The first time that I visited Iceland, I was on a brief overnight layover which only gave me enough time to get out and explore the city of Reykjavik.
As I look back and think about that short trip, I wish that I had arranged to extend my layover and do a two-week road trip around the country, which is full of unparalleled natural beauty and somewhere that is definitely on my list of places to get back to in the near future to explore.
There are so many amazing and wonderful things that Iceland has to offer, and somehow I have managed to narrow it down to the top 7 things that I want to see when I return to the country.
Iceland’s Laugavegur Trek is the most popular extreme hiking trail in the country and has been described by the Wall Street Journal as ‘beautiful but tough‘. This beautifully diverse 78 kilometer trail is not for the faint of heart however, and is full of ever-changing climates and landscapes.
Due to the fact that the Laugavegur Trek is a challenging journey, it is a good idea to get prepared for it both physically and mentally before making the hike. Luckily, my friend Lindsay has created an excellent guide on How To Plan for the Laugavegur Trek in Iceland.
Seljavallalaug Geothermal Pool
Seljavallalaug is an 82-foot-long geothermal pool located in a picturesque valley near Seljavellir. Built in 1923 as a place where the locals could learn to swim, Seljavallalaug is said to be the oldest pool in the entire country, and one of Iceland’s best kept secrets.
Ever since I first laid eyes on the beautiful Seljavallalaug while watching the movie Land Ho!, I have had dreams of spending an afternoon soaking up the warm thermal waters while sipping on a nice cup of Icelandic herbal tea as I stare out at the lush green mountains surrounding the pool.
If you are looking to visit Seljavallalaug yourself, I Heart Reykjavik has a nice guide on How to get to Seljavallalaug.
Located in Skógar, Iceland along the Southern Ring Road, the 200-foot Skógafoss waterfall has been named one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world by the Travel Channel, and is arguably the most famous waterfall in the entire country.
I have not seen many waterfalls in my lifetime, so I would love to go see this natural beauty and hopefully I will be lucky enough to catch the sight of a rainbow at the base of the waterfall!
Vatnajökull National Park
Located in southern Iceland, the Vatnajökull National Park is both the largest national park in Iceland (covering 13% of the country) and the largest national park in Western Europe. Vatnajökull is home to the Vatnajökull glacier and the stunning Svartifoss waterfall
One thing I am particularly interested in doing is hiking across Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, to see the stunning Crystal Caves, which is seriously one of the most amazing places that I have ever seen in pictures and is a photographer’s dream!
Svartifoss (Black Falls) is a waterfall located inside of the Skaftafell area of Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park. Although the 20-meter high waterfall is not very large in size or volume, I find it particularly interesting because of its unique jointed basalt columns that was formed by lava that cooled slowly and crystallized to create this amazing natural beauty.
Iceland Ring Road
Iceland has a couple of famous routes to do a road trip on: one being the famous Ring Road, an 830-mile journey that circles the entire country and the other being the much shorter Golden Circle route, a 190-mile journey full of geysers and glacial waterfalls.
While the Golden Circle is a good way to see some of the country in a short time, I would personally prefer to explore the massive Ring Road, which will allow me to see a much larger portion of the country. In addition to the Skógafoss Waterfall [pictured above], some highlights along this road that I am looking forward to seeing are: the Sólheimajökull Glacier, the Crystal Ice Caves under the Vatnajökull glacier, the Northern Lights along the East coast, the Myvatn geothermal area, and the active Holuhraun volcano.
Looking to take a road trip on Iceland’s 830-mile Ring Road? Check out the Do’s and Don’ts of an Iceland Road Trip on the by Elizabeth of Young Adventuress. If you are short on time in Iceland but you still want to take an epic road trip, check out this Guide to Driving Iceland’s Golden Circle by Matthew of Expert Vagabond.
If you are looking to do an Iceland road trip but you don’t know where to start, Guide To Iceland has a number of packages ranging from a 3-Day Self-Drive tour to a 13-Day Self-Drive Tour with options covering everything from the Golden Circle, to the Ring Road, to the Fjords.
Last but certainly not least is the beautiful Reynisfjara Beach located on Iceland’s South Coast near the village of Vik. In addition to having beautiful black pebble sand and stunning rock formations, Reynisfjara is home to the famous Halsanefshellir, a magnificent pyramid-shaped collection of basalt columns that jut up towards the sky.
While there are quite a number of other places that I would love to explore in Iceland, these 7 things definitely are at the top of my list and I cannot wait to get back to the country to explore!
Interested in seeing more of Iceland? Check out my friend Lindsay’s photographs from Iceland on her Best of Iceland Photo Gallery.
FTC Disclosure: I was asked to share my Iceland experience and wishlist by Guide to Iceland, however as always all opinions and are my own.
Have you been to Iceland before? Share your stories and travel tips below!