I’ve long heard about the beauty of Iceland from many travelers. Many people just told me that “It is epic!” SO during my European trip, I decided to try it out myself. In this post, I’m going to cover the best things to do in Iceland.
Located in the middle of the Norwegian sea between Norway and Greenland, Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. If you love nature and extreme experience, Iceland is the right country for you. With its abundance of mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, rivers, lakes, caves and otherwise rough terrain waiting to be tackled, Iceland is truly an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
Depends on the kind of adventure you want, if you want to see snow and do snow sports, go in winter. For Northern Lights seekers, you should go there between September and April. But if you like hiking, summer is the best time. I went there in June. Despite it was summer, it was still a little chilly as I hiked up the mountains.
Best things to do in Iceland
Hiking has long been a popular activity in Iceland and beautiful trails can be found in all parts of the country, from shorter day hikes to multi-day treks such as the 53 km long, world famous Laugavegur trail, which will take you past Eyjafjallajökull volcano and into the interior of Iceland. This is considered one of the most spectacular hiking trails in the world.
Visiting Abandoned Viking City
During my trip, I covered the southern part of the island which included several waterfalls, the skaftafoss glacier, vik and hofn. I found several hot springs along the way and even an old Hollywood set – a Viking city that had been abandoned.
Diving In The Clearest Water
Apart from hiking, you can also do scuba diving in Silfra. Silfra is a unique phenomenon on this planet. Silfra fissure is actually a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents, meaning that you dive or snorkel right where the continental plates meet and drift apart about 2cm per year. The visibility in Silfra exceeds 100m, making it some of the clearest water in the world.
However to be frank, there is not a lot of things to see under the water and I started to shiver uncontrollably during the dive (the water was 2 Degrees Celsius). If you want to read more about my freezing diving experience, check out here.
Of course there are many other activities you can do there, from hiking volcanoes to soaking yourself in hot springs. However, they are not cheap in Iceland, so it’s wise to plan ahead and select the right itinerary.
Transportation & Food
It’s best to travel by cars in Iceland. Personally I hired a car for 60 Euro a day and split it with two people I met at the hostel. We then just drove along the road and searched for things to do as we went. Planning would have helped us to see more. But I enjoy the experience of spontaneously and getting a nice surprise instead. That being said, planning ahead is still a good idea.
Dining in restaurants can be quite expensive. As I traveled alone, I tried my best to go shopping and cook for myself meals to save money. If you are good at cooking, it’s much cheaper to use camping equipment then than eating in restaurants.
How much does it cost?
Traveling in Iceland is rather expensive. So do prepare to spend on your trip. However, the experience is definitely worth it! Scuba diving in Silfra cost me under USD$400. Camping grounds vary in price from around USD $20-40. Depend on what you eat, daily food budget is at least USD $20-40. Fuel is around $2.50p/L when I was there, so expensive!
One good thing however, many national parks are free to enter. So you can spend a full day hiking without burning a hole in your wallet. But if you book tours, expect to pay lots of money for tour operators to show you around. If you go on hikes that require equipments, you will also have to pay to hire equipments there too.
All in all, Iceland is an amazing place. It is the island of fire and ice, teeming with adventures. English is readily spoken and easy to get around with. There is a pretty good tourist network, so nothing to worry about except for sheep. Sheep and other livestock roam freely in many places, which can be a danger for motorists. If you hit one, expect to pay compensation to the owner. So drive carefully!
I’m definitely going to return one day during winter and explore the island more.
Final thoughts from Chloe
Iceland is an island of dream for many travelers. Be it you love hiking, scuba diving or northern lights, Iceland has something to offer. I’m grateful that Mick Blinkhoff shared his journey to inspire more travelers to take on the adventure. Inspired to see more of his work and journey? Check out his biography and read his stories.
If you’ve been to Iceland before, share with us your stories by commenting below, or even write Your Own Travel Post and let more people know your awesome journey! If you haven’t, feel free to ask us any questions as you are planning your trip. Have a blast during your holiday!