Iceland, a land of contrasts and natural wonders, invites travelers to immerse themselves in a world where nature dictates the rules. From hot springs to stunning waterfalls and northern lights, this destination is a paradise for those seeking unique experiences.

If you are planning your trip, here you will find an essential guide on what to see and do in Iceland.

Bathing in hot springs, one of the things to do in Iceland

Immersing yourself in Iceland’s hot springs is more than just a bath; it is an immersion in the island’s unique culture and geology. In addition to the famous Blue Lagoon, with its silica-rich waters and otherworldly atmosphere, there are hidden gems like the natural pools of Hveravellir, in the heart of the volcanic zone.

The Myvatn thermal area, less crowded, offers an equally spectacular setting with views of lunar landscapes. These experiences are not only relaxing but also beneficial for the skin and health, thanks to the mineral richness of the waters.

Blue Lagoon

The Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon

The Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon is a highly recommended site. The scenic beauty is combined with unique experiences. You can navigate the lagoon by boat or zodiac. Approach the impressive icebergs floating in its waters or the ancient ice walls of the glacier feeding the lagoon.

Glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon

Seeing the northern lights

Hunting for the northern lights in Iceland is an adventure that requires patience and luck, but the reward is a spectacle of dancing lights in the night sky that you will never forget. The best months to observe them are from September to March, when the nights are darkest.

Places like Þingvellir and the Snæfellsnes peninsula are known for their clear skies and unobstructed views, ideal for observation. Equipping yourself with warm clothing and consulting aurora forecast apps can increase your chances of success.

In addition, numerous night tours are available, offering expert guides who will take you to the best viewing spots.

Northern lights in Iceland

Taking a glacier tour

Taking a glacier tour in Iceland is a transformative experience that allows you to walk on vast expanses of ancient ice. On the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, visitors can equip themselves with crampons and ice axes to safely explore this impressive frozen landscape.

The feeling of being on a glacier is indescribable, with panoramic views of ice fields stretching to the horizon. Additionally, the ice caves in Vatnajökull offer a unique opportunity to discover the interior of glaciers, where blue ice formations and frozen chambers create an almost magical environment.

These tours are not only an adventure but also an education on the effects of climate change and the importance of glaciers in the global ecosystem.

Glacier tour

Visiting Iceland’s waterfalls, one of the best things to do in Iceland

The waterfalls in Iceland are spectacular manifestations of the island’s raw and unfiltered nature. Seljalandsfoss, with its unique feature that allows visitors to walk behind the water curtain, offers a unique and refreshing perspective.

Skógafoss, on the other hand, is known for its impressive drop and the frequent appearance of rainbows, making it a dreamy place for nature lovers and photographers. Additionally, the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon, with its deep crevices and lush vegetation, complements the waterfall experience with breathtaking views and rock formations that seem taken from a fairy tale.

Visiting these natural wonders is an opportunity to experience the strength and beauty of the Icelandic landscape at its best.

Skogafoss Waterfall, one of the things to see in Iceland

Enjoying its spectacular canyons

The canyons in Iceland offer spectacular views and are testimonies to the erosive force of water and ice over thousands of years. Places like the aforementioned Fjaðrárgljúfur present deep crevices and moss-covered walls that create dreamlike landscapes.

Another impressive example is the Ásbyrgi canyon, part of the Vatnajökull National Park, with its distinctive horseshoe shape and legends speaking of its mythical origin. Walking through these canyons allows visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature and admire the local flora and fauna.

The experience of exploring these deep gorges is like entering another world, where the majesty and serenity of Icelandic nature are manifested in all their splendor.

Studlagil Canyon

Seeing a volcano in Iceland

Iceland, often called the “Land of Fire and Ice,” is famous for its volcanic activity. One of the most impressive experiences is visiting a volcano, such as Eyjafjallajökull, known worldwide for its eruption in 2010.

Another notable volcano is Hekla, one of the most active in Iceland, or Krafla, with its impressive Víti crater. Visitors can take guided hikes to explore these sleeping or active giants, learn about volcanic geology, and in some cases, even enter extinct magma chambers.

Seeing a volcano up close is not only an exciting adventure but also an opportunity to understand the powerful force that has shaped the Icelandic landscape.

Volcano in Iceland

Lava Caves

Exploring the lava caves in Iceland is to delve into the heart of ancient volcanic flows. These caverns, formed by the solidification of lava on the surface while hot magma flows below, are geological time capsules.

The Leidarendi lava cave is a notable example, where visitors can observe lava stalactites and stalagmites formations and learn about the process of these underground structures’ formation. Another notable cave is Víðgelmir, one of the largest and most accessible, offering a fascinating look at the varied textures and colors of the earth’s interior.

Visits to the lava caves offer a unique perspective on Iceland’s volcanic activity and are an unforgettable adventure for nature and geology enthusiasts.

Lava cave in Iceland

Visiting the black sand beaches

The black sand beaches of Iceland are a stunning natural phenomenon, resulting from volcanic activity and the erosion of basalt rocks. Reynisfjara, near Vík, is one of the most famous and photographed, known for its powerful waves, basalt pillars, and dramatic rock formations.

