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.
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.
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.
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:
Þingvellir National Park
Geysir Geothermal Area
The Crater Kerid
Read More: Guide to the Golden Circle
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:
Vik I Mydral
read more: three must sees during a stay in vik
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
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.
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.