Travel Guides: Iceland
My top ten most Instagram-worthy places in Iceland
I'll be honest, I was a little terrified of traveling to Iceland. It seems like you're stepping into another planet with its vast alien-like plains and mountains galore. Not to mention I'm not much of a outdoorsy person. I enjoy living in a loft downtown and being in close proximity to everything. However, Iceland has always been on my bucket list of places I've wanted to visit one day. It's such an interesting and strikingly gorgeous country.
From the sparking hills, horses and sheep running in the fields, the vast waterfalls, to its black sand beaches, I couldn't wait to dive in more. I landed at the Keflavík international airport and then set off on my adventure from there. I traveled through most of the South as well as explored area of West of Iceland. Below are a couple of my most recommended locations that you can't miss while you're in the land of ice.
One of the first stops I had to visit directly off of the plane. The design of this building is just magical. Try to get here a little early to beat the crowds.
If you're flying into Reykjavîk, this is a must-see. It's conveniently located less than 20 minutes from the airport. You'll need to book your tickets well ahead of time as they only accept scheduled visits. Be sure to make a reservation at the restaurant to see the brilliant views and cuisine. I would also bring a waterproof case/floatation device for your phone or a waterproof camera when you take photos. You don't want to have to constantly head back and forth to your locker out of the springs. Even though I came during the summer, it was still rather chilly.
This waterfall was so majestic to see in person. The sheer size and scale of it was mind-blowing. As I walked down the trail and got closer my eyes got wider and wider. It's so incredible, words don't give it justice. I decided to take the stairs to the top of it to see a more panoramic view of the waterfall and snap a couple more shots. It's one of the more memorable treasures of South Iceland.
Reynisfjara (black-sand beach)
By far my personal favorite location that I visited while in the South of Iceland. I'm a true sucker for a beach, regardless of where I am in the world. I have to say, I've never quite been to a beach like this one. Even the drive to get to Reynisfjara was breathtaking as I drove down winding, mountain roads with cascading landscapes. When I finally arrived, one part of the beach was riddled with tourists and locals (bummer), but there was plenty of space to roam into the caves and just enjoy the water. You can see more photos of my time at Reynisfjara in my blog post here.
Seljavallalaug swimming pool
Hidden deep in the mountains of Seljavallalaug exists a quaint, yet dazzling pool that's completely open to the public. It's so hidden I almost thought that I'd never find it. You have to trek for about 15 minutes to get to it, and even then you wont know it's there until you walk right up to it. When you finally arrive, you'll notice that the location is what makes this pool special. It's built off the side of a hill and completely surrounded by boundless mountains. I've never had such a pleasant swim, and the fellow swimmers were very friendly. Be sure to check out this overlooked spot on your trip.
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash
In 1973 a United States Navy DC plane ran out of fuel and crashed on the black sand beach at Sólheimasandur (south Iceland). Everyone in the crash survived. The remains of the plane still exist in the middle of nowhere almost and hour from the main roads. It's one of the most haunting experiences I've ever had. You have to walk about 50 minutes (yes that's there and back), but I believe it's well worth it. Anything for the photo, right?
Vik was another highlight of the trip. It's a quiet little beach town with a multitude of character. Its unique location and access to the beach makes it so desirable to visit. Also located at the top of the hill lies a chapel and views of the landscape. I also love that you could grab a bite to eat here before you set out on your next adventure on the island.
One of most mesmerizing waterfalls in South Iceland is the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. It's a sight to behold. You almost get lost in its presence. Be sure to bring a raincoat if you decide to get close. Its drizzle will leave you soaked.
I'm almost certain that this was the first canyon I've ever experienced. I'm happy that it was Fjaðrárgljúfur. The canyon is about 100m deep and more than 2 kilometers long, What also makes Fjaðrárgljúfur so magical is that is has a river flowing through it. It's for sure one of the most picturesque places on the trip and a must-visit.
If you're going to be in the land of ice you better make sure you see some ice, right? Luckily there's a very large glacier in the South of Iceland that's there year round. You can be extra adventurous and sign up for a tour of the ice caves as well.