Seven Things to Do in Iceland (Why You Should Go Right Now!)

By Nomadic Matt | Published October 22nd, 2008

The world’s economy is crashing, and no country is feeling the pain of this global credit meltdown more than Iceland. The country’s overextended banking industry has collapsed, and the country has declared bankruptcy. Yes, I said the COUNTRY. The last few weeks have seen its currency completely freefall. The current exchange rate is 122 Krona to a dollar, up from 77 in May 2008. Compared to last year, you’re getting double your value, and the winter deals are making accommodation and flights even cheaper.

So with the currency in the toilet, now is a great time to travel to Iceland — the country is finally cheap(er) to visit. Here are seven things to do in Iceland that will convince you to book your ticket:

Reykjavík
Reykjavik
This hip capital is awash in thriving cafes, high-energy clubs, friendly pubs, and a brightly-colored old town with rows of wooded houses clustered together. It’s more like a giant small town than a city. However, this city is one of the trendiest in the world, as Icelanders are obsessed with design, technology, and architecture. Reykjavik is one of the most expensive cities in the world — but it just got a lot cheaper. Take advantage now.

The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon
Iceland’s most famous geothermal pool is the country’s top tourist attraction. It might be crowded and expensive but there’s nothing like it in the world. This huge, milky-blue spa is fed by mineral-rich heated seawater from the nearby geothermal plant. Add the silvery towers of the plant, rolling clouds of steam, and people covered in white mud, and you’ll think you are in the twilight zone — in a good way.

Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park
This national park and UNESCO World Heritage site is interesting for two reasons: It is the original site of the longest-running parliament in the world, and it’s also where the North American and European continental shelf plates are being torn apart. Pretty cool, huh?

Watch the Northern Lights
Northern Lights
From September to April, the Northern Lights become more visible here. These dancing lights are one of the greatest natural wonders in the world. From the clear, dark northern skies of Iceland, nothing will impede your view of nature’s greatest dance.

Gullfoss
Gullfoss
Iceland’s most famous waterfall tumbles 105ft into a steep-sided canyon, kicking up a wall of spray. On sunny days, the spray creates shimmering rainbows over the gorge. This is a truly amazing spectacle, and a rewarding scene after a nice hike.

Jökulsárlón (The Jökulsár Lagoon)
Jokulsarlon
Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier retreated very quickly from 1920 to 1965, leaving this breathtaking lagoon behind, which is up to 190 meters deep. Icebergs float in the lagoon all year, and you can watch as chunks of ice crash into the water.

Glacial Trek
Iceland Glacier
During the winter months, the glaciers get a bit sturdier, and groups of tourists are led across them. There’s no better way to see the glaciers than to walk on them. Release your Arctic explorer across the glaciers of Iceland.

So go take advantage of the new exchange rate, and visit a much cheaper Iceland. The locals are friendly, the nature is stunning, the exchange rate is the best in years, the midnight sun hasn’t arrived yet, and the weather isn’t too cold. Now is a perfect time to visit Iceland!

comments 123 Comments

I looked into going…and it appears everyone in the UK has had the same idea, as flights have gone right up in price most days I’ve looked. Plus it may not be as cheap as I’d first thought – lots of staples (especially food, and oil) need to be imported. As they have to pay for these in foreign currency, they will have got a lot more expensive in Krona, cancelling out the exchange rate effect.

Claire

We took our 2 boys (then 7 and 11) to Iceland in August 2007. The highlight of our trip was Dogsledding (www.dogsledding.is) on a glacier (which was on top of an active volcano). I kind of minimized that part in talking up the activity. The glacier was Mýrdalsjökull on the South Coast near Vik. Just looked at their website and they aren’t currently offering glacier sleds (only sleds lower down on dog trolleys) but presumably they will be beginning in December. The whole trip was an “expedition” as the road up to the dogsledding must be traversed very slowly (one of Iceland’s famous gravel roads) and went on forever. Then you have to be trekked up to the glacier on more durable vehicles. They also in the past have looked for staff to live up on the glacier with the dogs – kind of an au pair type job – if anyone is interested. At any rate, we were soaked (rainy day) and splattered with ice, but had great fun.

Everett V.

I like the looks of Gullfoss

Netbus is a licensed Icelandic tour and travel provider, offering welcoming bus trips across Iceland, professional guided coach tours and airport transfers upon request. Over the course of 50 years, Netbus has always believed in providing quality service at cheap prices. Netbus also believes in providing its customers with expert knowledge about Iceland and the country’s unique landscape and history. Visit the Blue lagoon, Gullfoss, Geysir, Thingvellir & more.
Netbus is a licensed Icelandic tour and travel provider, offering welcoming bus trips across Iceland, professional guided bus tours and airport transfers. Visit the Blue lagoon, Gullfoss, Geysir, Thingvellir and more.