Walking on these beaches is like stepping onto another planet, where the contrast between the black sand, the white of the waves, and the gray of the cliffs creates an unforgettable landscape. Besides their aesthetic beauty, these beaches are a reminder of the strength and constant presence of nature in Iceland.

However, it is important to visit them with caution due to strong currents and sudden waves. The experience of visiting these unique beaches offers a different perspective of the island and is a must-do activity for any traveler in Iceland.

Reynisfjara Beach in Iceland

Going on a horseback riding tour and connecting with nature

Horseback riding in Iceland is to immerse yourself in the island’s tradition and nature in an intimate and memorable way. Icelandic horses, known for their endurance and friendly temperament, are the perfect companions for exploring the vast and varied landscapes of the island.

From gentle rides through moss-covered lava fields to more challenging adventures across rivers and mountains, these routes offer a unique connection with the natural environment. The experience of riding in the unique gait known as tölt is smooth and comfortable, allowing riders of all levels to fully enjoy the majesty of the Icelandic landscape.

Horseback tour in Iceland

Observing geysers and geothermal phenomena

Visiting the Golden Circle of Iceland takes you on a journey through the impressive geothermal activity that defines much of the island’s landscape. In the Geysir geothermal area, the Strokkur geyser offers a natural spectacle by ejecting boiling water into the air every few minutes, a phenomenon that captures the energy and strength lying beneath the earth’s surface.

The Þingvellir National Park, in addition to its historical significance as the site of the ancient Icelandic parliament, sits on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where tectonic activity is palpable. The nearby Gullfoss waterfall complements this experience with its impressive beauty and power, completing a comprehensive view of the dynamic and ever-changing nature of Iceland.

Geyser in Iceland

Venturing on an ice cave tour

Exploring an ice cave in Iceland is to enter a world of frozen wonders, where lights filter through the ice creating a spectacle of colors and shapes.

These caves, mainly accessible during the winter months, are formed through the movement and melting of glaciers, offering a constantly changing landscape that captivates all visitors. Ice cave tours, guided by experts, are not only an opportunity to admire the inner beauty of glaciers but also to better understand the geological processes that form them.

Each cave presents a unique structure, with shades of deep blue and ice formations that seem otherworldly, providing a truly unforgettable and deeply photogenic experience.

Tour to an ice cave

Enjoying the nightlife of Reykjavik

The nightlife of Reykjavik offers a vibrant and diverse experience, reflecting the culture and welcoming spirit of Iceland. The capital is famous for its lively nightlife, ranging from cozy bars and cafes to nightclubs where live music and DJs keep the energy up until the early hours.

The “rúntur,” or bar crawl, is a local tradition that allows visitors to immerse themselves in the social scene of Reykjavik, sampling Icelandic beers and enjoying local hospitality. In addition to bars and clubs, there are numerous cultural events, concerts, and shows held regularly, offering something for everyone’s taste.

Enjoying the night in Reykjavik also means having the opportunity to meet friendly and open people, making the city a perfect place for those looking for an authentic and memorable nightlife experience.

Beers in the night of Reykjavik

Going on a whale watching tour

Whale watching is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences that can be enjoyed in Iceland. From the capital, Reykjavik, to the picturesque town of Húsavík, known as the whale watching capital of Iceland, visitors have the opportunity to embark on tours that bring them close to these majestic marine mammals.

During these tours, it is possible to spot different species, including humpback whales, minke whales, and occasionally, impressive blue whales. The tours are guided by experts who provide fascinating information about the life of these creatures and the marine ecosystem.

The best season for whale watching runs from April to October, when the waters around Iceland are teeming with life. This experience not only offers the chance to see whales up close but also to enjoy the stunning Icelandic coastal landscape.

Whale watching in Iceland, one of the things to do in Iceland.

Visiting Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar, located in the heart of the Icelandic Highlands, is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and hikers. Known for its multicolored rhyolite mountains, vast lava fields, and natural hot springs, this area offers some of the most spectacular and varied hiking trails in the country.

The landscapes here seem taken from a dream, with colors ranging from intense green, through yellow, red, and purple, to the blue and black of the lava and ash formations. The hiking trails in Landmannalaugar vary in difficulty and length, allowing visitors of all levels to find the perfect path for them.

Additionally, after a day of exploration, travelers can relax and rejuvenate in the warm natural hot springs, enjoying the stunning natural surroundings.


Enjoy the Midnight Sun in Iceland

The midnight sun in Iceland is a fascinating natural phenomenon that occurs during the summer, especially in June, when the sun barely sets and the night is never completely dark. This spectacle offers visitors and locals up to 24 hours of continuous light, allowing for outdoor activities at any time of the day or night.

The hours of daylight in Iceland during this period create breathtaking landscapes, with long shadows and golden light bathing the fjords, mountains and waterfalls. It is a magical time to explore the island’s natural beauty, experience cultural festivals and observe wildlife in unique surroundings.

In summary, Iceland is a destination that offers a wide range of activities and landscapes for all tastes. From relaxing in hot springs to exploring glacial and volcanic landscapes, every corner of the island promises a unique adventure.

Plan your trip with these recommendations and prepare for an unforgettable experience in the land of ice and fire.