The small island of Iceland is a unique and often mysterious vacation destination. Here, you will find an array of sights and experiences that will bring you on an adventure leaving you in awe. Full of history, mystery, and natural wonders--the island is the perfect place to get away from the world that you know. Highlighted by some of Iceland’s most famous attractions, we’ll provide you some tips on where and when to visit, and what you’ll want to see along the way.
Where to Visit?
Your trip to Iceland will be unlike any other country to which you may have ventured in the past. You’ll have the chance and the choice to experience the city life, discover the island’s natural wonders, and explore its rich history. With so much to do and so many places to visit in Iceland, you’ll want to decide beforehand where you’ll spend your time. It’d be impossible to include all of our favorite spots to visit in this one blog, so instead we’ll point you in the right direction with a few of Iceland’s most popular cities and regions, and what you’ll find when you get there.
We’ll start out list with the epicenter of the island. The capital and most highly populated area of the island, Reykjavik is the perfect place to begin your Icelandic adventure. This is a great spot in Iceland to explore the culture, the food, and the architecture of the city while also absorbing the natural beauties of its parks and beaches.
The Golden Circle
As you may be able to infer from the name, the Golden Circle is one of Iceland’s most beautiful and sought out areas to travel through. The Golden Circle, just a short drive away from the city of Reykjavik, is a 300-kilometer route on which you’ll get to see some of Iceland’s stunning natural landmarks. The first of these landmarks is the Geysir Geothermal Area, is a valley full of geothermal activity. Highlighted by the great Geysir—the namesake of all geysers around the world as it can shoot over 100 feet into the air, the area is accompanied by hot springs, mud pools, and a number of smaller geysers.
Your next destination along the route is Gullfoss, or the ‘Golden Waterfall’. Pouring into a massive canyon, the waterfall is a symbol representing the untouched beauty of the Icelandic landscape. Additionally, the waterfall’s rich history is a central piece to what is considered the fundamental beginning of Iceland’s environmentalist movement. While a beautiful place to visit in the summer, some say that in the winter, when part of the ‘Golden Waterfall’ is frozen over, it’s actually more beautiful and stunning to view.
The last, and arguably most awe-inspiring destination in Iceland is Thingvellir National Park. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the vast region was the founding site of the Icelandic parliament. Surrounded by a mountainous and volcanic landscape, the area is particularly interesting for its geographic location- the Mid-Atlantic rift. The valley is situated between two tectonic plates, which allows for a unique snorkeling or scuba-diving experience for those who have dreamt of swimming between two continental crusts.
This western wonder is home for some of Iceland’s most prominent and popular natural landmarks. You’ll have the chance to wander through reserves leading to some of the country’s largest glaciers. A trip across Snaefellsnes National Park will introduce you to unforgettable scenery including black pebble beaches, incredible rock formations, and diverse wildlife. If you’re traveling to Iceland for the scenery, visiting the Snaefellsnes Peninsula should be a must-see on your list.
Immerse yourself in the authentic small-town culture of Iceland by visiting this 2,100 person town. Notorious for the diverse marine life, the town offers some of Iceland’s best whale watching tours. Located in one of the Northernmost points of the country, the town’s climate can get quite chilly, so make sure to bundle up. However, you’ll immediately forget about the low temperatures as you’ll be swept away by the breathtaking sea giants and the scenic backdrop of the island’s snow-capped mountain ranges.
Where to Stay?
Long days of exploring the island’s mysteries deserve to be capped off in an equally awe-inspiring hotel. Whether you prefer a view of the city, the snowy mountains, or the surrounding seas, you’ll find an array of luxurious options in Iceland. To help ease your search; enjoy this short list of Iceland’s most popular hotels:
Immerse yourself in the center of the country’s historic capital as you stay in one of the country’s most luxurious hotels. Just a minute’s walk from some of the most popular tourist destinations such as the Harpa Concert Hall and Hallgrimskirkja--Iceland’s National Cathedral--you’ll have plenty to explore at this Iceland hotel.
Radisson Blu 1919 Hotel
Also located right in the heart of the capital, this creatively designed hotel molds together classic and contemporary Icelandic architecture. The recipient of numerous Travel Awards, the 1919 has consistently been considered one of Iceland’s top hotels. During your stay, make sure to try out some of the region’s most popular neo-Nordic dishes, offered in the 1919 restaurant.
Complete your authentic Iceland experience in a genuine Icelandic-style hotel. A log-cabin style hotel, you’ll experience a mixture of luxury and authenticity in the cozy and secluded rooms. Enjoy Icelandic artwork, bubbling jacuzzis and unbelievably clear views of the Northern Lights in this remote hotel just an hour from Reykjavik.
Situated in the continually developing harbor district of Reykjavik, the Icelandair Hotel is perfect for both romantic getaways as well as family vacations. The resort offers restaurants, cinemas and fitness centers to keep your whole group occupied on a rainy day. With a funky and colorful design scheme, the hotel comes with a beautiful view of the nearby bay. And thanks to those nearby waters, you’ll find plenty of delicious seafood restaurants just down the street.
Iceland offers a plentiful selection of highly-rated hotels all across the country. While we’ve done our best to show you some of the most popular options near the capital city, you can find plenty of other luxurious and authentic hotels in cities and towns all around Iceland.
When to Visit?
The ideal time to visit Iceland depends on what you hope to see during your trip. If you’re longing to see the Northern Lights, late September to early March will give you the clearest view of the auroras. However, make sure you bundle up, as Iceland’s winter and fall seasons see short days with very few hours of sunlight. Otherwise, the Icelandic summer is the most popular tourist season during which the sun only sets for around 2-3 hours, giving you more time to explore the endless wonders of the island.
Quest Travel Adventures provides customized services and catered tour packages to help perfect your Atlantic Island trip. Iceland is a fantastic destination to indulge in a rich history, a colorful culture, and a breathtaking landscape. From the city’s historic cathedrals to the islands rolling mountains, your trip will take you on many adventures. To learn more about our Iceland packages and our other Atlantic Island packages, visit www.QuestTravelAdventures.com.