Iceland is an astonishingly beautiful country. You’ll see plentiful thundering waterfalls, relax in steamy hot springs, marvel at the stunning star-filled skies, and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. It is also a cold and wet country. After you’re done taking in all of the amazing scenery, you’ll need to warm up indoors with a hot drink and a long soak in a hot tub. What better way to share the scenery than with an Icelandic Photo Tour?
Icelandic Photo Tour – Must Do’s
Hike Skogafoss Waterfall
After you climb the 360 stairs and reach the top of the waterfall, there is a beautiful hiking trail meandering with the river. There are plenty of waterfalls up here too and the crowds of tourists thin out significantly.
Visit the black sands of Vik Beach
You’ll see the basalt rock formations of Reynisdrangar in the distance and get your feet nice and dirty playing around on the black sand.
Fun Fact: Vik is the wettest place in Iceland!
Strap on some crampons and walk out on a glacier
There are many options for glacier hikes near Reykjavik; we spent the day hiking Sólheimajökull near the town of Vik.
Witness the original geyser erupt
Visit the first documented geyser and watch it erupt every 8-10 minutes.
Relax in the Hot Springs of Reykjadalur
Hike the 3.6km trail from Hveragerdi through the steaming hillsides and passed the bubbling mud pools to reach the natural hot springs of Reykjadalur.
The steamy warm river gets hotter as you walk up. Be careful not to burn your toes as you test the water looking for the best spot to take a dip. The color of the rocks below the water can be a good indication of temperature. Like the flames of a hot fire, the yellow and orange stones are a lot cooler than the green, blue, and purple rocks. I made the mistake of thinking that the purple rock looked the most natural… ouch!
Treat yourself to a nice dinner at Fiskmarkadurinn
After all of that hiking and exploring, it is always best to treat yourself to a nice dinner. Fiskmarkaðurinn has a delicious menu of local dishes and fresh local ingredients. We enjoyed everything on their tasting menu from start to finish!
Keep your eyes on the sky at night
No trip to Iceland would be complete without a sighting of the Northern Lights. Watch the forecasts to see when the best odds are and then keep your eyes to the skies. Walking out from dinner one evening we were delighted with a beautiful view of Aurora Borealis right over the city! I can only imagine how beautiful they were in a dark area away from the city lights.
Icelandic Photo Tour – Where to stay?
Iceland is growing very quickly and new hotels are opening all of the time. We enjoyed wonderful stays at Airbnbs in the countryside as well as a couple of great hotels in the city.
The Fosshotel Reykjavik is a nice property located a long walk from the center of the city. They have a wonderful breakfast and a great beer garden on-site.
Hilton Reykjavik Nordica
The Hilton is a beautiful hotel with an amazing spa and restaurant on site. My favorite part of our stay was the free daily shoulder massages provided complimentary for Hilton Diamond members while you soak in the hot tubs. The only drawback to this hotel is the location. While it offers free parking, it is a bit too far to walk from the center of the city.
Icelandic Photo Tour – Tips:
- Dress in layers. The weather can change quickly and go from sunny to cold and wet in the blink of an eye.
- The infamous volcano that erupted in 2010 is named Eyjafjallajökull. It is pronounced: I forgot my yoghurt. Try saying it quickly with a slight pirate accent to be most accurate.
- Visit from October – April for the best chance to see the Northern Lights. The nights are long this time of year providing more hours to see the lights.
- The Blue Lagoon is located near the airport. Stop for a relaxing soak upon arrival or before you depart.
- Drive the speed limit. Speed cameras are everywhere.
For the most part, we were able to rent a car and explore Iceland without a guide. The country has done a wonderful job of making sites tourist friendly, and they outline several great places to visit in their Golden Circle guides. You really cannot go wrong exploring anywhere in this beautiful country.