Top 5 things to do in Iceland

Being just a 3 hour flight from the UK, Iceland is an ideal destination for a short European break. But how do you make the most of your time there? Well here are my top 5…

1. The Golden Circle

A popular excursion for any first-timers visit to Iceland is The Golden Circle which includes Thingvellir National Park, where you can see the American and European tectonic plates that Iceland sits across. It also includes the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall, as well as Geysir – an area of geothermal activity that gives its name to the waterspouts known as, well, geysirs.


2. The Blue Lagoon

Take a relaxing dip in the mineral-rich milky-blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. This man-made lagoon with geothermically heated water is surrounded by a dramatic black rocky landscape and is another popular destination for visitors. You can even scoop up some of the clay to make your own face mask while you’re there and come out looking 10 years younger! (maybe!).

For more info, check out my guide to visiting the Blue Lagoon.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland
The Blue Lagoon

3. Wander around Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the world’s most northerly capital and is unlike any other city I have been to. It’s clean, small and quiet which makes it easy to explore on foot. During my visit I actually forgot it was the capital as it was so peaceful but I hear that it comes to life on Friday and Saturday nights when the locals come out to party!


4. Hire a car and explore

For most of our trips in Iceland, we pre-booked our excursions with a travel agent, but for one day we decided to hire a car and just drive. Now, I’m not the most confident of drivers, but Iceland was a pleasant drive once out of the city. The roads are relatively quiet and there’s stunning scenery all around you wherever you look. Just don’t forget the sat nav!

Nothing for miles!

5. Witness the Aurora Borealis

Seeing the Northern Lights will depend on the time of year but the best time to go is from late September to early April. We went in October and were lucky enough to see them but it’s not always guaranteed. If you’re planning a trip to Iceland during winter, make the Northern Lights the icing on the cake rather than the main purpose of your visit.

Northern Lights

Those were my top 5 highlights but I would love to return one day to see glaciers, go whale watching, ride an Icelandic horse, spot puffins and experience the midnight sun!

Have you been? What are your top things to do in Iceland?

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  1. I haven’t been but it is on my radar. Have worried about the expense as I have heard it is costly to see and do. I assume you did the golden circle then with a tour? Would you advise renting a car for the circle or not? Thanks, Cheryl

    1. Yes unfortunately Iceland is quite expensive. We did book the Golden Circle as part of a tour as we got a good package deal but it is possible to rent a car and drive it yourself. I’m glad I went on the tour as it saved me the hassle of getting myself around but I think if we went back to explore more of Iceland my husband wants to get a car and just make our own way around.

      1. Good to know. My husband likes to drive and so that would probably be his choice as well. Me… I hate driving so I would do the tour route.

        1. I hate driving too. We did hire a car for one day and I did do a little bit of driving. Aside from some dodgy gravelly roads in the middle of nowhere, I found that Iceland was much less stressful than driving in England.

  2. We missed seeing the Northern Lights, but did everything else! Stunning captures of the geysir and Gullfoss.

    1. Iceland is such an amazing country. I’d love to go back in summer!

      1. Couldn’t agree more! We’re hoping we can go back, someday. And club it with Greenland. 🙂

        1. Ooh Greenland is something different!

  3. […] you’re travelling to Iceland (or felt inspired by my post titled Top 5 things to do in Iceland) chances are that a visit to the Blue Lagoon will be on your Iceland bucket list. I had always […]

  4. This makes me so nostalgic! Iceland is one of my favorite places and renting a camper was the best decision. We can’t wait to return so that we can see it during the summertime too!

    Wonderful post and I’ve enjoyed perusing your site

    1. Hi, thanks very much 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it. What time of year did you visit?

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