With dramatic, otherworldly landscapes, epic natural wonders, and a rich cultural history, a romantic getaway in Iceland will spark the wanderlust within. Adventure lovers from around the world flock to this tiny north Atlantic island nation to marvel at intense natural landforms and picture-perfect scenery. Hike to volcanoes and waterfalls that take your breath away, soak your muscles in warm geothermal lagoons, and drift to sleep under the vibrant Aurora Borealis as it lights up the night sky. A honeymoon in Iceland will be a romantic getaway like no other.
Begin in Reykjavik, the country’s capital and cultural heart. One of the cleanest and greenest cities in the world, it’s home to a thriving community of imaginative writers, poets, and musicians. Sample the local melodic offerings with a live show downtown, and stick around to enjoy Reykjavik’s famous weekend nightlife. The next day, head to the National Museum of Iceland and trace the country’s history all the way from its Viking origins to the modern day. Then have a chat with the locals in one of the city’s geothermal pools, a beloved Icelandic pastime.
Once you’ve gotten a taste of the capital city, say goodbye to civilization and set out to explore the wilderness. The best way to see Iceland’s countryside is on wheels, driving to tucked away corners of pristine natural beauty untouched by the presence of towns and cities. If you’re short on time, set your focus on the Golden Circle, a 190-mile tourist route near Reykjavik that can be seen in just one day. You’ll witness some of the most impressive sights Iceland has to offer: the stunning Gullfoss, considered Iceland’s most beautiful waterfall; Thingvellir National Park, where Earth’s tectonic plates are ripping apart; and the powerful Strokker geyser, which shoots water up to 100 feet in the air every few minutes.
If you have at least a week, the best way to experience Iceland’s mystical landscapes is on a countrywide journey along the Ring Road. Plan to spend at least seven days traversing this 800-mile route that encircles the nation; you won’t encounter much traffic, but photo stops and sightseeing excursions will be plentiful. On the Ring Road, you’ll uncover the wonders of the Golden Circle and so much more: the arctic foxes and mythical folklore of the Westfjords, the midnight sun in the north, the rugged black sand of the east coast, and all the spectacular fjords, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, and rainbows in between.
Whichever way you choose, a venture into the Icelandic wilderness will be a sight to behold. Its ethereal landscapes are the stuff of fairytales; it’s no wonder the country has inspired so many generations of poets and storytellers. Begin your own beautiful story together amidst the vivid dreamscape of Iceland.
At a Glance
- THE NORTHERN LIGHTS: Witness the dazzling light show known as the Aurora Borealis illuminate the night sky in shades of green, pink, blue, yellow and violet. Your best chance to see this phenomenon is between September and April.
- GAME OF THRONES IRL: Iceland’s actual nickname is “Land of Ice and Fire,” so it’s only natural that scenes from the popular HBO show were filmed there. Many scenes from beyond the wall were shot in the wintertime at Lake Myvatin, Skaftafell National Park, and Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest ice cap.
- TAKE A DIP: Iceland’s weather tends to be chilly year round, but you can warm up with a soak in the geothermal heated Blue Lagoon. The water’s blue-green algae and mineral salts are believed to have healing powers. If you want to really unwind, book a professional massage while you a float around on a mattress.
- THE PERFECT VIEW: One of the most photographed scenes in Iceland is the Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall. It’s possible to capture the perfect cone-shaped volcano, the lush waterfall, and even a rainbow in the same photograph.
- WATERFALL IN LOVE: Gullfoss, which means Golden Falls, is one of the most visited places in the country. Gaze in awe as the powerful Hvítá river opens up into a broad canyon and the water appears to cascade into thin air.
- THE CRYSTAL CAVE: At the base of the Vatnajökull glacier lies the subterranean Skaftafell Ice Cave. Book a guided tour through this frozen underworld, and you’ll discover a cavern submerged in ice with crystals reflecting off every surface.
- THE DARK FALLS: Svartifoss, which means Black Falls, is an intriguing sight to see. Black lava basalt columns under the falls resemble an upside-down organ, and the hexagonal falls have served as inspiration for many Icelandic architects.
- GENTLE GIANTS: Animal lovers should embark on a whale watching tour. These gentle giants can be seen from different areas throughout the country, and the best chance of seeing them is in the months of May through September.
- HEAD TO HALLGRIMSKIRKJA: Situated in the middle of Reykjavik, this unique church was inspired by the Black Falls and is the tallest and most recognizable building in Iceland. Once you reach the top, take some time to enjoy the awe-inspiring panorama of the city below.
- TRY THE HOT DOGS: It’s an unexpected must-have honeymoon food, but an Icelandic hot dog can be very addictive. Topped with raw and fried onions, a tasty brown mustard and remoulade, these hot dogs are made with lamb and pork.
- WHEN TO GO: Summer is the most popular time to visit Iceland, when the days are longer and the weather is most pleasant. However, if you go between mid-September and mid-April, you’ll have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
- TIPPING: Tipping is not customary in Iceland; many restaurants and businesses will include a service charge in the bill.
- DRIVING: Beware of hazardous, rapidly changing weather patterns in any season, and keep an eye out for sheep and reindeer crossing the road in the warmer months.
- WHAT TO WEAR: Pack warm layers, a raincoat and a bathing suit, and be prepared for both warm and cold conditions in any season.
- DAYLIGHT: Because of Iceland’s northern latitude, June can see almost 20 hours of sunlight and December is cloaked in nearly 20 hours of darkness. Spring and autumn have more balanced daylight hours.
- BRING YOUR CAMERA: Iceland is both a professional and novice photographer’s dreamland. Consider investing in a quality digital or SLR camera, and brush up on your night photo techniques if you plan on capturing the Aurora Borealis.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Most flights to Iceland land at Keflavik International Airport (KEF), 45 minutes outside Reykjavik. Flights from New York City take about five to six hours and flights from Denver take seven to eight hours.
- GETTING AROUND: It’s easy to get around on foot in Reykjavik, but once you leave the city, you’ll need a set of wheels. Rent a car and drive yourselves around the country, taking in as many stunning vistas as you want to. Tour busses are also available and can make the trip very convenient.
- WHERE TO STAY: It’s possible to camp, rent a car you can sleep in, or stay at quaint inns and hotels throughout the country. In general, the more remote the region, the less accommodation options you’ll have.