Iceland Holidays – 20 Best Things To Do In Iceland

Iceland Holidays
If you are planning your Iceland holidays then check these top 20 things to do in Iceland and see why it’s captivated the hearts of millions!

Iceland Holidays – 20 Things To Do In Iceland

Places to visit in Iceland

Iceland is a truly captivating country, and it’s so much more than just ‘another expensive European country’! Striking landscapes, thrilling adventures, and enchanting cultures draw travelers in for action-packed itineraries year after year, and no one leaves disappointed. If you are planning your Iceland holidays then Explore the Land of Fire and Ice with these top 20 things to do in Iceland and see why it’s captivated the hearts of millions!

Iceland Holidays – Drive the Golden Circle in Iceland

Iceland Holidays - 20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Visit Thingvellir National Park

This is one of Iceland’s biggest and most popular attractions and for good reason. Consisting of þingvellir National Park, Geysir and Gullfoss Falls, the route is fascinating and beautiful! You can either take a day tour with a company or hire a car and drive it yourself.

The National Park is home to Iceland’s first parliament and is full of history and culture. Not only that, but the landscapes are stunning!

Geysir is the most famous geyser and the one that gave all others their name! It doesn’t erupt very often anymore, but you’ll still be in for a treat because there are other geysers in the area that do! Strokkur, in particular, shoots steaming water from the ground every couple of minutes, so you’ll definitely get up close and personal to this natural phenomenon!

Gullfoss, or Golden Falls, is a mighty waterfall gushing down into the Hvítá River. Whether you visit in summer or winter, the power of the water will astound you – it’s certainly not to be missed!

Many people visit the Golden Circle either at the very beginning or very end of their trip because of its close proximity to Reykjavik. It only takes around an hour to reach þingvellir National Park, another 55 minutes to find Geysir and then it’s only ten more minutes to Gullfoss.

Iceland Holidays – Dive between two tectonic plates at Silfra

Iceland has one of the most unique attractions in the world. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet and you can see both continents in þingvellir National Park.

What is more impressive though, is that you can actually dive or snorkel between the plates too! You’ll be kitted out in a dry suit and guided along in the water for a truly memorable experience.

Iceland Holidays – Relax in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Iceland Holidays - 20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Relax in a Blue Lagoon

Blue lagoon Iceland holidays is the epitome of Iceland travel! Visiting the Blue Lagoon should be on your bucket list. Included in your ticket price is a drink of your choice (alcoholic or not) and a mud mask guaranteed to make your skin silky soft!
The milky blue water is heated by a nearby geothermal plant and you can frolic in the pool, steam + sauna rooms all day if you like! There are two hotels you can stay in at the resort, as well as three restaurants to choose from.

Iceland Holidays – Spot a colony of puffins

You’ll only be able to see the puffins from around April until about August, so plan your trip for summer if you want to see and photograph these awesome birds!

The best places to see them are the Dyrhólaey arch, the Látrabjarg cliffs in the west, the Westman Islands off the south coast or Borgarfjörður in the East Fjords.

The birds are usually okay with being close to humans, but you do need to respect the animals and keep a fair distance. Disrupting the puffins could cause catastrophic problems within the colony so it’s best to watch from afar and enjoy the pretty creatures relaxing in their natural habitat.

Iceland Holidays – Skidoo across a glacier

There are plenty of tours that you can take in Iceland, and racing a snowmobile across a glacier should be one of them!

You’ll usually be picked up in a monster truck to take you to the base of the glacier – Langjokull and Vatnajökull are the most popular for this activity. Once there, you’ll be geared up in warm overalls, a balaclava, and a helmet to protect yourself from the elements.

As long as you have a driving license, you’ll be able to drive the snowmobile! Wind your way across the ice, hitting speeds of up to 50km/h if you’re confident enough, and take in the breathtaking scenery surrounding your group.

If you want to ride but you can’t/don’t want to drive, that’s okay too as you can just be a passenger instead.

