7 Awesome Things To Do In Iceland for First-Timers

By Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor September 26th, 2015 Posted in Destination, Europe Travel Blog, Travel Blog 7 Comments

Iceland (Ísland [istlant] in the Icelandic language) is located in the Northern part of the Atlantic Ocean near the Arctic circle. It’s a hidden gem of Europe full of natural wonders and Viking history. I spent my birthday week in Iceland, and I must say it was an epic week!!  I will tell you why and I will highly recommend to include this wonderful country in your “best travel destinations.”

Here is my list of awesome things to do in Iceland:

1. Explore Reykjavik

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Colourful view of Reykjavik

Reykjavik, the heart of Iceland.  The city is charming and relaxed; you will have a lovely day exploring the city. You can see some interesting museums here about Vikings, eccentric arts and crafts and even a museum full of phallic specimens. The city’s high street has loads of cafes and restaurants that offers mostly seafood like the popular Sjávarbarinn (The Sea Bar) and Café Loki.

Reykjavik is not busy as your typical European city, but about 2/3 of Iceland’s population is residing here.

We took a bike tour in exploring Reykjavik with Reykjavik Bike Tours, and it was great fun! You can arrange most of the tours, car rentals, and activities from Reykjavik during your trip in Iceland. Guide to Iceland can help you on pretty much in everything to make the most memorable trip. Most of the hostels and guest houses are in Reykjavik if you are on a budget, BUS Hostel Reykjavik is worth checking out!

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Reykjavik

2. Chase the Northern Lights

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Aurora Borealis / Northern Lights in Iceland

Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis is a phenomenal show of nature caused by the magnetic particles of the earth and charged gaseous particles from the sun. The best time to see this extraordinary light show here in Europe will be during winter. We went cruising on the Atlantic Ocean to see this wonder away from the city lights of Reykjavik. It was cold out on the deck of our ship, but this natural light display is all worth it!

For a Tinggly memorable experience, check out this Amazing Hunt of Northern Lights on Sea in Iceland

RELATED ARTICLE: Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland

3. Try Icelandic Foods

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Seafood Pan of Sjávarbarinn

The main industry in Iceland is fishing hence most of the popular dishes here are…. have a guess!!  Yes, seafood!

Related Article: Looking for affordable accommodation? Check out our Ultimate List of Best Hostels around the World.

We have tried the eat-all-you-can in Sjávarbarinn (The Sea Bar), awesome! I think the prices of the seafood in Iceland are relatively low compared to the prices in the UK or other EU countries. If you’re up for an exotic dish and an adventurous Icelandic food smorgasbord, you can try Þorramatur (Thorramatur), which comprises of Hangikjöt (smoked lamb meat), Hrútspungar (ram’s testicles),  Lifrarpylsa (lamb liver sausage), Blóðmör (lamb blood pudding, somehow similar to Black pudding), Hákarl (fermented shark’s meat),  Svið (lamb’s head) served with Rye Bread and Flatbread.

Awesome things to do in Iceland
“Thorramatur” by The blanz – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

4. Go Snorkeling / Diving in Silfra Fissure

Awesome things to do in Iceland
YOLO moment! That’s me in between the two continental plates

This is a Y.O.L.O moment indeed! This is probably considered as the purest and clearest freshwater in the world. The Silfra Fissure is one of many unique places in the world, where it is possible to dive between the North American and Eurasian continental tectonic plates. Swimming in Silfra gives a superb feeling knowing that you are almost able to touch the two continents at the same time. The water in the fissure comes from mountain glaciers miles away from the rift. The glacial water travels through porous volcanic rock that gives Silfra’s beautifully clear water. As our guide mentioned, you can drink the water from Silfra as it is so pure!

Do you want to do the Silfra Snorkelling Activity? Check out the information here from Guide to Iceland.

RELATED ARTICLE: Drive-It-Yourself (DIY) Golden Circle Route in Iceland

5. Trek on a Glacier

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Ice formation in Sólheimajökull

Glaciers, One of the fascinating natural landscapes you can see and explore in Iceland. Glaciers are massive chunks of ice that are made up of compressed snow that have taken hundreds or maybe thousands of years to build up! There are good numbers of glaciers scattered around the country. The biggest of them all is the Vatnajökull glacier, it is also considered as the biggest glacier in Europe.

