There are few countries in the world that provide lazy penguins and travelers with more wondrous outdoor fun and natural scenic beauty than the small North Atlantic island country of Iceland, whose geothermal activity has created a variety of sites like none other.
Whether you’re the type of person who enjoys the luxuries and finer points of a vacation, or prefer roughing it a bit, here are the top ten things you won’t want to miss while you’re in this island country of Iceland.
Explore the Viking history at Thingvellir
Widely considered to be the most important and sacred cultural and historical site in Iceland, Thingvellir on the River Oxara, in what is now a national park. This area is known as The Parliamentary Plains, and was home to the Althing, a legislative and judiciary assembly that was founded in the year 930, and met continuously for 868 years until 1798.
The mixed composition of salt- and fresh- water, and rich with minerals such as silica and sulfur, has given the Blue Lagoon hot springs a deep mesmerizing color as well as mythical healing powers. It is now one of the most visited sites in Iceland, and its many amenities include a massive changing room, restaurant, multiple pool options, saunas and more.
Iceland’s best known waterfall falls down three separate tiers for a distance of some 2.5km. The gorge down which the Hvita River plunges gives off the illusion of disappearing into a massive abyss. On sunny days, the waterfall’s waters sparkle and glow in a golden hue.
One of Reykjavík’s most visited sites, this church has a completely unique architectural design. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson.
National Museum of Iceland
If you’re looking to walk amongst some of Iceland’s most cherishes relics and learn about its extensive history will enjoy a visit to the National Museum. There you can observe everything from Viking to contemporary culture.
If you’ve never been before, Iceland offers up some of the best waters for observing these gentle giant in their own element. A 2-3 hour tour anywhere from May to September is sure to provide you with some wonderful photos and memories.
Situated in Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park, this perfect cone of a volcano is a mesmerizing site, especially in the summer once all of the snow and ice has melted from its sides that are covered in a rich green moss.
Skaftafell Ice Cave
Reminiscent of Superman’s icy fortress of solitude, the Skaftafell Ice Cave and its smaller surrounding caves provide some of the most spectacular scenes you’re likely to find in Iceland or the world.
Best observed from a remote destination outside the capital, the Northern Lights are a dazzling experience and have become especially bright recently due to increased solar activity. For best viewing, you should visit between September and April.
This grouping of mountains is formed by rhyolite, which give them a multi-colored appearance. The landscape is also filled with deep mountain lakes, and lava fields.
Whether you want to explore and discover the wonders of Iceland on your own, or travel luxuriously on a fancy tour, you’ll quickly find this country is unlike any other.