Home » Europe,Iceland » Top 10 things to do in Iceland

Top 10 things to do in Iceland

Iceland is one of my favourite countries of all time. It is a country on such epic proportions, even the grumpiest and hardened of travellers will smile ten rainbows into their trip. I spent five days having the time of my life, exploring a type of landscape that was nowhere close to anywhere I had ever been before. I had a jam-packed itinerary over those five days but I’ve managed to pick my top 10. Here are my top 10 things to do in Iceland…

1) See the Northern Lights

Adorning many a bucket list (and certainly on mine!), the Northern Lights. These lights are simply collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere, but they are one of the biggest draws to Iceland because of how beautiful the natural phenomenon is.

There are a few companies that do tours but I had a great experience with Grayline and what is great about them is, if you don’t see the Northern Lights the night of your tour, you can keep rebooking tours for free until you do see them. This is superb, as imagine if you booked a trip to Iceland with the sole goal of crossing off the Northern Lights from your bucket list and then you didn’t see them the one night you booked? Gutted my friend! Be sure to book your trip between September and mid-April when you are more likely to catch them. Also, pack some coffee, it’s a late one!

Northern Lights1

2) Relax in the Blue Lagoon

It was second only to the Northern Lights on my trip to Iceland and was a welcome day of relaxation on an otherwise action-packed trip across Iceland. The Blue Lagoon was formed as a result of excess water from the nearby geothermal power plant and opened to the public because of the healing minerals such silica and sulphur that was found in the water. The Blue Lagoon is one of the 25 wonders of the world and is a remarkable place that represents everything that Iceland prides itself on (plus, super relaxing!).

Check out my five step guide to the Blue Lagoon to get all the details or watch my vlog from the day.

Blue Lagoon2

3) Explore Reykjavik

Reykjavik is the capital city of Iceland and is an awesome place to hang out, grab some food and enjoy the many stunning views. From anywhere in the city centre you are within walking distance from the main street of small boutiques and family-run restaurants, the Northern Lights Museum, the Icelandic Phallological Museum (i.e. the famous ‘penis’ museum), the Viking Museum and Reykjavik Harbour.

If you want to see more of Reykjavik, check out my first Iceland vlog.


4) Visit Þingvellir National Park

Þingvellir, or as we would pronounce it in English, ‘Thingvellir’ is a spectacular national park located in the South West of Iceland. Aside from it’s sha-mazing views, it has a very cool history. Þingvellir literally means, ‘parliament plains’, as Iceland’s parliament (the oldest in the world) was established here around the year, 930 and continued to meet here until 1798. It’s now protected under law and became a World Heritage Site in 2004. It also lies in a rift valley that marks the divide between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates.

Thingvellir National Park4

5) Watch the Geysers explode

Watching the geysers explode is so much fun because it is another natural phenomenon that that will take your breath away (and I mean literally, as I sh*t myself every time I was trying to keep my camera steady and one exploded!). I visited the Strokkur geyser, which is one of the few geysers in the world that erupts reliably and frequently, every four to eight minutes. Geysers are a fascinating phenomenon and erupt when boiling hot water within the geyser gets trapped by the cooler water above it, causing it to explode as the hot water forces its way to the surface. This particular geothermal field allegedly occurred after an earthquake shook the southern parts of Iceland, plus it’s just super cool to watch!

I saw the Strokkur geyser as part of a Golden Circle tour which also included, Þingvellir National Park and Gullfoss Falls (next on the list) but you can also rent a car and take a trip down from Reykjavik if you’d rather go at your own pace.


6) Visit Gullfoss Falls

Gullfoss Falls is another naturally occurring beauty from the Golden Circle tour and is a must-see when visiting Iceland. It is located in the canyon of Hvítá river where water flows across three stages into a 105 foot crevice. It is a reminder of the power and beauty of nature. The water spray from standing at the edge is just immense!

Gullfoss falls6

7) Meet Icelandic Horses at the Fákasel Horse Park

Now, I’m not a massive fan of horses (I know, I just find them too big and unpredictable, ok?) but Icelandic horses are the sweetest and most gentle creatures I have ever met and the Fákasel Horse Park provides horse encounters in spades. But what makes them so special you say? Aside from the fact they are like big, fluffy teddy bears that are super friendly, there is a reason why Icelandic horses are different from any other breed of horse and this is because they are not inter-bred. No other horse breed lives in Iceland and Icelandic horses that are exported are not allowed to return in case they bring any diseases into the country. They have unique features and temperaments that make them different from any other horse breed, plus they are just adorable!

To see more of the Icelandic Horse Park, check out my Game of Thrones tour vlog. WARNING: You may explode with cuteness overload. 

Horse Park7

8) Watch the sun go down over Þjórsárdalur Valley

Þjórsárdalur is a beautiful Valley that was home to an original Viking settlement from 874 AD, which is thought to have been buried under volcanic ash in 1104 following the eruption of a volcano. Three buildings were accurately reconstructed on the site in 1974 to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the settlement and they stand at a point where you can see right across the valley. I was there at golden hour to watch the sun go over it and it was just incredible.

Check out day four of my Iceland vlog series for a full view of the settlement and nearby Hjálparfoss waterfall.

Viking Settlement8

9) Check out the view from the church of Hallgrímskirkja 

I stumbled upon this church by accident whilst exploring Reykjavik and it turned out to be one of the best photo opportunities of the trip. At 244 feet, the church of Hallgrímskirkja is the tallest church in Iceland and was designed beautifully to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape. This church is not just beautiful on the outside, the view from its observation tower is also spectacular. It boasts a 360° view across Reykjavik and the surrounding mountains.

Check out day three of my Iceland vlog series for the full view.

Church view9

10) Snorkel between tectonic plates 

This is something I didn’t get chance to do whilst I was in Iceland due to timing issues, however is something so amazing I had to list it as it’ll be the first thing I do when I eventually go back. Remember the tectonic plate divide I mentioned earlier in Þingvellir National Park? Well, you can actually snorkel between the plates, how awesome is that? Silfra is the only place where you can dive between two continents, making it one of the top diving sites in the world and one of my top 10 things to do in Iceland.

Tectonic Plates10

Have you been to Iceland and done any of these things? Do you agree with my top 10 things to do in Iceland? Or if you haven’t been, have I convinced you to go?? :)

Mel x

About the author

Hi, I’m Mel! The adventure-seeking vegan travel blogger behind Footsteps on the Globe. On this blog you'll find my latest adventures, travel inspiration as well as tips and tricks on how to be vegan around the world. You don’t have to give up being vegan to follow your travel dreams and I’m here to show you how!