Claire

On AIrfare to Iceland: The best deals were through Iceland Air’s “Lucky Fares”. Sign up for this weekly email on their website. I would watch the weekly email and always got better pricing by clicking through the link than not. Sometimes the email targets Europe (from the US) rather than straight Iceland, but worth a watch if you are interested in going to Iceland.

Did you read the Geography of Bliss? I wonder how happy everyone is feeling in Iceland now?

Apparently the nightlife in Reykjavik is great.

Would love to see the Northern Light someday, and have to agree with Debo Hobo re the Blue Lagoon.

Debo Hobo

I like the looks of the Blue Lagoon. ;)

You’ve convinced me. I want to go there!

Fantastic country – one of the most amazing I’ve ever visited. Beyond Matt’s suggestions, check out the great waterfalls (they’re everywhere), see geysirs and try to get to Lake Myvatn.

How close together are all of those things? Could they realistically be done in one trip?

Maria

Iceland isn’t that big, so you can go where ever you want!:)
If you are thinking about Geysir, Blue Lagoon, Þingvellir(thingvellir) or Gullfoss…It’s all very close together.
Enjoy your stay!

Lee B

Haha nice work mate, you convinced me. Booked a few days off work at the end of Nov and flights were £200 return from London Stansted, which aint soooo bad I dont think. What are they usually if they have “shot up”….maybe if they are normally much lower I’m feeling flusher than I thought.

I dont really know whats there aside from what you have posted, but cant think of anything better to do with 3 days holiday remaining than to slap a weekend on the end of it and go have a look.

….not what i thought I would be doing yesterday prior to reading your website, thats for sure :)

Wow, what a great country.What a pictures, beautiful.

And hurry people because what happens if Iceland is totally broke?

@nicoleantoinette iceland is a relatively small country, you can visit all major stuff within 2 weeks

Lena

Iceland will survive, lol. But if it does go broke, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun, right?;) Hehe
Enjoy Iceland! <3

NomadicMatt

@claire: glad you had such a great time!

@Jamie: No, I haven’t read it. What is it?

@Debo/Erica: Me too, though my favorite picture is of the waterfall.

@Karie/Lee: EXCELLENT! My plan worked!

@Mark H: Thanks for the recommendation

@Nicole: Marco answered the question!

@Travel Wizard: Let us know what you find!

Travel Wizard

That’s indeed a great idea for a winter vacation! I’m actually curious enough to check the prices for accommodation in Reykjavík and see what can still be planned.

This place is awesome! And the Blue Lagoon is unlike anything I’ve ever done before. A must, must, must do! I can’t say enough good things about this country. I’ve been there three times and loved it. Thanks for pointing Iceland out!

C K

Fabulous photos you’ve got there. I especially love the one on Gullfoss and Northern Lights. Have always wanted to view the latter and now that I’m closer to Iceland (as compared to when I was in Singapore), it’s more possible I would say.

However, I heard that it’s not very often that one get to see the Northern Lights and many visitors actually left disappointed. Is that true?

Gaby

I love your website. You are great!

Iceland is beautiful, but unfortunately for me, I found it quite difficult to find a cheap airline ticket to go Iceland for Christmas this year…

Breathtaking but sad about what’s going on there.

And, I’ve just started reading Geography of Bliss so I can’t wait to make the connection of Happiness and these amazing photos (minus the economic issues).

NomadicMatt

@Tanya: You are welcome

@CK: It’s like whale watching- sometimes you don’t see anything!

@Hotel Espagne: I would be interested to see if you come up with anything.

@Beth: I am going to have to read this book everyone keep mentioning!!

I did a lads trip to Reykjavik for a long w/e years ago.
The women were stunning, the nightlife was insane.
The Blu Laggon is great for curing a hangover!

Cuckoo

Thanks for sharing this beautiful place. You have convinced me.

All the photos are amazing. The photo of Reykjavik reminds me of Burano, a small island near Venice. Similar colourful small houses attached to each other.

So many places to see, can I do it ?

Kelsy

I’ve done the first five. :) I went to Iceland in April, and I couldn’t recommend a better time to go – Gullfoss and Tingvellir were amazing under snow and ice, and the huge pond in central Reykjavík was so frozen people were riding bikes over it. Also, if you’re up for the Lights you’ll only catch them in the colder months.
On the upside, in April it’s not AS cold (having said that it hit about -6 celsius, but that’s nothing).
Other things I recommend hugely in Iceland (amazing place):
-Geysir. Incredible.
-Snowboarding/skiing – it’s criminal to go there and not do this.
-Perlan. Try to go on a day when visibility is best.
-The Beach in Reykjavík. The irony in that is wonderful.
-The North. Particularly in the winter, you’ll see Icelandic horses and a LOT of snow, along with countless frozen rivers and lakes. You’re also much more likely to see the Northern Lights there, and if you do, it will be more colourful.

