Iceland is becoming a top destination and it is easy to see why. They’ve got it all; culture, history, and some of the most unique landscapes on Earth. It is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Check out the top sites not to miss on your next trip to Iceland.
1. The Blue Lagoon
Yes it is touristy, but it is a must. Tickets are on the expensive side (35€), however once you soak up the warm thermal water and slather mud all over your face you will be in relaxation heaven. Good people watching too!
Iceland’s trendy capitol where you can eat gourmet Icelandic dishes, learn about Iceland’s Viking past, have a drink in one of the many bars and clubs, and do plenty of window shopping. Reykjavik can be your hub for exploring other parts of the country as several tour companies schedule excursions to the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle.
Love hot dogs? Me too! Buy a hot dog from the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand. Find out more about Iceland’s hot dogs here.
*Don’t be alarmed if you see babies napping in strollers outside of shops, this has long been a tradition in Iceland, the babies are said to take better naps while outside.
3. The Duty Free Liquor in Keflavik Airport
If you plan on drinking, it is best to buy your booze at the airport. Iceland heavily taxes alcohol, save money by buying duty free. We stocked up on six 6 packs of Icelandic beer and some wine. Apparently we thought we’d be drunk the entire time. I think the fellas at our last hotel enjoyed our leftovers.
4. The Penis Museum
Also known as the Icelandic Phallological Museum. It is all things phallic! How can you not go to a museum specializing in wieners of the world? I giggled throughout the entire museum. I know, real mature. The list of penises is too long (haha, get it?) to name every specimen, some highlights include; elephant schlongs, whale dicks, polar bear dongs, and the smallest being a hamster hose. Shafts can be found mounted on the walls and encased in formaldehyde filled tubes. There are over 200 willies to view! Do it, you won’t regret it. Or maybe you will.
5. All of the Fosses
So many fosses so little time. Foss is the Icelandic word for waterfall, Iceland has several. They sprout up everywhere.
6. The Ring Road
Road trip time! Ring Road or Route 1 is Iceland’s main highway. The road stretches 828 miles along the island and easily connects you to most of the main sites. The road is strewn with Point of Interest signs so you never miss an adventure!
Do I need GPS? – Not needed, the road is a large circle and most of the main attractions can be found along the road or there will be signs letting you know how to get to an attraction if a detour off the main highway is needed. Our GPS busted 3 days into our journey and we made it.
7. The Midnight Sun
Between the months of May and August the sun never truly sets. Due to Iceland’s placement near the Arctic Circle you can enjoy those long sunsets and 24 hours of daylight. I visited Iceland at the beginning of May, it did get darker out but never pitch black. I’d suggest bringing an eye mask to help you sleep.
8. The Iceberg Lagoon – Jökulsárlón
Utterly beautiful! The iceberg lagoon can be seen from Highway 1 and has several areas to pull off to park as well as a main parking lot which has picnic tables and an area where tours meet to explore the lake by boat. At little history…the lake backs up into the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier where chunks of ice break off and fall into the lake causing (you guesses it!) the icebergs. The icebergs then float out of the lake through the adjoining river and make their way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Three points of interest here:
- The lake where you will see iceberg of varying size, you might even see a new one form when it breaks off the glacier and crashes into the water.
- The mouth of the river where you will find icebergs floating downstream
- The beach along the Atlantic where you will see the icebergs floating out to sea and several chunks of ice littered long the shore
9. The Glaciers
Did you know that more than 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers? Interested in getting up close and personal with a glacier? Take a guided hike, try ice climbing, explore an ice cave, or snowmobiling. Glacier tours can be booked online or in Reykjavik at the tourist information booths. Do not venture out onto the glaciers without a guide! These things are made of ice and can be very dangerous. Trust me, I got a little adventurous and tried to hike up a small section, I almost ate it. Do as I say….not as I do.
10. The Wildlife
One of my favorite things while on vacation is seeing wildlife that I wouldn’t be able to see on a regular basis. I’ve always been an animal person, I want to squeeze them. Here is some of the easier animals to spot in Iceland:
Iceland houses over 8 million puffins, this is over half of the world’s puffin population. They are also an Icelandic delicacy, I didn’t eat one…but I wanted to. You can find Puffin on some menus in Reykjavik. Nom nom.
I want to squeeze all of these furbabies! Drive around Iceland and you are bound to see some of these boos grazing in the fields.
These fluffy boo boos can be seen all over the country. Several shops sell items made of sheep wool (it’s scratchy). These fellas are for the eatin’ too!
Nothings says you are in the arctic like seeing a herd of reindeer cross the road. Santa’s other helper can be found mainly in the east and northeastern part of the country.
With over 20 different types of whales in the waters surrounding Iceland it is a perfect destination for whale watching. Tours can be booked in Reykjavik and in Húsavík (northern Iceland).
Poor Heather (my travel buddy) was driving up a steep road that ran next to a fjord when I spotted a whale breaching. I kept giving her an excited slap each time the whale surfaced. “Ooooo, (slap) there it is again!” Heather “where?”, Me “ugh, went back under”. This probably happened three times before we finally decided to pull over.
11. The Basalt formations near Vik
On your way to the basalt columns you will encounter Iceland’s steepest road, a colony of puffins, and the black sand beaches of Vik. Head to Reynisfjara beach, where you can explore the columns as they emerge from the pebbled coast.
12. Taste the Saga Brewery Tour
I’m a beer buff. I love it. I’d choose beer over water any day. I try to sample as much local beer wherever I go. Let me tell ya, Iceland has some pretty banging beer! Check out the Ölgerdin Brewery Tour…the actual name of the tour is Taste the Saga. Tickets for the tour can be purchased at any of the Information Centers around Reykjavik. It is a mix of history, beer sampling, and a small tour of the facility. The guides will make you laugh, you will sample several beers, and make new friends.