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Top 10 Things To Do In Iceland

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The best things to do in Iceland, including knocking the Blue Lagoon, black sand beaches in Vik Iceland, ice caves, glacier lagoons, the northern lights and incredible volcanoes (Iceland has over 130 of them!!) off your Europe Bucket List. Check out the top places to see in Iceland on Avenlylanetravel.com #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel #islands #nature #avenlylanetravel
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The secret of Iceland being one of the best vacation spots on earth is getting out.  Iceland has been getting more and more tourists each year, and the only part that surprises me is why it didn’t happen sooner.

Part of the allure of Iceland is that the attractions are generally unique compared to the rest of the globe.  For example, many countries have beautiful beaches, but far fewer have black sand beaches made of volcanic rock.
The list below highlights 10 of the most common attractions Iceland has to offer, but you are guaranteed to find other things exciting while there as well.  If you are thinking about going, make sure to check out our Iceland packing list so that you are prepared for the unique elements this nation has to offer.

Quick Iceland Packing Tips!

Packing for Iceland can be tricky depending on the time of year you go.  Even in the summer though you will need to pack for cooler weather.  Here are some of my favorite products for Iceland on Amazon.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
What to pack for a trip to Iceland (in winter)

  • You want to make sure you have at least one pair of waterproof boots
  • A good  thermal for layering.  These ones come in a ton of different colors.
  • Fleece lined leggings.  Because they are amazing and so warm!
  • Winter hat and scarf.  I always like to bring a couple scarves for pretty photos.
  • Touch screen gloves.  There is nothing more annoying than having to continually take off your gloves so that you can use your phone to take pictures or videos.  It’s because of that that these touch screen gloves are my favorite.  (I linked 2 different pairs I really like.)
  • Warm socks.  I love these ones.

10 Amazing Places You Must See in Iceland

1. Visit The Black Sand Beach In Vik Iceland

Black Sand Beaches in Vik, Iceland

Visiting the black sand beach in Vik is definitely a must. The sand is crushed lava rock formed when it reaches the frigid ocean.  A beautiful beach to visit, but not where I chose to sun tan.  Half way down the beach is a large vaulted cavern called Hálsanefeshellir (obviously really easy to pronounce).

Read more on Vik Iceland here.

2. Visit A Volcano

Top 10 things to do in Iceland, including visiting a massive volcano, knocking the Blue Lagoon, black sand beaches in Vik Iceland, ice caves, glacier lagoons, the northern lights, off your Europe Bucket List. Check out the top places to see in Iceland on Avenlylanetravel.com #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel #islands #nature #avenlylanetravel

Iceland has about 130 volcanoes on the island.  This is incredible to consider when you realize that Iceland is about the size of Georgia.  Fears of a volcano erupting are a real concern there!

3. Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon Tour

Glacier Lagoon in Iceland! Read about the top 10 things to do in Iceland on AvenlyLaneTravel.com
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The glaciers in Iceland are UNREAL!  Some of the best are only 2 hours past Vik.  I couldn’t help but think that one of these guys sunk the titanic.

Planning a trip to Iceland and wondering what to bring? Read our guide on what to pack in Iceland!
Iceland Packing List

4. Take An Ice Cave Tour in Iceland

Iceland Travel:Ice Cave Tour in Iceland is a must see for sure. Check out more of the top places to see in Iceland on avenlylanetravel.com. Including the Blue Lagoon, Vik Iceland and Reykjavik the cities capital. #AVENLLYANETRAVEL #europe #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel
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Sometimes called Crystal Caves, the ice caves inside Iceland’s glaciers are a truly remarkable wonder of nature. They are hard to get good pictures of, but your eyes will be able to take in an amazing view.

5. Visit The Abandoned Plane

Abandoned plane in Iceland. Don't miss the top 10 things to do in Iceland!

On the Saturday of Nov 24, 1973 a United States Navy airplane ran out of fuel and was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s beach in the south of Iceland. The crew survived the landing and the airplane’s remains are still at the crash site. I’m glad I wasn’t on board as flying is already stressful enough!

6. Drive Through Thingvellir National Park

Top 10 things to do in Iceland, including visiting a massive volcano, knocking the Blue Lagoon, black sand beaches in Vik Iceland, ice caves, glacier lagoons, the northern lights, off your Europe Bucket List. Check out the top places to see in Iceland on Avenlylanetravel.com #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel #islands #nature #avenlylanetravel Photo: Friðþjófur M. / Flickr

In Thingvellir National Park you can see the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that splits Iceland further apart each year.  On the drive you can see bubbling hot springs, beautiful lakes, and Iceland’s famous super hairy horses.

