Warm pools, black sand beaches, stunning glaciers and more to see on your vacation to Iceland

On a trip to Iceland, you’ll have no shortage of breathtaking scenery around you and once-in-a-lifetime experiences to take part in. 

Iceland is one of the best spots in the world to see the northern lights, a bucket list item for many. It’s also home to multiple relaxing geothermic pools and unique black sand beaches.

If you have a trip to Iceland in the works, check out this travel guide for places to stop on your vacation.

The Blue Lagoon is a popular attraction in Iceland. This can be a relaxing stop on a busy trip. (Raul Moreno/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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  1. Take a relaxing dip in the Blue Lagoon
  2. Explore the Snæfellsjökull Glacier
  3. Be in awe of Iceland’s black sand beaches
  4. Visit Europe’s largest glacier
  5. Go to Vatnajökull National Park
  6. Take a Golden Circle tour
  7. Enjoy Reykjavík’s nightlife
  8. Stop by Skogafoss waterfall
  9. See the northern lights

1. Take a relaxing dip in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s many geothermal spas and its most popular. The Blue Lagoon is located very closely to Keflavik International Airport, making it the perfect stop at the beginning or the end of your getaway.

A dip in the Blue Lagoon is sure to provide you with relaxation and breathtaking views.

2. Explore the Snæfellsjökull Glacier

Western Iceland is where you can find Snæfellsjökull National Park, home to the beautiful glacier.

Snæfellsjökull was declared a national park in 2001 and is only one of three national parks in the country.

Snæfellsjökull is described in Jules Verne’s famous novel “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

3. Be in awe of Iceland’s black sand beaches

There are several black sand beaches in Iceland that are truly a sight unlike any other.

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One of these is Reynisfjara, a black sand beach good for seeing but not for swimming because of the cold water and strong currents that make it dangerous.

Iceland’s black sand beaches provide a unique sight that you may have never seen before. (Sergei Gapon/Anadolu via Getty Images)

You can also see the sparkle of Diamond Beach while in Iceland. This black sand beach is full of diamond resembling ice, making the water shimmer and shine. 

Again, Diamond Beach is another beautiful landmark, but avoid swimming in this water, mainly because of the icebergs that can cause injury. 

4. Visit Europe’s largest glacier

Vatnajokull glacier is Europe’s largest. You can explore the glacier on foot or rent a snowmobile to see more in a short time. 

There are so many breathtaking ice caves to explore throughout the glacier.

Vatnajokull may look familiar to you, even if you haven’t visited Iceland before, as it was featured in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and two “James Bond” films.

5. Go to Vatnajökull National Park 

Vatnajökull National Park is where you can find Skaftafell nature reserve. Skaftafell nature reserve has been a part of Vatnajökull National Park since 2008. Glacier lagoons, black sand and mesmerizing rock formations can all be found here.

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It is just about 45 minutes from Diamond Beach. 

6. Take a Golden Circle tour

Taking a Golden Circle tour is a must-do activity on a trip to Iceland. The Golden Circle is a scenic route where you’ll be able to see Iceland in all its beauty.

Gullfoss waterfall is one of the stops in Iceland’s scenic Golden Circle. (Patrick Gorski/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

How much time you carve out for this depends on how long you want to spend at each stop. You can easily spend days exploring this area, or you can rent a car and spend a few hours driving around. 

There are three main stops part of the Golden Circle: Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area and Gullfoss waterfall. 

7. Enjoy Reykjavík’s nightlife

Reykjavík is filled with bars and restaurants, making the city a great spot for thriving nightlife at the end of a busy day exploring. 

While here, you can also visit Hallgrimskirkja Church and stop by one of the many local swimming pools throughout the city. 

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8. Stop by Skogafoss waterfall

Skogafoss waterfall is a breathtaking beauty you will not want to miss when traveling to Iceland. 

Get your cameras ready for this stop, because you’ll want to snap a picture of you in front of the enormous waterfall. It’s not a bad idea to pack a pair of waterproof shoes on your visit. 

Expect to spend around a half hour exploring Skogafoss waterfall during your trip. (Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)

You don’t need to carve out too much time for this, 30 to 45 minutes will do. Rainbows are very common here, so keep your eye out for that, too. 

9. See the northern lights

While in Iceland, you’ll most likely be able to cross “see the northern lights” off your bucket list.

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Making a plan to see the colorful lights in the sky is a little tricky, since their occurrence is not super predictable. That said, visiting between September and April, when the nights are long and dark, will give you the best possibility of seeing the aurora borealis.