Fire and ice. Day and night. High culture and raw nature. Iceland is a land of contrasts. A land of volcanoes, glaciers, geothermal springs, and northern lights. But trips to Iceland aren’t all about nature. Its cities offer delectable cuisine, a sophisticated arts and culture scene and warmth that is uniquely Icelandic. With this Iceland travel guide we introduce you to the best places to see and the top things to do to get you inspired to experience Iceland.
The best time to visit Iceland is in the summer. June and July see the midnight sun when the sun shines throughout the night and temperatures are just right for you to go out and explore the country. Of course, if you would like to catch the northern lights then you will have to travel earlier in the months February and March. Summer also plays host to the Secret Solstice music festival in June an
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Iceland is wet and windy most of the year owing to the fact that it is an island near the North Pole. The summer months from May to August tend to be cool with temperatures averaging around 20 °C and long days making it the best time to visit Iceland. In fact, on the summer solstice on June 21, the sun does not set at all. Winter in Iceland sees sub-zero temperatures and frequent showers.
Most Iceland tour packages begin in the capital city, Reykjavík. Located in the southern part of the island, on the shores of Faxa Bay, Reykjavík is Iceland’s largest city. A small trading town till the 20th century, the city still retains its small town charming while having all the trappings of a European capital. The city is known for its colourful buildings, and eclectic cafes and bars. Include a walk around the Old Town in your Iceland travel planning. Painted in bright colors, this part of town has many museums, galleries and shops where you can pick up souvenirs. Like every Iceland travel guide, we recommend visiting Hólavallagarður cemetery, Tjörnin, the Cathedral, and the National Gallery of Iceland that make the list of the best places to see in Reykjavík.
Blue Lagoon is the highlight of most Iceland travel guides. Situated near the town of Grindavik, the Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa that attracts thousands of tourists out on their Iceland holidays. The water is full of minerals such as silica and sulfur and boasts of therapeutic properties which is why a dip in the lagoon is an essential activity in all Iceland holiday packages. Blue Lagoon has its own range of skincare products that are sold across the country. If you prefer to include a more inexpensive experience in your Iceland travel planning, feel free to just lather on some of the silica-rich mud from the lagoon.
Another great place to visit on your Iceland tour is Geysir. Found in the Haukadalur Valley in southwestern Iceland, Geysir is the first geyser known to mankind. Most Iceland travel guides will, nearly always include a trip to the Geysir, a sprouting hot spring that hurls boiling hot water 70m into the air. While you are visiting the geyser, you could also stop by another one on your Iceland tour. Not far from Geysir is Strokkur. Located in a geothermal area besides the Hvítá River, it is far more reliable than Geysir with eruptions occurring every 10 minutes. You could also explore geographical features such as mud pools, fumaroles and geysers that you will only find in Iceland. If you enjoy the outdoors, a traipse through the valley could be a great addition to your Iceland travel planni
Vatnajökull Glacier is another name included in Iceland travel guides. The largest glacier in Europe it covers more than 10% of the entire island of Iceland. You will visit the glacier as part of a trip to the Vatnajökull National Park, the largest park in Europe. The glacier covers a range of volcanoes that often erupt causing the ice above it to melt. A rare phenomenon, you could be lucky enough to witness it on your Iceland holiday. The national park is spread over 12,000 sq. km and is home to Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss. Iceland travel guides often recommend Vatnajökull National Park to experience the rugged beauty of Iceland with its craggy mountains, gushing waterfalls and vast glaciers.
Iceland is known for its seafood and you cannot end your trip to Iceland without trying some whale meat or smoked puffin. While you will find vegan and vegetarian options in the country, your Iceland tour is best enjoyed with Icelandic food. Don’t forget to try some traditional skyr, a kind of flavoured yoghurt, smoked lamb, and Slátur that is made of sheep’s offal and drenched in sheep blood. And if you are feeling particularly adventurous, give svið a try. This Icelandic delicacy is made of singed sheep’s head.
Þingvellir National Park should ideally be at the top of your Iceland travel planning list. The national park is a UNESCO World Heritage site but more importantly it is the site of the world oldest running parliament. The Law Rock has been the place where laws governing Icelanders have been created since 930 AD. The region is particularly picturesque as you will see in your Iceland travel guide. Þingvellir National Park is home to many brooks and streams as well as Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest lake in Iceland.
Iceland travel guides will always be incomplete without a stop at Gullfoss. Golden Waterfalls in Icelandic, Gullfloss is located on the Hvítá River in southern Iceland. One of the most popular attractions in Iceland, the falls find themselves on all Iceland travel guides as part of a day long excursion. The waterfall is divided into three “steps” spread across a canyon and is 32m high. Fed by a glacier, the water sometimes turns into a golden colour lit by the rays of the sun, giving the waterfall its name. You can hike up to a wooden viewing point for great views of the rugged landscape and take some of the best pictures of your Iceland tour.
Vatnajökull Glacier is another name included in Iceland travel guides. The largest glacier in Europe it covers more than 10% of the entire island. You will visit the glacier as part of a trip to the Vatnajökull National Park, the largest park in Europe. The glacier covers a range of volcanoes that often erupt causing the ice above it to melt. A rare phenomenon, you could be lucky enough to witness it on your Iceland tour. The national park is spread over 12,000 sq. km and is home to Europe’s most powerful waterfall, Dettifoss. Iceland tour packages often bring visitors to the Vatnajökull National Park to experience the rugged beauty of Iceland with its craggy mountains, gushing waterfalls and vast glaciers. Whether you prefer Iceland holiday packages or travelling on your own, the Vatnajök