Kelsy

And CK – I spent nine months in the Faroe Islands (right next to Iceland) and saw the Lights once there. I was lucky enough to catch them twice in ten days in Iceland, but that’s tremendously rare. You definitely have to keep your fingers crossed.

SteveZ

I’ve been to Iceland a couple of times, and one of the highlights for me is the ride into town from the airport. Much of it passes through a volcanic moonscape, which is one of the most surreally beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Also, the South Shore Adventure is a packaged tour that takes you to a lot of amazing locations on a day trip out of Reykjavík. I’m not sure if it will still be running this late in the year, but it was definitely worth the price. We also tried the pony ride through the countryside. Not something I’d recommend if it’s cold.

JaneZ

Just spent a few days in Reykjavik in September. Exchange rate was 94 kronur to the dollar and prices were not terrible – depended on where you went, what you ate. I completely agree with SteveZ about the ride from the airport – it was fascinating. The Blue Lagoon is not to be missed, no matter what the exchange rate! All the Icelanders were wonderfully welcoming and the service was great.

BarB

This country is realy amazing… Me and my boyfriend will travel there for a New year. But I am a little bit confused about the darkness. Definitly this page helped me to decide to choose this trip on Iceland…
Thank you!
Please write me if you have some experiences traveling in winter, when the Iceland is dark :) :)
BarB

Ludwing

You forgot “Attend a Sigur Ros Concert” You can’t miss it if you are there. That is hoping they are on tour! :)

arden

I went this summer – it was definitely the best vacation I’ve ever been on. Everybody is so nice and speaks at least English aside from Icelandic.

They say that during the dark months Iceland’s not always actually that bad, and that – especially in Reykjavik – everything is pretty well lit so the darkness isn’t really a problem. I bet the northern lights during that time are awesome; they weren’t visible during the part of the summer when I was there.

I’m heading to Iceland in March and can’t wait!! I REALLY want to see the northern lights..

So Cool! when can I go?!
Its amazing all the beautiful, wonderful things this world has to offer.

KFJ

Reykjavik isn’t as friendly as you might think, well, it is quite friendly, and anyone there knows a bit of English, as it’s everyone’s second language, I’m Icelandic and live in Hafnafjörður, it’s a very enjoyable place, and I’ve had to help tourists there a few times.

Iceland is a cool place to visit, and I mean literally cool, not bring your fur gown cool, rather bring an extra sweater cool.

Nick

Just stumbled on this blog after returning from Iceland last weekend. As most people here echo, it’s a stunning place. Few other suggestions of things not to be missed:
-Snowmobiling on the Glacier makes a great, novel alternative to hiking (you can see Gullfoss, Thingvellir, Geysir and do snowmobiling in one day as a package tour – well worth it)
-Visit the local geothermal baths – it’s no Blue Lagoon but it’s what all the locals will be up to – and it’s the only cheap activity you’ll find
-If you’re a diver and interested in Geology, the diving between the European and American plates at Thingvellir Lake is the third best diving spot in the world as rated by PADI. My girlfriend was awestruck after having been reading Journey to the Centre of the Earth in anticipation.
Didn’t get to see whales or Northern Lights but for such a small country (although apparently about the same size as the UK), there’s certainly tons of stuff to enjoy out in nature.

“… groups of tourists are led across them …”

Note: “led”

Caroline

Heyas All…

Thanks so much for the pictures, write up and suggestions!

I’m gonna try and make it into Iceland, Reykjavik come Jan 2009.

I hv been searching online for possible ways to see the glaciers or at least something resembling the Jökulsárlón (The Jökulsár Lagoon).

Is there a way to get to these sites easily?

In my delirious mind… I’m hoping to find a ‘bus’ or a ‘boat’ that can take us out there to be astounded, without trekking and effort.

Can someone disillusion or add onto the illusion pretty please? =P

BarB

Hello!
NICK – Can you please tell me, whit whom did you go “Snowmobiling on the Glacier”?? Prices???
I am going on the end of December (for New year)
Thank you,
BarB

Bill Heegan

Just booked my flight!Going with 3 friends and we’re totally pyschd…Hope we have enough time to get in the many suggestions everyone listed.What has been the average visit for most?

mise

no naked juggss! i’m not going there, i’m afraid.

