Travel to Iceland completely without tourist traps! Here you will find a list of the top 10 sights of Iceland! What are the highlights and attractions that you can not miss on vacation in Iceland?
Fascinating Iceland is the northernmost country in Europe and a fantastic composition of fire and ice. The overwhelming sights of Iceland consist mainly of unforgettable natural beauties. They range from hissing geysers and thundering waterfalls to shimmering blue icebergs that wash up like bizarre works of art on pitch-black lava beaches.
To get to know the top sights of Iceland, the prefabricated vacation route on the "Golden Ring" does a good job. It hosts as its three main attractions the Haukadalur thermal field, Þingvellir National Park and Gullfoss waterfall and is well suited for side trips to other sights of Iceland.
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Thermal field Haukadalur
Iceland is known for its volcanic activity. If you want to experience it in full size, it is best to visit the thermal field Haukadalur in the southwest of the island. Here the up to 30m high geyser Strokkur and the bright blue spring Blesi are among the main attractions. With a little luck, you can also experience the eruption of the Great Geyser, whose record fountain was already 170 meters high.
Námafjall volcanic landscape
Thanks to the active volcano Námafjall, the earth is also smoking in northeastern Iceland. At its base, the boiling hot vapors have created a bizarre lunar landscape whose bubbling mud pots and huffing solfatars can be explored on comfortable walking paths.
Icebergs and lava beach at the glacier lake Jökulsárlón
From the fire, the journey continues to the promised ice: like a bizarre painting, the blue-shimmering icebergs that are washed into the glacial lake Jökulsárlón by the glacier Fjallsjökull present themselves. On the black sandy shores of Iceland's deepest lake, the ice shards sparkle like thousands of diamonds, and in the steel-gray sea, glacier boulders up to 15 meters high drift silently. A natural spectacle that is guaranteed not to be forgotten in a hurry!
Cape Dyrhólaey and Dyrhólaós Lagoon
There are even more black beaches with breathtaking scenery on the volcanic peninsula of Dyrhólaey in the south of Iceland. The pitch-black lava bay has already been voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Its steep cliffs were formed around 800,000 years ago and rise up to 120 meters out of the sea.
The spectacular rock formations are most impressive at the naturally formed rock gate or on the dark sandy beach of the Dyrhólaós lagoon. Hardy dare a jump is 10 ° C cool water.
Thermal bath Blue Lagoon
If the sea in the beautiful Dyrhólaós Lagoon is too cold for you, the Blue Lagoon is the place for you. This fascinating thermal outdoor pool is located near Grindavík not far from Iceland's capital Reykjavik. Once intended as the catchment basin of a thermal power plant, the bright blue pools with around 40°C hot salt water provide relaxing hours in soothing warmth.
In addition to the quiet lakes and baths, Iceland also has impressive rushing water masses to offer! The imposing Gullfoss in the south of the island state is one of the largest waterfalls in Europe and is definitely one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland. The "golden waterfall" got its name from the golden shimmering reflections of the evening sun on the milky glacier water.
At Gullfoss, the glacier river Hvítá plunges over two enormous cascades arranged almost at right angles, once 11 meters and then 21 meters into a 2.5 km long and 70 meter deep gorge. In the rainy summer, about 1,200 cubic meters of water thunder into the spectacular gorge every second. The record value is about 2,000m³. Every year, the gorge is further excavated by these water masses by about 25-30 cm - and this has been going on for 10,000 years now.
PICTURES: Gullfoss waterfall
Natural viewing platform at Gullfoss
The most impressive thing about Gullfoss is its natural platform, which allows visitors to experience the roar of the water masses up close. You can reach the platform from the parking lot via a wooden staircase and from there via an asphalt path secured by a railing.
Already on the way to the viewing platform it is recommended to keep your eyes open, because the right sunlight conjures fantastic rainbows in the spraying spray of Gullfoss.
Attention water: The spray of the Gullfoss does not stop in front of the faces and cameras of the visitors. Appropriate rain protection should therefore be in the luggage even in good weather and bright sunshine. The spray also makes the stones on the path very slippery!
