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.
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!
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.
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?