Ask anyone who has been there, and all will agree; there is no place in the world like Iceland. From breathtaking natural phenomenon to intricate wool-spun sweaters, from a language of hidden syllables to legends of elves, Iceland is one of the worlds’ most unique destinations. Perhaps the best part? Direct flights on Iceland Air to Reykjavik leave from Boston Logan around a dozen times a day. For a European-flavored getaway with a distinctly Icelandic flavor, Iceland is the place to visit any time of year. Here are some of the must-see places in Iceland!
The tallest church in Iceland, located in Reykjavik. The church is named after the Icelandic poet and clergyman Hallgrímur Pétursson, author of the Passion Hymns.
The city lake in central Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Most visitors to the city pass along its shore, as it is situated in the city centre next to the Reykjavik City Hall and several museums. Tjörnin means “the lake” or “the pond”.
Statue of Leif Ericson
Leif Ericson was a Norse explorer regarded as the first European to land in North America (excluding Greenland), nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, he established a Norse settlement at Vinland on the northern tip of Newfoundland. In Icelandic, his name is Leifur Eiríksson. This statue is located in downtown Reykjavik.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, famous not only for its warm waters but for the healing properties of the white silica mud that covers the bottom. The spa is located in southwestern Iceland, accessible by rental car or bus lines from Reykjavik.
Kópavogskirkja is one of the most beautiful churches in Iceland. It is located on the hill Borgarholt and offers a great view over Reykjavík and surrounding area. Work on it began in 1958 and it was opened on December 16, 1963.
Seljalandsfoss (Seljalands-waterfall) sits at the base of Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano which erupted in 2010 and caused days of cancelled and delayed flights to and from Europe.
Remember Eyjafjallajökull? This volcano erupted for over a month in 2010, spewing ash and mud into the sky and onto the farms and fields in the lush volcanic valley. The eruptions caused flight delays and cancellations to, from, and across Europe for weeks.
The Great Geysir of Iceland, which first erupted in the 14th century, gave the world’s geysers take their name. Iceland is dotted with gysers, including Strokkur. It stopped erupting in the the early 1900s when an earthquake collapsed part of the conduit and it became dormant. In 1963, upon the advice of the Geysir Committee, locals cleaned out the blocked conduit through the bottom of the basin, and the geyser has been regularly erupting every 4-8 minutes ever since. Strokkur sits in a field with a handful of smaller gysers, accessible by rental car or bus from Reykjavik.
Gullfoss is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. The enormous river falls three times down steep cliffs, giving the illusion that the river is being swallowed by the earth. This waterfall is the largest in Iceland, and one of the most popular natural attractions.
Þingvellir- Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Þingvellir is a site of historical, cultural, and geological importance and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It is the site of a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and the Eurasion tectonic plate peek together. Here, visitors can stand on two plates at the same time.
Þingvellir- National Park
Þingvellir National Park was founded in 1930 to protect the remains of the parliament site and was later expanded to protect natural phenomena in the surrounding area. It was the first national park in Iceland and was decreed a protected national shrine for all Icelanders.
Lögberg, or Law Rock, is a rocky outcrop in south west Iceland, at the location for the first assembly of the country’s Alþingi parliament. The original Alþingi was gathered at Þingvellir, an area which was easily accessible from the populated areas of the south west. While the exact location is unknown, this flagpole marks the most likely place where modern democracy was born in Iceland in 930 A.D.
Þingvallavatn is the largest natural lake in Iceland, situated inside Þingvellir National Park. Its greatest depth is at 114 m. At the northern shore of the lake, at Lögberg, the Alþingi, the national parliament, was founded in the year 930.
Árbæjarsafn is a museum dedicated to the history of Reykjavik, Iceland, and its people. Here you can find replicas of homes, like this one, that housed vikings and their families over 1000 years ago. The musuem also houses one of two locomotives in the entire country, gifted by foreign powers to Iceland, a country which does not have a rail system.