Tourists are returning to Iceland and rediscovering the land of ice and fire

August 19, 2022

After 2 years of pandemic Iceland is again one of the most popular destinations in Europe. Tourists comming from all over the world are ready to rediscover the land of ice and fire where one day you can hike on top of Volcano with lava fields and next day to explore biggest glacier in Europe. But majority of tourists are coming on short visit to Iceland and they have to plan visely what they want to see as Iceland is packed with sightseeing possibilities.

 If you have just couple of days to discover Iceland – Snaefellsnes peninsula is the best choice. This is the area that they call “Iceland in miniature” or the “gateway to the westfjords”. Located on the peninsula north of Reykjavik, Snæfellsnes is a wonderland of lava fields, mountains, glaciers and sleepy fishing villages. The peninsula earns its “Iceland in miniature” nickname due to the massive diversity of nature that this area has to offer and while some may call her a “jack of all trades” there is certainly little she has not mastered. You will certainly fall in love with her black sand beaches and phenomenal landscape.

Kirkjufell or Church Mountain is the most photographed mountain in Iceland. Its isolated position and pyramidal shape makes it a focal point for visitors and locals alike. The colors of the mountain change every season, from summer greens to winter whites. Thus, you’ll always get a new perspective on this majestic mountain.

Next to Kirkjufell is the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall that channels the glacial water of Snaefellsjokull glacier. The three pronged waterfall isn’t very tall, but it makes for a beautiful photographing opportunity with the mountain in the background.

Surrounded by beaches, Kirkjufell has a lovely walking trail around it that gives different views of the mountain.  The surrounding area is full of bird and marine life. During the winter, people have seen orca whales in the fjord. The nearby town of Grundarfjordur offers accommodation, restaurants, a 9-hole golf course as well as a variety of other outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, whale watching, ice-climbing and camping.

Literary fans will recognise many locations from the Jules Verne novel “Journey to the centre of the earth” that was based here. Jules Vernes inspiration for his novels can be seen all around Snaefellsnes peninsula, but beside book lovers, fans of series such as Game of Thrones can find many filming locations in this part of Iceland.

Beside Snaefellsnes peninsula, Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland is perfect base for exploration of south and west parts of the country. Tourism sector is again blooming in Reykjavik and after 2 years of low numbers, there are a lot of new hotel openings and lack of accommodation is main problem this year as tourists are returning in big numbers but many of old hotels were closed during pandemic and they are struggling to find enough staff in tourism. But Icelandic tourist industry see opportunity in returning of tourists and there are many new tour agencies that are offering unique and original tours such as eco tours and alternative tourism, especially in Reykjavik.

One of the most beautiful landmark in capital of Iceland is Opera house.  Harpa – Icelandic Opera has acquired an important place in the nation’s cultural life and it regularly stages high-quality and varied operas but it is also important place where tourists from all over the world are gathering and discovering unique Icelandic architecture. Beside Opera house, one of the most visited points of interest in Reykjavik is the biggest church in country – Hallgrímskirkja stands guard over Reykjavík. The church is both a parish church and a national sanctuary in Iceland. Its stepped concrete facade is an ode to modernism and a reminder of the Icelandic landscape. 

South Iceland is also one of the regions that you have to visit if you are on quick tour as it is home of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe. One of the most visited waterfalls on the south coast of Iceland is Seljalandsfoss. The most distinguishing feature of Seljalandsfoss is a pathway that stretches around it so you can have unique perspective and make photos behind the waterfall.