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Best Things To Do & See In Iceland: Tourist Attractions

The things to do in Iceland aren’t well known since the country is mostly visited by Europeans instead of Americans & Australians.  Iceland is a phenomenon that occurs nowhere else in the world.  The island sits on top of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates causing a massive amount of geological activity: volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and geysers all part of the daily Icelandic life.

We were able to see the mid Atlantic Ridge which is the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates.  Many travel guides insisted that you visit Iceland after the financial crisis and once people arrived they kept coming becuase of the unique combination of tourist attractions there are in the country.  While the Icelandic currency (the Kronar) has started to recover you can still find some deals here and there.

Iceland was one of the first countries that I shared on this blog so I am very happy to present the top 5 things to do in Iceland:

The Northern Lights, northern lights iceland,


A spectacle that can only be witnessed in the winter months, be sure to arrive between the months of September and March (those two months are actually best).  There is nothing in the world like it, definitely a must see in your lifetime.  This is an one of the Iceland tourist attractions that cannot be missed.  While the northern lights can be seen throughout the entire hemisphere, most tourists visit Alaska, Iceland, and the Nordic countries in Europe to see the northern lights.


The tourist attractions in Iceland start and end with Reykjavik.  The largest city in Iceland hosts 2/3 of the country’s entire population.  Culturally unique to any place in the world; parties last for hours into the night, the people and surroundings make it feel cozy and quaint, great museums and arts district, and an opportunity to sample whale and to indulge in some disgusting sea creatures.

Once you visit you will certainly want to return for more disgusting sea creatures.  I wouldn’t recommend living overseas in Iceland as living in Iceland is extremely expensive, remember that it’s part of Europe.

BLUE LAGOON iceland, the blue lagoon, things to do in iceland, things to see in iceland, getting to the blue lagoon

Picture of the Blue Lagoon


One of Iceland’s most popular things to do, the blue lagoon is a geothermal pool that feeds off Earth’s natural forces from 6,500 below the ground.  It’s a pricey attraction but worth every single penny.  You have the opportunity to bathe in a massive heated pool thats heated naturally, get massaged by a powerful waterfall, clenase your face with the mineral rich silica mud (and learn the best “silica removal technique” after bathing).

pictures of glaciers, glaciers in iceland, glaciers

Picture of the Hveravellir Glacier in Iceland


You can walk on glaciers, see glacier pools, climb underneath glaciers, trek them,  whatch the ice change color when you… (sorry didn’t mean to say that one out loud).  The most popular are Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and Jokulfirdir Glacier Fjord.  Many tour operators even take you to the retreating glaciers around Iceland as well.  This is one of the Iceland activities that you will rarely experience anywhere else in the world.  I’ve shared many stories about geysers in my travel blog and Iceland definitely has a very interesting set of geysers as they are found all throughout the country!

Spectacular Natural Beauty

You have water in all its forms; ice, geysers, and ravenous waterfalls. Click here for a video of me surfing in Iceland.  The terrain of lava fields will engulf your imagination.  You are also able to see the splitting of two continents as the Mid-Atlantic trench is ripping the island of Iceland apart.

Being part of Europe, it’s extremely easy to get around Iceland.  Public transportation is available and everything is within walking distance.  The locals speak fluent English (not the “I kinda understand but not really English”) so you are even able to engage in local culture.


{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Ankur Tripathi July 11, 2012 at 2:33 am

Simply beautiful, thanks for sharing


Raphi August 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Hey, this is Raphaela. We met during your visit to Reykjavik! I just wanted to let you know that I wrote my own guide for Iceland, but my guide is more about how to save money than what to do there.


Marcello August 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Sounds great Raphi!


Lehua September 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

Oops, looks like Raphi’s comment doesn’t have the site address in it.


Marcello September 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Lehua… I removed the address as posting links of your websites on other blogs is generally considered spam. The website address is always included in your name so if people want to visit your site they can click on your name or Raphi’s name as well.


mary October 13, 2012 at 11:21 pm

WTF? NORTHERN LIGHTS can be seen all winter in Canada, Russia and northern Europe. Pretty much anywhere north of 60 degrees.


Marcello October 14, 2012 at 12:33 am

Its possible for it happen yes, but likely? NO. People dont go to Toronto and Moscow to see northern lights. In Iceland people specifically go during that time of year because its the most likely time for them to appear. Even when we went we had to go more than once. Is it possible yes, but not likely.


Ellen November 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm

People go to Northern Canada to see the Northern lights all the time. Canada is a big country. There would very rarely, if ever, be Northern lights visible in Toronto (I suspect the light pollution would drown it out anyway) but people visit the Yukon and the Northwest Territories to go see the Northern lights, amongst other things. It is not an exclusive sightseeing activity to Iceland and Alaska.


