Iceland is such a stunning country! It’s one of those places that’s filled with gorgeous little towns, stunning hiking routes and a heap of tasty awesome spots to see. Honestly, there are so many incredible experiences to have in Iceland that you’re gonna need to stay for years to see them all.
Now, that might be possible for some, but most of us are visiting Iceland for a limited amount of time. This is exactly why it’s vital you plan how, where and when you’ll visit each of the best spots to see.
You see, Iceland is pretty huge and it can a huge amount of hours to navigate, especially if you get a sprinkling of snow (like we did). Well, ours was more of a storm (and a bit scary) but you get the drift!
This is exactly why I wanted to share some of the best experiences to have in Iceland when you visit. After all, there’s no point in travelling all that way and miss some key things.
Well, saying that, it’s always a good excuse to return!
Anyway, back to the experiences in Iceland! Take a little gander at some of the most epic experiences to have in Iceland.
1.) Glacier Walking and Ice caves
There’s a heap of glacier walking and ice cave tours that are pretty incredible to see when in Iceland. Not only that, but they also are totally unique and are epic to explore. Safely, of course.
Now, there are quite a few different places to go, especially at the Kötlujökull Glacier to see the Katla ice cave.
Alternatively, you can pop over to some of the ice caves in Langjokull and Vatnajokull, too.
Make sure to book this ice cave tour, which we loved. After all, you should only head inside if you’re with an expert. This can be an unpredictable environment and you don’t want to be reckless.
That all being said, it’s one of the most incredible experiences to have in Iceland.
2.) Hiking in Iceland
Iceland is literally one of the most dramatic countries to explore; especially if you love nature! The whole landscape is so unique and it can change so drastically depending on what area of the island you’re visiting.
This all means that there’s a heap of world-class hikes in Iceland that are dotted all across the country.
For instance, the Mount Esja Trail and exploring the trails at the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve are just too stunning to miss. However, as with all hikes, always go out with an expert and never take chances or reckless risks.
3.) Go Horse Riding
Icelandic horses have the best temperament and are actually world-renowned for their strength and how jolly they are. They have the best personalities and are friendly.
If you love horses, pop out onto the tundra and trails on a guided horse ride. It’s incredible and one of the unique experiences to have in Iceland.
However, always have a backup plan. Our horse riding almost got cancelled because of a storm.
4.) Experience the Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is gorgeous and one of those must-do things when you arrive in Iceland.
Not only that, but it’s also not too far from Keflavik airport at all. It’s about 20 minutes away and pretty close to the capital, Reykavik, too.
Yes, it does cost quite a bit more than staying in nearby hotels but it was such a special experience and one of those things you don’t forget.
Not only that, if you stay, but you also get a more private geothermal set of pools that we use all the time. Even in the dark, we would head into the pools and watch all the open skies above us.
It was amazing.
5.) Whale Watching in Iceland
Okay, so some of the best experiences to have in Iceland aren’t just on land; case in point with whale watching.
Just off the shores of the Icelandic coast, there’s a vast swath of ocean to spot some whales. In fact, Iceland is one of the best places to go whale watching in the whole world.
Now, lots of tours leave directly from the harbour in Reykavik and it’s pretty easy to rock up and just book on the day itself. Plus, the boats are pretty big so there’s lots of room.
Just one note, don’t book your tour on your last day in Iceland. We did this and almost missed our flight home as the boat was delayed coming back to shore. Give yourself a buffer and you’ll be fine.
There are few places in the world better to watch whales than Iceland!
6.) Try cooking underground
Sounds strange, right? Well, for me, it was something that I hadn’t even thought was possible before visiting Iceland.
You see, the geothermal vents let out a massive amount of heat and some hotels and places actually cook items by burying them underground.
When we stayed at the Frost and Fire Hotel, they actually cooked some of the eggs underground. Whilst, in the Geothermal pools of Fontana, they baked us some bread that was cooking whilst we took a dip.
It was totally incredible and one of the most unique things to do in Iceland when travelling around the island.
7.) See The Northern Lights
The Northern Lights is one of the most incredible and totally epic experiences to have in Iceland. It’s one of those things that has to be seen to be believed.
We’ve seen the Northern Lights a few times in Iceland and they’re always so special to see.
Now, you can either pop out on an organised tour to see the Northern Lights in Iceland but, if you have a car, I recommend going it alone.
You see, in your car, you can park anywhere that’s dark and stay as long (or as short as you like). This way, your tour is totally on your terms and it’s one of the best ways to see them.
Alternatively, some hotels will organise an alert if the Northern Lights come out to play. Just make sure to ask for this when you check-in.
8.) See the waterfalls of Iceland
Dramatic waterfalls are plenty in Iceland! In fact, I’d go as far as saying that you’ll be spoilt for choice.
After all, you’ve got stunning places like Gullfoss, Skógafoss which are so iconic and powerful to see. Plus, they’re really easy to visit when driving and don’t require some huge hikes to find.
Oh, and don’t forget to visit Seljalandsfoss, too. It’s one of the few waterfalls you can walk behind and quite literally get a 360 view of the waterfall.
9.) Explore the volcanic beaches
Iceland is known for its stunning coastline, especially in places that have been shaped so much by its volcanoes.
On your road trip around the island, make sure to stop off at places like Reynisfjara’s black sand beach which is totally iconic.
Make sure to also see the stacks that call this coastline home. Legend states that they’re trolls that were turned to stone after a night of tomfoolery.
Plus, it’s not too far from Vik, one of the towns in Iceland that’s great to use as a base when exploring this area.
10.) Explore Reykavik
The capital city of Iceland, Reykjavik is a must-stop spot when in Iceland. Now, it’s a relatively small capital, which makes it totally easy to stroll through on foot.
Once here, make sure to visit some of the tastiest Icelandic restaurants, see the iconic church that towers over the city and stop off for one of the famous hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
They’ve been servicing them for almost 100 years.
Now, it’s nothing fancy and it’s more of a street food spot but one you should definitely get in the city (especially after a night of live music on the main street).