Bespoke tour operator Iceland Beyond offers its expert advice on what to do and see in Iceland this Summer…
Attached to the mainland by a narrow strip of land around 10km wide, the Westfjords are one of the most breathtakingly beautiful and least visited corners of Iceland. The Summer season is when Westfjords are at their most stunning. Driving through quaint old fishing towns where rusty boats are scattered along the seafront give Hemmingway’s Old Man and the Sea a run for its money. Icelandic tradition litters this beautiful peninsula with abandoned traditional houses to explore. Or, if you want to fully immerse yourself into your surroundings, you can bathe in one of the many outdoor swimming pools (where admission money can be left in the jar!). Simply just being swept up in the magnificent nature of Westfjord’s mountains and rivers will leave you wanting to extend your holiday longer.
2. Take a dip in Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn nature baths are making a big splash in the north of Iceland. Iceland’s best kept secret is similar to the Blue Lagoon but without quite so many tourists which means you can truly relax. You can also find one of the hidden hot springs to enjoy. This Myvatn Lake was made by an eruption over 2000 years ago and what remains is the most breath taking dark lava to inspect. Lie here all night and watch the sun set in the late hours of the evening to truly understand why this place is so special.
3. Explore Landmannalaugar and Sprengisandur in the highlands.
Landamannalaugar has been a popular destination for tourists and locals to visit for over 20 years and we can see why. Its outstanding landscape is perfect for camping outside and seeing its extensive list of wildlife wander by. Or, enjoy a bath that nature has sculpted perfectly for you and submerge yourself in the hot springs. Combine this iconic Icelandic landmark with one of Europe’s largest deserts Sprengisandur and walk along its captivating black sands.
4. Visit Seydisfjordur
This traditional small town is rich in history as it is in things to do. Diving and paragliding are some of the many activities that guests can experience here. There are only 700 people that inhabit this wonderful remote town, surrounded by waterfalls and its glorious valleys.
5. See Askja
This geological marvel is home to the lunar landscape where Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong trained before they ventured to the moon. This fascinating area has had a great impact on Icelandic living in the 19th century when it suddenly erupted and forced many farmers to move away. Yet, you will never want to leave when you can explore the deepest lake in Iceland, over 200m.
6. Icelandic Glaciers: all of them!
Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice as volcanoes and glaciers share the landscape. Visiting the glaciers is a must and here you can experience them in all different shapes and sizes. Find your inner Shackleton and explore some of nature’s best creations on a snow mobile or hop into a car and make an adventure of it and check out the country on the way.
7. Explore Snæfellsnes peninsula and visit Stykkishólmur
If you want to explore the wilderness and Icelandic nature within a limited amount of time, driving through Snæfellsnes allows you to do it all. Only an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, Snæfellsnes is famous for its high mountains and beautiful wild nature. Whale watching at sea and bird watching on land means there isn’t a shortage of choice to see animals in their natural habitat. Enjoy a stop off in the quaint town Stykkisholmur where you can indulge in the finest coffee and the most delicious food at the cosy Narfeyrarstofa.
8. Camp in Þórsmörk
Iceland is possibly one of the only places where you can combine shopping and hiking. Here, you can find some fantastic finds at the famous shopping street Laugavegur whilst simultaneously walking along Iceland’s most famous hiking route. There is a reason Þórsmörk is one of the most popular attraction for tourists in Iceland. Located near the volcano Eyjafjallajökull you can choose snuggle up in a warm tent whilst being in the heart of all the action.
Grímsey is the exploring destination to go to. It is the most northern inhabited territory in Iceland with fewer than 100 people living there, mainly the fishermen and their families. If you want to spend the day at this Icelandic retreat, you can either travel by boat or plane and enjoy their restaurant and guesthouse in this secluded destination.
10. ?Short trip to Hveragerði and the hot springs
Hverageroi is a fantastic day trip destination. Either take a hike up through the glorious woodlands or venture into the Geothermal Park. This park is famous for the locals using its hot springs as a natural oven so they can go and bake their famous black bread, whilst visitors can make boiled eggs. If you want to bring in some culture, there is a fascinating exhibition about the 2008 earthquake that struck this town with even an earthquake simulator to try.