5 things you must experience in Iceland

5 things you must experience in Iceland
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Iceland is a surreal land where you arrive and wonder whether you have instead landed on the moon.

It’s a country made of geothermal waters, glacial pools, black sand beaches, turf houses and purple flower fields stretching beyond the horizon. In summer, the sun stays up well past midnight and the country is bathed in a perpetual, lingering twilight; while the depths of winter offers barely 4-5 hours of daylight.

Some fun facts to set the scene? Iceland runs on nearly 100% sustainable green energy and the streets are heated by geothermal water, so they do not become slippery in winter. Icelanders only ever refer to each other on a first name basis; even in the phone directory. And there are no mosquitoes (none).

Here are 5 things you must experience in Iceland.

5 things you must experience in Iceland

1. Wander the streets of Reykjavik

First things first, you must explore Iceland’s capital (and the world’s northernmost capital) Reykjavik. It is a beautiful, calm city with a village-like feel. Be sure to visit the Hallgrímskirkja lookout for a birds-eye-view of the colourful town roofs, wander the main shopping street Laugavegur and eat with the local hipsters at The Laundromat Café.


5 things you must experience in Iceland

2. Enrol in Elf School

But, seriously!

Iceland has a firm belief in the existence of elves, dwarfs, gnomes, faeries and other mystical beings. So much so, that it is government policy to build roads around rocks and land where folklore are believed to inhabit, so as to not disturb them.

Make your way to Hafnarfjörður, a short drive from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík. This town is considered to be the largest settlement of the huldufólk (hidden people) and rich in elf and spirit populations, with more than twenty types of dwarfs, four types of gnomes and all manner of elfin beings.

Here you’ll find Elf School, run by local Icelandic Erla Stefánsdóttir. On a short walking tour around town, Erla will point out particular rock formations and other landmarks inhabited by folklore.

5 things you must experience in Iceland

5 things you must experience in Iceland

3. Immerse yourself in Bláa lónið: The Blue Lagoon.

Sitting at a constant 38 degrees celsius and rich in silica, sulphur and a bundle of other healing minerals, there’s no wonder The Blue Lagoon is on many bucket lists.

Sitting between two continents where the Eurasian and American tectonic plates meet, The Blue Lagoon holds six million litres of geothermal seawater that is renewed every 40 hours,.

The seawater originates 2000 metres beneath the ground where it is 240 degrees Celsius and thirty-six times the pressure of the earth’s surface. It’s idyllic to sink into this milky, opaque pale blue water.

A 50 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik.

5 things you must experience in Iceland

5 things you must experience in Iceland

4. Spot the Turf Houses

Dotted along the highways are pockets of turf hourses. Make sure you stop to check these out. Turf houses were a product of difficult and dramatic Icelandic climate – they offer far superior insulation than typical houses. Some turf houses are open to the public – making for great photo opportunites!

5 things you must experience in Iceland

5 things you must experience in Iceland

5. Visit Jökulsárlón

On the edge of Vatnajökull National Park sits large glacial lake Jökulsárlón; a surreal masterpiece of nature.

Having featured in no less than four Hollywood movies, including the James Bond series and :Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, it may seem familiar.

Luminous glass icebergs float in an expansive azure blue lagoon; the reflection of the icebergs a mirrored kaleidoscope of milk and transparent ice crystals.

5 things you must experience in Iceland

5 things you must experience in Iceland

Dark, mythical, arctic, rugged and calm, Iceland is many things, and will be sure to steal your heart.

Put it on your bucket list, you’ll thank us later.

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    Rebecca Smith
    February 17, 2016 at 3:12 am

    I went in Dec and it was cold but if you have the right gear it’s fine, but there are only a few daylight hours. I still absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back. I didn’t bother with the Blue Lagoon as i was told by a local that it’s actually man made and right by a power station. I would recommend venturing further afield and going on some of the trips towards the south of the island!

    October 23, 2015 at 3:17 am

    I absolutely love Iceland! I was there two months ago, been to two different trips, four different countries, and I still can’t stop talking about it!

    alfredo ciano
    August 10, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Iceland : an Experience at the Doors of the Perception…

    Jessica Mayhew
    August 6, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    This makes you want to pack your bags and head to Iceland. Before you leave, here are 5 facts you may not know about the country

    August 5, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    I’m heading to Iceland in November, and I couldn’t be more excited! Most of these are on my list. 🙂
    Chalsie x
    Wayfare | Travel & Life Blog

    Alisha Paul
    August 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Iceland is so astounding nation. Thus distinctive. Beuatiful… . I trust I’ll see it soo

    August 5, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Iceland looks like somewhere from a different world.

    No matter how I swing it I’m not going to get there on my first trip to Europe but it will definitely be included in a future trip. First things first is Norway which has been at the top of my bucketlist for as long as I can remember

    August 5, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I’ve been itching to plan a trip to Iceland, this post really makes me wish I could make it happen soon!

