1. The Scenic Picnic Table Spots
The scenery in Iceland is amazingly divers: fjords, glaciers, volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, mountains, caves, … If you drive around Iceland you will observe many places to stop for a picnic at these scenic spots. I enjoyed a sandwich lunch with the picturesque Bruarfoss waterfall on the background, eat fish and salad while watching sea cliffs in the Westfjords and so on. Where will you stop for your next picnic in Iceland?
2. The Hot Springs
Everyone knows the Blue Lagoon and Myvatn Nature Baths, but the country is dotted with lesser-known ‘hot pots’. There are even hot springs in the isolated Westfjords. In many public swimming pools, you find hot tubs to relax if you are not in a swimming mood. Or why don’t you go swimming in a geothermal river, for example in Reykjadalur.
3. The National Parks
Iceland has three national parks with kilometers of hiking trails: Snæfellsjökull, Þingvellir and Vatnajökull National Park. The latter covers nearly 15% of Iceland’s surface and is Europe’s largest national park. Þingvellir National Park is best known for its dramatic fissures as its plain is situated on the tectonic plate boundary of North America and Europe. Snæfellsjökull National Park is located on Snæfellsnes Peninsula in the west. It is a must-go if you love wild beaches and lava fields which are beautifully located on the foot of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. The best part? These national parks are all freely accessible!
4. The Festivals
All-year round, there are many fascinating and creative festivals mostly dedicated to music and film. The Icelanders just love festivals! Have you ever heard of the Reykjavik Cultural Festival, Culture Night, or Reykjavík Pride? All these events are free to attend!
5. The Puffins
The country is brilliant for birdwatching. But honestly, if you can choose between the sober-looking seabirds and the charismatic puffin with its exotic colors… Who would not prefer the adorable puffins? For me, a visit to Iceland wasn’t complete without seeing puffins. There are several places where you can spot puffins, but I didn't just want to see a few in the distance. No, I wanted to see them eye-to-eye. My little dream came true in Borgarfjordur Eystri, in the Eastfjords. The first puffins typically arrive in April, lay their eggs around mid-May and leave in the beginning of August.
6. The Icelandic Lambs
I cannot imagine Iceland without sheep. There are even signposts along the road that warn you for crossing sheep. Icelandic sheep are known for their high milk production and fine wool. All over the country you have the opportunity to buy traditional wool sweaters. Sheep outnumber human in Iceland and as a consequence you often find lamb on the menu. In my opinion, it is the best lamb in the world! Is it because the sheep are raised in unspoiled nature? Is it the nutritious vegetation? Who will tell…
7. The Northern Lights
The Northern Light attracts thousands of people to the island each year. The best period for this unique experience is from September to April, during dark but clear nights. However, it is a natural phenomenon that is hard to predict… Too cold? Why not enjoy the Northern Lights from a hot tub?
8. The Black Beaches
The black beaches are definitely something else. Created by volcanic activity, these black beaches are impressive to see and I could stroll for hours on the black sand while enjoying the ocean breeze. The most popular black beaches are found around Vik, Iceland’s southernmost town which is only 2-3 hours driving of Reykjavik. However, I personally prefer Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, also in the south. I love the stark contrast of the white and blue ice chunks that are washed on the black beach. It looks so surreal!
9. The Sunsets
The summer days in Iceland are endless, but when the sun finally sets it looks like you have entered an entirely different world. The colors change and depending on the day you encounter yellow, orange, red and even blue and violet skies. On some days, the sunset lasts for hours, so go outside and chase that perfect photograph. Just make sure you have enough memory cards for your camera;-)
10. The Icelandic Volcanoes
There are countless active volcanoes on the island due to its location on a tectonic plate boundary. This maphttp://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/volcanic-eruptions/
shows the current status of the Icelandic volcanoes with color codes. Before my departure, I showed the map to my mom reassuring her that all volcanoes are in green (aka in a ‘non-eruptive state’). I am a geologist so I can never see enough volcanoes, but if I can only pick one I would recommend Hverfjall in Myvatn, located in the north. You can hike on the rim of the black volcano which has a diameter of approximately 1 km.
Meet Our Contributor!
Lien from the travel blog Get Lost Abroad is a Belgian travel addict that loves to explore places with lush nature everywhere on the planet. She has a soft spot for Africa but the wind brings her to other continents as well. On her travel blog, you can find destination guides, photo essays and her personal experiences from on the road. She hopes to inspire people to step out of their comfort zone and travel the world too.