“Vid do these tiny streams of water flowing along the winding road with those glaciers at the back remind you of a certain place we have been to before?”
I tried hard not to be distracted by the natural beauty that surrounded us on our recent road trip to Ladakh when answering Savi’s question. Yes, we had seen such dramatic panoramas once before. In Iceland. It’s been a few years since we drove in Iceland, but Ladakh reminded us so much of Iceland that we started reminiscing our trip to the land of fire and ice. We often do that, Savi and I, especially when driving. Before we knew, we were going over the itinerary we followed in Iceland to come up with our favourite experiences of that trip. It was hard. A few hours and a couple of arguments later we finally narrowed down our favourite experiences in Iceland to the 10 experiences below:
Search for things to do in Iceland on the internet and in all probability the first result that you’ll see is the Golden Circle. When we left the airport to begin our road trip in Iceland, we decided to check out the much talked about Gulfoss waterfall. We were expecting hoards of tourists fighting for space to get that perfect shot of the massive falls. Err, not quite. It was just past 5 in the evening and there was not a single soul in sight – only handsome cliffs, gushing water, and beautiful rainbows forming in the spray of water.
Glacier Hike: Sólheimajökull
Well, take our word for it. A glacier hike is as exciting in person as it sounds on paper. The weather was not in our favour when we made our way to Sólheimajökull glacier, often referred to as the “incredible shrinking glacier”. Heavy rains added to the dramatic scene – blue ice covered with volcanic ash, miles upon miles of the colour white, and in our case, drenched bodies 🙂 Just bring a sense of adventure and warm waterproof clothes and you’re sure to have the time of your life!
Floating Icebergs at Jökulsárlón
Although we made our way through glacial rivers, rugged landscapes, and craggy mountains when driving from Vik to Egilsstadir, the highlight of this long day of driving was Jokulsarlon ice berg lagoon. This place is truly spellbinding – it’s amazing to see the forces of nature at play here. Chunks of ice breaking from the neighbouring glacier and flowing into the ocean, seagulls parked on icebergs as they float, and sea lions surfacing from under the water – it’s a scene straight out of a National Geographic documentary.
Random Picnic Spots
Ok, so this is not a specific site. But trust us, you’ll be doing a lot of this when you drive around Iceland. One minute you’ll see barren landscape and the next you’ll chance upon swaying daffodils next to the ocean. Believe us when we say, you WILL stop every 10 minutes to take in the natural beauty of Iceland. Expect scenes like this (and add a couple of hours of driving time to what Google maps suggests ;-))
One recommended place you’ll definitely notice in all guide books is the Blue Lagoon, not far rom Reykjavik and Keflavik airport. Most tourists who visit Iceland use the day of their arrival or departure to relax in this pool of natural goodness. We were tempted, for sure, and would have visited this tourist attraction too if the friendly agent at our car rental pickup location hadn’t told us about Grjótagjá. Tucked away in a hidden cave off the ring road lies this lava cave with naturally heated spring water, and most importantly, no tourists around. The water can be quite hot so be careful when going in for a dip. Other than that, jump in, and enjoy the healing and relaxing qualities of this hidden gem.
I must admit it – this particular spot was really high on my wish-list before we visited Iceland simply because of the hundreds of photographs I had seen online of a towering mountain with 3 tiny waterfalls on the side – I couldn’t take the scene out of my mind and HAD to go visit. Both Savi and I were glad we did. Not far from the town of Grundarfjörður in Snæfellsnes peninsula, Kirkjufell is the perfect place to enjoy a picnic while watching the waterfalls cascade down a hill. The scene is straight out of a painting and spending a couple of hours here is pure bliss!
Most people who venture into Northern part of Iceland set up base at Akureyri. We decided to go a bit deeper into the countryside and drove 20 kms further north to stay at a place called Ytri Vik. We don’t exaggerate when we say it’s the most beautiful setting that we have ever stayed at. Picture this – a rustic cabin in the middle of a field full of flowers, a calm ocean on one side, and snow capped mountains on the other – a scene straight out of a fairytale. We had planned so many activities in and Akureyri but after discovering this idyllic location. Unfortunately, those had to take a backseat for we were busy doing nothing in our little wonderland 🙂
So many of our readers have stayed at this EXACT cabin at Ytri Vik after we first wrote about it – including some of their photos below:
Savi was surprised I chose this as one of my top experiences in Iceland. And to think we didn’t even have it on our original itinerary. We need to thank our delayed flight out of Iceland for this put. We got a few extra hours before we had to make our way to the airport. Instead of staying put in our hotel, we decided to make our last morning in Iceland an adventure too 🙂
Lake Kerid is yet another volcanic lake. Go prepared to be amazed by the the neon greenery that surrounds the lake, the vibrant blue-green colour of the lake, and flaming red lava rocks strewn all over the place.
