Things to See & Do in Iceland in Spring

 

Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular destination for travelers who want to have a different kind of holiday; one centered around adventure and the outdoors, rather than a typical city break or beach holiday.

Iceland's seasonal weather turning the landscape and landmarks into something entirely different depending on the time of year you visit. The whole country is basically one giant National Park, with an endless number of natural attractions that will make any adult feel like a child experiencing something for the first time.

We set our sights on Reykjavik and the Southwest coast and enjoyed a week of nature and adventure. 

Blue Lagoon

Who here has ever met someone who has said that they wouldn't love to go to the Blue Lagoon? I'll wait.

The Blue Lagoon dates back to 1976 and is located in between Keflavik Airport and Reykjavik, making it the perfect first stop upon arriving in Iceland. 

We spent the afternoon moving slowly through the lagoon, enjoying the warmth, sipping on our complimentary wine and prosecco, and going a little overboard with the silica mud masks.

Click here for more information on the history of the Blue Lagoon, and here for more information on packages available.

Reykjavik

As the country's capital, Reykjavik is a must see. It has a population of around 123,000 people and is the heart of Iceland's cultural, economic, and governmental activity. 

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Lonely Planet describes it best, saying "The world’s most northerly capital combines colourful buildings, quirky, creative people, eye-popping design, wild nightlife and a capricious soul." 

Reykjavik is a great place to spend your first few nights in Iceland due to its proximity to the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, not to mention the many things to do within the city itself.

There are a number of international festivals and events that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors per year, so one can always expect to have something to do in the nation’s capitol. 

the Golden Circle

The Golden Circle covers about 300km, looping from Reykjavik into the southern uplands and back.

Driving Iceland's Golden Circle can take as little as a few hours or as long as an entire day.

5 must sees along the Golden Circle: 

  1. Þingvellir National Park

  2. Silfra Fissure

  3. Geysir Geothermal Area

  4. Gulfoss Waterfall

  5. The Crater Kerid

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Vik is right along Iceland's famous Ring Road, and is the country's southernmost village and faces the Atlantic Ocean. 

3 must sees during a stay in vik: 

  1. Reynisfjara

  2. Vik I Mydral

  3. Icelandic Horses

read more: three must sees during a stay in vik

waterfalls

Seljandsfoss and Glufrabui waterfalls are within walking distance of each other; Glufrabui is the furthest away from the parking lot so we decided to go see it first and then hit Seljandsfoss. 

Glujrabui, or "Canyon Dweller", is 40 metres tall and is largely hidden behind a cliff that faces the South Coast. If you aren't afraid of slippery rocks and getting a little wet, you can follow the stream through a cleft in the cliff to see the falls in their entirety. The mist makes it difficult to take pictures but there is a boulder in front of the falls that you can climb to take that perfect Insta pic

Seljandsfoss is the more well-known waterfall of the two, at 65 metres tall and it is breathtaking. We lucked out with the weather, and the falls treated us to some beautiful rainbow displays where the mist from the falls was touched by the Sun. There is a path that actually allows you to walk behind the waterfall where the sound of the water is deafening and the views are incredible.

It's definitely worth it, and after you've walked around the path you'll be able to check "walk behind a waterfall" off of your bucket list. 

seljavallalaug secret pool

Seljavallalaug is a geothermal pool that was constructed in 1923 and provided locals with a place where they could learn to swim.

To reach the pool you'll walk for around 15-20 minutes into the valley, following the uneven paths and jumping over a stream.

If you don't see it right away, that's normal.

Keep walking, you can't see it until you get to it. 

Read more: Iceland’s secret pool


Solheimasandur airplane wreck

This place is straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. 

In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beaches of Solheimasandur along the south coast of Iceland. 

The remains are still there, and if you're willing to deal with a 2 hour walk roundtrip you can see them for yourself.

Read more: solheimasandur airplane wreck

Midnight Sun

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Most tourists plan their trips around seeing (or hoping to see) the Northern Lights or the Midnight Sun; two equally spectacular phenomena that can be seen by only a handful of places around the globe.

