Destinations: Your bucket list NEEDS to include the land of Fire and Ice, and here's why...
Updated: Jan 16
Iceland is a country of rugged and stunning sites. Volcanic peaks, beaches, puffins and incredible lava flows. Magnificent volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls, and fjords. Did I say puffins?! I love PUFFINS! Whether you arrive by plane to join an active group tour with hiking, yoga and snowshoeing, or by the sea on an ocean cruise, Iceland is one destination that does require travel planning.
TIPS: Here are my top 10 things you need to see in Iceland. Let’s see if you agree; this could be an extraordinary destination to add to YOUR bucket list!
Whale Watching Tour – There are many tours available that allow you to see whales as well as puffins. You can engage with Naturalists and experience rare sightings that will leave you in awe. It is best to whale watch in the summer months, preferably April through September. Minke whales are the most common in Iceland. Follow the instructions carefully and be safe.
Blue Lagoon Spa – This mineral-rich attraction is minutes from the Keflavik International airport. There are many spa options available due to the geothermic forces and many natural elements. The lagoon is man-made and renewed every two days with fresh water. You can easily access the site via car or bus.
West Fjords – Located in a popular peninsula, the Fjords are breathtaking. You need to plan well and leave time to really explore all this area has to offer. They have great attractions. You can visit a myriad of special sites, such as the Icelandic Sea Monster Museum or the famous Látrabjarg cliff. There is much to experience in this mountainous remote area. You will have options that will keep you interested while on your expedition.
Skogafoss – The perfect place for you to get a shot with a double rainbow, Skogafoss is the most scenic fall in Iceland. With a drop of over 60 meters, the view is spectacular. There is also a legend of gold that lies within the falls. Take your chance and search if you dare…
Silfra - Silfra is an amazing diving spot located in Thingvellir National Park. It is the crevice between the tectonic plates in North America and Eurasian continents. It is the only place in the world where you can dive between two tectonic plates that shift roughly 2 cm every year. The shifting of the earth creates new caverns and tunnels. There is plenty of wildlife to see on your dive/snorkel. The three main dive sites are; Silfra Hall, Silfra Cathedral and Silfra Lagoon. The maximum depth is about 207 feet. The water is the purest in the world and you can feel free to take a sip while diving.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) – This site is at the top of many lists, however, you need to know the best possible location to view this wonder. Thingvellir is by far the finest area to see this wonder. Be sure you check the weather so that you have a combination of dark and partially clear skies. Thingvellir is a national park as well as a historic site. It doubles as a great tourist selection for you to see a rare vision as well as gain some insight into the history of the land.
Holuhraun - This is a fairly new site that you can visit located in the Highlands of Iceland. You will need a 4WD to reach the landscape, and be sure you get a high-quality vehicle that is equipped to travel on the unique terrain. Holuhraun is the newest formed lava flow from a volcano that lasted from August 2014 through February 2015. When peering into the rifts of the lava you see many beautifully vivid colors. While driving along the sand, you can still see steam in certain areas. It is a geological wonder to behold. Be careful and stay on the marked paths and to wear gloves when handling any lava rocks.
Reynisfjara Beach - This beach is gorgeous and an absolute must-see! With its rare black sand and basalt columns, there is much to explore on this volcanic shoreline. The black sand is lava that cooled once it hit the water and the sand is more like various small stones. White sand and red sand beaches (Westfjords) also exist in Iceland. While on Reynisfjara, you can see Gardar, which is a basalt cliff that resembles a staircase to heaven. It is a natural pyramid and was formed by columnar jointing. There are many basalt columns throughout Iceland, but this is by far the most exceptional.
Party in Reykjavik – This small town has the best party spots in Iceland, hands down! There are multiple bars and restaurants to choose from. None of the businesses charge a cover and the music is amazing!
Seljavallalaug – This natural pool is one of the oldest in Iceland and you will surely have a memorable experience when visiting. The water is not that hot because it does mix with colder water.
Intrigued? There are so many options available for travel in Iceland! Cruises, guided trips that highlight sightseeing destinations only accessible in the summer or winter-focused (think Northern Lights!) vacations, Game of Thrones filming site tours, and my current must-do, a unique active adventure that can include hiking, biking, ice-walking, snowshoeing and/or YOGA!
So, which destination or experience resonates with you? Hop on over to the Facebook page and view the gallery of stunning images of Iceland. While you are there, leave me a message. I’d love to hear if you are as fascinated with the Land of Fire and Ice as I am.
Erin Smith ~ Affinity Group Travel Advisor