[Blog]In LOVE with Iceland (WIHO) -Pandanus Journey
Iceland is one of my top dream destinations…it has been renowned for its natural beauty. If you wish to visit magical place with natural attractions in one small mysterious island, Iceland is undoubtedly your great choice!

Here are 10 best places and activities that you should not miss when travelling to the land of ice:

  1. Jokulsarlon, Vatnajokull National Park – Jokulsarlon is a “glacial river lagoon”, a large glacial lake located on the border of Vatnajokull National Park, in southeast Iceland. The river lagoon developed into a lake as the Vatnajokull glacier receded from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lagoon starts on one side from the huge glacier and on the other side is the ocean. The famous route 1 of Iceland goes over the outlet of the lagoon to the ocean by a bridge. The lagoon is filled with icebergs of different sizes that break apart from the glacier. The lake area is about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi) and it is the deepest lake in Iceland at over 248 metres (814 ft) of depth. Jokulsarlon is truly an amazing sight.

 2. Kirkjufell Mountain

Grundarfjorour’s beautiful landmark is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its isolated      position jutting out into the sea makes it a focal point for tourists and seamen alike. Surrounded by beaches, Kirkjufell has a lovely walking trail around it as well as a more challenging climb up to the top where bird and fish fossils can be found (guide is recommended).

3. Gullfoss

Gullfoss, or “Golden Falls” is a waterfall located in the canyon of the Hvita river in southwest Iceland. Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. Gullfoss consists of two waterfalls. The height of the upper waterfall is 11 metres and that of the lower one is 20 metres. The total height of Gullfoss is therefore 31 metres.

The Gullfoss gorge is approximately 2.5 km in length and up to 70 metres in depth, reflecting great glacial floods whereby the river carved out its channel at the end of the Ice Age. The resulting configuration of Gullfoss reflects geological strata in the area. Hard layers of the basalt lava form the edges of both waterfalls resting on softer sedimentary rock through which the river can more easily carve a channel. These geological layers in the river’s gorge are commonly referred to as Gullfoss layers. They were formed during or soon after the mid-Ice Age.

4. Bruarfoss

If you are interested in the mysterious of blue water, Bruarfoss is definitely the must visit waterfall. Though it is not really easy to get there particularly when the weather is not good. It is really worth to try! To get there from Reykjavik, take road 1 up to Mosfellsbar. Turn onto road 36 to Pingvellir. From there take road 365 to Laugarvatn. Turn onto road 37 in the direction to Geysir. Cross road 355. About 2-3 kilometres after you crossed road 355 you will reach a large summer house area on the left side. Take the third road into this area (all other roads are blocked with gates) and drive straight ahead. Follow the gravel road until you reach a bigger path with two tracks. Turn left and drive for a few minutes until you reach the end of the road. There you will see a small area where you can park your car and follow the little foot path right over the small bridge. Once you cross the bridge head to the left and stay on the trail. Walk for 5-10 minutes on this path and you will arrive to Bruarfoss.

5. The Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon, is a geothermal spa with seawater, which is believed to have natural healing powers. The water, rich of silica and minerals, has worked well on skin related problems (e.g. psoriasis), and the Blue Lagoon even has a special clinic for skin treatment. It also offers a variety of luxury spa treatments. It is possible to dine at the restaurant Lava situated at the lagoon. An experience in the Blue Lagoon is always beautiful; it has milky blue water, and is surrounded by lava, making the place enchanting and mysterious.

For years the Blue Lagoon has been one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. It is situated on the Reykjanes peninsula, close to the international airport in Keflavik, and only forty minutes’ drive from the capital. The Reykjanes peninsula is well known for its raw and rocky landscape, which many compare to the moon, and it is worthwhile to make a trip around the peninsula to visit the fisherman’s town of Grindavik.