Kirkjufell is not the only sight from Snæfellsnes peninsula that made the cut for our favourite experiences from Iceland. Now, Saxholl Crater makes it to our list for a rather funny and unusual reason – we were pretty much blown away from the top of this volcanic crater by the strong winds – no kidding! That said, the climb to the top is easy and the view on a clear day is magnificent so it ended up being the perfect experience – a little bit of adventure, lots of fun, and out-of-this-world views. Go prepared for the strong winds and you’ll have an amazing time.
Well, it was difficult to decide the tenth experience. We had a long debate whether to go for the hike to Hellnar’s Arch in the ancient fishing villagr of Hellnar or our Whale watching expedition from Reykjavik but in the end we chose the latter for it was a unique experience. We loved dressing in those onesies – it made us feel like we were off an important mission 😉
Although the waters were choppy the day we sailed, we still had a great time spotting whales and dolphins – it was a first for us and we really enjoyed getting up close with nature.
That’s it! our favourite experiences from Iceland 🙂 Have you been to Iceland? What’s your favourite part about this amazing island?
34 thoughts on “Our Top 10 Experiences In Iceland”
Beautiful pictures guys! It is amazing how different the landscapes look in different seasons. We were there in winter and it looks a completely different place! Still stunning though! <3
Thanks Nisha – yeah Iceland is quite the chameleon 🙂
What is the best time travel to Iceland and did you all go through guided tour got the glaciers hike?
Hey Nidhi – summer is great for a roadtrip and winter for the Northern Lights. We booked our Glacier Tour with Arctic Adventures. You can read all our posts on Iceland here-they’ll help you plan a trip to the country: https://www.bruisedpassports.com/category/iceland
Looking forward to your journals in the US!
Can’t wait to share them Rekha 🙂
I discovered your blog December 2014, the first thing I read was about your Iceland trip. Without hesitation I started booking our trip, I spent 8 hours with your itinerary on one computer, mapping our route and booking rooms on another.
2 weeks in May 2015 provided us with snow covered volcanoes, open seacoast vistas, adding 30 different birds/ducks to my bird life list and once again proving how precious Mother Earth is. We drove 2,157 miles (3,471 kilometers) & sooooooo many hours driving off the beaten path including a 14 hour day driving to the most northern point in Iceland. Hiking to more waterfalls than I can count, walking up the same wind blown volcano as you, snorkeling the Silfra Rift, glacier walk on Skaftafell Glacier, a very raining Icelandic horse riding day is just the short list of all we did. Yowza–sorry for the long post.
Hey Denise – Your trip in Iceland sounds fantastic. So happy to hear the country excites you in the same way as it excites us. Can’t believe you made it to the same wind blown volcano as well – yay 🙂
The timing of your article is perfect. I am in Iceland with my family now. We spent the first five nights in siglufjordur and then drove south to the golden circle yesterday. Although this southern area has more to offer in terms of tourist sites, the scenery and lack of tourists in the north made it preferable for me. The drive between Reykjavik and Akuyeri and east was incredible. We stopped over and over to take in the experience. Thanks for all your posts!
Hey Elizabeth – so good to hear our posts on Iceland came handy 🙂 Do send us photos from our trip – we’d love to share them with our readers. Psst – we love the North too 🙂
Beautiful. Your posts on Iceland make me want to go there right away. Thank you for sharing your honest tips with us. I am now waiting for a post from the US.
Thanks Surabhi 🙂 Can’t wait to write about the US – just got here
You guys are in the US ? Can’t wait to read. I wish I could travel with you guys. All the best , enjoy your stay in the US.
