Iceland is a magical place! I know you keep hearing that but you aren’t convinced if it’s worth the journey or the price tag. Hopefully this list of things to do in Iceland will be just the motivation you need to visit the Land of Fire and Ice.
1. Do Something Outdoorsy and Possibly Dangerous
If you happen to visit in the winter you might mistake it for some inhabitable place beyond the wall.(It should, Game of Thrones films all over Iceland due to the mystical landscape.) Covered in lava, glaciers and sand, there is no denying it, the scenery inspires exploration . There are numerous things to do in Iceland whether you are a beginner or a well seasoned outdoorsman. Iceland tour operators offer outdoor activities like whale watching, glacier hikes, ice climbing, dog sledding and offroading on quads.
Some people prefer to set the pace and traverse on their own. If you decide to rent a vehicle and navigate the interesting terrain yourself, BE CAREFUL. Locals are always sharing urban legends of haphazard tourists who have burned off a limb in a hot geyser or those who have lost their car to a volcano and didn’t get the jackass insurance. (not a thing but totally should be.) There is some exaggeration but there is a realistic danger to exploring Iceland on your own. On average, three people die a year in outdoor recreational activity there and the most of them have been tourists.
Disclaimer: If you break your neck please don’t tell your mama that I sent you to Iceland to risk your life. Read up on safety while communing with nature in Iceland at safetytravel.is.
2. Eat Something Totally Gross
If you are an adventurous foodie this will be an easy thing to tick off your things to do in Iceland list. Some Icelandic cuisine would be considered exotic (::cough:: gross ::cough::) I don’t believe it is morally wrong to eat meat but some types of meat I wouldn’t eat because I find it gross.
Mink Whale – I tried it once, in the form of a burger. I hated it. LOL. It tasted like 5 day old fish with the texture of steak. I sent it back immediately. Warning: Some people consider it unethical to eat whale, so you might not get as many instagram likes as you normally do if you post what you had for lunch in Iceland.
Boiled Sheep’s head – I’m not sure what would provoke someone in modern times to eat the head of a sheep but I suppose Vikings were into that kind of thing back in the day. Apparently the eyes, tongue and cheeks make for some good eatin’. You won’t usually find a brain in there ’cause that is where they draw the line in Iceland. NO SHEEP BRAINS! You can get your boiled sheep’s head right at Reykjavik’s main bus terminal at a place called “Fast and Good”. The chef says that they sell nearly 10,000 sheep heads a year so you will be in good company!
Fermented Shark – In my experience any food preceded by the word “fermented” smells of pee and taste of anguish. Fermented shark is no exception, or so I’ve heard. This acquired taste is made from the carcass of rotten shark meat, using fresh shark meat will kill you, FYI. The meat is cured for 6-12 weeks, cut into strips and then hung for months. Typically it is served in small cubes and washed down with a shot of booze. Fermented shark is pretty common and can be found all over Iceland, just follow the smell of pee and the noise of people dry heaving.
3. Bathe With Strangers
Taking a warm bath outside surrounded by strangers is a total must do when you visit Iceland. The most well-known heated pool is located at the Blue Lagoon Spa, Iceland’s most popular tourist destination, located 45 mins from Reykjavik, Iceland.
Let’s geekout for a minute. Part of Iceland’s magicalness is that it is located on one of Earth’s major fault lines which is mostly responsible for its crazy landscape. Due to its position on the mid Atlantic ridge, the island of Iceland is home to glaciers, active volcanos, vast waterfalls and hot springs, making it rich in hydropower and geothermal energy. Iceland is so awesome that 100% of its electricity and heating come from renewable sources, drastically reducing the country’s dependency on fossil fuels.
Ok back to getting your soak on. Not only are these energy sources great for the environment but the geothermal energy creates these nifty little hot soaking spots rich in minerals. Now the area around these springs does smell like rotten eggs due to the sulphur in the water and the minerals do a number on your hair. This may sound off-putting but trust me sitting in piping hot egg smelling devil water is very relaxing!
There are so many more things to do in Iceland than the three I’ve mentioned in this post but this leaves room for a sequel! In the comments below leave some suggestions on what should be added to the list!