Volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls, polar lights, geysers and endless expanses - Iceland stands for pure nature! Keep on reading to get to know our best travel tips.
What should you know about Iceland?
Iceland is the largest volcanic island in the world, the most sparsely populated state and the second largest island in Europe. The approximately 360,000 inhabitants are considered the happiest people in the world with the longest life expectancy after Japan. Iceland lies on both the North American and the Eurasian continental plate. Where these two continents meet, a huge rift runs through the entire island from north-east to south-west. Whoever looks down on the green-brown island in the middle of the deep blue ocean with the white volcanic glaciers does not yet know that they will find a whole new love here. Love for a country that is so different from anything you have seen before.
When is the best time to travel to Iceland?
Going on a round trip, taking an active holiday or seeing the Northern Lights? The best time to travel to Iceland depends entirely on individual interests and activities. While the winter days are usually very short and rainy, the summer days are longer and promise much less precipitation. Those who want to experience Iceland in its full beauty and who are planning a round trip, should consider the summer months of July and August. Summer in Iceland is particularly suitable for people who are sensitive to heat. The temperatures range between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius and you can comfortably enjoy Iceland's unique landscape. However, the high season also starts in summer and more tourists are to be expected.
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds, you should visit Iceland in June or September. The weather is a little more changeable then, but you can enjoy the volcanic island in complete peace. The famous Northern Lights, on the other hand, can be experienced in the cold season from October to March. Even if the days are shorter and the weather is worse, this natural phenomenon is absolutely recommendable and unique.
What are the must-sees in Iceland?
1. Iceland's capital Reykjavik
Let’s start our journey in the capital of Iceland. Even though Reykjavik is relatively small, there is a lot to discover here. For example, the Lutheran church Hallgrímskirkja, the concert hall Harpa or the famous sculpture The Sun Voyager. If you want to get an overview of the city, consider a helicopter flight over Reykjavik. An experience that you will always remember!
2. The Thingvellir National Park in Iceland
We head west towards the "Golden Circle". After about half an hour's drive, we arrive at the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Thingvellir National Park". Thingvellir is located at the rift valley surrounded by four active volcanoes. The path through the Almannagjá to Öxarárfoss, which can be reached in about 20 minutes from the car park, is scenically beautiful. Thingvellir is also a must-see for divers: in the Silfra fissure you can dive between the two continents and see up to 100 metres. Something, you shouldn't miss!
3. The Haukadalur Geothermal Area in Iceland
Our second target in the Golden Circle is the geothermal area "Haukadalur", which has become world-famous for its special natural phenomenon, the geyser. Nowadays, the original fountain is only active at very long intervals. The geyser "Strokkur" is located on the same site, which dutifully and reliably spouts a water fountain of up to 35 metres high every 15 to 20 minutes.
4. The Gullfoss in Iceland
Only a few kilometres away, you will come across one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland: Gullfoss, the so-called golden waterfall. It owes its name to the spray that glows golden when the sun is low. The water of Gullfoss falls around 32 metres into the depths. Between the two steps is an accessible plateau where you get the feeling of standing in the middle of the waterfall. An experience not to be missed during a holiday in Iceland.
5. The southernmost town in Iceland: Vik
Last but not least, we make our way to our final stop: Vik, the southernmost town on the island with its legendary black lava beach. A recommendable hotel with a magnificent view of the "Mýrdalsjökull Glacier" is the Hotel Katla Hofdabrekka with spacious rooms not far from the village. On our way to the east, we pass the world's largest lava field. The lava, overgrown with moss and turned to stone, stretches to the horizon. No wonder most Icelanders believe in fairies and trolls, as there could be a supernatural being behind each of these stones. Mystical, mythical and simply beautiful.
What should you not miss in Iceland?
1. Whale watching in Iceland
Whale watching is a childhood dream of many - one that comes true in Iceland with a bit of luck and good weather. The pretty village of Húsavík on the north-east coast invites you to go whale watching on beautiful old sailing ships. Gentle Giants offers a wide variety of tours, including midnight cruises, where you can watch the whales and the sun as they majestically sink into the glowing red sea at the same time.
2. Taking a bath in the "hot pots"
Besides Iceland's second-largest city, Akureyri, visitors of the north will come across Lake Mývatn, with its many impressive hiking trails in the almost threatening lava landscape. Our motto: No Icelandic holiday without a bath in one of the island's many "hot pots" (thermal baths), a hot, mineral-rich spring. Bathing is something like a national sport in Iceland. It's a great way to exchange news and meet other "hot potters". Besides the Blue Lagoon near Reykjavik, the Mývatn Nature Baths are especially popular. They are located in a large geothermal area on the eastern shore of Lake Mývatn - perfect after an exhausting day full of impressions and hikes around the lake.
3. Enjoying the landscape on the back of an Icelandic pony
"If you want to experience the real Iceland, get on a horse," Icelanders say. Finding a stable in Iceland is quite easy, as owning as many Icelandic ponies as possible is considered a status symbol. TripAdvisor gives a good overview of stables nearby. We recommend the somewhat smaller stable "Nupshestar" with about seventy horses. Experiencing the vastness, the colours, the emptiness and the air of Iceland on the back of a pony is unforgettable and you feel the exhilaration of having the whole world to yourself. The perfect end to a trip that you will certainly always carry in your heart and mind.
Flights to Iceland with Austrian Airlines
Admire the unique geysers, volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland, enjoy the incredible landscape on the back of an Icelandic pony or recuperate and relax in one of the hot pots. Do you also fancy a trip to Iceland? If so, book your flight with Austrian Airlines right here: