Iceland Travel Guide: What to Do & Know

Have you heard? Iceland is a vacationer place! Together with famous waterfalls and charming chapels, it really is known for its personal distinctive brand name of Scandi tradition and around-the-clock summertime daylight. But the super-pleasant locals (numerous with a wicked feeling of humor and a very pleased sense of heritage) actually set the phase for the exciting that’s to be experienced. And due to its close proximity to the States and England, there are tons of English-speaking expats, lessening the language barrier and building it an uncomplicated region to navigate on your have. Its exclusive balance of popping town, beautiful wilderness, and culinary adventure tends to make it the top loved ones excursion that, when not really far-flung, will feel otherworldly.


As of late June, Iceland was open for enterprise, as they hadn’t had a new case in two weeks (and they had the parties to confirm it). And even with the circulating Delta variant, their conditions remain lower (at the time of this post, there ended up 55 new outbreaks). Count on to test before entering the place and upon return (in the most effective, sleekest med heart, that is). Plus, anything you do will be outdoors, incorporating to the protection level of this expertise.


How you pick out to explore Iceland arrives down to particular desire. The preferred “Golden Circle” route will consider you all-around the perimeter of the country, but prepare to lodge hop, producing each desired destination shorter and quick. But if you want to genuinely soak in a number of locations, we counsel selecting the South—known for its black sand beaches, lush mossy fields, and hikeable glaciers—and the West, cherished for its fjords, volcanoes, and craters. But anywhere you go, be expecting to travel along with lots of enchanting Icelandic horses, plump, cartoon-like sheep, and periwinkle lupine, a stunning flower that’s sprinkled just about all over the place.

Commence in Reykjavik

You can expect to land in the cash, decide on up your rental motor vehicle (all are outfitted for severe weather problems, but make absolutely sure to get 1 with GPS navigation), and start your journey. Reykjavik is a serious vibe it feels like a mountain town blended with a Scandinavian fishing village with a splash of Brooklyn. Settled by the Vikings in 870 Ad, the when gable-fronted homes shifted to farm and Swiss chalet kinds that even now populate the metropolis. But after a devastating hearth in 1915, an Icelandic architect who had returned from Denmark had a eyesight for a a lot more modern search, apparent in the towering
Hallgrimskirkja Church that sits in the center of town. As a metropolis of just 120,000 persons, numerous are young (and checking out), maintaining the power superior and the nightlife bumping (if you happen to be staying downtown, provide some ear plugs for bedtime—or simply sign up for the party!).

iceland travel guide


Most of the lodges have an oddly corporate vibe, but the
101 is a former art deco 1930s place of work building turned modern-day boutique spot that serves as a excellent dwelling base in advance of venturing into the countryside. Section of the Structure Resort Team, expect super-sleek rooms with added-comfy beds in scenario jet lag kicks in. Plus, the Icelandic Opera Household is just upcoming door, for an off-the-aircraft splash of society.


iceland travel guide

Food items is a person of the city’s massive attracts as choices span from the Michelin-star
Dill to dives that are astonishingly mouth watering. Fish Current market takes edge of island geography by serving up some of the freshest sushi ever, even though Sumac Grill is a amazing spot with Israeli-motivated kebabs and dips. Planted in a charming floral store, CooCoo’s Nest is the supreme wholesome lunch place with coconut-sweet-potato soup and fluffy frittatas from a Northern Cal chef. Braud & Co is a bakery established up by a French expat that’s known to have a line out the door at dawn (the cinnamon rolls are the 1st to go). But if you want to actually understand about Icelandic delicacies (common dishes include fermented shark and smoked sheep’s head), consider a cooking class with Salt, in which you will make on your own an all-star food (feel morning-caught arctic char and conventional crepe-like Icelandic pancakes). Aspect take note: Road food fiends will want to check-travel the renowned hot doggy stand called Baejarins Beztu Pylsur that’s so excellent, vegans have been recognized to choose a chunk.


If you want to level up your pandemic-period streetwear,
Hurra is a true uncover that’s stocked with the coolest athleisure that isn’t really all over the States (we like 7 Times Energetic for its punchy palette). And although you can definitely grab a Fjallraven backpack on the internet, Reykjavik is dwelling to the mother ship the place you can find painted selections and astounding outsized journey totes. Fako is a stunning house keep with herb and spice jars, candlesticks, and neutral throws. And if you happen to be toting the young ones, Vinberio will be your bribe location for just about every style of sweet under the (24-hour) sunlight. Make certain to choose up the country’s Omnom chocolate bars that are so very, they’re gift-deserving.


