Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular destination to travel in recent years. And when we got a fantastic deal on our flights, we didn’t hesitate to book our trip. We decided to go in June, as we tend to enjoy hikes and didn’t want to contend with freezing temps. Plus, we enjoyed long days since the sun didn’t set until midnight. It’s not the best time to visit Iceland if you have a desire to see the Northern Lights, but there is so much to see and experience in this interesting country.
- Blue Lagoon is one of the most iconic landmarks in Iceland. We actually came directly from the airport after we arrived. It was perfect because it was early and not too many people were there. I would suggest you come first thing in the morning to beat the crowds later in the day. I linked my tips for visiting the Blue Lagoon when you visit.
2. Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach. I link these two destinations together because they are literally adjacent to one another. Personally, this was my favorite part of Iceland. It is nearly 5 hours from Reykjavik so you will need to rent a vehicle (which we did) or go with a tour. We spent the night in a town called Vik, which is about half way between the two towns.
3. Skogafoss Waterfall is a gorgeous place to visit and there is the opportunity for a hike while you’re here. You can get beautiful pictures from both top and bottom of the falls. Once you are at the top you can trek along the water with spectacular views.
Take a scenic trek atop the Skogafoss Falls.
4. Golden circle. Traveling along the Golden Circle, you’re going to be greeted with some of the country’s most beautiful scenery. The Golden Circle is home to geysers, hot springs, craters and geological beauty formed by hundreds of thousands of years of volcanic activity.
Stop and see Geysir. It was the first geyser ever described in a printed source, and the english word geyser derives from this Geysir. You will find this along the Golden Circle. You will see it erupts every 5 min.
Gullfoss Waterfall is Iceland’s most iconic and beloved waterfalls on the Golden Circle. The water travels from the Glacier Langjokull and cascades 105 ft down Gullfoss’ two stages in a dramatic display of the raw power of nature.
Another must see along the Golden circle is Thingvellir National Park. This area is where Iceland’s stark geological processes are playing out right in front of you. It’s a unique place and you can see tectonic plates separating, beautiful scenery with plains, lakes and rivers. It’s about a 45 min drive from Reyjkavik.
You are greeted with waterfalls, plains, rivers and tectonic plate activity in Thingvellir National Park.
Thingvellir National Park is about a 45 minute drive from Reykjavik.
5. Reynisfjara Beach and Basalt Columns is home to the black sand beach and is the most famous beach on the South Coast of Iceland. The beautiful black sands, powerful waves and basalt columns make it a truly unique and fun place to visit.
Take a climb on the Basalt Columns on the Black sand beach.
The Dyrholaey Peninsula is a promenade famed for its staggering views of Iceland’s South coast with it’s historic lighthouse. Take a walk to see the abundance of birdlife and the migration of puffins.
Reynisdrangar are impressive rock formations situated near the shore of Reynisfjara’s black sand beach.
6. Do a Puffin tour. We booked an extreme puffin tour (https://www.fromcoasttomountains.com/ingolfshofdi-puffin-tour) and it was worth it. It was an adventure as we took a 30 min tractor ride to the base of the cliff and had another 30 min hike. The views were amazing and we did see a lot of puffins.
After a 30 min tractor ride, we had another 30 min hike to the cliffs to see the puffins.
Take a puffin tour while visiting Iceland. We took the Ingólfshöfði puffin tour which is linked above.
7. Hallgrimskirkja church for the best views of Reykjavik. Head to the clock tower for impressive birds eye view of the Nations capital. The church looks like a spaceship and it’s a quick walk from anywhere in the city.
Head to the clock tower of the Hallgrimskirkja church for outstanding views of Reykjavik.
8. Harpa Concert Hall is an award winning building situated in the Old Harbour. Completed in 2011 by Henning Larsen Architects, this is a magnificent structure both outside and in.
The Harpa Concert Hall is magnificent.
9. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is located in the South Region and is fully encircled. Take a walk behind the waterfall and feel the power of the water. Make sure you have rain gear because you will get soaked.
Be sure to wear rain gear when you walk behind Seljanlandfoss Waterfall.
10.Svartifoss Waterfall is located in the Skaftafell/Vatnajökull National Park . The hiking trails in the park are well signed. Walking to the Svartifoss takes about 60-90 minutes (2 kilometer). The trail is easy and leads slightly uphill. At the Visitor center in Skaftafell, which is open all year around, a lot of information is available. It is not necessary to get a map with the trail to Svartifoss waterfall, but it also gives a lot of information about where you are.
There are so many wonderful things to see in Iceland which is why I would suggest renting a vehicle because you never know what beauty you will stumble upon.