From glaciers and waterfalls to hot springs and volcanoes, Iceland is the truly the Land of Fire & Ice. With amazingly unique and juxtaposed landscapes, there is endless scenery to be discovered. And when you add in great food and exceptional hospitality, you have an ideal trip that everyone will love. After exploring the South Coast, Golden Circle, and Reykjavik, I decided to share a shortlist of my favorite things about the country. While you can spend a lot time visiting the different parts of Iceland, one can also take just a few days and still have an unforgettable adventure.
So whether you’re visiting for a long weekend trip or going on a longer holiday, here’s what I loved and think everyone should experience.
The Blue Lagoon
People always want to know if the Blue Lagoon is worth it, especially when they have a layover in Reykjavik. Well, it is! My friend and I went there for sunrise and while a good amount of people were there, it wasn’t overcrowded in mid-November. The lagoon was incredibly beautiful and relaxing. They sell different packages, but the basic package with entrance, a mud mask, and free drink is all you need. Taking a dip in the geothermal water during sunrise or sunset is key to the experiencing the “fire” of Iceland.
The Sights & Food of Reykjavik
The city isn’t big and it’s very easy walk around and see everything you want to. I loved being able to visit the famous Hallgrímskirkja church and then within minutes of walking catch stunning mountain views. Plus, one of the coolest things was the street art, which can be found just by taking a stroll around any of the quaint streets.
Reykjavik also serves up amazing food. We stopped at Vitabar for one of the best burgers I’d ever had, tried unbelievable bite-sized eats at the Smakkbarinn tapas restaurant, and sipped and dipped on a tasty bread bowl at Svarta Kaffið. My favorite spot was the Lemon juice bar, where I stopped twice for their Skyrsmoothies and “Hangover” pulled pork sandwich.
Icelandic Horseback Riding
You can stop to see Icelandic horses on many tours in Iceland, but actually riding them is a must. We went out into the Blue Mountains around sunset and even though it was very cold, riding these horses through such a scenic landscape was a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s also super easy to ride them, as they are calm and slightly smaller than regular horses. I left wishing I could bring one them home with me.
The country has a plethora of gorgeous waterfalls, but this one was by far my favorite. We lucked out and had really clear weather, so the sky and surroundings were beautiful when we stopped there. It was incredibly picturesque. We were also able to walk behind the waterfall and get even more stunning photos. It was so special because it felt like you got to interact with the waterfall. Disclaimer: You will get a bit wet!
Nestled between rugged mountains and a stretch of black sand beach, this tiny town is somehow jam-packed with an amazing amount of scenery. It was definitely worth the drive from Reykjavik. There’s a beautiful church perched on top of a hill and you can see great views of Reynisdrangar, which are columns of volcanic rock that shoot out of the ocean.
The famous black sand beach is the coolest beach I’ve ever been on. Arriving there right around sunset was perfect. The dark sand, unique rock formations, and glowing sky made for some of the most unique photos I’ve ever taken. The beach is always crowded because it’s one of the most popular places to see, but it’s too awesome to pass up. Be sure to pick up some sand and hold it in the palm of your hand to see the true darkness of its color, and collect a stone or two as a great souvenir.
Kerið Volcanic Crater
This crater is certainly a bright spot on any Iceland trip. The blue-green water that sits in the deep crater is mesmerizing. You can take a walk around the whole thing and get great photos. At the higher side of the crater, you can also see breathtaking views of expansive mountain ranges.
Geysir Hot Springs
Have your camera ready at any moment because these hot springs erupt every few minutes with no warning signs. It’s such an exciting thing to see. I loved witnessing this natural phenomenon and that’s what this country is all about—the extremes and calms of nature. The Geysir Hot Springs are a great represent of that.