Travel

The 10 Best Cheap and Inexpensive Things to do in Iceland

Cheap and Inexpensive Things to do in Iceland - Scenic Picnic

Photography: Shane

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?


Cheap-and-Inexpensive-Things-to-do-in-Iceland-Hot-Springs

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.


Cheap and Inexpensive Things to do in Iceland - pingvellir National Park

Photographer: Lien De Wispelaere

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!



Cheap-and-Inexpensive-Things-to-do-in-Iceland-Puffins

Two Icelandic Puffins in love

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.



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Sheep in Iceland posing at sunset

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…


Cheap-and-Inexpensive-Things-to-do-in-Iceland-Northern-Lights

The Northern Light Aurora borealis at Kirkjufell Iceland

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?


Cheap and Inexpensive Things to do in Iceland Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Photographer: Lien De Wispelaere

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!


Photographer: Lien De Wispelaere

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;-)


The Hverfjall volcano has a diameter of about 1 km! Photographer: Lien De Wispelaere

10. The Icelandic Volcanoes

There are countless active volcanoes on the island due to its location on a tectonic plate boundary. This map 

Source: Icelandic Met Office

http://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!

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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.

Best Cheap and Inexpensive Things to do in Iceland

7 Comments

  • I previously had to cancel a cruise which I was taking primarily to “see” Iceland.

    However, since I want to redo my trip, going there on our own may be the better alternative.
    Is there a major travel agency in Iceland that is well known and dependable?
    (For instance, I have booked many trips through Condor Travel in South America and can totally depend on them to not make poor arrangements).

    Would appreciate your input!

  • This is such great post – thanks for sharing. I’d love to go back to Iceland and get stuck into the nature watching, especially whale watching (yes, I know, I’d have to pay, but it’d be worth it) and who doesn’t adore those sad, teardrop little eyes of the puffins?
    Ahhh..

  • Gorgeous photos! Those puffins are adorable.

  • This puffins are SUPER cute! We’d love to get a car and just drive around the beautiful country.

  • The best things in life are free & I love that Iceland is such a wild, nature’s paradise. Now I know what to see & do, just gotta work out how to get there 🙂

  • Wonderful photos!! That sheep is precious. I’d love to see all this for myself although it can get frigid. Such an amazing part of the planet.

  • I want to grab my luggage and go to Iceland immediately! So many great reasons to visit this beautiful land. Thank you for sharing!

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