Did you know that you can now book a one day tour over to Greenland from Iceland?!  It would be an amazing opportunity to see Iceland AND Greenland on the same trip.

7. Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland! Top 10 things to do in Iceland, including visiting a massive volcano, knocking the Blue Lagoon, black sand beaches in Vik Iceland, ice caves, glacier lagoons, the northern lights, off your Europe Bucket List. Check out the top places to see in Iceland on Avenlylanetravel.com #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel #islands #nature #avenlylanetravel #waterfalls Photo: Ulf Bodin / Flickr

Gullfoss is Iceland’s most famous waterfall.  The pictures can’t show just how big this waterfall really is. The water is glacier runoff, and ultimately flows into the ocean.

You may also be interested in…The 15 Best Waterfalls in Iceland

8. Visit Blue Lagoon Iceland & Soak In Geothermal Hot Springs

The Blue Lagoon Iceland. Top 10 things to do in Iceland, including visiting a massive volcano, knocking the Blue Lagoon, black sand beaches in Vik Iceland, ice caves, glacier lagoons, the northern lights, off your Europe Bucket List. Check out the top places to see in Iceland on Avenlylanetravel.com #iceland #visiticeland #icelandtrip #travel #traveltips #europe #wanderlust #bucketlist #travelphotography #wintertravel #islands #nature #avenlylanetravel #waterfalls
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Blue Lagoon is deservedly Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction.  It is basically a football field sized hot tub that is powered by hot water shooting up from the center of the earth.  It is an awesome sight and super relaxing in the cold.  Don’t worry, the hot spring even goes inside so you can get back into the locker room without having to be out in the cold.

Want more details on what it is like to visit Blue Lagoon?  Get all the details here.

9. Snorkel Between Tectonic Plates at Thingvellir National Park

Snorkel in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge!! Read out top 10 things to do in Iceland!

Map of IcelandAt Thingvellir Park you can see the island literally being ripped apart by earth’s crust pulling in opposite directions (explanation below), exposing the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.  This rare occurrence obviously causes a number of geographic phenomenon, and excites snorkelers with views to the center of the earth.

10. Watch Geysir Blow

Don't miss the top 10 things to do in Iceland! Click through to read the whole post!

Every few minutes within the Golden Circle you can see the Strokkhur Geysir spout boiling water up in the air.  These powerful earth burps can sometimes shoot as high as 100 ft above the ground.  Also cool to see are the boiling mud pits, but warning, they are not bubbling chocolate pits.

UPDATE: I have had a lot of questions about where we stayed in Iceland.  We rented a hotel in Reykjavik right in the city center.  The prices weren’t too bad but we were there in December.  It was about $100 a night.  They offer free breakfast and wifi.  The breakfast was REALLY good! You can book or check current prices for the hotel here.  

This post contains affiliate links and we will make a small commission if you guys book through our link.  I want to thank you all for the support! 

If you enjoyed this post to share this post to Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter!  Thank you so much for reading. 

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Great pictures. I love Iceland and haven’t had a chance to be there yet. I would love to do all the above. I so badly wanted to see the northern lights while taking in the geothermal waters. I will soon be visiting and thanks for sharing the post.

    • Thanks Marc! You will LOVE Iceland! Do lots of research before you go to make sure you don’t miss anything. We missed the northern lights while we were there due to cloudy skies. I really hope you guys get to see them! Have fun!

  2. Beautiful Photography, lovely pictures.
    My wife and I will be on a cruise later this year and we will have about 3 days in Iceland. I hope to capture a few beautiful moments as you did.
    Thank you for sharing your pictures.

    • Thanks so much Patrick! You will be able to see a lot with three days in Iceland! I haven’t ever taken a cruise there but that sounds awesome. Have a great time!!

  3. It was a truly incredible trip ineded. Iceland is my favourite place to date and is full of great places. I’m glad you found our posts useful and there si so much mroe we could have done, for 6 day trip the south of Iceland is well worth it as you can take your time and everything is a few hours drive from each other. If you do decide to do something similar then you MUST stay a the Volcano Hotel. THe people are really nice and the location is fab. Stepping out at night (Providing your not going when the light nights are in) and you look up and the milky way is clear as day. Its well worth getting in touch with a girl called Inga who runs a blog called Tiny Iceland (We have written a few articles for her)! She helped us out a lot and we met up with her in Reykjavik and had a great night! You will have a fab time no matter what you do and we are planning to return to this amazing place. I look forward to reading about your travels on your blog, its great to see another fellow traveller who has to balance travel with work

    • You will love it Madi! I am jealous you get to spend so much time there. Me and my husband did not have a chance to explore the northern part of the country. I am hoping to drive the whole island next time we are there. Have so much fun on your trip!

