Iceland has been selected by a number of travel publications as one of the places to see in 2012. In honor of that, we threw together a list of things to do, should you decide to visit but find yourself without things to do. Dohop presents:
1. Go Whale Watching.
One of the not-to-miss things to do in Iceland. It has become a little touristy in the last years, but this is a) not a bad thing and b) understandable as it really is something every visitor to Iceland should do. We recommend Elding Whale Watching.
This is a video of Elding’s first whale-watching tour of the year.
Whale photo by *christopher*
2. Hitch-hike around the country.
Buses are expensive. Hitch hike and, if you are lucky, get the names of places, mountains and villages along with some history directly from the locals. Despite what you might be thinking, this is a safe way to get around the island, but might take a while as not everyone is really eager to pick hitchhikers up.
3. Bathe in warm rivers and natural hot springs.
Experience the nature and relax in warm water. Even at winter time, this is a great way to get involved with nature. Just grab a six pack to stick in the snow next to the hot spring.
4. Take a hike!
Iceland is one of the most beautiful places to go hiking. It is one of only a few places where, only a short trip away from the capital, you can visit places that are still relatively untouched by man. Iceland is one of those places.
Photo by clesenne
5. Rent a cabin in the woods.
One of the best ways of experiencing Iceland is to do it like a local. During the summer months and, to a lesser extent, during the winter Icelandic people flock to little houses out in the country to soak in the sun and in hot tubs (hot water just comes out of the ground in Iceland, literally). We suggest trying Bungalo should you decide to follow our advice and rent one for a week, or just a weekend. And when we speak of woods, we mean the low shrubbery that grows in Iceland. There really aren’t any trees to speak of.
6. Visit one of the country’s swimming pools
What is better than to unwind and relax in 40°C hot water after a long day of walking around? Iceland is blessed with an abundance of hot water, so the country is dotted with swimming pools that are warm year-round. Just remember that Iceland is a Scandinavian country, so all dressing rooms are rather public (not unisex though).
7. See Puffins.
Yes, they are cute, but they are also delicious. That’s right. Puffin are common around the coastline of Iceland, and should you go whale watching while visiting, you will very likely see a lot of them. They also taste very nice, though they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, so to speak.
Photo by nagillum
8. Surprise your palate
Iceland has a surprising number of really good restaurants. Downtown Reykjavik is spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out, with everything from fine dining to a quick hot dog. And, with the collapse of the Icelandic banking system in 2008, the currency is now at a low so that food prices will not break your budget.
9. Swim in the ocean at the geothermal beach in Reykjavík.
There is a spot in Reykjavik where the warm water used to heat the buildings is let into the ocean. This is clean water that has run through the pipes used to warm the houses (no waste water) and is, at the end, routed to an artificial beach at Nauthólsvík. The water is warm-ish, and the braver of you can swim further out and get to know just how cold ocean water really gets.
In the most preferable circumstances the seawater in the lagoon is around 15°-19°C and the hot tubs are around 30°-39°C hot. The lagoon and the hot tubs are heated up with the same kind of water as was in the hot stream, Heiti lækurinn, before. The water comes from the hot water tanks, that are underneath the dome Perlan, and has been used previously to heat up people‘s houses in Reykjavík.
10. Have your breath taken away.
Iceland is a beautiful country. There are a number of places where the view is surreal, almost fantasy-like and is apt to take your breath away.
Iceland photos by Stuck in Customs.