whale safari may not seem super exciting, but believe me… Once you see one of these huge creatures swim under your boat, you will be amazed!

There are two options for whale watching in Iceland. Firstly, you can book a RIB boat, secondly you can book a bigger and sturdier boat.
A RIB boat is a military rubber boat and the advantage of touring in one of these is that you can get very close to the whales. The bigger boat is better for people who get seasick or who want to be a little bit more comfortable.

An average whale safari in Iceland costs $80, £64 or €75 per person. Don’t forget to book a few days in advance, because the whales can only be viewed by a certain number a day in order not to stress the animals. The available places are therefore often sold out a few days in advance…

points of interest iceland whale watching

Be amazed by these giants of the sea while enjoying a whale safari.

2. Northern lights in Iceland

One of the other fairytale-like things you must see in Iceland are the northern lights. This natural phenomenon colors the night sky in bright colors and is best seen from September to April. There are many excursions in Iceland that go searching for the northern lights. The guides tell you all about the emergence of this surreal light and know the places you are most likely to see this natural spectacle. Take your camera with you so you can make the most beautiful photos of your life.

I do recommend to book a tour in search of the aurora borealis. The polar lights are incredibly unpredictable and in Reykjavik it’ll even be harder to see them dance… With a night excursion you’ll head out for a couple of hours in search of these fantastic lights. Because your driver and/or guide is in contact with other ‘northern light hunters’, you have a very big chance to see them. A northern light safari can be booked online from about $45, £35 or €40 per person

must see Iceland northern lights

For me, this was one of the most magical moments during my trip in Iceland.

3. Ice caves

Iceland also has some well hidden points of interest! Every winter there are dozens of giant ice caves that are formed under the beautiful landscapes of this country. Once you descend into one of these crystal palaces, your mouth undoubtedly falls open. The blue corridors are impressive and are definitely one of the top highlights of this country. A visit to the ice caves is expensive, but the money is more than worth it!

Online, you can book one of these adventurous tours for about $125, £100, €110 per person. Of course it’s also possible to book a multiple day tour where you also get to see these magnificent ice caves. Personally I think that’s the better option, because this way you also get to see the sights in the vicinity.

points of interest iceland ice caves

These ice caves are really breath taking!

4. Jökulsárlón

On the southeast coast of Iceland lies the glacier lake Jökulsárlón. It was only formed in the 1930s and originally had a size of more than seven square kilometers. The melting ice that comes from the glaciers is making the ‘pool’ grow in size rapidly. The floating ice rocks form a fairy-tale setting with the mountain scenery and calm waters surrounding it. The lake is accessible by boat, where you accompany a guide on the water. I certainly found this one of the most spectacular must see’s in Iceland. The silence and sunset probably also had something to do with that.

If you would like to do a day trip to Jökulsárlón, please keep in mind that it’s located quite far away from Reykjavik. Because of this, it’s often very expensive ($165+ per person). A multiple day tour (with a glacier walk and a visit to the ice caves) is therefore a better idea.

Jökulsárlón things to do in Iceland

The Jökulsárlón lake is always impressive! But definitely try to get there during sunset or sunrise.

5. Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a natural hot spring where a spa is built around. Due to the minerals present in the water, the water has a distinct, light blue color. While floating around in the water, you can splash a cleansing cream on your face from one of the buckets along the side.
This attraction is located in the middle of a lava field and is surrounded by a rocky landscape. A bus ride from the capital takes you to one of the most beautiful sights you must see in Iceland. I liked that you could also use the sauna or get a massage. Are you interested in visiting the Blue Lagoon? Read this blog post.

blue lagoon iceland price

One of Iceland’s point of interests that is partly man-made, partly nature. The Blue Lagoon is wonderful!

6. Gullfoss waterfall

Those who make a trip around Iceland can start by following the Golden Circle. This main road across the island leads you through beautiful places like Gullfoss. This nature reserve is home to the most beautiful waterfalls of Iceland. In addition to the foaming water, it’s also advisable to explore the rest of the area for a bit. If you’re in luck like me, you may see a rainbow appear over the water. It’s also possible to visit multiple waterfalls in Iceland with an excursion. This is definitely one of the most beautiful landmarks of Iceland.

Would you like to book an excursion which takes you along the Golden Circle? You can book these online starting from $60 per person.

gullfoss waterfall iceland points of interest

The Gullfoss waterfall is spectacular in all seasons.