Quite literally, it's the time of year when the Sun is still visible at midnight in either the Arctic or Antarctic. In Iceland, the Midnight Sun can be seen as early as May and as late as August. 

The Midnight Sun is UnREAL. We loved it. You'd love it.

Conclusion

Iceland is the definition of an adventure destination; one that can be visited by seasoned, new, or solo travellers. 

I couldn't imagine a better time to visit or a better group to visit with. There's plenty more to see and I'm sure I'll be back for more - maybe next time to see those Northern Lights.  

 

 

Three must sees in Vik, Iceland

 

Vik is right along Iceland's famous Ring Road, and is the country's southernmost village and faces the Atlantic Ocean. Less than 300 people live in Vik yet it's the biggest settlement for 70km. There are many wonderful sights within Vik and it's surrounding areas; keep reading to learn about my three favourites. 

Reynisfjara

Reynisfjara is a world famous black-sand beach. I use the term "sand" lightly here; it's actually more like a pebble beach. The sand is made of crushed lava rock that forms when it reaches the cold ocean.  Right on the beach there are enormous basalt rocks, roaring Atlantic waves, and stunning views. Everyone is advised to stay clear of the water though; the dangerous rip tides have swept away a few tourists, and are not to be messed with.

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Vik i Mydral

Vik i Mydral church sits on a hill within the town itself. This little church is incredibly charming and offers views of the entire town. This was just a quick stop for us, but you could sit on the hills by the church and stare out at the ocean before you for as long as you’d like.

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Icelandic horses

Icelandic horses are magical creatures.

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The horses of Iceland are the original Viking horses and are the purist horse breads in the world. The breed has been isolated on the rugged island in the North-Atlantic since the settlement, or over 1000 years ago, without any genetic input from other breeds.

My cousins grew up around horses, and so when we drove past a herd while leaving our cabin in Vik, they couldn't resist pulling over to get some pictures.

We watched them roam and play with each other for a while, and then continued on our journey to the next destination.

 

Iceland's Secret Pool

 
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Seljavallalaug is a geothermal pool that was constructed in 1923 to provide locals with a place where they could learn to swim. It also happens to be the oldest pool in Iceland that is still standing.

For years, Seljavallalaug was a secret spot known only by the locals. Hence, it's nickname being "The Secret Pool". Recently, it's gained more traction with tourists and travelers alike so it's not quite a secret anymore. Still, it's less crowded than most of Iceland's bucket list attractions because it is a bit more difficult to get to.

Located in a quiet valley surrounded by mountains,  Seljavallalaug is completely invisible from the road.

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To reach the pool you'll walk for around 15-20 minutes into the valley, following the uneven paths and jumping over a stream. If you don't see it right away, that's normal; you can't see it until you get to it. 

If you're expecting a chlorinated pool like you'd find at your friend's house or your swim clubs, don't. It's more like swimming in a river, or a lake, than what we naturally think of as a swimming pool.

The pool is filled with hot spring water that trickles down from Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano completely covered by an ice cap. 

Still, the water is warm and the views are incredible so I think it's worth it.

All you have to do is lean against the edge of the pool, look at the mountains surrounding you, and you'll be left marvelling at the hidden gems Iceland has to offer.


 

Solheimasandur Airplane Wreck

In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black beaches of Solheimasandur along the south coast of Iceland. Thankfully, everyone in the plane survived.

The remains are still there, and if you're willing to deal with a 2 hour walk roundtrip you can see them for yourself.

The walk really isn't too bad if you've got company, but be prepared to be tired on the walk back. The path isn't exactly smooth; you're basically walking on rocks the whole time so it can take a lot out of you. But ohh, is it worth it!

This place is straight out of a Sci-Fi movie. 

The white/grey shell of the plane matched the overcast sky and sat in stark contrast to the black sand beaches it rested upon. We somehow timed it perfectly and got there when there was a lull in tourists.

Just the wreckage and us, with nothing on the horizon.

The entire time we were there I couldn't reconcile that I was still in Iceland and hadn't just time warped to another planet. 

This one is a must see! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

For directions on how to get to the Solheimasandur Airplane Wreck, click here.