Iceland: Travel Guide

If you’re going on an Iceland trip and planning out your itinerary, we’ve got you covered in this post!  We recently went to Iceland in August for a short trip and absolutely loved it!  Below we’re giving you all the details on our top must see’s and do’s!  Enjoy!

Reykjavik
Duration: 4 nights
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik– We would rate this hotel 4.5/5 stars.  The only reason we’re not giving it a full 5 stars is because of the location.  It wasn’t in the heart of Reykjavik, so you had to walk a bit to get to the city center.

Highlights- Must Do’s:

  • Thingvellir National Park
    This national park is the boundary between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates.  You can snorkel or scuba dive between the tectonic plates too!  If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, scenes from this hit show were filmed at this park.  Thingvellir National Park is just beautiful to walk to with all the views and scenery.
  • Great Geysir Geothermal Area
    Here you can see geysers, all of various sizes, erupt every few minutes.  You know a geyser is going to get ready to erupt when it starts to bubble.  Seeing the big geysers erupt was so cool because they can go pretty high.  The Strokkur geyser can reach as high as 30 meters!  The small geysers are fun to watch too!
  • Gullfoss
    Gullfoss is one of the most well known waterfalls in Iceland.  It’s known as the “Golden Waterfall” and is one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe.  This waterfall was truly breathtaking.  When you go to Gullfoss, you can get several different views of the waterfall from various spots and heights.
  • Faxi Waterfall
    The nice thing about this waterfall is that it’s not as popular as some of the other waterfalls in Iceland.  Due to this, it’s way less crowded to go to.  When we went there was no one else there, so we were able to spend as much time as we wanted taking in the view and getting pictures.  This waterfall is beautiful too!
  • Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
    If you’ve ever wanted to walk behind a waterfall, then this is the waterfall you need to go to!  First of all, this waterfall is gorgeous like all of the other waterfalls in Iceland.  The coolest part about this waterfall though is that you can actually walk behind it! Disclaimer-you will get soaked if you decided to walk behind it, but it’s so worth it!  The view from behind the waterfall is amazing and it’s so awesome seeing the waterfall from behind.  Make sure you have waterproof shoes, a rain jacket, and a waterproof case for your phone when going to this waterfall!
  • Sólheimajökull Glacier
    There are a couple of options for enjoying the sights of the glacier. When we went to see the glacier we took the path up to the base of the glacier to take in the view. However, we did not do the option that actually involved walking on the glacier. There are different tours you can go on that will lead you on a guided walk on the glacier. These tours provide you the safety equipment and ice gear. If we ever went back to Iceland we would definitely want to do this option!
  • Vik Black Sand Beaches
    Going to the black sand beaches in Vik was so cool.  How often do you get to see black sand?  Not very often!  The beaches were really pretty.  We just enjoyed taking in the views while we were here.  The black sand beach area that we went to also had a really pretty looking cave that was right by the water.
  • Skogafoss Waterfall
    This is another gorgeous waterfall located in Southern Iceland. If you’re up for it, there are just under 400 steps you can climb to get another perspective of the waterfall at the top. It’s definitely a hike, but the view is worth it! Fun fact, Justin Bieber’s music video “I’ll Show You” and “Thor: The Dark World” were filmed here.
  • Blue Lagoon
    Did you even go to Iceland if you didn’t go to the Blue Lagoon?  One of the most popular things to do in Iceland is going to the Blue Lagoon, which is a geothermal spa. The main thing to do here is soak in the large lagoon area. One important thing to know about the Blue Lagoon is that buying your tickets ahead of time is required.  There are four different ticket types, ranging from standard to luxury. We had comfort tickets and didn’t feel like we were missing out by not splurging for a more expensive option. It’s definitely a relaxing experience you don’t want to miss out on!
  • Whale Watching
    Whale watching in Iceland is seasonal, so you can only do this activity May through September.  We went on a three hour whale watching cruise and it was a lot of fun!  The ship we were on was really big and the waves weren’t too bad, so we didn’t have to worry about getting sea sick.  We did take some medicine beforehand just in case though!  On our whale watching cruise, we saw multiple minke whales, as well as several dolphins.  Some of the whales and dolphins came quite close to our ship, so we were able to get some incredible views of them!
  • Find Puffin & Icelandic Horses
    We’re not going to lie.  One of the things we were most excited for on this trip was the possibility of seeing puffin and petting Icelandic horses.  We were lucky enough that we were able to pet multiple Icelandic horses.  We also went to spot along the black sand beach where there were a ton of Puffin flying around.  The Icelandic horses and puffin were both so cute!  Note, you can’t see Puffin all year round either.
  • Eat a hotdog at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
    This is a famous hot dog stand in the center of Reykjavik. If you’re looking for a good cheap meal this is the place to go! Keep in mind there are only a couple of picnic tables for seating.

We hope you found this post helpful in planning your Iceland trip!  If you’re wondering what to pack for Iceland, check out our Iceland Packing List post! We talk about specific things you should make sure to pack for Iceland, as well as general packing tips.

If you’ve traveled to Iceland before, let us know what your favorite things were in the comments below!

-Michelle & Rachel

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