Iceland Travel Guide – Top 5 Things To See

top 5 things to see

Iceland: The Land Of Fire and Ice and Fire

Iceland, often described as the land of fire and ice, is the ultimate place for hiking. It’s located on the North of Europe, near Norway and Greenland. Iceland with its national parks stands out for incredible wild nature and divine mountains.

Lovely meadows, wild lava fields and glaciers all make Iceland one of the most diversive countries there are. There are so many beautiful sceneries and interesting cultural places one can only have problem choosing where to go. That’s why you need to read this post!

I didn’t believe this land of sheep freely nibbling their way around the volcanos with unpronounceable names (don’t believe me? Try Eyjafjallajökull!) will quickly become one of my favourite places of all times.

It’s hard to travel Iceland on a budget, but it’s definitely not hard to find cheaper options.

Since I know this can be a struggle, I created this insider’s travel guide so you can understand what Iceland is really about. So here is the Iceland Travel Guide Top 5 Things To See!

Top 5 Things To See and Do In Iceland

I choose these over everything else, because I found them most interesting and tourist favourite from their own categories. I will be making posts on waterfalls, nature and cities of Iceland soon though. Iceland Travel Guide Top 5 Things To See is not just a travel guide. It tries to answer your questions and ensure you know the basics about Iceland after reading.

1. How To See The Northern Lights

Northern lights or aurora borealis is truly a magnificent sky miracle. It seems almost like a theatre, blues and greens come along and merge together just for them to separate in another moment. It seems almost as a divine being was playing a sky piano, pushing all the pedals and making the sky colourful.

If you’re lucky, you can see purple and even a red!

Many people go to Iceland just for this very reason. To see the Northern lights. However, not everyone can see it in Iceland. There are multiple factors why you’ll see it tonight or you won’t.

So, what exactly are Northern lights or aurora borealis?

Northern lights are caused by the solar wind in magnetosphere. Sometimes the charged particles that normally travel through magnetosphere change their trajectories.

That happens because of disturbances of magnetosphere. Basically then protons and electrons react together and create a photon, a light particle. That’s how we can see the aurora.

How can I check whether there's aurora or not?

I highly recommend this website. It is really accurate. We used it when I was in Iceland and the forecast was always on point.

When I need to come to Iceland to see Northern lights?

It is said that the best time to view Northern lights is from September to April. I saw aurora in late August. I guess there’s still aurora during summer months but not as bright, vivid and noticeable.

Where I should come to see Northern lights?

The place to see Northern lights is really important. You can’t have any light pollution, especially if you want to take nice pictures. It would be best to go somewhere remote from cities and light they produce. Iceland is great for this, because there aren’t many big cities.

Of course, you can see aurora even with light pollution, but it’s not as noticeable. I saw it from the parking lot of our kemping space, so there were lights everywhere. We used our arms to shade them for our eyes and it worked. So if you really can’t travel somewhere without lights try at least this.

But I don’t think it would work in a city like Reykjavik. We were staying at Selfoss.

2. The capital of Iceland: Reykjavík

Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland as well as the biggest city. Statistically, every 1 of 3 Icelanders live in Reykjavik. This city will win you over its simplistic and minimalistic architecture.

There are little houses, boutiques stores, rainbow pedestrian walk and church with a really distinctive style. It resembles Iceland and its nature.

I highly recommend going to the church on the Main street of Reykjavik. It has really distinctive architecture that is very Icelandic. You can also check out the port. There are fishermen waiting to go on a morning catch. Some travel agencies even offer an authentic fishing trip to tourists. 

On the road from the pot to the church, you can see one part of the street painted rainbow. This symbolizes the support of LGBTQ+ community from Iceland. 

One of the most beautiful buildings in Reykjavik is Harpa. It is building of opera, but many people are coming to see its mesmerizing architectural shapes rather than listen to music. There are also many overexpensive souvenir shops there and a cafeteria as well. But I bet you‘ll love it. This is definitely one of the tops of my Iceland Travel Guide Top 5 Things To See.

aurora borealis
iceland travel guide
icelandic horses
iceland travel guide

3. The most popular waterfall in Iceland: Skógafoss

Skógafoss is very popular among tourists and travellers and it’s pretty clear why.

Skogafoss is great, powerful and just beautiful. You can stand there and watch the water falling so fast into the little lake below the waterfall.

There’s also a trail you can check out. You can see a river that supplies the waterfall and there are many cascades as well, on that river. It’s really nice view and it’s worth the climb. Every travel guide should recommend this waterfal as a one of the top 5 things to see and do on Iceland.

This is also the place where the 5 day hike, which is considered one of the most beautiful hikes in the world, starts or ends. The other place is in Landmannalaugar, which is also a stunning place. 


4. Thingvellir (+ snorkelling!)

Thingvellir is a place where the longest running parliament (or the oldest parliament) started. It was around the year 930 when the general assembly first met and continued to until 1798.

Thingvellir is also a place lying on a rift valley essentially. There’s a crest of Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the boundary between North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. This means you’re walking down in a huge crack in the mountain and on one side there’s North America and on the other there’s Europe.

There are many people snorkelling in Thingvellir as well. You can do diving but you need a month course to be able to do that – and that’s pretty expensive. Snorkelling is very popular especially in winter and it must be so beautiful!

There are little caves you can discover and this experience is definitely something you have to try. Snorkelling or scuba are definitely top 5 things to do hee on Iceland. Iceland Travel Guide Top 5 Things To See recommends to have this on your bucket list!


5. The World's First Geyser Called Geysir

Do you know where the first named geyser is located? In Iceland! It is called Geysir and it unfortunately doesn’t erupt. It was, couple years ago but according to one story I heard, people were throwing washing supplies into it so it will react and erupt.

However, you can see geyser called Strodder that erupts every 6 minutes for about 17 seconds.

TIP: Many tourists also think that the first geyser on the site is Strodder because so many people are standing and waiting. That’s not true. Strodder is located around 100 meters down that path, so don’t be fooled by others.

And while you be there and watch the eruption, look for the bright blue bubble. It’s created just before the eruption and you need to look very carefully to see it.

It is even better to get it on the photo. Try the setting of taking multiple photos and you’re good to go! Or just take a video and screenshot it afterwards. Definitely one of the top five things to see in Iceland. 

iceland travel guide

Iceland Travel Guide Top 5 Things To See

Therefore, Iceland is a very good country made for a visit. Not only because of its mesmerizing nature, but also due to cultural heritage and unique architectural style. You are going to love it if you visit Iceland in any occasion or a season. The country isn‘t divine just in winter or summer, there are plenty of other options to see it during autumn as well. Whole Iceland is covered by something like little moss flowers that are going to purple up in September. In spring, there is that beautiful fog that covers everything and makes all pictures look world class. These were just top 5 things to see and do, and there are plenty of others!

Iceland is stunning either way, so don‘t forget to add it to your bucket list. Hope you enjoyed this travel guide to Iceland.

Iteresting websites

  • Self-drive tours: here
  • Learn more about Iceland in Wikipedia: here
  • Iceland’s official site: here

*These links aren’t sponsored, they’re here just for more information for you.

Wanna stick around?

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[…] Iceland Travel Guide – Top 5 Things To See […]

Karolina Malesa
2 years ago

Great photos 🙂

2 years ago

Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!