For a country with not many trees, there is an awful lot to do in Iceland. This large island in the North Atlantic Ocean has a dramatic landscape which is created by its position in an area of high volcanic activity. Not only can visitors to Iceland see incredible waterfalls and glaciers, but the pretty capital Reykjavik is famed for having one of the best club scenes in the world.
1. Relax in soothing ‘hot pot’. After the long flight to Iceland you should take advantage of its most unique feature, the warm geothermal waters which bubble up everywhere. These are harnessed in hot pots where locals sit for hours soaking their muscles and socialising.
2. People in Iceland party the way only those who live in very cold and dark countries know how. Iceland has such an exciting music scene that both British music stars Damon Albarn and Jarvis Cocker bought bars here, while the clubs attract world famous DJs. Not to be missed is the special ice bar, which is built using blocks of ice in various locations in the centre of Reykjavik. The ice bar may be expensive for somewhere cold that doesn’t have music, but it’s a great story to tell your friends.
3. Go to a national park. What better way to clear the cobwebs from your head than to get fresh air in a jaw dropping surrounding? The Thingvellir National Park in south west Iceland is probably the most famous. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains the founding place of Iceland’s first parliament, which was established in 930 AD.
4. Take a boat out into the fjords. Not many places in the world can claim to have such a stunning landscape and by boat you can see it best. The West Fjords are located in Ísafjörður, a pretty fishing town which has those wonderful multi-coloured wooden buildings that make Iceland so attractive.
5. Watch out for whales along the way. Whale watching is one of the biggest draws to Iceland and you can see minke, humpbacks and other large animals such as puffins and dolphins. Cruises leave from Reykjavik harbour and other main towns including Húsavík, which is considered the whale watching capital of Iceland and one of the best in the world. Take a camera.
6. See the Northern Lights. The amazing light patterns played out by Aurora Borealis can be viewed only two hours drive from Reykjavik. The best times of year to go are between September and April and the weather should be cold and crisp on a still night. Iceland experiences 20 hours of darkness per day in December, so this could be the perfect way to light up your Christmas.
7. Go fishing, Iceland is full of little streams and larger rivers where you can catch trout, sea trout and salmon. A unique experience.
8. Take a trek into the interior where you can see amazing glaciated mountains. This is definitely an adventure as the roads are only passable during the summer and there is no food or petrol for miles around. But worth it.
9. In the north capital of Iceland Akureyri, there is a lake region called Mývatn. Here you will see volcanic craters that are truly out of this world, with creepy names like ‘The Gates of Hell’. Mývatn is also renowned as a top spot for bird watching.
10. The Gullfoss, or Golden Falls are only an hour’s drive from Reykjavik and is considered to be the most thunderous and impressive waterfall in Iceland. It is formed by the River Hvítá which makes a double cascade.
Have you ever visited Iceland? What can you recommend doing or seeing in this beautiful country? Make a comment and let everybody know!