Iceland’s Top Attractions: Are they worth it?

Blue Lagoon

Rowan and I went to the Blue Lagoon at 8am, the first slot that was available the morning we arrived. It was still dark outside, which added to the atmosphere. The water was warm, but not hot, and the air was cold. We’re convinced we would get sick from having our bodies warm, while our faces and ears cold.

But, it was worth it. To experience that beauty as the first thing you do after getting off the plane and into Iceland was magical. The water was actually the colour you see in photos, and our skin felt amazing after wading around in the warm water.

But, as 9am drew closer, then 9:30, the wind began to pick up and our faces got really cold. What felt like ice pelts came rushing at our faces. Luckily, there were hot patches that we found ourselves in, and of course a sauna and steam room for us to get warmed up in and watch as the sun rose over the mountains in the background. Our first Icelandic sunrise was truly beautiful, and to experience it at Blue Lagoon was special.

As we got closer to 9:30/10am, the lagoon began to fill with more and more visitors. Our little oasis was soon too busy to comfortably wade in the water, and the cold air outside had not eased. We hung out in the sauna a while longer, took some photos, and decided to call it a day around 10:30am. We did spend 2 hours at the Blue Lagoon, and felt completely satisfied and like it was money well spent.

Would I go back? Likely not, but the experience was definitely one for the books.

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Crater (Kerid)

This was our first stop as we drove around the Golden Circle, and we were a bit underwhelmed, especially since we were asked to pay 400isk each. We weren’t expecting this and it put a bit of a damper on the next leg of our trip, will each location charge me to see it? (they don’t). The crater was beautiful, and since 400 isk isn’t that much, it was probably worth it, but it doesn’t live up to it’s cousins down the road that you can see for free.

Would I go back? Likely not, but it was really cool to see this time.

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Geysir

This hot bed of land was definitely a star attraction of the trip. Rowan had never seen a geyser before, and I hadn’t seen one in several years. It was a great experience for both of us, and it was much more than I had expected.

I assumed it was just one geyser (Strokkur) that would explore randomly. In this regard, that’s what Geysir is; stokkhur blows periodically while you are there, but it was also much more. I had assume the original Geysir was completely covered and we wouldn’t be able to see it, I was wrong. It still gurggles and bubbles, and there are tons of other hot spots along the path that are cool to explore and see bubbling as well.

Would I go back? I think I’d go back in the summer, it would be really interesting to see it then, more of the paths would be open and it would be great to compare!

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Gullfoss

Gullfoss, or Golden Falls were very beautiful, but it’s the sights around the falls that are truly spectacular. We took a wander around the area to see some of the cracks in the earth, look at lava rock and see some of the mountains beyond. The waterfall itself was pretty, but it in of itself wasn’t the most spectacular part of the stop we made to see it.

Would I go back? The path down to the waterfall was closed while we were there, so I’d love to go back and be able to explore more in the summer.

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Pingvelur National Park

We didn’t know what we were in for, but holy, was it an amazing surprise. The views were absolutely gorgeous as we drove through the park. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunset, and even on our way back to Selfoss the views over the water and through the mountains were perfect. We decided not to park and hike as it was starting to get cold, but we were more than pleased with the views we were presented with during our drive. Definitely worth the drive through, on a day as perfects as ours, the views were extraordinary.

Would I go back? Definitely, I’d love to see the difference in the summer, and do a bit more hiking.

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Northern Lights

We weren’t convinced we would see the Northern Lights, and we weren’t completely set on seeing them either. While we knew it would enhance our trip, we both decided if we didn’t see them, that our trip was still amazing. Afterall, we didn’t come to Iceland just for the Northern Lights.

On our last night in Iceland, we went on a little drive outside of Selfoss to find total darkness in hopes of seeing the lights as we had not been able to in town the night before. As we got out of the car, I was admiring the stars, but was skeptical we would see them. As Rowan got out of the car, he immediately spotted the faint white light in the horizon above the town. We weren’t sure if our eyes were deceiving us, so we took a photo, and yup, that green light was 100% there.

The longer we stood there, the brighter and bigger they got, and we watched them ‘dance’ across the sky. They definitely do not look like they do in the photos, but once we knew they were there, they were unmistakable.

Would I go back? Well, I wouldn’t come back to Iceland just to see the Northern Lights, especially because they are able to be seen in Canada, and even Ontario too. But, if I were ever back in Iceland during a time where it gets dark, I’d definitely go searching again.

What main attractions have you seen while travelling? Were they worth it? Would you go back?

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  • I want to visit Iceland and this post was so helpful!! The trip looked incredible, hope you had a great time!

  • Iceland is high up on my list of places I want to visit! This is a very helpful and informative guide that I will have to remember!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • I love how you added the “would I go back” part. So helpful!

  • These photos are so unreal – unlike ANYTHING I’ve ever experienced before. I would LOVE to add Iceland to my upcoming adventures. Thanks for the helpful input.

    XO // easilyinspired-blog.com

  • I want to visit Iceland so much! Definitely saving this post for later!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • These images are so cute!! I love snow so much. looks like u had great time.

    Bella

  • Cristina

    So glad you shared this guide! Iceland is on my list of places to visit, and now that I read this, I know I have to go to the Blue Lagoon – just go early! 🙂

    X,
    Cristina / cristinawashere.com

  • I love this post! So glad you put this guide together! My fiancé and I are considering going to Iceland for our honeymoon in the winter time to see the Northern Lights!

  • Wow! Iceland is definitely on my travel bucket list! I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights. It all looks beautiful.

    xoxo Brie
    http://www.unBRIElievable.com

  • Iceland looks absolutely stunning! I can’t imaging seeing scenery like that in person and not thinking it’s worth it!

  • All these pictures look gorgeous! It looks like you guys had a great time. The whole trip is absolutely beautiful and now I definitely have to look into Iceland for a trip.

  • Oh my god, your pictures are stunning and so is Iceland! Every single place you mentioned looks beautiful.

  • Shane Prather

    I am going to Iceland next summer so this was really helpful! I want to hit all the hot spots but not get tuck in thrawls of tourists.

  • I’ve been dreaming of a trip to Iceland, and this post is definitely giving me vacation inspiration. It looks like such a magical place!

  • Saying whether or not it’s worth going back to is SO hugely helpful, so thank you for that! Iceland is on my bucket list. Dying to go!!

  • I’m dying to visit Iceland!!! The Blue Lagoon definitely looks like one of the places you need to just see once!

  • michelle mink

    The only attraction on the list that I am familiar with is the blue lagoon. It’s on my wish list. I’m glad to hear that it is one for the books.

  • I’d love to see the Northern Lights someday! It’s one of the top things on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing so many cool attractions! I love learning about other places I’ve never been.

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • These are amazing! We were actually talking about going to Iceland in the next couple of years! I think my favorite travel adventure would be jumping in caves in the Dominican Republic or doing the Edge Walk in Toronto!

  • Iceland looks amazing! The northern lights are definitely on my bucket list!

  • Wow Iceland looks incredibly beautiful!! I would love to visit one day!

    xo
    Sami
    http://www.theclassicbrunette.com

  • Omg I’m going for New Year and I am so excited!!! Your pictures are stunning!! Love your tips. xox