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Enchanted by Iceland: Unveiling the magical wonders

Endless natural wonders to discover and more and more spectacular views to admire, combined with a constant feeling of being on another planet – welcome to get enchanted by Iceland, a magical country located between the Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean.

We interviewed 10 Finnair’s Instagram followers Alexandra, Anu, Grete, Joel, Ritesh, Takasutile, Tristan, Vanessa, Victor and Waltteri who all have travelled to Iceland and fallen in love with its beauty. They shared their best travel tips to discover the mystical charm of the country.

What to do in Iceland: Hunting the endless natural wonders

If you’re wondering what to see and do in Iceland, the list goes on and on. Despite its name, it’s one of the greenest countries on Earth, and a fun fact: it has more sheep than people. For a relatively small country, there’s certainly a lot to discover.

1. Landscape

“The most surprising aspect of Iceland was the constant feeling of being on another planet. From black sand beaches to glaciers to geothermal springs, every corner holds a new natural wonder. I cannot even pick one of the most impressive things because truly every corner and second of this trip is an adventure of a lifetime,” tells Grete.

Views along the ring road or Golden Circle

You can rent a car – or a campervan – and enjoy the out-of-this-world views of the stunning landscape along the way. The Golden Circle is the most famous of the scenic routes by which you’ll be sure to see many famous landmarks. The whole route is about 250 kilometres long from Reykjavik and back, and takes 1–3 days, depending on how thoroughly you want to experience the sights on the way.

“The distances can be long when driving, but on the other hand, you won’t get bored as the huge old lava fields are very beautiful along the way,” Waltteri says.

Another excellent way to tour the amazing landscape of Iceland is riding the Icelandic horses. There are multiple different options for horseback riding tours to choose from, ranging from a quick 30-minute ride to an 8 or more days long riding adventure. 

2. Lagoons and hot springs

You simply cannot visit Iceland, without taking a rejuvenating escape in at least one of the lagoons, hot springs or geysers. The most well-known is the Blue Lagoon, and it doesn’t disappoint: the milky-blue geothermal waters set against the stark backdrop of lava fields are simply stunning, and the bath in nature’s embrace will relax all your senses. As Alexandra puts it: “The sharp contrast between the icy, cold air and warm spring water is very unique!”

The healing waters of the Blue Lagoon

Waltteri tips to also visit the newer Sky Lagoon’s soothing waters in Reykjavik, while Victor’s favourite was the Hvammsvik lagoon that promises an authentic experience in unspoiled nature, away from the crowds. You’ll get to bathe in eight natural hot springs surrounded by black sand beaches and majestic mountains – and take a cooling dip in the Atlantic Ocean in between.

3. Waterfalls

Iceland is also renowned for its captivating waterfalls. There’s a total of 10,000 of them at an estimate, each offering a unique spectacle of nature’s power and beauty. From the thunderous cascades of Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss to the ethereal allure of Gullfoss, these natural wonders will enchant you with their sheer magnificence. 

Tucked away in the remote Westfjords region in the north, Dynjandi waterfall stands out as a true gem. It’s often considered as the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. Its series of cascades, totalling over 100 metres in height, create a mesmerising sight over the rugged landscape. The remote location of Dynjandi also invites adventurers to explore Iceland’s lesser-known corners in search of the more hidden marvels.

4. Ice caves and glaciers

Alexandra who visited the glaciers says: “I would describe being there as being frozen in time. Harsh landscapes that feel otherworldly.”

Ice caves and glaciers offer a fairytale-like experience, showcasing nature’s frozen grandeur in a breathtaking way. Victor recommends visiting the Ice Cave Katla, which is nestled within the vast expanse of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Its complex ice formations, sculpted by centuries of glacial activity, create an ethereal labyrinth of shimmering blue hues that will captivate you without a doubt.