  4. I’ll be spending 5 days in Iceland for my birthday at the end of March and I can’t tell you how eager I am to finally be there, especially after going through your list of locations to visit. I had some of these on my itinerary, are there more places you’d recommend?

    • How exciting! Happy early birthday! I would definitely make sure you see the Jökulsárlón lagoon. We were so mad we missed it on our last trip due to lack of research on our part. It is an unreal site, especially the beaches with the giant chunks of ice washing up to shore. Also, the golden circle is an easy day trip.

    • Thank you! I am so excited for you. Iceland is unlike anywhere I have travelled to. Have a great time on your trip!!

  5. Thank you for your lovely post on Iceland. We are planning to visit Icekand in February 2017. I am very excited about snokling in silfra fissure. It apparently takes about 40 minutes . I guess you have done it. I would like to know how easy it is. Do you just float and let the current take you? The realson why I asked Is I am no spring chicken, I am 57 years old and not sure If I can snokle for 40 minutes. Thank you
    Nilani

    • Hey Nilani!

      So exciting about your upcoming trip to Iceland! You will fall in love with the country. I was not able to do the snorkeling because of health issues at the time. However, I have had a few friends do it and they say it is not taxing at all. I would think you would do great.

  6. Hi,

    My husband just found this location to visit, not sure if We shoud go this Summer. I didn’t do any research. How is the temperature? How long should we go 1 week, 10 days, 14?
    Is it expensive to visit? We did the 4 islands in Hawaii last year, it looks a bit like the same kind of trip!

  7. I lived in iceland for 5 years when i was young….i returned several years ago with my family. It truly is a magical place…the pictures do not do it justice..

  8. Amazing blog with great info! I agree with you that, Blue Lagoon is deservedly Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction. I am a big fan of this place. Thanks dear for all the amazing info.

  9. Dear Claire,
    Thanks you so much for your good and informative travel tales that you have shared with us all. I really enjoyed reading your post.

    I was thinking to travel with my wife to Iceland either in mid May 2017 (for about 10 days) or mid July 2017. I would like to visit as many places as possible with enough daylight hours during the day, preferably up to 7pm at least. Would the May 2017 period a better choice for a trip to Iceland instead of July period? Please advise. We are planning a 4×4 self drive holiday while we are there.

  10. Are the ice caves something you can do in summer or is it winter only? Those photos are incredible! Also, I’m definitely going snorkeling in June when I head back to Iceland. Did you go in a dry suit or wet suit? I saw one site recommending just a wet suit in summer because you can dive down under water and have more freedom and flexibility (even though it’s freezing). And finally, did you ride an Icelandic horse??

    • Yes, ice caves are winter only. And wow…so sorry I dropped the ball on replying to your comment. Haha! I must have totally missed it! We were not able to actually go snorkeling on this go around but it comes highly recommended from so many friends of ours. But I am not sure what kind of wet suit would be best. I would say go with the one that gives you the most flexibility as you would want to go under the water for sure! And as for the horses, we did not ride them, just made many stops along the way to admire them. They are just so beautiful! Anyway I hope this helps and if you already went, how was it?!!!

  11. I see you mentioned that you went in December! I just booked a trip for this December! Do you recommend renting a car? Or what did you do as far as transportation that you would recommend? I looked at just a bus transport from airport to hotel for 2 to be like 115$ US. Any help would be so appreciated!

    • YES, YES, and YES. I definitely recommend renting a car. You are going to want that freedom to stop whenever in Iceland. Iceland is pretty easy to get around and our phones were even working so we were able to use GPS. The roads do get slick though so be careful if you do rent a car! And that sounds SUPER expensive to me (the bus). We probably paid around that for 4 days with a rental car. Make sure to use auto slash – it always saves us money. Basically if you book your rental car and if at anytime the price for that rental car goes down it will automatically re-book you at the lower price. It is pretty amazing! Also, look into Touro. We just used it in Vermont and we saved like $200 on rental cars! It was awesome!

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