Because Iceland is so conveniently placed between the two continents, it’s a perfect opportunity to stop over for a few days, break up your journey and throw something a transcendental into your travel plan at relatively low cost. But how best to make use of these few days? Let’s cover some of the highlights:
Where in the country is your Iceland stopover?
The major airport in Iceland is in Keflavík, 45 minutes away from Reykjavík, so we’ll assume that’s where you’re arriving. If you’re only staying a short while, you likely won’t be going very far afield, (though for a longer stopover it’s not impossible). Iceland is actually quite big, bigger than Scotland, so to go the whole way around the country we recommend at least a week.
So, assuming you’re staying in the Reykjavík area for a few days, what is there to do? (If you’re not staying in Reykjavík, contact us and we can help you figure out your plan).
Reykjavík Sights, Attractions, and Activities
Major Reykjavík sights include Hallgrímskirkja church, the most recognisable Reykjavík landmark, Harpa concert hall, with its beautiful geometrical facade and view of the harbour and mt. Esja, and the Pearl.
There are incredibly many good museums, including Volcano House and Reykjavík Art museum, the National Museum and the Settlement exhibition, depending on your interests. There is a huge array of cafés and restaurants, great shopping and of course a vibrant nightlife.
Where To Go And How To Get There
For all the city’s charm, most people don’t come to Iceland to see Reykjavík. In fact, we encourage you to spend as much time as possible traveling around in the beautiful nature beyond the city, doing exciting things!
The Golden Circle
The Golden Circle’s main attractions are the waterfall Gullfoss, Geysir geothermal area, and Þingvellir historic national park. You can see it by bus, jeep or helicopter or you can drive yourself. The Golden Circle tour takes just half a day so you can spend the rest of the day exploring the city or add other activities to your tour.
Activities: You can add snowmobiling on a glacier, bathe in one of two hot springs, river rafting, snorkeling or diving in a tectonic fissure, visit a geothermal greenhouse, or a geothermal power plant to name just a few.
The South Coast
The main attractions on the South coast are waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss along with Reynisfjara black-sand beach. The south coast is also where you will find the highland areas Landmannalaugar and Thorsmork – incredible untouched wilderness reserves. (Note that hiking in these areas is only recommended during the summer. In wintertime, stick to vehicles of some sort.)
You can take a bus tour or drive yourself along the coast, but a jeep tour will likely take you toward the highlands, with their beautiful geothermal areas and mountainous landscapes. And of course, you can see the sights by helicopter as well.
Activities include glacier hiking, snowmobiling on a glacier, or bathing in Seljavallalaug hot spring.
West Iceland covers the western part of the country from Reykjavík in the south to the West fjords in the North, roughly defined by the fjords Hvalfjörður and Borgarfjörður, and the Snæfellsnes peninsula (more on that below). The main sights of this area include Gerðuberg, Deildartunguhver, Langjökull, and Hraunfossar.
Since you’re in Iceland, you can hardly pass up the chance to go Into the glacier – the longest man-made ice tunnel in the world, as well as caving in Víðgelmir, the largest lava cave in Iceland by volume.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Snæfellsnes is an amazing area. There’s nothing like driving around the peninsula with the ocean on one side and magnificent mountains on the other. Major sights include Arnarstapi, Djúpalónssandur beach and of course Snæfellsjökull glacier.
If you’re still unsure about what to do on your Iceland stopover, take a look at some of the most popular tours available, or browse through all the tours. If you’re looking for more information, you can LiveChat with the What’s On staff or contact the office via e-mail or telephone (+354 551 3600).