Iceland is so beautiful!! I would love to go there but it’s too cold =/
I cannot even handle the cold here in new york city, imagine iceland?

Kimberley

Wow I had no idea most of these places existed! I want to visit there now!

What a beautiful, beautiful place! So sad to hear that it’s going through a financial crisis. This is happening everywhere in the world, it seems. I do plan to visit there someday, and hope that this trend reverses pretty soon.

nick

thinking of visiting iceland middle of february, is this a good time ? thanks

Rob

I just booked a hotel for 9 nights in late April for about $30 a night. Flight from California is about $1,000 for a round trip. What can I expect for daily costs (food, booze, coffee) as well as things such as going to shows?

Donna

I am taking 7 late twenties girls to Reykjavick at the beginning of March for a ‘Hen weekend’ and can not wait! We are going horse riding, doing the golden circle and blue lagoon, but mostly we are going for the famous RUNTUR on a Friday and Saturday night.
Any recommendations for pubs/clubs?
Also, what do girls wear?

Adam

I am planning to go to Iceland this summer! and i will be 17 at the time being.. I think i am going with a couple 17 year olds. Is it possible to rent hotels and sight see even though i am at a young age?! i understand drinking no, just i mean being able to rent a hotel im worried about! please answer if you can :) ahha thanks :D!

Kirra

I’m so glad I stumbled upon this! I’m going to Iceland in October (there’s a game convention) and I can’t wait. I’m definitely taking your advice!
Thanks!!!

guggus

so happy to see this post! us icelanders take great pride in our country ^^ i’m a 22 year old girl living in reykjavík and seeing all your questions i decided to help out a bit :D

here http://www.enjoyiceland.is/ is a good site on how to travel to and around iceland. i hope it helps you out. i recommend reading some of the info there before you visit our little island. :)

http://www.grapevine.is/Shopping/Shops/Archive/ <– interesting shops situated in downtown Reykjavík

@Rob http://midi.is/home/ is a good site to look at for shows and it has the prices depending on what you want too see. be it theater, concerts, movies or art festivals. and on foodcosts…it really depends on what store you go to. for lower prices i recommend Bónus (situated around reykjavík but downtown it’s on Laugarvegur). it’s alot cheaper than 1011, a store that’s open 24hrs. the liqour store in downtown closes at six in the afternoon but at seven on fridays. but expect to pay a bit more though at the bars, booze is not cheap in iceland!
http://www.grapevine.is/Food/Restaurants/Archive/ has a list of restaurants in Reykjavík worth eating at. (Hlölla Bátar is good for hangovers ;) ) enjoy your stay and remember to try out the nightlife on the weekends! :D

@Donna http://www.worldtravelguide.net/city/102/nightlife/Europe/Reykjavik.html has a good list and reviews on the clubs in downtown Reykjavík. from my own experience it really differs on what you like. i personally most often go to Kofi Tómasar Frænda (on the corner of Laugarvegur and Skólavörðustígur) and Hressingarskálinn (Bankastræti). those two clubs have mainstream music and are great for dancing. although Kofi Tómasar Frænda is quite small. :) and you can dress any way you like ;) we just put on a fancy top and a skirt/jeans or some dresses. i recommend taking a jacket with you cause it can get cold. just remember to take good care of it once inside the clubs, it’s warm in there! :D i hope you guys have fun while visiting! :D

oh…and the blue lagoon is something you DON’T wan’t to miss! nothing like it in the world! (it’s situated between the airport and Reykjavík, in the middle of the volcanic moonlike surface ;) )

the northen lights are more visible in the colder months and are most visible outside of town (seen them numerous times and i am amazed everytime ^^).

the weather here is really nice. today it was still, rainy and about 6 degrees celsius. it goes up to about 18 degrees celsius in july and i remind you all that during summer the sun sets for about 3-4 hours so it’s bright all day long ;)

oh and dont be afraid to drink the water from the tab, it’s the same as in the bottles you can buy here. our water is really fresh and tasty. save the money for the booze ;)

well i sure hope this helped some of you! so glad to hear that alot of you are coming over. this truly is a place you’ll remember! i’m happy to call iceland my home :D

best wishes
Guðný

Aido

I am heading to Iceland on Monday 29-June (just 2 days away) for a week. I am looking forward to the trip, going to do some whale watching in Kusavik . Many thanks for the links, they are excellent resources with lots of good information.
Takk fyrir!
Aidan

Stefano

Thank you for the very useful advices. My wife and I will be in Iceland next summer for 10 days. So far we’ve only booked flights from Rome, Italy via London, (July 25-Aug 4) to and from Keflavik Airport and a domestic flight Reykjavik-Akureyri (July 31-Aug 3), plus a last day/night stay at the Blue Lagoon Clinic to rest.
We need to build the rest of the journey: 5 days in the west and south followed by 3 more days in the north.
I am ready for suggestions because the more I read (books, blogs, forums, travel guide-books) the more I get confused about what to include and what to skip: I know I cannot stick everything in such a short periord of time…
We are in our fifties, so no backpacking…
So long,
Stefano

Anita

I’ll be going with my family (3 boys : 6 to 10 y-o) this summer, pretty much the same dates as you. How did you enjoy Iceland last summer. We’re not backpackers either, how did that go ? Recommend any accommodation ?

