Iceland has now opened its doors to tourists from Europe and around the world. The best places to visit in Iceland in summer are now easier to tick off your list. You can travel to the ‘land of fire and ice’ from North America and Europe. But the small island country is easy to navigate with a car as you want to explore as much of its raw nature as possible. Here’s where to stop first.
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When you arrive in Iceland, you’ll land at a small airport outside the capital Reykjavik. But you shouldn’t overlook the capital city even when traveling there in the summer. From old Icelandic churches to a few good local restaurants, there’s plenty to see in the city.
Unlike most European capitals, the city is quiet and you can walk its central area easily. A top tip is to visit one of its multiple book stores as locals love to read and there’s always new work published, especially in the fiction area with a local influence.
9. Snaefellsnes Peninsula
If you only have a few days in Iceland during the summer, you need to visit the peninsula. It’s also known as ‘small Iceland’ or ‘Iceland in miniature’. It offers both coastal and mountain landscapes. There’s even a small volcano on the peninsula with a glacier on top which shows just how the diverse the landscape is in this small area.
Akureyri has a very interesting location. Found in the remote North side of the island, it isn’t as visited as the Southern Coast. Established around the 9th century, this small municipality has a culture of its own.
As a tourist, you can enjoy horseback riding in the summer here. You may also want to visit the picture-perfect Laufas Turf Traditional Houses here. But we also recommend exploring the new modern and cultural parts of the city as well. Check out the Hof Cultural and Conference Centre for events on your planned visit dates.
7. Vestrahorn Mountain
Vestrahorn Mountain is also largely overlooked by the typical tourist. The area is a bit more difficult to reach but this also makes it very attractive for those who don’t like crowded areas. Many photographers head to this mountain at sunrise to capture amazing landscape photos. The black sand beaches at the foot of the mountain create spectacular images for sure.
6. Heimaey Island
Iceland is not just about nature photos. You can explore the traditional ways of living on Heimaey Island. Situated in the Western part of the country, the island offers a glimpse into old Iceland and how people used to live before. If you plan to visit this remote area, you need to check ferry schedules before driving there.
5. Icelandic Highlands
The Icelandic Highlands might also be hard to reach but worth the effort. These rugged landscapes offer the best option for those who want to sit, reflect, trek, or even cycle. Many tourists renting 4X4 vehicles head here. It’s also one of the safest places in the country for sleeping out in a tent.
4. Blue Lagoon
There’s almost an inexplicable international appeal the Blue Lagoon enjoys. Almost everybody heading to the country wants to take a hot bath there. The Lagoon features distinct Blue waters and it welcomes tourists with multiple spa treatments.
Situated outdoors, it’s an excellent spot to sit and relax after long days visiting. The line of tourists who want to get inside is long almost every day, however. The best plan is to purchase tickets online, in advance. The souvenir shop at the Blue Lagoon is of world-class as well. Some of the spa treatment products at the Lagoon can be purchased here so that you can pamper your skin when you get home as well.
3. Ice Caves in Vatnajökull Glacier
As Europe’s largest glacier, this spot needs to be on your Icelandic map. During the summer, you can admire these caves safely from the outside. If you’re in Iceland, you can’t miss the spectacular melting ice of the caves.
You should avoid entering the caves in the summer as the recommended visiting period is in the winter. However, seeing ice in Iceland is a must. It can also be an educational trip as local guides can teach your kids more about ice caves, how they form, and how they melt under the summer sun.
Waterfalls in Iceland are unlike anywhere else. They inspire poems, movies, and romance. You need to see all of them. But when time is limited, you can drop by Skigafoos which is reachable by car.
The waterfall is one of the country’s most visited spots and you need to be there early in the morning if you want to avoid thousands of tourists who want to get that perfect picture.
It’s also the place where you can see rainbows frequently. Double rainbows are seen almost every day at Skogafoss. You can even hike your way up the hill to see how the water makes its way down the mountain and into the waterfall. A short 30-minute hike is worth it just so that you can appreciate the waterfall in its true glory.
Some of the best places in the world are also the least inhabited. This is certainly the case of the village of Husavik. What can you see in a place with only 180 inhabitants? The shores of this small place are a top world location to go whale watching.
You can book a local tour to see real killer whales. For the best experience, you need to visit Husavik between June and August. It’s just the right time to see these impressive whales in all of their glory.
Apart from seeing killer whales, you can also learn more about them at the local Whale Museum. To ensure you get your place on the next boat out from Husavik, you need to book your trip tickets in advance, especially during the summer whale-watching season.