Iceland is one of the most unique destinations in the world, appreciated by travellers far and wide for its stunning natural beauty and various exciting excursions. You’ll be constantly ticking off the items on your bucket list as you witness the magical Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), bathe in the famous Blue Lagoon, and traverse the astounding landscapes of the Golden Circle route.
The country’s breath-takingly vast tundra is home to volcanoes, geysers, waterfalls, and glaciers, all just waiting to be discovered. With all this in mind, it’s no wonder Iceland is among the top winter destinations in the world. Here’s how to spend a week in the land of fire and ice with five places you must visit during your trip!
First up, Reykjavik! What better place to start your Icelandic adventure than its young and culturally rich capital city?
Start your itinerary by exploring the city on foot, wandering past quirky, colourful buildings and discovering Reykjavik’s street art. Then, visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church in the heart of the city. Spend some time observing the best view of Reykjavik from the church tower. After a busy day of sightseeing, enjoy some time relaxing in one of the city’s 17 thermal pools.
Often, Reykjavik is viewed as a launch pad on your way to explore the rest of the island. However, it is nonetheless just as worthy a contender on your itinerary as the other magical places you will go on to discover in the coming days.
Next, it’s time to venture away from the city lights and head south. As you make your way towards southern Iceland, be sure to stop at the popular Thingvellir National Park and the geothermal fields of Geysir. In fact, this is often the first stop for travellers on the Golden Circle Route.
Thingvellir has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004. Its incredible scenery makes it a perfect location for photography. Nearby, you can go snorkelling or fishing at Lake Thingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland.
Furthermore, Thingvellir holds a special appeal for nature lovers. It is the visible site of the mid-Atlantic Ridge where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet. The plates are being pulled apart at a rate of 2 centimetres per year, creating the Thingvellir Rift Valley. For this reason, the geology here is not only interesting to learn about, but also spectacular to behold.
Skógafoss is one of Iceland’s most dramatic and jaw-dropping waterfalls. When you first see this majestic landform from the ring road, it looks like a painting. If you’re feeling energetic, there are 527 steps leading to an observation platform which allows you to look down at Skógafoss from above.
With a drop of 60 metres and a width of 25 metres, it is an incredible, dramatic display of nature’s raw power. In fact, you can walk right up to the cascading water to fully appreciate its surreal strength and beauty. This overwhelming and astonishing experience will undoubtedly be the highlight of your day, but be prepared to get drenched! The sheer size of the fall will have you feeling like you’re standing at the place where giants shower.
Skógafoss has an undoubtedly magical aura. For instance, you can witness the most amazing rainbows here if the weather conditions are right. There is even a legend connected to this waterfall; it’s believed that behind it you can find a chest filled with gold and treasures.
4. Vik South Coast
No trip to Iceland is complete without a visit to Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland.
Today, you’ll venture beyond the town to Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, and the largest National Park in western Europe. Have your camera at the ready because these moments will be memories that you’ll want to immortalise in time.
Additionally, take a drive through Kirkjubaejarklaustur to marvel at canyons, volcanoes and glaciers. Plus, if you’re an animal lover, you’re in for a treat! You’ll see the iconic Icelandic horses, and you might even catch a glimpse of some puffins and other birds on the cliffs of the black lava beach.
5. Blue Lagoon
And last but not least… *Drum roll please!* End your dreamy week away at none other than the famed Blue Lagoon. It’s one of the 25 wonders of the world, as well as one of the most visited attractions in Iceland.
Moreover, it’s best to bathe in the lagoon early to avoid the crowds! That way, you’ll have finished bathing by the time it gets busy, at which point you can head to the on-site restaurant for a bite to eat.
After all the excitement of your outdoor exploration, this geothermal spa is the perfect place to relax before travelling home. The Blue Lagoon is located in a lava field outside of Reykjavik, so you’ll be back at your starting point and ready to return to the airport. For this reason, there’s no better way to end your Iceland itinerary!
If the land of fire and ice sounds like your dream winter vacay, check out our Iceland tours now!