Howdy!
Thank you for your advices! I found them very useful.
Iceland was really amazing for me and I highly recommend it to anyone!

I will surely go and visit the Blue Lagoon one day. It just became an aspiration.

willie

I am going in december and we will be doing th glacier trip and staying at the blue lagoon resort
cant wait to go!

RB

Hi,

I am looking to do a Glacier trip in Iceland this Winter as well. Do you know how long it takes and who you booked it from?

Cheers,

R

Rich Dansereau

I have often read stories on net and seen stories on TV of the allure of Iceland. This does sound like a great time to visit. Visiting would be affordable for travelers and beneficial to the people of Iceland.

Roberta

I went to Iceland with my boyfriend last november for the first time. We loved it so much we are going back this december. The blue lagoon is a definate as well as the northern lights tour. Argentinas resteraunt in Reykjavik is lovely and the staff were so friendly. The food was to die for, I would definately recommend it.

DenYo

This website ROCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

ET

A buddy and I are thinking to come to Iceland. We are guitar players and singers, especially old blues and origionals and some rock. Are there any “open mics” in Reykavik? What about clubs to do a gig in? Thanks ET in Seattle

Timmie

My daughter is going to be a transfer student from the U.S. in Jan 2010 at the University of Iceland. Is this a safe place for a young girl?

NomadicMatt

Iceland is one of the safest countries on earth and has one of the highest standards of living.

Ben

Hello,
Iv been planning on doing this for some time now, I would like to walk across Iceland in the winter time, round about march maybe april. The reasin then is that iv read alot about how easy it can be during the summer. As well as this id like to find myself amongst the glaciers. Id like to do this on my own, is this possible?

Linda

This is not something that you can do on your own, the weather is unpredictible and the glaciers are constantly changing. You probably would need to be rescued by our mountain rescue squad on the first day.

Travelgin

Just a quick note: I do recommend to visit Iceland during winter time too. I spent a week traveling around Iceland during the last week of December and it was amazing. No crowds, cheaper prices & lots of fun. It needs some planning though, as daytime lights are short and accommodation must be booked in advance in the countryside.

Sandhya

I am happy to have come across the ’7 things to do in Iceland’. I plan to visit Iceland during the last week of Feb 2010 (sole aim is to see the Northern Lights, fingers crossed :) ) Meanwhile, what would be the minimum time needed to see these 7 places you have suggested.

NomadicMatt

No less than two weeks. You would be pretty rushed then but you might be able to squeeze it all in.

Ben

Im a bit confused, although everyone says now is the best time to visit Iceland becuase of the exchange rate, everyhting I have seen (accomodation, activities etc) are advertised in Euro’s? I thought the local currency was Krona. The £ sterling is terrible against the Euro at the moment so still makes everything look very expensive?

Stefano

Congratulations Matt for your website. I have been a foreign exchange student in the U.S. (Wisconsin… go Packers!) many, many years ago and I love Boston (the most European U.S. city) and Thailand. The most memorable journey in my life has been in Indonesia in 1995.
As far as Iceland is concerned I am going there next summer and I’ve already posted after Guðný’s comment, a few lines upwards.
I’ll come back on this interesting site.
Ciao, Stefano
(Rome, Italy)

J. G.

I’m here now. The dollars gets about 125 K, but that still doesn’t buy much. The Subway $5 foot long is like $8-10 dollars after conversion. The Blue lagoon was about $35 to get into and that was because I had my own towel and didn’t bother with the robe which would have added another $15 to the experience, however with that said. It was still cool to do. Today, we went to the Gulfoss, (spelling ?), which was a waterfall just past the geysir about 12 clicks. Both of which were cool. The eruption at the geysir was about every 8-10 minutes. As you drive around Iceland you can see a lot of geological activity going on, usually steam rising up from the hot springs.
We went to try to find the norther lights last night and tonight looks like we would have the same negative viewings, due to being too cloudy.

Mainly I was wanting to say if the dollar to K conversion is good now, I would have hated to been here when it was 77 to the dollar because everything would be more than I would pay. To put that into perspective, that would have meant the Blue Lagoon would have been a $75-80 dollar experience for getting into a hot springs, which I wouldn’t pay.