Katla Ice Cave

Exploring the icy wonders reveals a world of hidden chambers, crystal-clear ice and surreal beauty, providing a glimpse into the ancient forces shaping Iceland’s landscape. From the dazzling blue ice of Vatnajökull to the rugged beauty of Sólheimajökull, Iceland's glaciers and ice caves invite you to embark on an unforgettable journey into the heart of winter’s realm.

Tristan recommends joining a Zodiac Tour on the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lake. Breathe in the glacial beauty of the icy views and spot some of Iceland’s incredible wildlife from a close-by distance.

5. Northern Lights

Due to Iceland’s northern location, it’s also an excellent place to spot the magical Auroras dancing on the night sky. The Aurora season lasts from September to April, as long as it’s dark enough and the skies are clear.

Ideal spots to see the northern lights are, for example, the Westfjords and North Iceland that have longer hours of darkness and typically less clouds than other areas. South Iceland offers also great remote locations to watch the Auroras, such as the Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon. Explore the magic on your own or join a guided tour.

6. The city of Reykjavik

Reykjavik, Iceland's vibrant capital, offers you a nice blend of history, culture and nature. Its charming streets are lined with colourful houses, quirky boutiques and cute cafes, offering a glimpse into Icelandic daily life. Visit the iconic Hallgrímskirkja church towers to see some panoramic views of Reykjavik’s picturesque skyline and the surrounding mountains and sea.

Colourful houses in Reykjavik

Explore the city’s interesting museums and galleries or head to the lively nightlife and go see the music scene. With the welcoming atmosphere in the stunning coastal setting, Reykjavik will charm you with its hospitality: “What surprised me was the sense of community within Reykjavik. With such a small population, it seems the people are quite happy and have a sense of togetherness keeping them going through the harsh winters,” says Alexandra.

+ The town of Vík

Waltteri recommends heading to the south to the town of Vík, which offers a nice base to explore the intriguing surrounding areas and sights. Stop by at Reynisfjara black-sand beach, visit the majestic Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon with its dramatic views, and go see the abandoned DC-3 aircraft on Sólheimasandur beach. Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls are also located nearby Vík. 

When to travel to Iceland: In search of the best time to visit

Iceland can be visited around the year. The ideal time to travel really depends on your own preferences, and the summer and winter seasons offer a completely different travel experience. If you’re seeking the midnight sun and love outdoor adventures, the ideal time to travel is from June to August/September when the weather is calmer and not as cold. However, make sure to still pack warm enough clothes for you, as the average temperatures stay between 10–13°C.

You can see Atlantic Puffins from May to early September

In case you prefer to avoid the crowds and wish to witness the mystical Aurora Borealis, consider visiting Iceland during spring or autumn, or for a more wintery experience, during the winter months when it gets even darker and colder.

“Me and my mum visited Iceland in January, so it was snowy and icy but so beautiful. The geysers were, without a doubt, the most impressive thing to see,” Anu says. Also, Victor enjoyed the Icelandic winter: “I loved the winter in Iceland because you can enjoy the ice caves during their best condition. Bathing in the lagoons gets you comfortable during the challenging weather conditions.”

Waltteri, who currently lives in Iceland, tells that the stormy winter weather has, in fact, surprised him, as the wind speed has reached about 36 m/s on the windiest days. Thus, if you visit Iceland during the wintertime, be prepared for some extreme weather conditions.

Of course, the longer you stay for, the more you get to see. With a rental car, you can experience a lot in 4–5 days. But to really see the whole country, you will need more than a week. If you have a chance to stay for 1–3 weeks, you can take it slow and explore more places further away from Reykjavik.

Northern lights over the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

All and all, wherever in Iceland you go, you will certainly be enchanted by the magic of nature. Alexandra sums it well: “Iceland is a very unique country that I believe everyone should see in their lifetime. It has geographical features like nowhere else in the world, such as volcanoes. You can walk between where the tectonic plates pulled apart the earth millions of years ago. You can see puffins and the northern lights. You can experience local foods and traditions. Iceland to me is like a treasure map waiting to be explored!”

Finnair flies to Reykjavik daily throughout the year.

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