Yes, the Northern Lights in Iceland are a site to see, but there is always the chance that you may not catch them. But do not fret, there is so much more to see in Iceland that is equally beautiful and amazing, as seeing the Northern Lights.
We suggest renting a car to see the locations in this post. Renting a car will be the fastest and easiest option to get the most out of your Iceland trip.
Follow the Golden Circle, which is a route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometers that will lead you to most of the attractions. It loops from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back.
1. Explore Reykjavík
Two things to do within the city are visit Reykjavik’s main landmark Hallgrímskirkja Church and go to the Icelandic Phallological Museum. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of penises and penile parts from marine mammals.
2. Gaze at Waterfalls
Seljalandsfoss and Skógarfoss Waterfalls are not to miss when visiting Iceland. You can walk behind the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall to get a unique view of the falls. Bring your hiking shoes when visiting the Skógarfoss Waterfall as you can walk up a long staircase for an amazing skyline view.
Gulfoss Waterfall is a short drive from Geysir (noted below) and this is Iceland’s most famous waterfall. There is a free parking lot and a small gift shop.
3. Visit a Volcanic Crater
The Kerið Volcano crater lake is located on the Golden Circle. There is not much to do here, but it’s worth a quick stop to take some fun pics!
4. Tour the Glaciers and Ice Caves
Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon is where you can see the awe-inspiring glaciers and icebergs. Local vendors offer boat tours to see the glaciers up close. We recommend getting a tour guide since the roads are extremely bumpy and you will not be able to drive on it in a regular car. Keep in mind these tours do sell out so book them early!
In order to see the Ice Caves you need to book a tour to go inside the caves. The caves are one of those sites that you will never forget. Make sure to book your tour in advance especially during the colder months.
5. Visit Waterfront Towns
Vík and Reynishverfi are two small towns in Iceland along the water. The black sand beaches are famous and you can walk along them for some stunning views. There are also plenty of local restaurants to grab a bite to eat and talk with some locals.
6. Take a Hike
Skaftafell National Park is where you can hike some beautiful trails and see more glaciers. Make sure to bring something to eat with you, as there is no place to purchase food.
7. Watch an Explosion
Geysir is a very popular tourist destination where a hot spring ejects water into the air every 5-10 minutes. There is free parking at the Geysir and across the street is a restaurant, a market and some shops.
8. Eat an Icelandic Hot Dog
Icelandic Hot Dogs are not your typical hot dogs. They are made of lamb and they are delicious. You can order them just about anywhere.
The best place to try them is in downtown Reykjavik at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Ordering the hot dog with everything on it is the best way to enjoy this Icelandic treat.
9. Relax in a Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that is also a major tourist trap. It is crowded and expensive, yet the most popular tourist destination. All opinions aside, it is still worth a visit. You MUST reserve a time slot to visit this location. We suggest you visit the Blue Lagoon on your way to or from the airport, since it is about 15 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes or more, from downtown Reykjavik. The prices range from 6100-8100 ISK ($58 USD) for a day pass.
Secret Lagoon is less expensive and less crowded than the Blue Lagoon. It is located an hour and 15- minute drive east of Reykjavik. This natural hot spring is one the best places to relax at any time of the year. It is only 2800 ISK ($24 USD) for a day pass.
10. See One of the Great Wonders of the World
Thingvellir National Park is considered one of the geological wonders of the world. You can see where tectonic plate movements have opened up cracks in the earth’s crust, and walk around the area. The parking is not free (approx. €5).
No matter what time of year you visit Iceland, you are sure to have an awesome time. The sites will leave you breathless and the memories that you take away will make you want to go back time and time again.
Have you been to Iceland? What was your favorite thing to do?
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