Linda

Hi
Just wanted to mention the off road super jeep trips. They are spectacular.
http://www.natureexplorer.is/ is a great company that does trips in cool super jeeps up on the glaciers where you can rent snowmobiles or go dog sledding. They can custom make the trips for you depending on your fancy. http://www.eskimos.is/english/html/dog_sledding_experience.html
One of the greatest things to do here in Iceland is enjoying the mountains and glaciers in the winter time. And this is not something that you should do on your own since the terrain can be dangerous if you dont know what you are doing.

The Blue Lagoon interest me very much. Unfortunately, its very expensive.

godzilla

Convert your currency, it does cost that much!

Robert

My friend and I are visiting Iceland for Spring Break in late March 2010. When we go, I will be 22 and he will only be 19. I was surprised to find out that the legal drinking age is 20. My worry lies in getting in the various bars during the runtur in Reykjavik. Will the bouncers not let him in because he is 19? I know that he won’t be able to drink but will he at least be able to enter the bars?

NomadicMatt

My guess? Probably not unless they want to be nice since you are tourists. I’ve never seen any bouncer in any country let in someone underage.

Erin

Been there quite a few times and I love it. I love the culture and the people, although the prices are too high. I recommend staying out of Reykjavik (even though Reykjavik is very nice) and checking out the incredible nature.
I had the Icelandic Folktales CD (http://www.sagasoficeland.com) to guide me through the folklore of the country, which was nice. Some of the stories a bit scary for little children though. I tried the Blue Lagoon (http://www.bluelagoon.is), which was absolutely amazing!

ginger

yeah lets go enjoy everything and then dont pay,its their national sport !

Ariel Stone

Hi Matt,
I’ll be in iceland for only 4 days in July. What are the absolute must do’s for this quick trip?
Thanks!

Anyone going there (or can you) just for the volcano at Eyjafjallajökull?

Ella

I live in Iceland and yes you can go there, many people are visiting now.

Dave

I’d rather not go right now … just saying.

Bgirl

Hm… not a very good place to visit at the moment. Good luck getting there even so!

Theresa

Ok, I’m going in July 2010 for a much needed 10 day break from deployment and I am having a hard time finding a hotel at a decent rate. All of the prices are in Euro and the cheapest I saw came out to about 130 bucks a night. For nine nights, I have to do better than that. I’m planning on staying in Reykjavik. Any suggestions? I rather not hand out over $1200 bucks for a nine night stay. I could rent a house in the states for a month at that price……

Gordon

Great post.
I have long wanted to visit and now have the time. We fly from Stansted to KEF in early June. Island Express gave us a bit of a scare by cancelling the return flight – low cost meaning low reliability for this airline. We’re only staying for 5 nights, but hotel prices meant we chose to rent an apartment in the centre of the capital. Works out quite well and the location is fab. It’s city prices, but it would have been twice as much before the crisis, so can’t really complain. Some have asked how much can you do in a few days, well we pretty quickly realised that we would be limited to the South and West (so no whale watching and the Lake Myvatn is out of reach as is the lunar-scape of the east and Arctic Circle Grimsey..). Still I reckon we can do a touristy day at the blue lagoon (I was a bit put off that it’s so commercial, but the posts here have convinced me to give it a try), a day driving down to the waterfall and Geysir, plus seeing some volcanic ash (could get quite samey I think). The other trips will be day trips to the west and north, to try to get some authentic viking feeling and stunning landscape – a great way to unwind and that’s what this break is all about for me – really getting away from it.
One tip we came across was the saturday market in Reykjavic – good place to stock up on gifts and souvenirs especially cold climate clothing.
What I’m not looking forward to is the price of drinks – I think I’ll need a stiff drink with smoked Puffin !

Best wishes to all Iceland fans.

SalMonela

Delta has just announced that they will start flying to KEV directly from JFK starting next year.

I just was at The Blue Lagoon 2 days ago. Best layover ever! It was magical.

Laura

Just got out of the Blue Lagoon. What a surreal place. We flew Icelandair to the UK, did our business and got a 2 day layover in Iceland at no extra cost (promoting tourism). Hated the way British Air treated us the last few times so have changed to Icelandair from the Pacific Northwest. Beautiful place to visit!

H Carey

Saw the comment about Burano ! i just got back from Italy and had the pleasure of visiting Burano. Very quaint & charming!

jason

any racial prejudice or discrimination or even negative attitudes towards foreigners ? in iceland
any color issues?

jason

bcoz i am not white ! is that OK?