Marcello December 31, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hey Ellen thanks for the note, while tourists may visit Canada to see the northern lights most people do not come to Canada to do that. Most people go to the many other tourist attractions in the country. Its not to say that people don’t do it but the most common places to see the northern lights is Alaska, Iceland, and the Nordic countries in Europe. Northern Canada is very hard to access.


Paul Krol November 24, 2012 at 12:13 am

Great stuff Marcello. But you can’t see Northern Lights in Toronto. You have to go a lot more North of that too see that. And people do go there specifically for that. I mean..what else is there to do in a place full of snow and little else? So while i’m sure the Iceland Northern Lights are spectacular..do your research and see that the Canadian ones are awesome too. You said “nowhere else in the world…” so that’s why i’m pointing it out. Otherwise, great post! Cheers!


Marcello December 31, 2012 at 7:48 am

Paul thanks for the note.. I have some friends that have lived in Toronto and say that it has happened a few times. I wouldn’t be surprised as they have been reported as far south as Wisconsin in the states. The further north you go the better they usually are. I didn’t state in the post that the northern lights could only be seen in Iceland I stated that the uniqueness of Iceland can be found nowhere else in the world. I was referring to the geological formations and the effects of that, not the northern lights.


Wrabbit007 February 27, 2014 at 3:55 pm

I live in Alberta, just south of Edmonton, and the Northern Lights are a common winter occurrence in my area. You don’t have to travel to the Northwest Territories or Nunavut to see them (although they ARE brighter up there).


Eric November 27, 2012 at 10:11 pm

@ Marcello although you can rarely see the northern lights in Toronto, I used to live in Fort Frances Ontario (just north of the 49th parallel) and I would see them often in the winter. and the vast majority of Canada is above the 49th parallel so yeah : ).


Glenn December 19, 2012 at 8:17 am

Winter is the best time, although the Northern lights can technically be seen all year ’round, winter has the most darkness and clarity.


Marcello December 31, 2012 at 7:06 am

Yes thats correct Glenn! Thanks


jess February 4, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Ah Iceland :) I visited back in October 2011 and loved every second of it. Reading this helped remind of everything I enjoyed about that trip.


Barbie February 12, 2013 at 9:54 am

Thanks…the comments are great…they give people ideas, and that’s good. I enjoy reading all views. I live near Edmonton, and we do see the Northern Lights in the winter, and they are beautiful. Keep up the good work.


Wrabbit007 March 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

I am headed there in July, and I’ve done my homework on this amazing place! I have your top 5 on my list for sure, plus some other gems: so many waterfalls (Gulfoss, Godafoss, Seljalandsfoss, etc), the Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, the Skaftafell National Park with its amazing ice caves, Hvitserkur and the Rhinocerous formation, snorkeling Lake Silfra, and visiting the iceberg lagoon of Jokulsarlon. Hopefully we have time to do it all in 12 days! Come visit my blog in July to check out my adventures! :)


srini December 13, 2013 at 9:33 am

Thanks for the nice blog….I will definitely visit ICELAND atleast once in my life time…

Thanks to everyone in this blog.



Escape Hunter February 15, 2014 at 7:06 am

Awesome place! But expensive…
The great thing is that hopping further to Greenland is quite easy from Iceland.


roberto March 14, 2014 at 8:49 pm

i’m going to iceland for 6 days in june and rented a 4X2 car. Which places can i visit besides reykjavik? specially places free of entrance…living in portugal, every countrys in europe are expensive and iceland is more than expensive!!!!
my idea is to go to north and fjords. is to far for it in 5 days?


Marcello March 16, 2014 at 4:55 pm

There are tons of things that you can do Roberto. The South Coast is very impressive check it out.


roberto April 16, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Thanks Marcelo


paul March 29, 2014 at 8:14 pm

We are only going to be in Iceland for one day (on a cruise ).What would you suggest to see .


Marcello March 30, 2014 at 4:16 pm

The capital and the blue lagoon


Martin May 7, 2014 at 6:12 am

Hi Marcello!

I am going to spend about 2 days (waiting for my connecting flight) in Iceland. I plan to rent a car and travel to see as much as I can in 2 days… Any suggestions?

as a reaction to above comments: I was lucky to see a bit of a northern lights in Canada as well, near Edmonton, but it was at a very big distance so to say… So next time I would love to EXPERIENCE rather just barely see…


Marcello May 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Head to the South Coast! Its absolutely gorgeous!


Angela August 5, 2014 at 11:57 am

Whale is not a traditional food of Iceland. They try to make it seem like it is, but ask a local and they will say no. Because whales are becoming extinct its better to not partake.


Mat September 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

Great post Marcello! I’ll be there this month for 5 days with the lady. Hopefully the current volcanic activity doesn’t crush my plans.


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