Iceland is one of those remarkable, magical places in the world where no amount of words can fully do it justice. A land of stark, outrageous contrasts, of deserts and snow-covered mountains, where fire and ice combine, lakes boil, and the ground shakes.
Such an extraordinary country is an absolute must for any and all travelers, and with such astounding contrasts has something to offer everyone. It is an equally appealing option for those with a more long-term travel plan, and certainly rewards a longer stay and a deeper understanding of the region. It is always worth packing light, though, as Iceland is a haven for the minimalist adventurer. Here are five of the most unmissable experiences Iceland has to offer, whether you are visiting for a week, a month, or longer!
Reykjavik is one of Europe's smallest capital city, and certainly its most remote, but it is a delightful place with a wealth of gastronomic, cultural and visual experiences, and should not be missed. As a small city, it is a wonderful place to experience on foot, where Old Town and the waterfront are particularly delightful to stroll around. The iconic Hallgrimskirkja, the Church of Hallgrim, is breathtaking and offers amazing views from the top of the tower, while Iceland's fascinating and ancient history is beautifully explored in the National Museum of Iceland.
Take to the seas
One of the most rewarding ways of getting the most out of this magical country in a short space of time is to channel your inner Viking and take to the seas on one of the many Iceland cruises available. A cruise allows you to take in the magnificence of Iceland's natural wonders with glorious waterfalls, mossy lava fields, snow capped mountains, and jaw-dropping fjords, as well as getting to some of the more remote and less visited spots in comfort and style.
Hop into hot springs
The Blue Lagoon is world-famous, and travelers flock to soak in its milky-blue mineral-enriched seawater heated by geothermal energy. However, there are geothermal pools across the length and breadth of the island, and with a little effort, it is possible to get away from the crowds and really relax with a long, hot, outdoor soak. The Myvatn Nature Baths and the Vik mountain springs are both beautiful, and there's even a geothermal pool in Reykjavik! If you are visiting during the summer, a dip in the hot springs late at night when the sun is still out is quite the experience.
Explore the ice caves
Did you know that some of Iceland's glaciers are full of caves and tunnels? During the summer you can follow in the footsteps of Iceland's mythical elves, trolls and giants in the ice tunnels of the largest glacier, Langjokull, for an intensely mysterious and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
See the Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis is something everyone should experience, a vast natural firework display that stretches across the night sky as far as the eye can see. Iceland is unbeatable as a place to catch this extraordinary natural phenomenon. Aurora Borealis is best found in winter away from the city lights, but at times you can even see them in Reykjavik!