Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, is a city that is full of incredible sights and experiences. However, it is also a hub for adventure that beckons explorers to explore its surrounding areas. With its stunning natural beauty, Iceland is famous for its wild landscapes, dramatic waterfalls, and hot springs. Take advantage of Reykjavik’s location and head out on a day trip to experience some of Iceland’s most exciting locations. Here are some of the best day trips you can take from Reykjavik.
Exploring the Golden Circle
One of the most popular tour routes in Iceland, the Golden Circle, offers a variety of experiences that will take the breath away from first-time visitors and seasoned travellers alike. The first stop is Þingvellir National Park, where the oldest operating parliament in the world was founded in 930 AD.
Þingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a unique glimpse into Iceland’s ancient history. The park is situated in a rift valley, where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. As you walk through the park, you’ll see impressive geology, including the Almannagjá fault, which runs through the park and is a visible reminder of the tectonic activity that shaped Iceland.
Aside from its geological wonders, Þingvellir National Park is also a site of great historical significance. The park was the site of Iceland’s first parliament, the Alþingi, which was founded in 930 AD. The parliament met annually at the park until 1798, making it the oldest operating parliament in the world.
Continuing on the tour, you’ll go to Geysir Hot Springs Area, where you can see all-natural geysers, including the famous Strokkur, which erupts every few minutes. The Geysir Hot Springs Area is a geothermal wonderland that is home to a variety of hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. The area is named after the famous Geysir, which is no longer active, but Strokkur, which is located just a few meters away, erupts every few minutes, shooting water up to 40 meters into the air.
The Geysir Hot Springs Area is not just a wonder to behold, but it also has a fascinating history. The area has been a popular tourist destination since the 19th century, and it was even used for cooking by the Vikings, who used the hot springs to boil their food.
Lastly, you’ll head to Gullfoss Waterfall, where you can gaze upon its stunning beauty and listen to the roaring sound of massive waterfalls plummeting into the great abyss beneath them. Gullfoss, which means “Golden Falls” in Icelandic, is a two-tiered waterfall that drops 32 meters into a narrow canyon. The waterfall is fed by the Hvítá river, which is fed by Langjökull glacier.
Gullfoss is not just a beautiful sight to see, but it also has a fascinating history. The waterfall was almost lost to a hydroelectric dam in the early 20th century, but the daughter of the farmer who owned the land fought to preserve it, even threatening to throw herself into the waterfall in protest. Her efforts paid off, and Gullfoss was eventually protected as a national treasure.
Don’t forget to snap a photo of this iconic image before heading back to Reykjavik. The Golden Circle tour is a must-do for anyone visiting Iceland, and it’s easy to see why. From geological wonders to historical landmarks, the Golden Circle has something for everyone.
Discovering the South Coast
The South Coast of Iceland is a treasure trove of natural wonders, and Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss Waterfalls are two of the most stunning attractions that you simply cannot miss. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is a unique experience, as it’s possible to walk behind its cascades and witness the water falling from a height of 60 meters. The view from behind the waterfall is breathtaking, and you can feel the mist on your face as you take in the beauty of this natural wonder.
Skógafoss Waterfall, on the other hand, is a sight to behold from the front. Its thunderous waterfalls attract visitors worldwide, primarily to experience its power and to capture stunning photographs. You can climb the stairs to the top of the waterfall to get a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, which is truly awe-inspiring.
After experiencing the majestic waterfalls, it’s time to explore Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, often referred to as “the world’s most beautiful non-tropical beach.” The stunning, still-black volcanic sand, clear-blue water, and the iconic rock formation of “Reynisdrangar” rising from the sea make Reynisfjara truly an unforgettable sight. The beach is also home to a variety of seabirds, including puffins, making it a must-visit spot for birdwatchers.
Finally, stop by Vík í Mýrdal village for a bite to eat or to snap a few pictures before heading back to Reykjavik. This charming village is the southernmost village in Iceland and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and black sand beaches. Take a stroll around the village and discover its rich history and culture, or simply relax and enjoy the stunning views.