Blue lagoon looks fantastic!

sam

well, i will say that contrary to everyone, the blue lagoon isn’t that nice…it’s bloody expensive and you’re crawling with hordes of tourists. I’d rather advice to look for natural hot rivers, it’s free and in real nature.

Iceland still hands down is my top place visited of all time, if it wasn’t so expensive I would move there without thinking twice. Just the landscape is so different every where you turn and the people are crazy. Really want to go back some time, great post!

Hi there – Just wanted you to know that I shared this great Iceland post in my blog today.

Mags

Hi Matt,

I’ve done 5 of these things and I’m pleased to see other bloggers with the same line of thinking! Someone once said that the things I did were too “toursity”. I felt like punching him in the face. There are some things that are too good to miss, whether they’re touristy or not! I wrote a blog on my favourite place of all time, Gullfoss.

Paul

You missed the LANDMANNALAUGAR trail. Totally awesome hike for 8 days and you get right up next to a live Volcano, the one that went off last year.

KMT

LOL this is properly called 7 places to visit in Iceland.

Anyways, its been 3 years since you published this article and Iceland survived the crisis. Above all, it is the most peaceful country even the police have no guns… I’ve never visited the country yet but I am considering to relocate there so please tell me what mindsets most/all Iceland people have.

I will leave my country and stay in another since I dislike my people’s mindsets. All I need is somewhere peaceful. Little a bit boring is no problem. Iceland is surrounded by wide sea so it is somewhat protected from foreign threats…. Iceland has natural fortress :D this could be the place I wanna be.

Check this out, – a nice way to experience the Icelandic landscape and nature. Simple and easy to operate camper vans.

A nice list, but there is so much more (for those willing to stick their necks out a little:) . . . taking the ferry from Isafjordur to Hornstrandir, camping out amongst abandoned farms, arctic fox . . . Heimaey – sitting inside the volcanoes, steaming vents on all sides, dig your hand down six inches, the land is hot! . . . a trip to the interior, climbing the second highest peak in Iceland, steaming vents on top . . . the Breidfjordur archipelago, GREAT place for sea kayaking . . . Skaftafell Park, especially before the season opens . . . but watch out for the huge Fohn winds coming off the glacier above you – camped there when one hit, my tent (North Face Mountain Tent) was the only tent left standing . . . for birders, the island is off the charts . . . incredible four months there

Bob H.

I drove around the whole island about three years ago and generally found Iceland to be vastly overrated. Thingvellir is an interesting historical site and the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón is neat. But the place is astronomically expensive (AFAIK still true since the currency crisis), the food is terrible, the weather is abysmal and the sights generally underwhelming.

erik

I’m sold. A friend of mine went there and he also said the women (it’s mostly blonde women there i think) are gorgeous. If you’re a single straight guy that’s a perk in itself ;-)

NomadicMatt

Your friend lied. They aren’t gorgeous, they are SUPER DUPER HOLY CRAP gorgeous!

Great list! I just got back from Iceland, and loved every moment of it :D

Eva Pacheco

Hi, I’m thinking about going in the winter (January), because I definitely want to see the northern lights! I’ve heard it said that Iceland is more enjoyable in the summer (everything is oppened, it’s not cold, etc.), but I don’t know if in the winter the country is that bad. I’m asking that because I can go only during my vacations (January, July, December).

MSF

I really love your site Matt. I stumbled across it after putting in a random Q to Google!
I am planning to travel with my two sons aged 6 and 8.
I plan visiting the places on your list, and love Scotts suggestions too (-: I’ll be hiring a car and touring around.
With regards to the Northern Lights, is there a time of night when you are more likely to see them, or is it just from when it gets dark to when it gets light?

NomadicMatt

The best time is the solstices and in the middle of winter.

Kim K.

I am so happy I found this site!! I’m planning a trip to Iceland the end of July through the first weekend of August in 2012. I will be visiting the Blue Lagoon as well as enjoying the August Festival Verslunarmannahelgi. http://www.dalurinn.is/index.php?p=200&i=12. I’m also looking forward to experiencing the nightlife, restaurants and shops in Reykjavik. If anyone has recommendations for great restaurants and nightclubs, please send them my way!
Iceland is very dear to me as I have heritage and relatives in Iceland and I’ve been fascinated with the country since I was a little girl. I am now 26 and finally at a place where I can make my dream come true!!! :) I’m very much looking forward to exploring this beautiful country. I know that I will fall in love with its beauty and the lifestyle!
Thank you again for all of the great information posted on this site!

Daniel C.

Matt! Your blog is absolutely amazing and really inspiring. It’s funny this blog post actually is what finally convinced me to travel to Iceland. I highly recommend stayin in Reykjavik as its pretty much the main city there with gorgeous views, a lot of interesting food to try (shark, potato wine, raw reindeer meat- you get the idea) and everyone is EXTREMELY nice and welcoming.