Iceland Holidays – Unwind in the natural hot springs

Finding a natural hot spring to take a dip into on your trip across Iceland is so much fun! There are official man-made places you can go, like the Secret Lagoon, where you pay a small fee and you can rent towels and swimsuits there.

Or, you can scout out the smaller, remote places by yourself and relax without the crowds. Just make sure you aren’t trespassing on anyone’s land, and do be careful in the water because the temperatures can actually get really hot!

Do your research for exact locations so that you don’t end up driving around for hours in the dark just to find one pool! Three natural hot springs I’d recommend are Reykjadalur, Laugavalladalur, and Landbrotalaug!

Iceland Holidays – Discover the East Fjords

Not many people venture to the mysterious and magical East Fjords, so you should add it to your itinerary before tourism ruins the area!

You can take some incredible hikes, discover beautiful waterfalls and appreciate the amazing coastline views that Iceland has to offer. You might also be lucky and see a reindeer here!

There are fewer crowds in this part of the country, so you won’t have to wait for other travelers to move away from your epic photo shots!

The town of Borgarfjörður Eystri is great for remote hiking trails, and it is also home to a huge puffin population in the summer! I’d recommend visiting Seyðisfjörður for a quirky and unique few days.

Iceland Holidays – Go whale watching

Iceland Holidays - 20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Go Whale Watching

Whales are remarkable animals, and everyone should try to see one at least once in their lifetime! It’s best to try your luck in the summer months as that’s when the whale numbers are highest. The best place to see whales in Iceland is the north – Húsavík and Akureyri are popular harbors to leave from.

However, you can also take an excursion from Reykjavik if you don’t plan on traveling that far.

If you’ve got enough time, choose a tour operator who offers a second trip for free if you don’t see a whale the first time.

The types of whales you can expect to see in Iceland are humpbacks, orcas, minke, sperm, and even blue whales. You might even get to see a dolphin or a porpoise too!

Iceland Holidays – Explore Reykjavik

20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Visit Reykjavik

In a country this beautiful, it would be easy to skip the capital and go straight into your scenic adventures. But Reykjavik is a great city to explore, with plenty to do, see and eat. So Reykjavik holidays should be high on your list.

There are lots of fun walking tours taking place, from beer tasting to troll hunting! You could easily spend a few days here and not be bored.

Go shopping on Laugavegur, visit a museum or two and soak up the traditional culture by dining in local restaurants.

Where to eat in Reykjavik, Iceland:

For traditional Icelandic fare, try the meat stew or Harðfiskur (the famous dried fish!) at Kaffi Loki.

Iceland is also famous for its hotdogs! They’re great for a quick lunch and are a cheaper alternative to a full meal.

Somewhat surprisingly, Reykjavik has some fantastic vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Gló is great for healthy salad bowls, or visit Veganæs for a decent burger!

Hlemmur Food Hall is a good place to try a variety of international dishes if you’re missing a taste of home, from Vietnamese sandwiches to delicious pizzas!

Iceland Holidays – Chase the waterfalls on the south coast

Iceland Holidays - 20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Visit Svartifoss

Waterfalls in Iceland are a sight to behold. The strong flowing water is mesmerizing, and you can find so many astonishing falls without even trying too hard!

The most famous are dotted along Route 1 and are easily accessible from the ring road. Visit Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s biggest falls with a drop of 60 meters and spanning 25 meters across.

Further along, you’ll find Seljalandsfoss, which is unique in that you can actually walk behind the cascading water and look out into the picturesque landscape.

Another couple of excellent waterfalls are Hraunfossar, Svartifoss, and Godafoss.

Iceland Holidays – Hunt the Northern Lights

20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Chase Northern Lights

A chance to spot the elusive Northern Lights is probably the reason most people come to Iceland! The aurora borealis is a natural phenomenon that occurs with solar activity, resulting in a fantastic natural light display.

There are tours you can take that will guide you to the best spots to give yourself the highest chance of spotting them, or you could just keep an eye out yourself.