    August 4, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Visiting Iceland is one of my dreams! It looks so beautiful!! I really hope that one day, I’ll be able to go over there, it looks so magical!!

    Anna Shirley
    August 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Iceland is so amazing country. And so different. Beuatiful…. I hope I´ll see it soon.


    August 4, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Folklore and adventure, very fantastic. Iceland would be far from my place but I consider the long travel. I just bring along with me my jetLAGFX from jet lag. Can’t wait to see the place!

    August 4, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Oh me oh my. This is such a great condensed list of Iceland’s many wonders. I’ve got a long layover in Iceland this September, so I’m hoping to wander Reykjavik a bit. I’ll probably have to return again to spend more time exploring the rest of the country though.

    August 3, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    This has made me even more excited for my upcoming trip there! It really does look other-worldly

    Shea Powell
    August 3, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    I’m planning on visiting Iceland soon. Thank you for the info!

    August 3, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Is Iceland a place to visit during Winter? Is it still worth it? I will be over in Europe/UK in Decmeber-Jan…wondering if it’s still worth going then?

      Global Girl Travels
      August 3, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Lisa. The best part about winter in Iceland is a chance to see the Northern Lights. However, it’s extremely cold and some of the roads will be closed. I went in May and it was cold, but bearable.

    August 3, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Folklore, history, and nature are always fun! Adding some folklore flavor sounds fun. Might try to do for other trips also. Sure, folklore can be silly, but it also gives historical flavor to an area….diving back into older beliefs. Beliefs seem to be a universal human trait. Thanks for the advice!

    sarah vernon
    August 3, 2015 at 6:17 am

    wow! ive had iceland on my places to go list in ages but keep putting it back as it seems the best way round is by car..gotta learn to drive! x

    August 3, 2015 at 4:39 am

    We don’t believe in elves! Sorry but tourism marketing people have spread this ‘50% of Icelanders believe in elves’ bull far too wide. Otherwise these tips are alright! We’d love it if Brooke would really visit! 🙂

    Daniella M.
    August 3, 2015 at 4:34 am

    I’d love to go to Iceland! The Blue Lagoon looks amazing.

    Celestial Traveller
    August 3, 2015 at 12:13 am

    I totally agree! Spent a week there last year, driving the ring road around the island.
    Also don’t forget the Golden Circle and definitely the Northern Lights!!!
    If you need tips for chasing the Northern Lights visit my blog, and don’t hesitate to contact me!
    Cheers, Safe Travel 🙂

    August 2, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Definitely a bucket list item.

    August 2, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Just arrived back home in Sweden this morning from a magical week in Iceland, and yours was the first post I saw in my mailbox. What a surprise! I could add a gazillion things to your list. It is a place to discover and to savor. Did you know that 50% of all Icelanders believe in elves?

    August 2, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    “No mosquitoes (none).” ??? You did not visit the Lake Myvatn area, that’s for sure….

    August 2, 2015 at 10:59 pm

    Iceland is one of the top destinations I want to visit next year. Thanks for the tips.

    x Kate

    August 2, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Salmon,Brown Trout,Arctic Char oh my…

    Adelaide Haynes
    August 2, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Iceland is one of my favourite countries I’ve ever been to!
    So surreal and incredible! The people are so lovely and the scenery is stunning!

    Wonderland Trekker
    August 2, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Thanks for pointing out Jökulsárlón.

    Nathalie & Liz
    August 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    We are planning a trip to Iceland some time soon and these are some great tips! Anything else you’d like to recommend? Any tips on whale watching in the area? Thanks and great post 🙂 !

      August 3, 2015 at 4:41 am

      You can go whale watching straight from Reykjavík, but if you’re headed up north I believe Húsavík offers some good tours. 🙂

    Sarah Elizabeth || SEDiva Abroad
    August 2, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I had no idea that Iceland operated almost entirely on renewable energy! That’s actually really cool. And ELF SCHOOL sounds so fun! Here in Ireland, a lot of people believe in that stuff out West, but there’s mostly people who think it’s ridiculous making the laws, and a lot of roads only just recently have been built over fairy hills. There was a big government battle over one near Galway a few years ago! haha

    August 2, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I’d never really considered Iceland as a place I have to see and now I can’t get there soon enough! It looks amazing- thanks for the post!!

    August 2, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Iceland is gorgeous – and just like a moonscape! Love it. Hot springs, simultaneous sunsets and sunrises at 1 am in the summer, and.. puffins! Ha. Iceland is a must, and a great stop on the way from the US -> Europe or vice versa.

    -Lynn & Meg

    August 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I have very special memories of my trip to Iceland last year. Everywhere your turn there is something stunning to see – a jaw dropping waterfall, boiling sulfuric mud pots, lave fields…. Plus the locals are so friendly and the food is delicious!

    August 2, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Some years ago I made a school research about Iceland, but this post made me fall in love more with this place!

    What a wonderful post

    August 2, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I would also say playing with Icelandic Horses!!!!