Iceland is a natural wonderland with stunning sights you must see to believe. From bubbling mud pools to spectacular waterfalls, there are endless reasons to visit this incredible country.
This comprehensive book is filled with beautiful photographs and easy-to-follow advice. It includes a detailed map of Reykjavik and customizable itineraries that fit different travel styles and budgets.
Table of Contents
Thingvellir National Park
One of Iceland’s most iconic natural wonders, Thingvellir National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful park is known for its fascinating geological landscape and history. The rift valley here was created by separating two continental plates, and the dramatic landscape is full of admirable gorges and fissures like the Almannagja cleft. The rift valley is also home to several glacial lakes, including the icy Thingvallavatn, filled with groundwater and supports a unique ecosystem with four species of Arctic char.
At the center of the park is the Indweller Church, and nearby you’ll find the national burial grounds. The park’s name comes from the Old Norse word “Thingvellir,” which means “assembly place.” The area was first used for political meetings in the 10th and 11th centuries when the Icelandic parliament (Alingi) met.
There are several things to do in Thingvellir National Park, one of Iceland’s most popular spots for hiking. You can also enjoy several other activities, such as snorkeling and horseback riding. If you plan to take any of these tours, it’s essential to know that they will have separate fees in addition to the price of admission to the park.
The best time to visit Thingvellir National Park is between May and October. This is when the park is most likely open and has the best chance of good weather.
Visiting Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is a must for any traveler planning their Iceland itinerary at Iceland weather in March. This iconic waterfall features a stunning single clear drop, one of the few you can walk behind worldwide. This feature makes it a unique and memorable experience that will surely make your Instagram famous.
Several trails lead around the perimeter of the waterfall, providing many different vantage points to admire its beauty. Walking down to the water level at the rear of the waterfall is also possible for some incredible photos. You should bring rain gear when visiting this waterfall since you will undoubtedly get wet from the spray of the falls. Additionally, you may want to bring a towel if your camera or electronic devices get wet during your visit.
Another great activity while visiting this waterfall is hiking to the neighboring Gljufrabui waterfall. This hidden waterfall is harder to find but worth the extra effort. The views of the surrounding area from this waterfall are even more spectacular than those of Seljalandsfoss, and you can enjoy it in solitude.
A visit to this gorgeous waterfall is an essential part of any tour of southern Iceland, and it should be on every traveler’s bucket list! To get there, take the Ring Road (Route 1) from Reykjavik and head south.
Geysir Geothermal Area
The famous Geysir Geothermal Area is a must-see when visiting Iceland, with the bubbling hot springs and Strokkur geyser being one of the highlights of the Golden Circle tour. It’s easy to find and well-marked as you head there by car from Reykjavik along Thjodvegur. But once you arrive, the parking lot fills up quickly with every kind of vehicle, from 4WDs and campers to coaches and zippy little city cars.
Geysers are like vents in the earth that spew boiling water and steam when enough pressure and heat have built up. They can be unpredictable, though, as their frequency depends on tectonic movements, which rely on nearby earthquakes. The first geyser described in literature back in 1294 was the Great Geysir, and its name has since become the name for all other such volcanic features worldwide.
Today, the most notable geyser is Strokkur, which shoots up 20-30 meters (131 ft) of water into the air every 5-10 minutes. You can even watch a video of Strokkur erupting to understand better what this fantastic feature looks like in action!
In addition to Geysir and Strokkur, the geothermal area has several smaller blow holes and mud pools. You can also walk to the top of Laugarfjall Mountain for a panoramic view of the area. If you’re feeling incredibly refreshed after your visit, there’s even a tiny thermal pool called Kualaug, where you can soak for free in warm mineral water.
There’s a reason Iceland is called the land of fire and ice. Its landscape is peppered with mysterious craters, and volcanic activity has created lava fields and hot springs. Almost all the features that you see here were formed by volcanic eruptions. And there are few places to visit this volcanic activity than in the Krafla caldera, north of Lake Myvatn.
This 10km (6.5 miles) wide and 90km (55 miles long caldera was the site of 29 eruptions in the past. At its center is the explosion crater Viti, whose name translates to hell and contains a vivid green (almost teal) lake. The surrounding Leirhnjukur lava field and the Hverfjall and Dimmu Borgir rock fields are also volcanic formations.
The area’s many natural wonders are complemented by a large geothermal power plant that takes advantage of the area’s volcanic energy. Visitors can tour the plant and learn how it uses hot water to generate power.
The best time to visit this area is in summer when the roads are drier and more easily accessible. In winter, driving can be challenging, and the streets may be covered in snow or ice.