6. Ice Cave Tour in Iceland
Ice cave tour in Iceland is one of the most highly recommended things to do in Iceland in winter time. Ice caves are natural phenomena that are formed in glaciers during winter. Most often they are formed by water running through or under the glacier and new caves are formed every year. There are two types of caves; natural and man-made. Vatnajokull glacier is a naturally formed cave and Langjokull glacier is a man-made cave. We preferred the natural one which takes about 30 minutes of driving on a 4 wheel drive road, we reach the edge of the glacier. Gear and safety instructions have been provided before entering the glacier and the ice cave. We were also provided with all necessary glacier gear, including crampons, helmet, and harness. The tour guide will evaluate each time which gear is necessary. It was such a truly adventurous day with rewarding “once in a life time” experience!

7. Strokkur Geysir

Strokkur Geysir is my favorite stop. Along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 meters (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round.

The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although Geysir is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world.

A truly unique experience offered is Geysir or ‘hot spring bread’ where visitors assist a chef to boil eggs outside in a hot spring, and dig up rye bread that has been ‘baking’ underground for 24 hours.

8.The Northern lights hunting

What are the northern lights? The northern lights are the result of electrically charged particles from the sun colliding with gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing displays of bright, colourful dancing lights. They are visible in the magnetic polar regions of the northern and southern hemispheres (they are known as Aurora australis in the south) and they can range in colour from white, green, pink and purple.

The lights are best seen from Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway, Siberia, the Canadian territories and Alaska. Thanks to the latitude of the North American continent in relation to the magnetic pole, the lights have been seen as far south as New Orleans! This is a rare and wonderful thing. Here in Iceland, seeing the northern lights is most certainly annual and regular, although still rather unpredictable.

The best time to see the northern lights in Iceland

Darkness is the first important factor. The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April – these are the months where there are full dark nights. Second most important factor is the length of time spent in Iceland. It is recommended to stay a minimum of seven nights in the country. The northern lights usually tend to be very active for two to three nights, then low for four to five nights, in ongoing cycles.

Next important factor is the weather. Since Iceland is a small north Atlantic island, it is subject to rapidly changing weather. In order to see the northern lights, the skies need to be very clear. This often coincides with some of our coldest nights, since clear dark weather in Iceland usually means temperatures below freezing.

Checking the weather forecast: http://en.vedur.is/ regularly in the days leading to your trip to Iceland will give an idea of chances for seeing the lights.

9. Glacier walk at Skaftafell

For those looking for a shorter but stunning glacier guided walk, yet trigger your adrenaline pumping, this is a fantastic introduction to the unique world of glaciers. The tour will take you by bus that leaves from Skaftafell several times a day for the scenic 15-minute drive to Falljokull glacier. On the way, we saw impressive mountains that line the southern edge of the Vatnajokull glacier. The Falljokull glacier tongue is quite unique in that it offers everything glaciers are best known for without the need to travel great distances. Crevasses, Jokladryli (Dirt cones), glacier mice and Moulins. Suitable for the whole family (better for 15 years and older) and anyone with a basic physical fitness level as the terrain is rocky and uneven and there are some uphill sections on the walk and the tour took almost 5 hours.

We started our walk along the bottom of the glacier carved valley where our guide explained the unique features left by the retreating Falljokull and Virkisjokull glaciers and their surroundings. When we arrived at the edge of the Falljokull glacier our guide assisted us with crampons and gave a short lesson on the use of the equipment provided and safety talk. We explored the lower part of the glacier with many photos along the way to our point surrounded by breathtaking landscape.

10. Vik

Vik is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road around the island, around 180 km by road southeast of Reykjavík.

Vik is famous for its Black Sand Beach – Reynisfjara. The world-famous Reynisfjara shore situated near the village Vik in Myrdalur on Iceland’s South Coast, is widely regarded as the most impressive black-sand beach in Iceland.

Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a rocky step pyramid, which is called Gardar. Out in the sea are the spectacularly shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area has a rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmars and guillemots. The waves at Reynisfjara are especially strong and unpredictable, and fatal accidents have occurred at this beach, so people are advised to take extra care when visiting the area. According to folklore, two trolls attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke, turning them into the Reynisdrangar stacks, clearly visible from the beach.

To reach Reynisfjara you can drive there yourself. Here you will find the largest and reasonable price car rentals in Iceland.

And here is an example of itinerary for those who wish to visit Iceland. Enjoy!   excel sheet itinerary Click Here