One of the difficulties in preparing for a trip is the amount of time and research one has to put in and not knowing where to begin.
What to see, what to do, where to go and what to eat?
The beauty of Iceland is that it has so much variety in its sights and activities that it caters to almost any age or interest. This sheer scale often makes it difficult for most people to cover most of it within a single trip.
I reckon that it would be handy to know, in my opinion, the Top Ten Things to Do in Iceland, to maximize your time in this amazing country.
1.Explore the Waterfalls
Iceland has such a wide variety of waterfalls that I would be surprised if you couldn’t find one that would impress you. Besides the touristy Skogafoss and Seljalandsfoss, don’t miss the powerful Dettifoss. Do stop by and explore the lesser known “foss” whenever you see them on the Ring Road! You might end up with an up close and personal encounter like I did!
2. Soak in the Hot Pools
Geothermal pools are a trademark of Iceland, ranging from artificial, man-made ones with state of the art facilities to natural ones with nothing more than a hot pool with little or no changing areas.
Consider going to both types to see which appeals to you more. Whichever you choose, nothing beats soaking in 38 degrees hot, natural spring water while the air is at a crisp 3 degrees cold!
3. See the Glaciers
Glaciers are probably one of the most mysterious creations of nature that you’ll ever find.
Hauntingly beautiful, yet full of immense danger. You will no doubt hear of the many unfortunate stories of adventurers succumbing to the many pitfalls of the glacier, yet when you are close to it, you are somehow enthralled to go nearer and nearer, forgetting all the warnings you have heard.
4. Enjoy the sunrise
One of the little things that make a difference in our lives yet we often take it for granted.
The different hue of colors just before the sun appears will make you wonder why you don’t do this back home often.
5. Drive the Ring Road
Iceland’s Ring Road is the only major highway that goes round the entire country. In my opinion, there’s no better way to explore Iceland than to drive.
Driving the Ring Road is like watching a story unfold-you will find a different plot in each stop and your own favorite part-and it will be the best story you have ever read.
6. Taste the Icelandic Cakes & Pastries
I think the Icelanders must have picked up a thing or two from their Scandinavian neighbors and added some because the cakes and pastries they make are simply mouthwatering.
The cakes in particular are exceptionally creamy and moist without being overly sweet, leaving you being able to enjoy its richness to the fullest. This is worth putting on the calories for.
6. Meet the Icelandic Horses
The Icelandic horse is probably one of the most friendliest horses around, good-natured and always comfortable around humans.
Make sure you have a bag of carrots ready in your car to give them a little treat from time to time.
7. See the Northern Lights
This poorly taken picture* of the Northern Lights doesn’t do justice to the beauty of this natural phenomenon that appears during the winter months usually. In Iceland, the window is usually September to March.
I’ve seen really stunning pictures of the lights from others, but you would need a combination of luck, timing and a clear sky to witness this lights show.
8. Explore the mudpots
The mudpots at Myvatn, with the constant smell of sulphur and the bubbling mud pots giving the entire place the feeling of a totally different planet by itself.
Think Matt Damon in The Martian.
9. Savor the soups
While you might not hear Icelandic cuisine being praised often, it’s a big misconception that you won’t find anything noteworthy in Iceland.
If anything, Icelanders serve up probably the best soups around, since it’s ingredients are quite simply, the freshest.
Don’t miss the Icelandic lamb stew, Fiskisúpa (fish soup) and lobster soup. It’s the perfect tonic to warm you up on a cold day.
10. Drink the water
Iceland has a abundance of water. The country’s drinking water comes from the nearest spring or glacier, and you can drink straight from the tap, so you don’t need to be buying bottled water from the supermarkets.
While the hot water often has an eggy smell due to its geothermal properties, it will not be present when the water is cold. Let it run for a few seconds, fill your bottle, and take a long swig. It will be the purest water you will ever taste.