Thanks Rekha – yes we just flew to US last week 🙂
Loved your pics!! Iceland is really amazing. I have been thinking to plan trip to Iceland for some time, probably next year maybe. But the moment I started exploring beauty about Svalbard, I have been thinking which one to pick among both. (Svalbard being more expensive though as I will be traveling from Delhi) and there is no direct connection between Iceland and Svalbard, so clubbing both together does not seems to be a good option. So still planning options and ideas to keep it budgeted. But anyways, I really like following your post on FB….you guys are really famous. Last month I was in Indonesia and met some Indonesians there who love traveling, one of the thing they mentioned was following your photographs and post. A small world I guess :)…Hoping to catch up with you guys sometime! Keep traveling 🙂
Hey Anubhav – wow – it is a small world indeed. We love meeting Bruised Passports readers wherever we go as well. Have fun in Iceland – you’ll love it. Clubbing it with Svalbard is a great idea 🙂
your website is so helpful to make our travel easier. we have booked our iceland trip in september. iceland was never one of the destinations we could think of going at the moment. however after reading your Blogs and looking at the pictures that our priority now.
your website is just awesome.
Hey Shivani, you just made our day-thanks so much.Such feedback from our readers makes all our hard work worth while. We are glad our posts are of help to you while planning your vacations. Yayy!!
Hey Savi Vid,
Love reading your posts. Can you suggest which country is best to view the northern lights and in which month to travel there??
Hey Payal anytime b/w November and February is perfect to view the Northern Lights. Some of the best countries are Norway, Finland, Iceland, and US (Alaska) 🙂
We just returned from Iceland and it’s AMAZING! My husband and I wanted to celebrate 10 years of our marriage & no country could have been better than Iceland.
The next time you guys are there, try snowmobiling. I think it you would really enjoy it. It’s far more exciting than the glacier walk.
And the icelandic horses just stole my heart.
So happy to hear that Sasha 🙂 Do share your photos with us 🙂
Hey Savi and vid .. u guys are amazing .. the pictures are wow .. I am a beach person but after reading your post (Actually in a day a read all the posts ..couldn’t resists ) winters and snow seems a very good idea . I am planning a trip in February.. just confused should I choose Iceland , Finland , Norway or Faroe Islands ??
Hey Mallika – if you’re an outdoorsy person Iceland is a great option 🙂
You have a beautiful blog and beautiful pictures 🙂
My husband and me got married in October 2017 and are planning our honeymoon to Iceland in February mid 2018 for around 8-10 days..
We are having a tough time planning our itinerary..
We want to include the golden circle, national parks, waterfalls and activities like glacier hiking, ice caving, northern lights hunting!!
Please can you help, we would really really appreciate it..
Hey Aakriti – if you have just 8-10 days then we’d suggest sticking to just Southern and Eastern Iceland. We will put up an itinerary for a winter roadtrip soon. You can consult that before booking your trip 🙂
Hi Savi and Vid, I’m your big fan. Your pictures are so amazing. I really need your siggestions. I have booked the tickets for Iceland from 8th February till 13th February. My husband knows driving but he is little scared driving in Snow because we are not sure about the weather in Feb. Please suggest, whether we take rented car or 5 days guided tour. Also, I really want to see northern lights. Is there any specific place where we can go to chase them or any information if you can share will be very helpful for us. Thank you
Hope you had a great trip to Iceland. You should be fine with car rental – just make sure you listen to the locals in terms of where not to go to and always keep an eye on the weather forecast. Never drive in a snow storm, especially after dark 🙂
As for Northern Lights, just head out to a dark area and pray that the lights show up 🙂 When they’re out, they’re visible pretty much from anywhere as long as there is not a lot of light pollution 🙂
Hey Savi and Vid, I loved your summer roadtrip in Iceland blog. We are planning out honeymoon in Iceland but in May begining will we be able to experience the midnight sun and all that you mentioned in your blog.
Love what you guys do 🙂
Thanks for elaborating on every small thing.
So so happy you found our Guide to a road trip in Iceland helpful Neha – have an amazing time on your honeymoon 🙂
So how did you get to Grjotagja cave? That looks amazing!!
Now the directions are very clear and it is clearly marked from what we hear from fellow travellers who visited Iceland recently 🙂
Savi, am so impressed with the details you’ve provided on this website and have actually planned for a multiday tour to iceland in august with 2 other friends. Could you please share the hotel/hostel name that you guys have stayed in Reykjavik ? TIA !!
You’re welcome 🙂 As mentioned in our main article on Iceland, we did not like the place we stayed at in Reykjavik so won’t be able to recommend to our readers 🙂 Perhaps you could search on AirBnB for a nice apartment