Iceland: Dohop Staff favorites
We love Iceland. It’s where Dohop’s travel search engine was created, where we have our headquarters and it’s also a rich resource for our love of outdoor adventure.
We thought it would be fun to share with you some of our favorite landmarks and attractions in Iceland among the Dohop staffers. Dohop takes pride in helping you find the best price on your flight, hotel and rental car. So, we thought we could also help by showing you some of the best spots to explore in Iceland, whether you are a true adventurer or prefer city life.
- Glymur – is the highest waterfall in Iceland. It’s amazing and makes for a great hike when the weather is clear. It’s only an hour drive from Reykjavík and a convenient stop during a South Iceland road trip.
- Hella – is named for the caves along the Ytri-Rangá river, it’s rural, pretty and home to some of the best skydiving in Iceland. The town has a quiet small-town vibe and was the location for the first novel of the same name by renowned author Hallgrímur Helgason.
- Háifoss – is not far from the soon-to-erupt Hekla volcano and is the second highest waterfall in Iceland. Its gorgeous views are other-worldly. It’s best explored using a 4×4 car and in summer.
- Vestmanneyjar – even sailing to this beautiful island is a memorable experience. Adults and kids love it there for its swimming pool, sailing, golf and baby puffins! There’s also a very interesting museum about the volcanic eruption in Heimaey.
- Þórsmörk – the mountain ridge between Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull is a top destination for hikers, with many different trails varying in difficulty, within reach of many other impressive camping and hiking locations and excursions such as Landmannalaugar and Stakkholtsgjá.
- Paradísarhellir and Seljalandsfoss – the cave was an infamous hideout for forbidden lovers (who actually had a house and 8 children together). In order to enter the cave, you must climb a chain hand over hand, which makes it quite a fun location to visit.
- Seljavallalaug – the “Old Pool” is close to Eyjafjallajökull and is a treasured landmark, as it’s one of the oldest pools in Iceland. After the 2010 eruption, volunteers used backhoes and elbow grease to remove ash and restore the pool to a useable state. It’s a nice pit stop on your way to Sólheimasandur and Vík.
- Skaftafell – the dramatic landscape is awe-inspiring and diverse, with huge mountains, glaciers, forest, desert and is a short distance from the glacial lagoons. It offers challenging mountaineering routes, short and long hiking trails and a very good camp site. Not far away, is Iceland’s best climbing area.
- Fjallsárlón – the glacial lagoons are some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Iceland. You can hike to this smaller and less crowded lagoon while taking in its spectacular mountainous backdrop.
- Jökulsárlón – the most famous of the Iceland glacial lagoons, it’s as surreal as it is majestic. You can spend hours there taking pictures from different vantage points, walking alongside the lagoon. You can watch icebergs tipping over and floating out to sea with seals swimming around them. Then, cross the Ring Road to explore a spectacular natural exhibition of crystal clear ice sculptures along the black sand beach.
- Dalvík – is a quiet town with a kid-friendly “beach.” You can catch fish at the pier and go to a museum of Jóhann the giant, all in the same day, with no stress involved. If timed right, you can enjoy “The Great Fish Day” or Fiskidagurinn mikli happening annually (4-7 August 2016).
- Hvítserkur and Borgarvirki in Vatnsnes – both are amazing natural rock formations, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, one in the sea and the other high above rural farmland with a commanding view over the plains.
- Ásbyrgi Canyon – it’s said to have been created by a hoof from Sleipnir, Oðin’s 8 legged horse. It’s a beautiful area, with plenty of camping, lots of walking and unusually for Iceland, plenty of trees.
- Reykjavik – is all about visuals, design, creativity, great shops, great fashion and people watching. Merely sitting on a terrace and observing the people walking by can do more in terms of inspiration than any fashion magazine. Visits to the numerous museums and specialty shops or weekend strolls through downtown are a must. Keep an eye out for concerts, DJ sets and random dance parties, as nightlife in Reykjavik is an experience like no other. Then, enjoy a slow-paced day at one of the many great coffee shops – Eymundsson and Reykjavik Roasters being staff favourites. Or, visit one of the many pools throughout the city (we recommend Laugardalslaug and Seltjarnarnes) to refresh. Whether it’s sunny or not, indoors or outdoors, you’ll always be warm and cozy in these geothermal heated pools.
- Vatnshellir – this relatively new (to the public) lava cave is located in Snæfellsjökull national park. It’s the closest you’ll get to experiencing Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- Breiðavík and the West Fjords – its isolated and expansive yellow sand beach is framed by daunting fjords on either side. A short distance away you’ll find Látrabjarg, a cliff of cliffs and home to variety of cliff-dwelling birds including puffins. There are many small towns along the journey to Breiðavík, each with their own special thing.
- Arnarvatnsheiði – if you love driving enduro/motor cross bikes or ever wanted to try, here you will find plenty of road tracks on this magnificent Icelandic heath.
- Langjökull – is the 2nd largest glacier in Iceland after Vatnajökull. Snowmobile trips with expert guides are a must here. There is also a man-made ice cave adventure called “Into the Glacier” in Langjökull that is worth visiting. In the winter, wondrous northern lights, free of light pollution from the towns and cities, open the vast starry skies above.
- Kerlingarfjöll – is similar in landscape to Landmannalaugar but much closer to Reykjavik (only 3 hours drive) and easier to get to. Hike amidst some of the most colorful landscapes. Then, take a dip in Hveravellir pool to sooth your tired legs.
Disclaimer: Iceland is beautiful. Its striking landscapes and sweeping views are intoxicating and awe-inspiring. But it can also be dangerous. Use precaution when exploring the vast mountains and glaciers as the terrain and weather can change before your eyes. Be mindful of the swift and often invisible currents of the rivers and ocean. It is recommended that those visiting the countryside in Iceland engage an experienced guide.