Tip: If you still have enough time, you can also visit Gullfoss from the east bank of the river Hvítá. Via the (bad) road 349 you reach Gullfoss. The last two kilometers have to be done on foot. It is best to ask for the exact route on site. You will be rewarded with a great view of the upper drop of Gullfoss. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Skógafoss is located in the Rangárþing eystra region at the foot of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which has been world famous since 2010, and is one of our 10 most beautiful waterfalls in the world. Located near Skógar, it is also considered a landmark of the place.
The 25m wide Skógafoss once thundered into the sea directly on the south coast of Iceland. In the meantime, the coastline has shifted and the gigantic water masses pour over a 60m high stone cliff in the middle of a wonderfully green landscape. Skógafoss actually means "forest fall" in German. Unfortunately, nothing remains of the forests that once existed here.
PICTURES: Skógafoss waterfall
Trekking trail Laugarvegur at Skógafoss
On the east side of Skógafoss, a narrow path leads up the mountain. Once you have overcome the first 70 meters of altitude, you have a fantastic view from the top of the water masses that plunge over the edge into the depths.
If you want to hike even further through the breathtaking landscape at Skógafoss, simply follow the further course of the trekking trail Laugarvegur, which is excellently signposted. Its total length is 54 kilometers, which usually takes four days with appropriate fitness and equipment.
Through beautiful green slopes, past more nameless waterfalls, you reach the pass Fimmvörðuháls on Laugarvegur and further to Þórsmörk.
At intervals of daily stages there are huts, but these are usually fully booked in summer. The only possibility for hikers is then to camp directly at the huts - it is also only allowed there. The kitchens of the huts may usually be used. The food must be brought in any case itself.
Open air museum in Skógar
In the 25-strong village of Skógar near the waterfall, the Byggðasafnið í Skógum open-air museum , which is open all year round, exhibits fascinating peat houses brought here from various places and other historic buildings from the 19th century. In addition, among the impressive 12,000 exhibits, one can marvel at various utensils, cars, boats, snowmobiles, skis and old horse saddles.
Þingvellir National Park
The Þingvellir National Park on Iceland's largest lake is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site on Iceland's mainland. About 40km northeast of the capital Reykjavik, Iceland 's first parliamentary assembly was held in 930 with the so-called "Althing". The adoption of Christianity and the founding of the republic were decided here.
Also unforgettable is the sight of the spectacular Almannagjá Gorge, formed by the two continental plates of America and Europe.
Whale watching in Húsavík
The 2,000-strong village of Húsavík in the north of Iceland lies on Skjálfandi Bay, where whales are a frequent visitor. In the past, they were hunted mercilessly, but today, thank goodness, they are only shot at with a camera lens. The probability of spotting the sea giants is high. The whale museum of Húsavík prepares you for this unforgettable experience.
At first glance, the charm of Iceland's capital city presents itself as somewhat chilly in the truest sense of the word. After all, the average temperature of Reykjavik is below 15°C all year round. However, a second glance reveals magnificent churches, colorful houses, modern new buildings - and even a swimming beach.
Best time to visit Iceland
The optimal travel time for Iceland is in midsummer from June to August. Then it is warmest and driest on the island of fire and ice. However, warm is relative, if the thermometer climbs to 20 ° C on several days in a row, the Icelanders already speak of a heat wave.
At night, temperatures can approach freezing even during the warmest time of the year. However, the day has 21 hours in summer and the midnight sun provides enough long daylight to explore the sights of Iceland at leisure.
For the observation of the spectacular northern lights, the chances are best from October to March. Occasionally, however, they occur as early as August and as late as April. In winter, temperatures range from -3°C to 2°C throughout the day, thanks to warm ocean currents and volcanic activity. In December around the winter solstice, it is also dark almost all day - the night lasts 20 hours, about 9 hours longer than in Central Europe.
The low season in September/October and April/May is also a lot cheaper than the summer. In the high season, everything from hotels to rental cars to hikers' cabins is quickly booked up!
What is the best way to get to Iceland?
The small island near the polar region can be reached most quickly by plane. The international airport Leif Eriksson in Keflavík is located about 50km southwest of Reykjavik and is served by several major European cities. Numerous smaller airports make it easier to explore the country.
The alternative to the plane is the ship - helpful for many an Icelandic vacationer who wants to take his own car to the island. The ferry MS Norröna from mainland Europe departs from Hirtshals in Denmark and sometimes makes a stopover on the Faroe Islands before reaching its destination in Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland. All in all, you can expect a crossing time of around 48 hours.