I traveled to Iceland in September 2019. Here are my 5 top highlights and things I learned:
1. Beaches

    • When I thought about Iceland, beaches didn’t come to mind. However, the coast of Iceland is beautiful! I visited Reynisfjara Beach which is famous for its black sand and basalt spires. Watch out for the sneaker waves though while you’re trying to grab a picture- we saw more than one unlucky individual suddenly in cold water up to their thighs. Another noted beach is Diamond Beach, also a black sand beach, where icebergs run ashore.

2. Snorkeling/Diving

    • The excursion I was most hesitant about was snorkeling in Þingvellir National Park at the Silfra Fissure. However, it turned out to be a beautiful experience. There, we were able to look underwater at the space in between the North American Tectonic Plate and the Eurasia Tectonic Plate. It is a famous location with some of the clearest water in the world- you don’t have to worry about an obstructed view. While chilly, the excursion ended up being one of the most educational of the trip!
    • No, this is not the same as the beach- Silfra Fissure is inland at a lake!


3. Waterfalls

    • Iceland has too many beautiful waterfalls to name. The largest and most famous being Gullfoss (on the left).

4. Horseback Riding

    • Icelandic horses are famous for their 5 gaits, be sure to use all of them!

5. People

    • While touring the country, it can be easy to stay insulated in a tour group, or not venture outside your comfort zone. Instead, I urge you to talk to the people who live there—I’m sure you’ll gain insight that brochures and plaques won’t tell you. Our snowmobile guide explained his heritage and showed us the app that Icelanders have on their phones which tracks their ancestors back to the first settlers of Iceland! Our snorkeling guides helped us with pronunciations and talked about various sites to check out.

 Something to Consider:

    • While Iceland is beautiful and has many interesting activities and landscapes that make it appealing- one negative to consider when budgeting is food money. Keep in mind that food must be transported there for consumption so double or even triple the amount you would normally put away!


    • While planning for this trip I used a couple books from our own library collection. They can help you decide what to pack, which excursions to book, and where to look for hotels or transportation. If you want to check out travel books, I recommend this and this.

Happy traveling!
-Written by LeAnn Long, a Teen Services Librarian who loves to check out new places.