Over 10,000 waterfalls, 130 volcanoes (30 active), 800 hot springs, 269 named glaciers and a population of 334,00 fun and friendly residents, all in an area smaller than the state of Kentucky. This is Iceland.
If you love open spaces and nature mixed with a little adventure (or a lot), then a visit here might just be for you, because Iceland can be simply described in one word -
To really experience all that Iceland has to offer, you need 7-10 days to explore the country. But if you only have a few days (maybe you are on a stopover to/from Europe or you are on a cruise), day trips in and from Reykjavik will have you leaving with WOW memories.
My top suggestions include the following:
The Perlan Museum is an interactive museum in Reykjavik that showcases the natural wonders of Iceland. A new major attraction is the Glacier Exhibition where you can learn more about the history and future of Iceland's glaciers and walk through a replica of an actual ice cave. The museum has a 360 degree viewing platform too that offers awesome sites of the city.
The Golden Circle tour is by far one of the most popular tours, and can unfortunately get crowded. An all day tour, it will take you to the area's most popular sites - Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss Falls (Iceland's most popular) and Thingvellir National Park, where you can see and walk through the rift between the two tectonic plates of North America and Europe. I thoroughly enjoyed these sites in addition to the ever changing countryside that was at times green and lush to moonscape. Fascinating.
Want an added adventure? Try a snorkeling tour in Lake Thingvallavatn . It will take you to the Silfra Fissure, a ravine that stretches some 82 feet below the water's surface. Its not often one can say they have snorkeled where two continents come together.
For some volcanic excitement, take a journey towards the center of earth by going inside a dormant volcano to explore the magma chamber. No worries - it last erupted 4000 years ago! This tour is great for anyone wanting an active experience as you will need to hike about an hour over largely uphill, rough terrain before reaching the entrance. The volcano is about 30 minutes outside of Reykjavik.
Also located just 30 minutes from Reykjavik is one of Iceland's largest lava tube caves. Open year round, a visit here gives you the opportunity to walk through a 5000 year old lava tunnel. Don on a helmet, a flashlight and gloves and follow the guide to learn more about secrets below the earth's surface, the cave's geology and Iceland's volcanic activity.
BEAUTIFUL WATERFALLS and VIK
A two hour tour to the south of Reykjavik is Vik, an area known for its black sand beaches and beautiful rock formations. The south area's most popular and beautiful waterfalls are conveniently along the route, so don't miss out taking in Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss and Gljufrabui water falls.
For a really cool thrill, take a tour to the Langjokull Glacier, Iceland's second largest glacier (31 miles long and 12 miles wide). About two hours northeast of Reykjavik, you can explore the inside of the glacier in a man-made ice tunnel which was carved out the most stable area of the glacier, making it possible to be open year round. If you prefer something warmer, try the Krauma Spa, Iceland's newest geothermal natural baths, just thirty minutes from the glacier.
Needless to say, plenty of experiences are available. Whether they are adventurous or a little bit less, guaranteed you will come away with those WOW memories.
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Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder