Roughly half a million people visit Iceland each year. While most people are drawn to the country for its hot springs, volcanoes and untouched nature, or the culture and history of its capital city of Reykjavík. However, for more curious visitors looking for an out-of-the-ordinary itinerary, Iceland has a lot to offer. Here’s a list of unique stops that you might not find in a typical Iceland travel guide.
Your Off-the-Beaten Path Iceland Travel Destinations
- Sea Monsters & Sorcery – Westfjords is home to some of the quirkiest, most amazing museums you’ll ever visit. For a bit of Viking folklore visit The Sea Monster Museum, where you can enjoy a multimedia display of myth and eye-witness accounts of monster sightings. Want something even more chilling? The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft has what you’re looking for.
- Kerid Crater Lake – Located in southern Iceland in what’s known as the Golden Circle, this majestic crater lake is surrounded by red rock, giving it an ethereal quality. This breathtaking site is beyond Instagram-worthy.
- The Leiðarendi Lava Tube – Located in southwest Iceland, in a lava field close to the Blue Mountains, this primitive cave is one of the most explorable lava tubes. Adventurous tourists and nature-lovers can get a first-hand experience of the natural stalactites and rock formations.
- Silfra – In Thingvellir National Park there’s a place that will excite both science nerds and adventure-seekers: Silfra. Silfra is a rift in the Mid-Atlantic ridge and it’s the only place on Earth where you can dive and snorkel between two tectonic plates.
- Drangsnes Hot Tubs – Located in the fishing town of Drangsnes, this trio of public hot tubs are man-made geothermal pools by the sea. They’re partially hidden in a small fishing town with a population of 100. If you can find them, you can take a dip.
- Víddaflakk (Interdimensional Hopscotch) – Artist Eames Demetrios created an installation involving a series of plaques and markers around the world that memorialize events that have apparently taken place in a parallel universe. Viddaflakk is one such plaque located in Snæfellsjökull National Park in western Iceland. It commemorates the story of Eliala Mei-Ning who supposedly saved a boy in the parallel universe.
- The Freezer – Housed in an old fish factory freezer in Rif, Iceland, this theater has operated as a few different things, including a bar, hangout spot, performance space, and even a hostel. So, if you’re looking for somewhere unique to stay while you’re in Iceland, look no farther.
- Christmas House – Located in the capital of North Iceland, Akureyri, this shop is home to all things Christmas. Here, visitors can pick up ornaments, toys, and wreaths galore the whole year round. But what really makes this place a must-visit, is the wide-spread speculation that it’s home to Santa’s real workshop.
What To Know Before You Travel to Iceland
Before you head off on your Icelandic adventure, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Iceland can get windy – Weather in Iceland can be unpredictable and it’s often very windy. This increases the likelihood of sandstorms. Be sure to pack accordingly.
- The good and bad of the midnight sun – Through the Summer months, the sun stays out well into the night and only sets for around three hours each night. This phenomenon called the midnight sun, peaks in June. This is the reason why the best time to see the Northern Lights in Iceland is September through March. Through the summer months, the sun stays out well into the night and only sets for around three hours each night.
- Most highways are two-lanes – If you plan on renting a car while in Iceland, there are a couple things you should know. In Iceland, with the exception of the highways in and around the capital, all highways are two-lanes with minimal shoulder room. Be sure you know and understand the traffic safety rules and regulations.
- Iceland’s taxis aren’t cheap – Although Iceland isn’t as expensive as rumors would have you believe, Iceland’s taxis are another story. When you plan your travel budget, pad a little extra into your transportation costs.
Can Americans Travel to Iceland?
Absolutely. Iceland is part of the Schengen Area of Europe. This means that Americans can visit Iceland without a visa as long as their stay is under 90 days. However, if you do plan on that long of a visit to Iceland, you’ll need travel insurance that satisfies the Schengen Visa requirements. Among other requirements, your policy must cover at least 30,000 Euros.To find Schengen Visa travel insurance or get your travel insurance questions answered, visit VisitorsCoverage today. For Americans keeping their stay under 90 days, trip insurance offers financial protections and medical coverage to help keep their travels safe. If you’re ready to book your trip to Iceland, trip insurance can help protect your trip investment by covering costs associated with cancellations, delays, missed connections, and lost luggage. It may even cover urgent medical care up to $500,000. Have questions about trip insurance or need help choosing a plan that’s right for you? Our Customer Success Team of licensed trip insurance experts at VisitorsCoverage.