Overall, the South Coast of Iceland is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers. From the breathtaking waterfalls to the stunning black sand beach and charming villages, there is something for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to discover the beauty of Iceland’s South Coast!
Journey to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula, located on the west coast of Iceland, is a place of incredible natural beauty and wonder. It is often referred to as “Iceland in Miniature” because it contains so many of Iceland’s quintessential features. From towering mountains to stunning waterfalls, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula has it all.
One of the most iconic locations on the peninsula is Kirkjufell Mountain and Waterfall. This stunning mountain, with its unique shape, has become one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. The nearby waterfall, which cascades down the mountain, adds to the beauty of the location. It’s no wonder that Kirkjufell has become an Instagram-worthy destination.
If you’re looking for a more adventurous experience, head to Snæfellsjökull National Park. The park is home to the famous Snæfellsjökull glacier, which was featured in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The glacier is a sight to behold, with its sparkling ice and towering height. The park also offers a variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, so there’s something for every level of adventurer.
Finally, no visit to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula would be complete without a stop at Djúpalónssandur Beach. This rugged coastline is home to black sands, towering cliffs, and the ambient sound of the sea. It’s a stunning location for nature lovers, photographers, and adventurers alike. Take a walk along the beach, explore the caves, and soak in the beauty of this incredible location.
Whether you’re looking for stunning natural beauty, adventure, or just a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the perfect destination. With so much to see and do, you’ll never want to leave.
Experiencing the Blue Lagoon
No trip to Iceland is complete without a dip in its famous geothermal waters. The Blue Lagoon, located near Reykjavik, is Iceland’s most popular geothermal spa. Relaxing in the warm waters of the lagoon is an experience that you won’t forget any time soon. The lagoon’s warm, milky blue waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur, which are known for their healing properties. Soaking in the lagoon is not only a luxurious experience, but it can also be beneficial for your skin and overall health.
As you soak in the warm waters, take in the stunning views of the surrounding lava fields. The contrast between the black lava rock and the milky blue waters is truly breathtaking. You might even catch a glimpse of the steam rising from the warm waters, creating an ethereal atmosphere.
Don’t forget to book ahead to secure your spot as this incredible experience is in high demand. The Blue Lagoon offers a range of packages, from basic admission to luxurious spa treatments. You can even indulge in a glass of wine or a refreshing cocktail while you soak in the warm waters.
After your soak, be sure to check out the Blue Lagoon’s on-site restaurant, Lava, which offers a delicious selection of Icelandic cuisine. From fresh seafood to hearty stews, Lava has something for everyone. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try the local delicacy: fermented shark!
Overall, the Blue Lagoon is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Iceland. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore the stunning natural surroundings, the Blue Lagoon has something for everyone. So why not take a dip in the warm, healing waters and experience the magic of Iceland for yourself?
Venturing into the Icelandic Highlands
The Icelandic Highlands are a magical and otherworldly place, where the beauty of nature is on full display. The rugged terrain, multicoloured mountains, and steaming hot springs are just a few of the wonders that await you.
One of the most popular destinations in the Icelandic Highlands is the Landmannalaugar Geothermal Area. This geological wonder is famous for its multicoloured rhyolite mountains and natural hot springs. The colours of the mountains are truly a sight to behold, with shades of pink, yellow, green, and blue all blending together to create a surreal and breathtaking landscape. The hot springs are also a must-see attraction, as they provide a unique opportunity to relax and soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters.
If you’re a hiker, then the Thórsmörk Valley is the perfect destination for you. Surrounded by glaciers and stunning mountains, this valley is a paradise for those who love to explore on foot. You’ll be able to spot sheep and even Icelandic horses as you trek through the valley, and the views from the top of the mountains are simply breathtaking. The Thórsmörk Valley is a true wilderness area, where you can disconnect from the world and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
For nature lovers and photographers, the Fjallabak Nature Reserve is a must-visit destination. This area is full of stunning landscapes, from rugged mountains and sweeping valleys to sparkling lakes and rushing rivers. You’ll be able to capture some truly breathtaking photos here, and you’ll feel a sense of peace and tranquility that’s hard to find in our busy modern world.
