Some of the best things you can do in Iceland
What is the first thing that comes to mind when the name of Iceland is mentioned? The cold temperatures, northern lights and volcanic mountains. Very few people know these three facts about Iceland – it is the home of Bjork, the famous songwriter-singer, the country was financially broke in the year 2008 and in the year 2010, the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic mountain’s eruption disrupted air travel in North America and Europe for nearly 6 days. Iceland was the off the radar of amateur travelers until very recently. Iceland has recently started to showcase its beauty and culture to attract more visitors because of the recently ramped up tourism promotion that the country is doing. This has led to prospective travelers and tourists to discover the fact Iceland, a remote iota of land in the North Atlantic Ocean, is much more exciting and amazing than it was originally thought to be.
Iceland is one of the most assorted countries on Earth and the small iota of land shows just how diversified the country actually is. If you drive for an hour in the country, you will be able to travel and see glaciers, go across lava fields and beaches of black sand, trek up mountains and over rivers, voyage through lush green meadows and plains, through volcanoes and caves and even tour through two tectonic plates. Literally and metaphorically, Iceland is between two worlds, Europe and North America. However, the two plates are slowly drifting apart a few centimeters every year, making Iceland wider every year. The country has a footing in two worlds, traditional and virtually too. The country is one of the most technologically, modern countries in the world while traditionally, the country still arranges its phone records by the first name of the residents. It was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriages and yet, when a baby is born, the parents have to choose his/her name from a list of pre-approved Icelandic names. It is known as the land of fire and ice and a land of contrast at that. It is both physically and culturally diverse and it is perhaps, one of the most beautiful, enchanting, surprising, pleasant and eccentric countries of the world. So, when you visit Iceland and you want to discover and travel the country all by yourself, here are a list of fun things that you can do there.
Shop for drinks at the airport, duty free
This is the first thing that you should do when you visit Iceland. It may not be as incredible as the other things in the list, but if you plan to have a few drinks in Iceland, then you should do this thing first. Once you have got off the plane, make way for the duty free shop at the airport. It is a fact that drinks in Icelandic bars and restaurants are a bit on the expensive. Not only that, alcohol is only available in the licensed stores of Vínbúðin and for extremely short periods of time in some small villages in the country. So, stock up on provisions at the duty free shops at the airport as the price and rate of taxation is based on the amount of alcohol present in the drink and thus, can be quite cheap.
Get wet,over and over and over again
After a few hours of being trapped inside a plane, the milk, blue waters of the Blue Lagoon are extraordinarily therapeutic and healing. It may be a bit crowded during the touristy times and will be packed during the months from May to September. It is located close the airport and it is a great stop while you are on your way to the hotel or are going back to the airport. There is also another place where you can get the same experience and that is the Myvatn Nature Baths and it is much less crowded. Once you are done with the hot springs of Iceland, get wet again in the cool waters of the public pools in the country and also in the hot springs. When these two natural baths are not enough and you are staying in Reykjavik, we recommend Laugarspa as the best total health & body experience.
Drive on and off the Ring Road
Hire a car and just drive around the country. What makes Iceland unique are its rugged land that has molded the country’s history, people, culture and food. The vehicle that you use for touring the city doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to hire a four wheeler. Just get a two wheeler and drive around the 832 mile stretch of road that circles the island, known as the Ring Road.
Discover the Golden Circe
The Golden Circle is one of the famous drives of the country. It loops about 150 miles around Reykjavik and covers three of Iceland’s top tourist and natural attractions. The first point of interest is the Thingvellir National Park, which was Iceland’s and probably the world’s first site of Parliament. It is also the place where the tectonic plates of Europe and North America meet. You can walk and snorkel in the rift which is clearly visible. The second stop that you should make is the Geysir, the origin of the name of geysers. It does not erupt anymore, but the Strokkur geyser nearby erupts. The last point of interest is the beautiful, monumental and amazing Gullfoss waterfall.
Have some Icelandic hot dogs and delicacies
Visit the post-bar crowd of Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur which is a hot dog stand which is near the harbor and the hot dogs sold there are not ordinary hot dogs. They are topped with fried and raw onions, brown mustard and remoulade. The meat is either lamb or pork or a mixture of it and they taste incredibly delicious. Also try out some of the traditional Icelandic delicacies like puffins, skier, whale and plokkfiskur which is a dish made of boiled cod and potatoes which are mashed together. To sample every item of food, visit Tapas Barrinn and if you want a causal and quick meal, try out the Icelandic Fish and Chips.
Go horse riding
Ride on the cutest and perhaps the most adorable horses that can be found. The Icelandic horse may look like a pony but it is actually a short, squat and adorable horse that is also strong and smart.
Roam around the Reykjavík Harbor
Just roam around the Reykjavik harbor where you will find the whaling ships and take a whaling trip to watch the whales in the country. Also, try out the delicacies at the harbor, which have a seafood specialty.
The views and shopping
Check out the view from the big white church called the Hallgrímskirkja which is one of the most recognizable landmarks of Iceland and you will get the see the brightly colored houses, the grey bay and the snowcapped peaks of Mount Esja. Check out the skies of the country which fascinate people from all over the world. Check out the Midnight Sun which dominates the night sky in June and July. Also, see the beautiful Northern Lights which shine in the sky from the months of September to March. They are unusually bright, beautiful and spectacular. If you want to really view it every day in your trip, then pay attention to the Aurora forecasts of the rural areas.
Choose the region and just go there
Iceland is a country full of spectacular places and sights. So, when you visit the country, just pick a place and visit. The first choice of yours should be the whole of Ring Road, which you can see in a whole day if the stops you make are minimal, but if you can, make a lot of stops because the region is filled with beautiful sights and places that you will love to see.
Iceland is actually quite a beautiful place and it is quite warmer and closer than you think. The winters of Iceland are quite warmer than most countries and you can reach the country in a span of just a few hours. You can book round-trip flights for $600 and when you reach Iceland, you will find that you have a sense of peace and refreshment that emanates from the country.
Try floating in The Secret lagoon
Floating is truly a unique experience that you should try! In summer you float and relax in the midnight sun, in winter you float and hunt for the northern lights. The underwater speakers will let you enjoy the music of the Icelandic group SigurRós and with the floating kit you can relax every muscle in your body. Add massage and eggs & bread cooked in geothermal hot springs and you will have the perfect evening in the nature.
Try floating in The Secret lagoon
The South Coast is a wonderful route for one or two days. Whether you want to walk behind a waterfall, take a stroll on the black sand beaches, enjoy the amazing scenery or even go for a glacier hike, this route is perfect. You can even go all the way to the Glacial lagoon to get the most of the tour but then you need to do it in two days.