Most of these top ticks are free or cheap, with the exception of the Blue Lagoon which was our pricy part of the trip.
When tourists come to Iceland, majority travel along the Ring Road which is the easiest to follow and goes along the main attractions. This is what we did, and we also went around the golden circle to see some of the other sites I wanted to view. Toward the end of our trip we went along the western peninsula of Iceland as well.
This post is going to be a bit more heavy on the pictures, because it is a bit hard to explain how incredible these places were without seeing it.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon was a pretty expensive splurge on our trip, but we made it worth it. After a pretty stressful day of flying, with a unscheduled flight and also having my bags lost, I was very glad this was part of the trip. Once you arrive at the blue lagoon, you can see where the expense goes since the facility is very nice and organized. We also stayed in the Blue Lagoon for about three hours, which never got boring or too hot. The lagoon is such a nice temperature that you could sit in there for hours, and we did!
It was also beautiful, the contrast of the turquoise water with the black lava rocks was pretty incredible to see. The silica mud masks are pretty great too. So if you do go to Iceland, I would say that the Blue Lagoon was worth it, however there are also a lot of natural hot spring that you could visit for free.
Hveragerdi Hot Springs and Hike
This hike had some really cool views, and it was one of the first ones that we did upon arrival in Iceland. We saw some pretty waterfalls along the way and the gorge that we went through was incredible. It was a relatively short hike, and I did most of it in Elephant Pants and a bathing suit so I would not say it was overly rigorous. Along the way there were also some really cool boreholes that bubbled scalding hot water.
I would say that these hot springs were more warm than hot, but the place where we chose to sit in was also further downstream than the source of the heat. This natural hot spring also had changing areas, which I wasn't expecting so it was a nice surprise. There are also a lot of other hot springs you can check out on Pinterest, this was just the one we chose.
This was one of the first waterfalls I saw, and also one of my favorites. It was incredibly tall and very powerful, and since it was sunny on the day we saw it, it gave off a beautiful rainbow where the water turned to mist. The cool part of this waterfall is that we were able to walk behind it. We got soaked in the process but it really cool to be able to be behind a waterfall that powerful. Also it was just right off the road, which made it so that we could easily access it.
Another incredible waterfall that was just off the road. This waterfall was HUGE, which made for another round of getting soaked by a waterfall. It was worth it though. Being that close to such an immense force of nature created a moment for me of feeling small and rather insignificant. Sometimes I love the way that nature can remind you of that.
Vik and the Reynisfiara (Black Sand Beach)
While I didn't find the black sand all that black (it was more grey), I did enjoy seeing the beach and the basalt columns along it. A bit above the beach is also a viewing point, which had some pretty impressive views of the rock structures and cliffs out in the ocean near Vik.
In the town of Vik, is also a really cool church that is framed by the cliffs in the background. Vik and the surrounding area is worth checking out if you have the chance.
Svartifoss in Skaftafell
This was another waterfall that we liked, mostly for the basalt columns. There was a hike that led the waterfall, which was relatively short, but quite steep. I liked this waterfall because it was tall and skinny, and the way that the columns jutted out made it look as if a giant had chiseled out the parts below.
The Glacier Lagoon
While we did enjoy the glacier lagoon, I think that my favorite part was actually the beach that was along the other side of the road. When the huge chunks of ice left the Glacier Lagoon, a lot of them washed up on a beach, which we walked along and got up close to huge chunks of glacier. I was a big fan of the beach, which I think is unlike anything else that one would see anywhere in the world.
Horses of Iceland
One thing that was my goal for the trip was to see the Icelandic horses, which turned out to be easier than expected. These horses were in pastures along the road, so it was pretty easy to just stop and visit with one for a bit. Icelandic horses are stockier than a lot of other horses, and shorter. My favorite part about them is their long hair that makes them just beautiful in my opinion. Needless to say I fell in love.
This waterfall was a part of the Golden Circle, which is a route in Iceland with a few attractions. This one was ginormous, like almost unbelievable when we first saw it. The crevice that is at the end of the waterfall looked like it could swallow one up whole, and I think it might have had I gotten any closer. This waterfall was pretty touristy as they go, however I think that it is one that should not be missed.
The Original Geysir
Seeing the original namesake for Geysirs everywhere was pretty cool, I would not say that it was my favorite part of Iceland, but it was worth a stop.
Pingvellir National Park
This was a place that I had really wanted to see, as it is where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge meets. The Eurasian and the North American tectonic plates meet here, which inspired my inner nerd to want to see it. Here we saw a nice little waterfall, but there was also a cool boardwalk that led between the plates, where we could walk between the ridge. I was very impressed.
The Western Peninsula of Iceland
A couple of my favorites from the peninsula were the Kirkjufell waterfall and the Snaefellsjoekull mountain, which we kept calling the Snail mountain since we could not pronounce it. We managed to drive around the whole peninsula in a day, which beautiful since it was pretty much along a coast the entire time. I also really liked a piece of art that was made to look like a troll that we saw in a random town.
Top Picks of Reykjavik
The Hallgrimskirkja is always a good choice in Reykjavik, but I would also say that walking around the city is fun. It is relatively small, however there are a lot of really cute shops to see (and spend money if you have any). I think that one of my top free things that I enjoyed seeing in the city was the Sun Voyager, since I am always a sucker for good art. We were able to see it on a very clear day, which was pretty incredible because it is placed on the water with an incredible backdrop.
Iceland is pretty incredible, and even with a limited budget you can see essentially all of these sites. The only one on this list that costed money was the Blue Lagoon, which could be substituted for other attractions. Has anyone been to Iceland? Do you have a favorite waterfall or site? Let me know!