Iceland

TRAVEL

GUIDE

Hero Photo by Trevor Cole on Unsplash

Iceland Insider

Are we still on the planet Earth? This is the question I asked myself quite a few times during my first and following days in Iceland. Waterfalls, weird looking spiky mountains, glaciers, black sand beaches and airplane wrecks abandoned on the beach are just to name a few of the wonders you will encounter here. Eating Icelandic yogurt for breakfast in Reykjavik and visiting an ice cave in the largest glacier in Europe is a typical itinerary.

Where Did We ?

Iceland Placeholder
Iceland

Favorite Booking Resources for this Trip.

5 Most Favorite Experiences

Diving/ Snorkeling in Silfra

Snorkeling/ Diving at Silfra

Absolutely number 1 experience in Iceland! Diving or snorkeling in the cleanest of waters in the world. Silfra is a rift in the Þingvallavatn Lake in the Þingvellir National Park. But the coolest part is that this a rift formed between The American and Eurasian Tectonic Plates. One second you are diving in Europe and the very next in America. Not to mention that the visibility is more than 100m. And yes, it is cold in the wintertime, but a drysuit will keep you dry and warm.

Visit Ice Cave in a glacier

Walk into the Glacier

Glaciers are everywhere in Iceland. Thick shits of ice cover the surface of this crazy looking island. Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Europe, it covers 8% of the island, and it is situated in south Iceland in the Vatnajökull National Park. This is where the famous Jokulsarlon Glacier lagoon is too and the ice cave we visited. You cannot reach the ice cave unless you are part of a tour just because you probably don't have the monster truck that is able to drive on the glacier.

Kerid Crater Lake

Kerið Crater Lake

Flying my drone over the frozen glacial lake was a dream of mine that came true. You can walk around the edges of the crater to take in the sights of the surrounding landscape or go down to the lake’s shore to admire the turquoise waters or play some hockey on the ice if you visit during the winter season.

Kirkjufell Mountain Iceland

Visit Snaefellsjökull National Park

There are so many national parks in Iceland, but this one is special! It is small, remote and it is packed with wonders. Maybe the logo of the national park is the Kirkjufell mountain. I'm sure many of you recognize the arrow pointed mountain from Game of Thrones. The view is spectacular. Other sights worth mentioning on the peninsula are the Londrangar rocks, the Leidarendi Cave (usually open during the summertime), Gatklettur rock formations too. The scenery is no short of stunning during the winter, and the trip from Reykjavik is quite exciting including a tunnel underneath the ocean. However, driving in the national park can be a challenge. Beware of the strong side winds.

Strokkur Geysir Iceland

Strokkur Geiser

Perhaps the most visited active Geysir in Iceland, but hey as touristy as it is, it's beautiful! Not to mention that you can fly your drone over it and give it a good bath! Haha. It is one of the three major attractions on what is called the Golden Circle sightseeing route. It erupts every 5-10 minutes, and every eruption is of different strength.

Other SEEs and DOs worth mentioning

(Click on the title to expand)

  • Seljalandsfoss at Sunrise
  • Skogafoss
  • Svartifoss
  • Selfoss
  • Reynisfjara Beach
  • Sólheimasandur Plane Debris

Waterfalls, waterfalls, waterfalls. Once you think you've seen them all, there is another one just across the road. Seljalandsfoss is not a regular waterfall. It is so beautiful especially because you can walk behind it. Of course, you get all wet but its a fantastic experience.

Close to Seljalandfoss, Skogafoss is entirely different. For me, it looks like a wall of water falling mighty onto the rocky bottom of the river. It is quite stunning, definitely visit especially if you are already visiting Seljalandfoss.

In the mood for a hike? Located in the Skaftafell national park, a short 40-minute hike uphill will take you to this beautiful black- brown basalt rocks. Its distinct look cannot be mistaken. If you are hiking during winter, be careful with the ice on the path. Maybe slip on spikes are a good investment for Iceland in the winter.

After visiting Strokkur Geysir, make sure you drive (about 15 min) to Selfoss. One word- mighty, especially in the winter where the water pours down the frozen rocky slopes.

This is the world famous Black Sand Beach. It is weird looking, almost seems like this place doesn't belong to this planet. The roaring Atlantic ocean waves are crashing into the cubic basalt rocks on the shore. It is just a stunning view.

Do you like wrecks? This is an abandoned DC airplane on Solheimasandur beach. Maybe you have seen beautiful pictures of the debris and aurora borealis over it. Yes, the place is stunning, but the walk is about 2h from the main road. So if you don't mind walking, you should definitely visit.