I went in February and saw the Northern lights on a Jeep Tour http://www.icelandictravelmarket.is/activity/4×4-tours/iceland-northern-lights-and-lobster-jeep-tour-ilr06/275/default.aspx. HIGHLY RECOMMEND PEOPLE- so much fun. Apparently the solar flairs from the Sun are pretty high which means the Northern Lights are the brightest they’ve been in 50 years I know this post was written in 2008, but it’s message is even more relevant now. GO NOW in 2012!

Amanda

Hi Daniel,

I am strongly considering going to Reyjavnik in February of 2013. I am just a little weary of the weather. Was it extremely cold? Are there things to do in February?

Thanks,
Amanda

Cate

I just want to say that I read this blog entry sometime in mid-2010 and never forgot it, setting my sights on Iceland as a viable travel possibility. I finally made it there for six days in December 2011 and loved it. It was my first time leaving North America and your blog opened my eyes to how cool and inexpensive it was. Thanks so much!

Pennie

We are going in the morning. Can’t wait… We are doing blue lagoon and the golden circle tour… Your site is great :)

Marita

Hi :) This website looks really helpful. My husband and I have just booked flights to Iceland (Reykjavik) for mid to end September this year and I’ve read about all the amazing sights that everyone is suggesting. What I am not sure about is if we should base ourselves in Reykjavik and just travel from there or if we should move around the island a bit … maybe spending 3 nights in one place, two in another .. we have a total of 7 nights. What would you suggest to make sure its easy for us to see all the main sights? (We are interested in the northern lights, whale watching, blue lagoon, the national park, the waterfall, volcanoes … well i guess basically everything lol). Thanks in advance for any help.
Oh and I read somewhere that you can rent a small cottages around the country … has anyone ever tried or heard of this? Thanks again.

Robert McDonald

Hi All, a bit off yet but I want to treat my partner to a holiday in iceland next october his birthday he has been quite ill and we have not had a holiday in 10 years anyway I was hoping for 7 nights in Reykjavik, for a good hotel and a few trips included, £1000 to spend.I have looked at some websites but I can not seem to find one that I can book a hotel+airport transfers+breakfast+add on excursions,ie northern lights and whale watching minimum,also would it be cheaper to book just the holiday and sort out day tours through reception ? all advise appreciated.

Derek

I’m not sure why everyone hypes the Blue Lagoon – it’d be amazing if only it were a little warmer and not filled with people drinking… overrated.

Happy person

Recently decided i want to go to Iceland. It’s not far from the uk and I’m sick of going to hot places.

Iceland is a great destination. The photo you have of Jokulsarlon is realy cool

Steph

I know this article was written years ago but it’s very helpful. My friends and I will be stopping in Iceland on our way home from a Europe trip. We will be there for approximately 24 hours (landing at 3:45 and flying out at 5.) I am compiling information now so we can plan out our time there in advance to hopefully fit as much in as possible.

It is looking like we will definitely be able to get in seeing the Blue Lagoon (right from the airport) and I’d like to experience the food/nightlife. Curious though, if you only had 24 hrs, is there anything else we must see? I’m hoping we can fit in 1-2 more sites before flying out at 5.

Don’t worry, I’m not concerned about that pesky sleep thing. We’ll sleep on the flight home!

Fiona

We are flying out to Iceland in April. Single mum with two kids who count as adults everywhere they go. Any hints on how to do the big attractions on a very tight budget. I intend to hire a car when there to visit the sites, rather than go on the tours, they are just too expensive for us.

Anajai

The Northern lights are so beautiful that I want to go there right now!

William in DC

I have a terrible dilemna with regards to going to Iceland. I’m fascinated by the snow trek/safari, the northern lights, the midnight sun, and that heritage park.

Two are for summer. Two are for Winter. So I have to pick…..any experiences with the midnight sun?

Furthermore, as a resident of the East Coast ins the USA, how doable and affordable are the Northern Lights from Canada if I choose to do Iceland in the summer?

JASMINE

I am heading to Reykjavik with my 14 year old son for a much needed break. I would appreciate any suggestions for us specifically for the second half of August there…(we are leaving on the 19th for a week). Looks fully enticing and the raw nature promising a ‘detox’ from the stress of London….

Cranky

I’m taking my daughter for her 21st to Iceland on the 9th October. The pair of us have been like two kids at Christmas counting down the days. We’ve hired a 4WD and intend on taking in the Highlands plus all mentioned above.

Can’t wait…….shame about the flight time from Perth, Western Australia though!!