Iceland Iceland baby! Our favourite Welsh duo, Kinging It, have explored the stunning Nordic nation and are here to share their tips for the best things to do in Iceland. We are talking amazing, unforgettable experiences, ranging across all types of temperatures; Some freezing, some boiling, but all seriously ‘coooool’!
Some say Iceland is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world – and they’d be correct. Minkes, humpbacks, sperm whales, sei whales and blue whales all hang out off the north coast because the North Atlantic is a great feeding ground for these gentle giants.
For the very best whale watching experience, head to a northern town called Húsavík. The first time we visited, we set sail with a company called ‘Husavik adventures.’ They have smaller, cosier boats which provide an up-close and personal trip, where you feel almost close enough to touch the whales. On our second trip, we went with one of the oldest whale watching tour operators in Iceland: Whale Watching Hauganes. This option is a lot more Jack Sparrow, as you sail on a huge pirate-like oak ship, where the whales are visible from above. No matter who you choose, you can’t go wrong as it really is one of the best things to do in Iceland. Go with your gut and choose the one that excites you most. The cost is around £70 per person, but believe us, it’s absolutely worth every penny. You’ll have a whale of a time (sorry, had to be done)!
A beer bath?! Yes, it’s exactly what you’re picturing. Jump into a big tub of bubbly beer and relax with a pint in your hand. You even have your very own draught tap to the side of your tub for whenever your glass gets empty. (Tip: drink that, not the stuff you’re bathing in!)
The wooden tubs hold up to two people and contain beer, water, hops and yeast which is a great treatment for your skin. Once you’ve finished your bath, slide into your slippers and a comfy robe, then head upstairs to the relaxation room where you’ll be wrapped in blankets and given a refreshing face mask. Ahh, bliss! Finally, if you still aren’t feeling pampered enough, finish your visit off with a few minutes in the infrared sauna room. The experience will cost you around £70 per person, but you’ll feel amazing after it!
We don’t always appreciate water falling from clouds but we LOVE water falling from a rock! We’ve been lucky enough to experience a few beauties on our travels so far but, honestly, Iceland has some of the very best waterfalls we’ve ever witnessed! The sheer size and power of them are just hypnotising to watch. Most are free to check out, but a few you do have to pay a small fee to park. Some of the waterfalls that we’ve visited and would 100% recommend are:
Natural hot springs
So you’ve had a dip in beer, now rinse yourself off in one of Iceland’s amazing natural hot pools. You probably won’t be too surprised to see this on a list of the best things to do in Iceland, but for those of you who think it just sounds like a slightly warm big puddle, prepare to be amazed. A natural hot pool is actually a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the earth’s crust. BOOM! See, science can be cool! Mother Nature decides the temperatures: some are cool enough to bathe in whereas some are way too hot. So probably best to dip a toe in before you get cannonballing into burning waters! Again, as they’re natural delights, these bad boys aren’t easy to find. Get online, have a drive, and like us, you’ll manage to find a few of these hidden treasures. Get Googling the following, which we were lucky enough to visit:
Continuing with water as the theme, here’s another one of the best things to do in Iceland. If you like fountains, Iceland is the place to be to witness some of the most amazing natural water shows in the world – all because of the country’s high rate of volcanic activity. A geysir is an eruption of boiling hot water from the ground, spouting high into the air. Believe us, being there and witnessing it is even better than it sounds. We visited the Strokkur geysir, which is famous for erupting regularly. Every few minutes you’ll be amazed by water sent 20 metres high, naturally! Strokkur is easily accessible and not too far from Reykjavik. You can either grab a tour to go see the magical blue explosion or drive there with a car or camper. DIY, as usual, is so much cheaper as there’s actually no fee to see the Geysir, just your transport cost.
Snorkelling in Silfra
Do you think life is better, down where it’s wetter, under the sea? If so, get a load of Silfra. It’s a freshwater fissure listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site and known as one of the world’s top diving spots. Not only that, but you can actually snorkel between two continents – Europe and America! We went between the two tectonic plates and touched both Europe and America, just because we could and it’s pretty cool, right?! Anyway, the snorkelling itself is an incredible experience. It’s the bluest, cleanest and clearest water we’ve ever seen – and it’s so fresh, you can even drink the water on the way around if you please! To experience it for yourself you need to head to Thingvellir, which is not too far from the capital- but make sure you go between April and November as diving only runs between these months. A 4-5 hour experience, which also includes your wetsuit hire, will cost you roughly £120. If you want to get some awesome footage you can also rent GoPros etc. for a little extra.
The amount of natural wonders Iceland has to offer is almost unfair! Next up is the best looking glacier lagoon you’ll ever see. Well, it’s definitely the best we’ve ever seen! The luminous blue colour of the water is incredible, so bright that it almost strains your eyes. Amongst the icebergs that are dotted around, we were lucky enough to spot a solo seal chilling on the ice, which made the experience even more special. The pictures really don’t do it justice, so you have to go and check this place out for yourselves.
Myvatn Hot Pool
The ‘Blue Lagoon’ is one of Iceland’s most visited attractions, so we’d recommend Mývatn Nature Baths as a cheaper and more intimate alternative. You’ll still get incredible, crazy blue heated pools, but it’s a lot less touristy AND almost half the price. Ka-ching! Admittedly it’s a bit further out from the airport than the Blue Lagoon, but it’s worth the trip. Once you’re done floating around, soaking up the beautiful scenery and relaxing in the pools, grab your robe and slippers and waddle over to the outdoor steam room. Entrance will cost around £27 per person.
Game of Thrones fans might recognize this hidden gem from a steamy scene featuring Jon Snow. Grjotagja is a small lava cave which contains a geothermal spring inside. As you’d expect from a cave, this place is in the middle of nowhere, but still easy to get to if you do your research. To get to the pool you need to walk down into the cave. As soon as you start to get close you can really feel the temperature rise. The water is mega clean and clear and the colour is out of this world. As tempting as it looks, unfortunately, it’s now too hot to bathe in. It once was a popular spot for locals to take a dip in, but a nearby volcano erupted and spoilt all the fun by making the temperature soar.
Secret Solstice Music Festival
Not all of the best things to do in Iceland involve water, and like the Vengaboys, we also like to party. If you’re the same, we definitely recommend grabbing a ticket to Secret Solstice. You may have heard of it as it’s becoming one of the biggest and best festivals in the world. There’s a really good mix of all musical genres, providing something for everyone (last year’s headliners were Big Sean and The Foo Fighters!) Every summer the three-day event attracts people from all over the world due to its uniqueness and glittery good vibes. There are also tasty food courts and plenty of quirky vintage stores for when you want to give your ears a rest. Reykjavik sure knows how to put on a party!
What do you think are some of the best things to do in Iceland? Any other secrets we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.
About the author
Aimee and Craig aka Kinging-it grew up in a small town in Wales. They fell in love and now travel the world together, making videos and being crazy. Follow their adventures on Youtube for a regular dose of travel-envy.