The land of Fire and Ice, as it’s aptly described, Iceland is a destination of striking contrasts and experiences. Where else can you find active volcanic spots and massive glaciers rubbing shoulders with each other?
The land of Fire and Ice, as it’s aptly described, Iceland is a destination of striking contrasts and experiences. Where else can you find active volcanic spots and massive glaciers rubbing shoulders with each other? How about dark winters (where sunlight is not visible for days on end) being counterbalanced by the shimmering midnight sun during summers. From isolated, castaway landscapes to the urban vibe of Rejavik, this is this breathtakingly gorgeous country serves you multiple travel experiences on a single platter. Expect to witness jaw-dropping turquoise beaches, gigantic waterfalls, dramatic volcanic mountains, old-world style town churches, flourishing national parks and much more. Here’s our expert list of the top 9 tourist attractions to visit in Iceland.
A massive caldera nestled in the ethereal looking Dyngjufjoll Mountains, Askja is a much sought after day trip option (takes around 12-14 hours to complete the entire trip). The route transverses via Iceland’s largest desert (Odadahraun), which is known to appear so unreal that Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin are rumored to have practiced here before landing on the moon. Among other striking natural features, Askja features a geothermal lake (brimming with balmy whit blue waters) dunked in a deep crater. Click On the Next Button to See Next.
There’s a slim a chance you won’t be completely mesmerized by the sheer magnificence and raw power of these massively lashing falls. Nestled in Vatnajokull National Park, this is Europe’s most forceful waterfall (and it has many which says quite a lot). Fed on the melting water from Vatnajokull glacier and plunging at 148 feet into the dramatic Jokulsarglufur Canyon, these hypnotic falls are a sight to behold. Quick fund trivia, Dettifoss is also known as Prometheus since it featured in a sci-fi flick of the same name.
3. Blue Lagoon
One of Iceland’s most photographed tourist attractions, this surreal geothermal spa is nestled in Grindawik. The artificial lake is flush with heated seawater from the surrounding lava flow. Its milky ice-blue waters are believed to contain some of the best skin soothing minerals. Pro tip – book ahead if you plan to take a dip here are the experience is almost always sold out due to heavy demand.
4. Reynishfjara Beach
Featuring rare, ink black sand, gigantic crashing waves, and rough basalt columns, Reynishfjara Beach will make you feel that you’re in another world. Colonies of puffin birds make their way into this stunning beach on the country’s southern coast. Local folklore has it that the stones resting here are actually trolls who unsuccessfully attempted to drag a ship to the coast. Visitors are warned to exercise caution as the lashing Reynishfjara’s lashing waves are known to be dangerous.
Gullfloss in Icelandic translates to Golden Falls (owing to its golden-brownish hue), and boy are these majestic! Europe’s highest volume falls is also known for a quirky phenomenon of two separate drops forming a perfect right angle with each other. Witness the sight of the falls plummeting in the abyss. Thanks to the efforts of native woman, the plan to create a hydroelectric powerplant here was scrapped, and the attraction was saved.
6. Jokulsarlon Lagoon
Prettily nestled on the border of Vatnajokull National Park, this spectacular glacial lagoon draws tourists for its otherworldly appeal created by ice-blue melting glaciers. Little wonder then that the lagoon has been increasing in size as it’s filled with more icy water. One of the nation’s deepest lakes, Jokulsarlon teems with icebergs created from glaciers. So scenic and ethereal is the natural attraction that it’s been used in several flicks including “Die Another Day.”
7. Haukadalur Geyers
Another stunning natural attraction on Iceland’s hypnotic geo landscape, Haukadalur is part of the nation’s Golden Circle, in addition to the hot springs and beautiful mud pots. Nestled in the Haukadalur Geothermal Area in an ethereal valley, these geysers dramatically erupt every 5-10 minutes giving visitors plenty of Instagram-worthy pictures. Witness the geothermal feature of Blesi, which is a small area of two pretty ponds (one featuring crystal clear waters and the other a striking blue hue).
Myvatn is a beautiful, shallow lake nestled in Northern Ireland. Known for the large variety of birds that can be spotted in its vicinity and volcanic formations, the lake was created by a lava eruption that occurred 2,300 years ago. Today, expect to view plenty of whooper swans, ducks and other species of aerials that frequent the photogenic looking lake. Huge midge clouds can be seen in the region during summers.
Reykjavik is a tiny city with a huge heart and plenty of character. Surrounded by glistening silver seas and vibrantly hued buildings, this quirky city features the Old Harbor region (visit the Saga Museum with kids for some maritime historical encounters), lots of upscale eateries, a vivacious nightlife and captivating art museums (don’t miss Reykjavik Art Museum and National Gallery).