  • Vestrahorn Mountain
  • Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
  • Seljavallalaug Secret Pool
  • Secret lagoon Hvammsvegur
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Hraufossar Lava Waterfalls

Vestrahorn is a sharp rocky mountain range formation sitting on Hvalnes Peninsula on the southeast coast of Iceland, guarding the island of the strong, unpredictable Atlantic ocean. Definitely one of my top photography locations.

This is one of the most famous places to visit in Iceland. A beautiful glacier lagoon is carrying big and small glacier pieces down towards the open sea. Some of the glacier pieces get stuck at the beach forming a famous sight- the Diamond Beach which is located just across the road. Ice cave tours are usually departing from the information center since the entrance to the glacier is nearby.

A man-made outdoor pool build in 1923, filled with crystal clear water in the skirts of the famous active Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in Europe in 2010. Bathe in the pool and admire the views around, might be a little cold but it is worth it!

This is a "secret" geothermal pool with a geyser located in south Iceland. They also have a dressing room, showers, drinks, and snacks. It is a pretty cool place for relaxing "spa hours."

The address is 845 Flúðir, Iceland Drive.

I believe this place needs little introduction. It is beautiful and very touristy spa destination. It features an outdoor lagoon with material reach waters flowing on a what once was a lava field. I wasn't fully able to enjoy the experience since I was sick on the first day of our trip but will come back next time for sure. Pro Tip: enjoy a sweet drink from one of the bars in the middle of the lagoon.

Hraunfossar is commonly known as the Lava Waterfalls. It is a series of waterfalls running through a lava field formed after the eruption of one of the volcanos under the Langjokull glacier.

There is a viewpoint at the car park offering a fantastic view over the Lava Falls and Hvita River.

What/ Where to Eat?

Coocoo's Nest Reykjavik

Cocoos Nest Coffee

Simply put, this is the best breakfast/ lunch place in all of Reykjavik. There are plenty of healthy options if you are on a diet. Juices and coffee are also excellent. A must visit before you hit the road and take on your Golden Circle journey.

Icelandic Yogurt

Icelandic Yogurt

Skyr is one of the best brands and it's probably available on the shelves of your local Whole Foods. It is a beautiful yogurt. Trust me, being a Bulgarian, I can tell good yogurt. Thick, creamy and delicious made with heirloom Icelandic Skyr cultures. Paired with your muesli and fresh fruits makes it a perfect breakfast.

Reykjavik Roasters

You know I'm the "best coffee" shop in town hunter. Reykjavik coffee roasters is one of those small little coffee shops that are not fancy or anything, but they deliver! Definitely the best coffee shop in town. They even hand pick and roast their beans in-house.

Seafood in Hofn

In the small village of Hofn on the southeast coast of Iceland, we stumbled upon Pakkhus. It is a small but fantastic seafood restaurant. The langoustines are very fresh and delicious. Also, they have a seafood pizza that is superb!

Insider Tips Dominica

Transportation

Maybe your best transportation option will be renting a car! And what I really mean is renting an SUV that is all wheel drive, a hefty one preferably especially if you are visiting there during the winter. Beware of the side winds as they can be a real challenge for drivers and be especially careful if you drive in the frozen wonderland of Snaefellsjökull National Park. PRO TIP: Be careful with the speeding cameras, dont ask my how i know this pro tip!

Budget

Simply put, Iceland is not really known for its fantastic food, and even though the quality is not very good, the prices are pretty high if you are dining out. My best advice would be to get some easy eats at the grocery store especially if you are driving a lot around the island as we did. A packed itinerary and dining out might not be best buddies. Your budget will highly depend on if you are taking guided tours into glaciers or for example diving into Silfra. If choosing those your budget might increase significantly. Be sure to check prices and plan in advance.

Documents

Visa is not required if you're staying less than 6 months and you have an outbound departure ticket. Be sure to have a valid passport (at least 6 months before expiration date.

Currency

Iceland uses the Icelandic Króna. 1 USD is exchanged for about 108 IK. Frequently locals are willing to accept USD as well. PRO TIP: if currency echange and calculation confuses you, get the app called ELK its very easy to convert all sorts of currencies.

Etiquette

There isn't anything super specific when it comes to etiquette in social interactions on the island. Tipping is generally not common, however you can leave a small amount to the cleaners at the hotels. Be especially careful when you drive, usually animals and pedestrians are considered to have more right to be on the road than you and your vehicle.

Travel Tips and Resources

We have put together original articles to further help you with your travel planning! In the links below, you can find information about transportation, lodging, insurance, planning and booking tips and tricks that we use to make our trip ideas come to life.

City Guides

We are working on those. Coming soon.

Related Articles

Book Your Trip Now!

Because we have experienced the challenges you could face booking hotel, airfare and insurance ourselves, we
wanted to give you a ticket to one destination- Wonder Backpack. Here you can book the travel journey of your
dreams straight from our page.

Booking.com