Renting a campervan like The Aurora Explorer from Cozy Campers is a great way to hunt for the northern lights as well. You can enjoy watching the aurora through its panoramic sunroof and large windows while staying cozy inside the van. You can drive from one place to another or park for as long as you like at each location, too.

The best conditions are dark and clear skies, with little or no light pollution. If you’re staying in an Airbnb in the Icelandic countryside then it’s more likely that you’ll see the lights than if you were staying in Reykjavik.

Remember that you won’t be able to see them in the summer though, so if they’re really important to you then come in the winter from around October to April.

Iceland Holidays – Investigate the famous Sólheimasandur plane wreck

Plane Wreck
Iceland Holidays – Plane Wreck

In 1973 a pilot flying a US Navy DC plane crashed into Sólheimasandur beach. Luckily, no one was hurt and the Icelanders decided that the wreck should stay.

Since then, parts of the plane have been removed (some for safety, some have been stolen!) but the main part of the fuselage still sits on the sand.

There is a 4-kilometre path to the actual plane from the road – you can walk or take the shuttle bus, but definitely, don’t attempt to drive it! When you visit the plane wreck, take care and please don’t ruin it for others by breaking or standing on the structure. Take awesome photos and leave with even better memories!

Iceland Holidays – Wander around Jökulsárlón Lagoon

20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Wander around Jökulsárlón Lagoon

Iceland’s magnificence is unparalleled, and there aren’t many more places that prove this more than Jökulsárlón Lagoon. Located on the southeast coast, around 380km from Reykjavik, the lagoon is a natural beauty that you just can’t miss.

It’s full of huge, stunning icebergs shining a gorgeous azure and floating calmly in the 200-meter deep water!

The lagoon is also home to many cute seals, and if you’re lucky you might spot one relaxing on an iceberg!

You can also take boat tours here, but only in the summer months.

Iceland Holidays – Marvel at the ice on Diamond Beach

Iceland Holidays - Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Visit Diamond Beach

Across the road from Jökulsárlón lies a black sand beach dubbed ‘Diamond Beach’. The ice from the lagoon breaks off, finds its way into the sea and becomes smooth and polished from the rough waves.

It’s then washed back up onto the shore and the result is clear, smooth chunks of ice that resembles diamonds – hence the name!

The contrast of the pure shards of ice nestled against the soft volcanic sand is breathtaking.

Remember to keep an eye out for those local seals, and you might even be lucky enough to catch an orca sighting too!

Iceland Holidays – Tour the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Iceland Holidays - 20 Things To Do In Iceland
Iceland Holidays – Tour the Snæfellsnes Peninsula

If you’ve got a bit more time in Iceland, then it’s worth spending a few hours driving towards the west of the country to experience the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

The area is full of natural beauty, such as the Snæfellsjökull glacier, the rare golden sandy Ytri-Tunga beach (famous for seal spotting!) and the Gerðuberg basalt columns.

You can also find mineral springs to drink from too – Ölkeda and Rauðamelsölkelda are full of water that you can bottle and take home with you!

Iceland Holidays – Party at a local festival

Icelanders love a bit of a party, and that means holding festivals for pretty much any kind of celebration! Many festivals occur at specific times of the year, so check out the tourism board’s list of monthly activities here.

Whether you want to camp under the midnight sun at the Secret Solstice Festival, celebrate Pride in Reykjavik, dance the night away at the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival or dress up in traditional costume at the Viking Festival, there will be something for you!

Iceland Holidays – Hike a glacier

Climbing a glacier is one of the top things to do in Iceland. There are so many different types of a hike you can do, so you have a lot of freedom to choose the perfect glacier tour for you.

Whether you want to take a relaxed walk along the glacier, go ice climbing or hike into an ice cave, you’ll be spoilt for choice! You can also combine your glacier tour with another activity such as snowmobiling, a Golden Circle tour and much more!

Iceland Holidays – Tunnel through a lava cave in Iceland

Iceland was created millions of years ago, yet the natural formations that occurred are still fascinating to visit today.

