Things to do in Iceland - 10 most interesting natural wonders

  • Ten irresistible natural wonders that encourage you to visit Iceland
Dec 30 2016

There are very few places on the planet where you can see, experience and visit as many natural wonders as in Iceland.  If you look at the ten natural wonders presented in this article is amazing that you can experience all of them on a small peaceful island up north in the Atlantic Ocean.  In some other places on planet earth, you might find similar places and same natural wonders, but the distance between them makes it impossible to visit unless you spend weeks or even months traveling. In Iceland, you can see all of these natural wonders in a few days by renting a car and drive around our small island in great comfort and peace. The distance from one natural wonder to another is often surprisingly short.
And also and of great value, the distance from most of Europe and North America is even much shorter than many may think.  Most of Europe and the east coast of North America is only three to five hours flight away.  You can even fly from California, Oregon or British Columbia in seven and a half to eight and a half hours.  If you look at our list below and the photos you might not find it hard to believe why so many people have Iceland on their bucket list.  For a week or a ten-day family summer vacation, it is probably one of the most spectacular places you can visit on the planet.

The ten natural wonders you can experience in Iceland are so amazing that you will probably book a tour to Iceland for a road trip or a vacation before you finish this article.

1  - Waterfalls

Iceland has infinite numbers of waterfalls all over the country.  From small but attractive waterfalls in terms of volume of water like Háifoss to one of Europe's largest waterfall, Dettifoss. If you travel the Ring Road, you can visit three to five stunning waterfalls, and each and everyone will take your breath away. Among our most interesting waterfalls are Goðafoss, Gullfoss, Dynjandi, and Seljalandsfoss.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

2  - Iceberg lagoons

An Iceberg Lagoon is a rare but spectacular natural wonder, a product of a glacier tongue and a lake. When ice from a glacier starts its journey down a mountain slope, it forms a glacier tongue. Usually, a long and cold tongue traveling at a very slow speed.  At the end of the tongue, icebergs fall and start floating on the lake.  To see this up close is entirely different from seeing it in a photo or a video.  Most people are surprised by the magnitude of the feeling when they experience the sight of this astonishing natural wonder. In Iceland there are two beautiful iceberg lagoons by the Ring Road, Jökulsárlón, and Fjallsárlón.

Jökulsárlón

3   Hotsprings

Seeing boiling mud and overheated steam splash from the ground in a geothermal area is a magnificent experience.  Not to mention seeing the unique sight of Strokkur in the Geysir area erupting to a 20-meter height is a very rare sight.  It is like seeing something up close that you thought was made by special effect designer in a computer.  There are many geothermal areas in Iceland in most parts of the country.  Among the most popular are Seltún in the Reykjanes Peninsula, Geysir in Haukadalur, Hveradalir in Kerlingafjöll and Námaskarð near Mývatn.

Strokkur

4  - Glaciers

Glaciers are a large part of the Icelandic landscape.  In Iceland there are five large glaciers and one of them the largest in Europe.  Most of them also house some of the most notorious volcanos on our planet, practically preventing the magma from bursting to the surface with their weight. This is one reason why Iceland is the land of Ice and Fire. When traveling in some regions glaciers are visible for hours while driving, and in some interesting places accessible, even from the Ring Road. The largest glacier/icecap is Vatnajökull, and another glacier that is relatively easily accessible is Langjökull glacier, and although the smallest of the five Eyjafjallajokull glacier/volcano is probably the most famous.

Glacier Eyjafjallajokull

5  -Canyons

Although our largest canyon of 25 kilometers, Skaftárgljúfur, disappeared when filled with glowing lava in the late 18th century in Skaftáreldar we still have a few spectacular canyons. Some of them are natural wonders by their own merit and also house other stunning natural wonders.  The sight from above as well as within a canyon is a beautiful and a breathtaking sight.  Iceland's most spectacular place to visit is Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon, and other sensational canyons are Elgdgjá in the Highland and the newly discovered Stuðlagil in the Eastern Region.

Jökulsárgljúfur

6  - Aurora Borealis

For those who have never experienced strong and fast-moving northern lights, seeing the sight for the first time is almost frightening.  As the dark sky lights up in neon green, red, violet and orange colors moving like a supernatural force is simply out of this world. It is like a major movie special effect multiplied by 100.  During the winter months in October through February, it is possible to see beautiful and powerful northern lights in many places in Iceland.  Our experience is that the small town of Fáskrúðsfjörður in the eastern region and Akureyri in the north are the best places for Aurora Borealis at an unworldly or extratextual level.

Aurora Borealis - Northern Lights

7  - Basalt Columns

The geological formation of rocks, cliffs, and stacks as basalt columns are sometimes so regular that it is almost unbelievable that they are not designed and constructed by humans. Sometimes the formation is almost poetic bending and swaying around other parts of the landscape or by a river side.  Some of the most spectacular basalt column sites in Iceland are among the most popular destinations like Reynisfjara.  Other amazing sights are Stuðlagil, Dverghamrar, Gerðuberg, and  Kálfhamarsvík.  All with their distinct shape and form.

Gerðuberg basalt column

8  - Geothermal pools

The idea of tearing off your clothes out in the middle of nowhere in a spectacular and grand landscape and dive into a natural pool with warm water from the ground has often proved to be beyond irresistible. There are so many natural pools in Iceland that is possible to plan a two-week visit and always bath in a different natural pool every day.  Although many such pools are accessible from the road, like in the Westfjords, the most interesting ones are in the Highland like Landmannalaugar, Hveravellir, and Laugavellir that also has a warm shower.

Laugavellir Geothermal pool

9  - Rhyolite mountains

If there is a place on the planet where nature celebrates color by splashing many different colors on mountains in the landscape, it must be rhyolite mountains.  If you are only used to two color mountains, one when in proximity and one when far away from the mountain - prepare yourself.  A rhyolite mountain will show you most of the colors available in a spectacular cluster of mountains.  There are many such mountains in Iceland, and all of them are extremely interesting and colorful.  Two of the most interesting places to see such mountains are Landmannalaugar and Ljósártungur in the Icelandic Highland. 

Landmannalaugar Rhyolite mountains

10 - Animals in natural environment

If you have never seen a 16 ton animal like the humpback breach, a flock of puffins at a meeting on the edge of a cliff, a seal relaxing by the shore or other free animals in their natural environment you are in for a treat in Iceland. There are many ways to watch birds, whales, seals and other animals when in Iceland.  But most interestingly they are more or less visible when viewing other natural wonders or when traveling the island. The most interesting place to see whales is by visiting the world capital of whale watching, Húsavík.  There are many places where you can see puffins during summer.  One of our favorite is Papey in the eastern region. 

Whale watching in Iceland