Most people visit Iceland because of its outstanding natural beauty and fantastic wildlife. But history lovers and film geeks have plenty of reasons to come over to Iceland too.
Glaciers, volcanoes, and steaming hot springs are all waiting to for you in “the land of fire and ice.” Not to mention the world-famous horses that bring equestrian visitors from every corner of the world!
This article will tell you 12 of the main reasons that tourists love coming to Iceland. You’re going to want to join them!
12 Reasons Why People Love Visiting Iceland
Iceland’s sparkling glaciers are a huge attraction for visitors. People love to go ice caving, glacier hiking, and ice climbing on the enormous sheets of ice. Going husky dog sledding, snowmobiling, or kayaking in Iceland’s glacier lagoons is also possible.
The volcanoes of Iceland are just as famous as our glaciers. There are countless extinct volcanoes for you to hike up. Some of them, like Askja, have glittering pools of water in the craters that will take your breath away.
You only have to head to the shore to see more evidence of volcanic eruptions. The famous black sand beaches are madeof weathered volcanic rocks, and the towering sea cliffs were formed with incredible hexagonal columns of cooled lava.
Iceland has more waterfalls than you could explore in a lifetime. Some of the most famous waterfalls include Godafoss, Seljalandfoss, and Svartifoss. (You guessed it, Foss is Icelandic for a waterfall!)
You may be surprised by how unique the different waterfalls are. Some of them are so powerful that you can hear them for miles around. Others fall over hidden caves that you can explore on foot.
In winter, some waterfalls even freeze to the volcanic cliffs. It’s quite a sight to behold! (Just make sure you bring some crampons if you’ll be exploring the icy ground without a guide).
You can explore ancient lava tunnels year-round in Iceland. You can also go ice caving on the glaciers during the winter months, but it’s not safe enough to do so in the summer.
Some of Iceland’s lava tunnels are ridiculously big. Raufarhólshellir is a 5200-year-old lava tunnel that is only 30 minutes away from Reykjavik. This tunnel is 4500ft long, and in the winter, it’s full of natural ice sculptures!
Another famous cave in Iceland is called the Ice Crystal Cave. It’s a glacial ice cave that comes back every winter. It’s different every year, but people love exploring the glittering cave with their guide. (You can’t go without a guide for your own safety!)
Iceland is one of the best places to go whale watching in the world. The North coast is particularly famous for hanging out with gentle giants, but you can take a whale-watching boat trip right from Reykjavik harbor if you’re short for time.
Blue whales, Humpbacks, Minke, Sperm, Fin, and Orcas are all easy to see on a whale-watching tour in Iceland.
Puffins are also a major attraction. Every year, over half of the world’s population of Atlantic puffins come to breed on the Icelandic cliffs. That’s up to 10 million birds in a good year!
Their beauty and character charms tourists from all over the world. Just make sure you come in the summer months if you want to see these lovely birds because they head back out to sea at the end of August.
Of course, you need to leave the birds plenty of space so they don’t feel stressed. And don’t get too close to the cliff edge, because the rock could crumble beneath your feet.
History buffs love exploring the ancient sites of Iceland. The early settlers and Vikings had to survive in a brutal climate, and some of their stories are sure to give you goosebumps. Whether you head to the settler museum or visit some ancient ruins, there’s so much to learn about resilience and determination from the early Icelandic people.
The Vikings brought their trusty horses with them when they came to Iceland. And that special breed of small, strong horses that could fit on the ships has been protected for thousands of years. Horse lovers come from all over the world to go for a ride in Iceland.
Tourists love trying out the comfortable and unique gait called the tolt as they explore the rugged natural landscapes from horseback. If you know anything about riding, just think of it as a ridiculously smooth trot that’s like sitting on a cloud.
The winter months may be a little extreme in Iceland, but they certainly have their benefits. This is your chance to see the magical Northern Lights dancing in the night sky. People have been captivated by this breathtaking natural phenomenon for thousands of years. So it’s no wonder visitors come from far-flung corners of the earth to see the Aurora for themselves.
Visitors enjoy the Icelandic hot springs year-round. The famous Blue Lagoon is a popular geothermal spa, which is worth visiting if you can get your tickets well in advance. But there are plenty of other options. You could take a dip in the wild hot spring river in Reykjadalur valley or head to one of the quieter geothermal spas like Myvatn Nature Baths.
Not everyone comes to Iceland for the hot rivers or breathtaking scenery. Fans of Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Marvel, and Star Wars all come to visit the set of their favorite movies. Other films with scenes in Iceland include Oblivian, Interstellar, Flags of Our Fathers, Prometheus, and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty.
For travelers that are conscious of safety, Iceland is the obvious choice. Not only are our violent crime rates extremely low, but we don’t have any dangerous animals for you to worry about. (We don’t even have mosquitos!)
The country is so safe that it’s common for Icelanders to leave their babies outside in their pram for a nap. Of course, common sense still needs to be used. Visitors should be very careful around the shore due to strong currents and sneaker waves, and no one should attempt to explore a glacier without a guide.
So long as visitors respect the power of mother nature, Iceland is one of the safest places to visit in the whole world.
People visit Iceland for all kinds of reasons. The stunning natural landscapes, rich history, and thriving marine life all make for an unforgettable adventure. If you’re feeling inspired to come and check Iceland out for yourself, you might like to check out our spectacular hand-picked tours. And if you’re not ready to dive in yet, no worries! You’ll find tonnes of helpful information about visiting Iceland on our website. We hope we can welcome you here soon!