The metropolis has tons of beneath-an-hour museums to check out between foods, but our preferred is the immersive Fly About Iceland, which simulates air journey in excess of the entire place (pleasurable for all ages if you don’t get carsick).

Road journey to the South (driving time: two several hours)

In Iceland, renting a automobile and performing a self-push is both equally oddly enjoyable and super scenic. So two hours in the Icelandic countryside, studded with wild horses and the wooliest sheep, is hardly like two several hours in targeted visitors on the turnpike. And then as soon as you access the South, you are formally in a magical position.

Continue to be

iceland travel guide

Charming resorts are merely tough to locate, but
Skalakot Manor, a lovely black present day farmhouse, checks all the boxes (wallpaper, vintage light-weight fixtures, needlepoint!). The cozy in-home cafe is in which you are living now, as there aren’t any true food stuff selections for miles. Thankfully its refreshing, nearby fare and extensive wine listing is proper on point—with a wonderful kid’s menu for picky eaters.


iceland travel guide

This is why you arrived. Put on your warmest beanie and get ready to attempt almost everything from glacier hiking to zip-lining with a shock bungee-like finale (without having the close to-demise portion). Pay a visit to Vik, a charming fishing village with a burger joint that attracts persons from all around, and make sure to verify out Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, which you can walk driving (carry waterproof jackets!). A brief ferry journey will convey you to the Westmann Islands wherever you can get a
wild trip water safari to see puffins clinging to cliffs, elephant rock formations, and historic caves (whales and seals are for the lucky). Obtaining been devastated by a volcano eruption, the main island has its very own record and a modest museum to describe it, or forgo the museum, hire bikes in the city center, and see it for on your own. And given that Skalakot Manor has its individual horse stables, be sure to just take a morning experience to the closest waterfalls and consider a image that will make you look like you’re residing a fairy tale.

Head to the West (driving time: 4 hrs)

Driving from the South to the West is the most significant extend of road—about four several hours —but breaking up the travel with lunch and waterfall viewing would make it experience effortless.


iceland travel guide

Vogue encouraged Hotel Budir, a stylish farmhouse hideaway entire with roaming sheep and a bordering marsh. The great-dining cafe on the key flooring attracts men and women from all more than the area for its environment-course wine and upscale food items (resort hits are the fancy “loaded” fries and, of class, the refreshing-caught fish). Make confident to spend some time in the “Glass Space,” the place you can acquire in the magical landscape whilst enjoying Bananagrams, watercoloring, or acquiring a glass of Cab. This certainly is an editorial format at its very best, so be certain to snap some scenic pictures with your crew ahead of leaving. Proposed location: toward the end of “Itinerary” This road trip can be even more exciting and immersive with a campervan. Consider this: traveling in a well-equipped camper around Iceland with a setup made for spending time outdoors comfortably. The cost is the biggest draw of renting a camper and utilizing its amenities and those of campsites, followed by control or being able to go where and when you want to go, all things considered.


iceland travel guide

This portion of the country phone calls for outdoor exploration to the max. In Snaellfell Penninsula, stop by the black pearl and golden sand beach locations, hike up the volcano crater, and if you can cope with it, go caving with
Summit Group, where you will hang underground for a comprehensive hour with absolutely nothing but a flashlight, a guide, and some animal bones (children will enjoy this). Small geothermal swimming pools are in this area (1 is even termed “The Secret Lagoon”), together with greenhouses that improve fruits and vegetables. In the afternoon, you can wander by meadows on horseback to the seaside, which is about as dreamy as it receives.

Again to Town Life (driving time: two several hours):

On your way back again to Reykjavik, cease by the famous Blue Lagoon 45 minutes outside the house the metropolis. But you read it listed here: What’s billed as a large tourist desired destination basically feels like a superior-conclusion personal spa. It is sophisticated and clear with gorgeous showers and lockers—and considering the fact that you have to have tickets, it is really by no means too crowded. A phrase of advice: The minerals in the geothermal bathtub stick to your hair, creating it crunchy for months. Make confident to ailment nicely right before and just after the soak or throw it in a bun. And be confident to choose advantage of all the pore-sucking face masks that are available at “the bar.”

Tidbits to know in advance of you go!

Although Icelandic Air is a well known airline, it really is been identified to cancel flights, generating it slightly unreliable, so opt for an American carrier if possible. In the summertime, it can be light for practically all around the clock, so even however motels are kitted out with black-out shades, deliver your melatonin! Also….it truly is chilly. Pack your puffers because you will will need them (it’s a awesome split from oppressive summer season warmth), but if you have on, you can always strike the city’s suppliers for extra layers.