Visiting Iceland: Best Time and Places to Visit

Located in the North Atlantic, Iceland is a small country with less than 400,000 people. The largest city in Iceland is Reykjavík and it is home to one-third of Iceland’s population. Iceland is a mountainous island with several active volcanos including Eyjafjallajökull which last erupted in 2010. In addition to its picturesque national beauty, Iceland has a fascinating culture that incorporates arts such as weaving, silversmithing, and wood carving. Even though the island is scarcely populated, it has one of the highest literacy rates in the world and is a very developed country. In 2017, over two million people traveled to Iceland, surpassing the country’s population by 1.7 million. Tourists flock to Iceland to see its unique natural beauty and to get one of the best views of the Northern Lights in the world.

When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland

If you haven’t visited Iceland before, you might be thinking, is Iceland a good place to visit and when should I go? Given its northern latitude, winters in Iceland are cold and dark. During the middle of winter, Iceland gets less than five hours of sunlight per day. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s almost 21 hours of sunlight in the summertime. Despite popular belief, there’s not as much snow in Iceland (especially Reykjavík) as you’d expect. During the winter time, there’s actually very little snow in Reykjavík. While many tourists prefer to visit Iceland during the summer months, the best time to visit Iceland depends on your itinerary and personal taste. For example, the best time to see the Northern Lights is during the months of February, March, September, and October. So, the best time to visit Iceland for Northern Lights 2018 is October. On the other hand, many tourists who want to hike and trek across the Icelandic mountains choose to travel in July and August.

Places to Visit in Iceland

Just because Iceland is a smaller country, doesn’t mean there isn’t much to see.

Blue Lagoon

This geothermal spa is a must-see for anyone who travels to Iceland. Blue Lagoon is open year-round and reaches an average temperature of 102°F. Not only is this natural spa warm and refreshing, but it also has natural elements that rejuvenate the skin. With its stunning natural beauty, it’s no surprise that big celebrities like Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian have all been spotted here. Since Blue Lagoon is so popular, it’s important to book your visit weeks ahead of time to make sure you get a spot. The cost to enter for adults is 6990 ISK and anyone under 13 can enter for free.

Gullfoss

Another one of the most visited sites in Iceland is Gullfoss, a 105ft-waterfall located in the Hvita river canyon. After an unsuccessful attempt to generate electricity from the waterfall, the natural landmark was sold to the government of Iceland and now is a protected area. Gullfoss is part of the famous “Golden Circle” – an excursion frequented by travelers around the world. The Icelandic government charges no entrance fee to visit the waterfall and tourists can visit the public space 24/7. A fun fact is that a photo of Gullfoss was used as the cover art for the band Echo and the Bunnymen.

Thingvellir National Park (75)

Located east of Reykjavík, Thingvellir is a national park that spans 35.8 square miles. The park was founded back in 1930 and is now one of the most visited places in all of Iceland. Thingvellir sits in-between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and is just north of one of the largest lakes in Iceland. The park was officially recognized as a World Heritage Site in 2004. Visitors only have to pay for parking because like Gullfoss, entrance to Thingvellir is free-of-charge. Due to its location between two tectonic plates, there are many rocky cliffs that help shape the park’s natural beauty.

Hallgrímskirkja (75)

Standing at 244 feet, Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran church and one of the largest in the country. The church was built in 1945 and features a gothic revival architecture style. For a small fee of ISK 1000, visitors can scale the church’s tower and take in a 360 degree view of Reykjavík from the top. During the summer the church is open from 9am to 9pm and during the winter the church closes at 5pm. It’s important to note that during mass and special events, the church is closed to visitors. There’s a lot to explore inside this 18,000 sq. ft. church.

Getting Around Iceland

Since Iceland is a relatively small country, the best way to get around is by renting a car. People in Iceland drive on the right-hand side of the road and with a valid driver’s license from your home country, you are permitted to drive. Renting a car in Iceland gives you more time to see the breath-taking views at you own pace. At Easyrentcar, you can browse car rentals in Iceland offered at competitive prices. Not only will renting a car give you more freedom, but you can also save money too.

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