7. Geysir

Another sight located along the Golden Circle is Geysir. This round hole used to spout water a few meters high. If you still want to see its power in live action, you must now stroll to the neighbor of Geysir: the Strokkur. Of all of Iceland’s points of interest which have something to do with nature, this is perhaps one of the most well-known. The moment the hot water bursts out, you can only imagine what mother nature is capable of! Impressive and special enough to snap some pictures when the bubble finally bursts, so make sure you don’t forget your camera.

Are you curious to see the beauty of the Golden Circle with your own eyes? From Reykjavik there are quite some tours that you can book, starting from $60 per person.

geysir must see in iceland

Mother nature has a lot to show you in Iceland!

8. Dimmuborgir

You may have already realized that this country is a volcanic island. During eruptions thousands of years ago, the volcanic rock made and colored the landscape that we know of today. One of the more special things to do in Iceland is completely made out of volcanic eruptions: Dimmuborgir. This nature reserve lies in the north and has the most beautiful lava rock formations. A hiking trail leads you through gorgeous surroundings. It felt like I was walking around on the set of Lord of the Rings or another fantasy film!

Dimmuborgir must see in iceland

On picture it mights look less impressive, but when you see it with your own eyes… Wow!

9. Reykjavik

Many people book a trip to Iceland to visit the capital Reykjavik. The city itself is home to many of Iceland’s nicest attractions and is a great base for other activities. Walk straight to the Hallgrímskirkja on arrival. This strange building towers high above the city and gives you a beautiful view of the colorful houses that shape the city center.
Cultural visits that you shouldn’t skip during your visit are the National Museum, the Saga Museum and the Maritime Museum. Do you prefer something more active or different? From Reykjavik you can head to the sea to do some whale watching. Perhaps you want to know how the Vikings lived? An excursion to the Viking Museum near the airport would then be a good choice. Of course there are many other excursions available in Iceland as well.

iceland point of interest reykjavik

The main point of interest in Iceland… Reykjavik of course!

10. Snæfellsjökull National Park

The Snæfellsjökull National Park is situated on one of the most western points of the island and features a picturesque setting. The park thanks its name to the volcano covered by a thick layer of snow. The natural phenomenon has long been one of Iceland’s loveliest points of interest, according to ancient sagas and reports of explorers such as Jules Verne. If you have the time, I would really recommend to drive this way.

Snæfellsjökull

Snæfellsjökull National Park. Far away from most other places, but definitely worth the trip!

11. Vestmannaeyjar

The Vestmannaeyjar or Westman Islands is an island group close to the southwest coast and is seen as one of the hidden attractions of Iceland. These relatively young islands are less than 10,000 years old. Of the dozens of islands and rocks you can see there is only one inhabited: Heimaey. A small group of about 4,500 people live here in the middle of nowhere. The other islands have some deserted huts on them, which are especially popular with birdwatchers. On and around the islands, millions of birds fly and breed, including puffins and many other species.

puffin vestmannaeyjar islands iceland

How cute are these puffins?!

12. Iceland Airwaves

Not one of the tangible must see’s in Iceland, but that doesn’t make it less fun: the Iceland Airwaves. This music festival takes place every year in Reykjavik and invites national and international artists to give the best of themselves. The musicians perform at locations throughout the city and the cozy hustle and bustle makes it even more enjoyable. If you buy tickets for this event during your trip to Iceland, make sure you go to the Blue Lagoon party. Parties in the hot springs are one of the most special moments you can have on this unique island.

iceland airwaves festival things to do

Iceland may not have that many inhabitants, the Iceland Airwaves Festival is packed!

Excursions in Iceland

In recent years, Iceland has been declared one of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the world by many magazines and websites. Millions of tourists head down to this exceptional country every year, which means there are many travel agencies that can arrange trips and excursions for you.
Curious about what you can book? Take a look at these excursions:

 

» All tours and excursions in Iceland

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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  1. Stella Gough says:

    I would really like this blog…It is quite informative. I will keep all these useful information in my mind. It will really help me whenever I will go to Iceland.

  2. Jill Troughton says:

    Nice Blog…I will bookmark this for future reference…Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Isaac Churchill says:

    Beautiful and Attractive Images. I really like it. Thanks for the wonderful and informative post.

  4. Joy Butler says:

    I have always wanted to visit Iceland. This article only increased my wanderlust. The water looks so beautiful in the photos you shared. I will have to look into making this dream vacation a reality for me.

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