In my opinion, Iceland is one of the most magical places in the world. Everywhere you turn there is something new to be explored and every view takes your breath away. The first time I went to Iceland I spent 3 weeks driving the Ring Road. I explored every fjord and small fishing town, and I quickly learned that this country has so much to offer. The second time I went, I experienced Iceland in the winter and managed to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. Iceland has so much to offer that it can be difficult to narrow down the places you need to visit. So, I’ve created a list of what I think are the top things to do in Iceland. Dust off your hiking boots, strap on those crampons and get ready to explore the land of fire and ice!
– Hot Pot Hopping
What better way to experience Iceland than by doing as the locals do and taking a dip in any (or all) of the hot pots Iceland has to offer. The multitude of geothermal areas in Iceland allow for water to be heated as it ascends to the Earths’ surface. This creates natural hot springs or geothermal pools that are amazing to relax in, especially after a long hike! My favourites include Reykjadalur, Myvatn Nature Baths, and the Hoffell Hots Tubs.
– Visit the West Fjords
The west fjords are one of my favourite places in all of Iceland. But I do have to say, it’s not for everyone. You must rent a 4×4 vehicle, be an experienced driver and love camping, because the west fjords are definitely off-the-beaten-path. With very little tourists and gravel roads that weave in, out and around mountains, the west fjords are perfect for people who want to explore Iceland’s best kept secrets. This includes my favourite waterfall in Iceland – Dynjandi.
– Snorkel Between the Tectonic Plates
One of the most phenomenal things about Iceland is that in Thingvellir National Park you can see the slow separation of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates! What’s even more amazing is that you can snorkel between the tectonic plates in one of the many fissures – Silfra. Silfra is known for the clarity of its water as the pure glacial water that fills it allows you to see underwater for more than 90 metres! You must book a tour to snorkel through Silfra and I recommend booking with Iceland Advice as I had a great experience with them. Snorkelling between the tectonic plates is an experience of a lifetime – one that cannot be missed!
– Glacier Hike & Ice Caving
The ice caves are something that you cannot miss when in Iceland during the winter season. I don’t think I can put into words just how phenomenal this experience was. The colour of the ice is stunning, the caves are so magical and hiking on the glacier was like nothing I had ever experienced.
I just hope that the pictures speak for themselves. You must book a tour to explore these phenomenal caves – I highly recommend Troll Expeditions.
– Chase the Northern Lights
Ah, the famous Northern Lights, yet another thing Iceland has to offer! You can only spot the Northern Lights in Iceland in the winter months because there are fewer hours of daylight. Spotting the Northern Lights depends on a variety of things such as cloud cover, solar activity and well, just pure luck. Here are my top tips for spotting the Northern Lights:
- Get Out of the City – Too much light pollution can deter your chances of spotting them.
- Study the Cloud Forecast Religiously – you need a clear sky to see the Northern Lights and as I learned many times during my trip, the cloud forecast changes very quickly. Ensure you are always up to date on where there will be clear skies and at what time.
- Become Familiar with the Aurora Forecast – this will help predict how strong the Northern Lights will be and your chances of spotting them.
We spent 7 days driving around Iceland during March, which is one of the best months to see the Northern Lights, and we were lucky enough to spot them once. Like everything in nature, the Northern Lights are unpredictable. So, all I can say is – I wish you the best of luck!
If you’d like more tips on Iceland and all it has to offer you can read more on my blog or watch my daily vlogs on my YouTube channel. I hope your Iceland adventure is just as magical as mine were! Happy travels!