Walking (or crawling) into a cave that used to be a literal tube of boiling hot lava is super interesting!

You can learn all about the history of the colorful tunnels from a trained guide too which makes the day trip all the more worth it.

Iceland Holidays – Chill at the local swimming pools in Iceland

One of the best things to do in Iceland is to mix with the locals and there is no better way to do this than relaxing at a nearby swimming pool!

Many Icelanders meet up with friends and unwind after a hard day at work by going to their local pool. Most of these pools are heated by the geothermal energy the country is famous for!

Spend a fun afternoon sliding into the water, chilling in the hot tub or swim a couple of laps!

You will easily be able to find swimming pools all over Iceland, but here are a few of the most popular:

Laugardalslaug – Located in Reykjavik, this is probably the most famous pool in all of Iceland. There are two outdoor pools and one indoor pool, a sauna, two waterslides, and multiple hot tubs.

lftaneslaug – This has Iceland’s only wave pool, so it’s definitely worth a visit! You can also play golf and take a leisurely nature walk around the area.

Hofsós Swimming Pool – If you make it to the North of Iceland, then this pool should be on your list of things to do! The beautiful views from the pool overlooking

Don’t forget to follow the pool etiquette in Iceland – wash (without your swimsuit!) before you get into the water! It’s a really important part of swimming here because Icelanders pride themselves on their clean water so don’t be shy – everyone is doing it!

Iceland Holidays – Camp under the stars

Although wild camping in Iceland is now banned, you are still welcome to take your tent or campervan to a campsite and enjoy a unique accommodation experience.

You can spend the evening around a fire or just simply enjoying the views that you wouldn’t get in a hotel.

If you are planning an Iceland summer vacation then remember to bring an eye mask for camping because the midnight sun during summer will make it pretty difficult to sleep all night!

Are you now planning a trip to Iceland and wondering where to stay in Iceland?

If you want to plan a trip then book flights and hotels here.

You can plan your stay in Iceland. For the best hotels or the best Iceland accommodation, we suggest checking out our favorite sites to book here. We always use these sites to book our stay. Hotel booking can be done through TripAdvisor or Cleartrip or to save huge and get best deals on booking your stay.

Click to book the best hotels/resort

Iceland Guided Tours

Iceland points of interest are many and if you are wondering what to see in Iceland or what to do in Iceland, then book Iceland guided tours to enjoy the beauty of Iceland. You can plan and prebook the best Iceland tours.

If you are wondering when is the best time to visit Iceland then plan your Iceland holiday during summer. So what are you waiting for? Plan your trip soon and visit Iceland!

Hope you liked this Iceland blog and found it useful. Do share your feedback in the comments section.

This is a guest post by Jade and Kev. Jade and Kev have been traveling since 2015. Their goal is to live and work in as many countries as possible so that they can immerse themselves in the incredible cultures and experiences that a place has to offer! They are currently in their third year of teaching English in China. They share their travel stories and experiences at Two Tall Travellers.

We are a reader-supported site. This means, at no additional cost to you, we may earn a small commission if you book a flight or hotel, or make a purchase through one of our affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

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Places to visit in Iceland

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Iceland Holidays - 20 Best Things To Do In Iceland

5 thoughts on “Iceland Holidays – 20 Best Things To Do In Iceland”

  1. Iceland is one place I’ve always eyed to visit. Right from pristine waterfalls to hot springs to glaciers and yes northern lights, I’ve had a special fascination for this place. What are the cheapest ways from India?

  2. I so want to visit Iceland after reading this blog. It looks like you had a great time and even all your pictures are truly amazing. I hope that I will be visiting this place soon.

  3. After reading your post, I feel like visiting Iceland right now! It’s a really detailed blog post helping me prepare the perfect to-do list together. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Have seen the beauty of Iceland only through Bollywood movies but after reading your article I realized that it has a lot other things to offer. Thank you very much for this wonderful article.

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