Overall, the Icelandic Highlands are a world away from everyday life, and a trip here is sure to leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and in awe of the unspoiled beauty of nature. Whether you’re a hiker, a photographer, or just someone who loves to explore new places, the Icelandic Highlands are an unforgettable destination that should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.
Tips for Planning Your Day Trips
When planning day-trips from Reykjavik, it’s crucial to consider the best time of year to visit. Iceland has a unique climate; summers are mild but short, and winters are dark and cold. During May-June and August-September, you can see the midnight sun, and nature blooms; during winter, you’ll witness fantastic astronomical displays of the Northern Lights.
One of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik is the Golden Circle tour. This tour takes you through some of Iceland’s most stunning natural landscapes, including Thingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss Waterfall. Thingvellir National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to the largest natural lake in Iceland, Lake Thingvallavatn. The Geysir Geothermal Area is known for its spouting geysers, hot springs, and bubbling mud pools. Gullfoss Waterfall is one of Iceland’s most iconic waterfalls, with its powerful cascades plunging into a deep canyon.
Transport options include guided tours, rental cars, or public transport. Guided tours are the recommended choice if you’re looking for stress-free travel. You can sit back and relax while your knowledgeable guide takes you to the most exciting attractions. Rental cars offer you more flexibility, allowing you to explore the area at your own pace. Public transport connects major destinations and is the most convenient way to travel on a budget.
If you’re interested in exploring Iceland’s stunning glaciers, then a day trip to the Sólheimajökull glacier is a must. The glacier is located on the south coast of Iceland and is easily accessible from Reykjavik. You can take a guided tour of the glacier, which includes hiking on the ice, exploring ice caves, and learning about the glacier’s formation and history.
Packing essential for your day-trips includes warm clothing, comfortable hiking boots, sunglasses, a water-resistant jacket, a hat, and sunscreen. It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared in Iceland, where the weather is unpredictable.
Another popular day trip from Reykjavik is the Blue Lagoon. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa located in a lava field on the Reykjanes Peninsula. The lagoon’s milky blue waters are rich in minerals, including silica and sulfur, which are believed to have healing properties. Visitors can relax in the warm waters, enjoy a spa treatment, or dine at one of the lagoon’s restaurants.
Overall, when planning your day trips from Reykjavik, consider the time of year, transportation options, and essential packing items. With so many stunning natural attractions to explore, Iceland is a must-visit destination for any traveler.
The Best Day Trips You Can Take from Reykjavik: Final Thoughts
Reykjavik is a fantastic city, filled with art, culture, and natural beauty. However, it’s the areas beyond the city that truly make Iceland a paradise for adventurers. If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors and experience Iceland’s stunning natural wonders, there are plenty of day trips you can take from Reykjavik.
One of the most popular day trips from Reykjavik is to the Golden Circle, a route that takes you to some of Iceland’s most famous attractions. You’ll see the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal area of Geysir, and Thingvellir National Park, where you can walk between the tectonic plates of Europe and North America.
If you’re looking for something more off the beaten path, consider a trip to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This stunning region is home to the Snaefellsjokull glacier, which was made famous by Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” You can also explore charming fishing villages, dramatic sea cliffs, and black sand beaches.
For those looking to unwind and relax, a trip to the Blue Lagoon is a must. This geothermal spa is located just a short drive from Reykjavik and is known for its warm, mineral-rich waters. You can soak in the lagoon, enjoy a massage, or even indulge in a silica mud mask.
Another great day trip option is to explore the south coast of Iceland. You’ll see stunning waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss, as well as the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some puffins along the way!
Remember to check out our section on planning your trips to ensure you make the most out of your adventure in Iceland. Whether you’re looking for thrills, relaxation, or breathtaking views, Iceland has something for every traveler. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!