Any trip to Iceland is almost always going to be exciting! Honestly, the island is stunning and that’s why I wanted to share a map of Iceland’s best places to visit. Hopefully, this will help on a first-visit and help you see some of the more famous and popular Icelandic gems.
Now, when planning a trip to Iceland, the biggest challenge can be where, how and why you should visit certain places and with a country filled with amazing experiences, I found it hard to whittle these down into one trip.
That’s why I’ve decided to share the very best spots (with the help of my little doodle) that should be included on every first-timers visit to this stunning country.
Take a look at our map of Iceland’s best places to visit on your first trip! Have the best time.
1.) See the black beaches of Vik
Vik is one of Iceland’s most southerly villages and a great place to discover one of the beautiful volcanic black beaches that shape this beautiful country.
Make sure to pack a jacket, as those arctic winds can bring along a chill!
2.) Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon needs little introduction!
These geothermally heated pools are a popular destination for visitors to Iceland.
Don’t forget to use some of the silica on your body whilst you’re in the lagoon. Oh, and make sure to dollop it on and give yourself a little spa treatment of your own. It’s totally lovely.
3.) Stroll through Reykjavik
Even if you don’t decide to stay in Reykavik, every first-time visitor should consider at least a half a day trip to Iceland’s capital city.
With its a multitude of delicious restaurants, an opera house and its iconic church; the city is far from sleepy! This is especially true on a weekend when many Icelandic bands play live in the bars.
4.) Jump in an icy lake at Laugarvatn Fontana
If the Blue Lagoon isn’t for you but you still want a geothermal experience, make sure to stop at Laugarvatn Fontana – where the natural geothermal activity heats the many pools and steam rooms.
If you’re brave enough (like Yaya was), take a plunge into the icy lake just after your warm relaxing bath. That’s the Icelandic way! Brrrrr!
Also, save your appetite for some of the yummy bread that they cook in the hot ground around the lake. It’s delicious. Again, just check our map of Iceland’s best places to visit to plan your route.
5.) See a geyser erupt
Strokkur is one of Iceland’s famous geysers.
Erupting every 8 minutes or so, it’s well worth a watch! Just remember not to stand too close; no one likes a careless traveller.
6.) Find the waterfall of Gullfoss
Gulfoss waterfall is a mere 15 minutes or so from Strokkur and can be combined quite easily on a tour of the Golden Circle. It’s one of the more popular routes to drive in Iceland and a great day trip, too.
Though, make sure to wear some sensible shoes, especially if it’s snowing. The paths can get quite precarious close to the edge of the waterfall. Oh, and always listen to local advice if the paths are closed. They’re closed for your safety.
7.) Spot a rainbow at Skógafoss
This epic waterfall is a towering force of nature and well worth a visit.
On particularly sunny days, you might even see one of the waterfall’s famous rainbows that fill the cove. It’s really easy to find and if you look at our map of Iceland’s best places to visit (at the top of the article) you’ll see where it is.
8.) Walk behind Seljalandsfoss
Seljalandsfoss waterfall is one of my favourite waterfalls to see, mainly because you can walk behind it.
Around 30 minutes west of Skógafoss it’s a must-see sight on your journey further east. If you want to avoid most of the crowds, head here first thing in the morning (before the bigger tour buses arrive).
9.) See the Northern Lights
This was one of our favourite places to catch up on some sleep in Iceland, not just because of its remote setting but because it offers so many amazing opportunities to see the Northern Lights.
The lights are brightest in Spring and Autumn, so keep that in mind when you’re booking your trip. Oh, and don’t worry if you think you’ll miss it, the hotel staff will wake you up at first sight of them dancing overhead.
10.) See icebergs at Jökulsárlón
This huge glacial lake is filled with icebergs galore! It’s a great way to see the unspoilt beauty of glaciers in Iceland. Plus, you can even head on a lagoon boat tour that’s pretty epic, too.
Oh, don’t forget to grab a hot chocolate from the cute little cafe right beside it.
11.) Head out whale watching
Just make sure to plan ahead and think of a contingency, as the weather in Iceland can be unpredictable, tours can get re-arranged or cancelled at a moment’s notice.