The Glacier walk in Sólheimajökull that we did can be considered as one of the easiest and friendliest one. Sólheimajökull glacier tongue is a part of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in South Iceland about 2.5 hours drive from Reykjavik and about 30 mins drive to Vik.

Do you want to do the Glacier Hiking Tour in Iceland? Check out the information here from Guide to Iceland.

6. Enjoy the Icelandic Landscape

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park

Iceland’s landscape is thrillingly beautiful. Pictures won’t do justice to its majestic beauty. You have to see and experience it for yourself to believe it. Everywhere you look is simply breathtaking, I’m definitely not exaggerating! Iceland is a  mixture of volcanic landscape, endless mountains and hills, glaciers, plains and countless waterfalls.

Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park is a UNESCO Heritage site, the park is very important to the Icelanders due to its historical and cultural events that took place here to build Iceland as a nation. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is also one of the highlights of the Park. This is also the shooting location for the popular series “Game of Thrones”.

Do you need to rent-a-car to explore Iceland? Check out the information here from Guide to Iceland.

RELATED ARTICLE: Drive-It-Yourself (DIY) Golden Circle Route in Iceland

7. Visit the Blue Lagoon

Awesome things to do in Iceland
Thermal pool in Blue Lagoon

A visit to Blue Lagoon is a must when you go to Iceland. The experience is so surreal and unique. Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, You can  bathe in the warm thermal pool and they also offer different spa services and a lot more.

The water in the thermal pool is from the geothermal seawater from underneath the earth’s surface with minerals, silica and algae that can be beneficial for you skin and tired body. So when you visit the Blue Lagoon, don’t forget to try some silica mud mask on your face and all over your body!

Check out some of the cool and cheap tours you could do in Blue Lagoon


Here’re the other trips you can do in Iceland, the cost is below $120.Tinggly Iceland

More articles and videos about Iceland are coming soon!

Two Monkeys Travel Group would like to thank Blue Lagoon Iceland, Guide to Iceland, Reykjavik Bike Tours, Bus Hostel Reykjavik and Polar Pro. Opinions in this article are my own.

Looking for other articles? Check out our DIY Travel Guides Around the World and City Guides (Awesome Things to do in each Destination). For cheap and luxurious places to stay while traveling, here’s our ultimate list of best hostels and hotels!

Monkey Dividers

About the Writer

Ryazan TristramRyazan Tristram is named after a Russian city near Moscow. The Miss Zan-shine of Everything Zany – A Photography, Lifestyle and Dual Citizen Travel Blog. She likes to travel, history, meet people & try exotic foods! Planning to explore more countries with her D.I.Y trips as a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina). Follow her travels on Facebook and Instagram.

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7 thoughts on “7 Awesome Things To Do In Iceland for First-Timers

  1. awesome post!
    I visited Iceland last year, we drove around the country for full 10 days on a campervan – slept and ate in a campervan during the full duration of the trip! it was sooooo fun! I love Iceland. You get to experience the beauty of nature, something out of this world! I wrote a little about it on my blog http://www.chrisdeysolong.com 🙂 now, now were planning to go back in September – more focused on South and West area, and the highlands. And, expecting to see the Northern lights better (when we first visited, NOrthern Lights just started to appear, it was on August, and we were not expecting it at all! so it was sorta dramatic moment!) 🙂

  2. great article, I have visited many places but, sadly, no Iceland yet but I see this is becoming more and more famous travel destination, this list make me wanting visit this place even more!

    Thanks for sharing,


  3. This is an amazing post and a great guide! I haven’t been to Iceland myself, but my parents fancy themselves as explorers and have been a few times. They’ve bought me back some serious miracle moisture creams from the Blue Lagoon! Ray xx

    1. Thanks a lot for your lovely comment! 🙂 I strongly suggest to visit Iceland. The products from from Blue Lagoon is superb!x

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