Iceland has a seemingly endless array of stunning attractions and breathtaking natural sites that are a must-see for visitors. Here’s a list of the top new attractions in Iceland.
In fact, you can spend your whole life here and not have the time to see them all. With more attractions being opened and renovated every month, picking out the perfect activity for you and your family can seem overwhelming. Luckily, the Iceland Travel team is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting experiences to try and test out in order to recommend the best to our visitors (it’s a tough job but someone’s gotta do it!) Here are five new attractions we’re excited about right now:
The Perlan Museum
This well known landmark in Reykjavík has been given a new role as the unique new site for the Icelandic Museum of Natural History. Perlan (The Pearl) has long been connected to the nature of Iceland, with its geyser waterfountain an integral part of its original design and its observation deck offering great views over the city. This summer the Museum of Natural History has opened up its glacier and ice cave exhibition where you can learn about glaciers, their history and future and, using a revolutionary method, visitors can experience the breathtaking walk through an ice cave. The man made cave takes around 10-15 minutes to walk through and along the way you will learn about the glacier’s dangers, the secrets it keeps, and the enormous change the gradual disappearance of the ice is leading to, both on the island itself and around the world. Once you‘re through the cave you‘ll head up to the first floor where you‘ll experience what it’s like to stand on top of Europe‘s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, with a 360° view. A stunning adventure, previously reserved only for the most experienced hikers. Exhibitions on the Northern Lights and the geology of Iceland are expected to open next Spring, as well as a stunning planetarium.
Beer Spa in North Iceland
The Beer Spa has been eagerly anticipated by beer thirsty Icelanders ever since the plans for it were announced. But drinking the beer you bathe in is not recommended (or allowed, the mixture is undrinkable and therefore the baths are suitable for all ages). Instead, enjoy the various health benefits of soaking in beer, water, hops and yeast for 25 minutes, followed by 25 minutes in the relaxation room to really let it sink in. The spa has 7 wooden tubs and can accommodate 14 people an hour. After your soak, you can enjoy a beer and various beer related meals in the restaurant or, if you haven’t had enough of sitting around in tubs, take advantage of the two outside hot tubs with stunning views of the nearby nature. Located just outside of the town of Dalvík, the Beer Spa is a wonderful addition to the many attractions of the beautiful North Iceland.
The newly opened LAVA Centre is an interactive, high-tech educational exhibition depicting volcanic activity and earthquakes. There you can experience nature’s epic forces that shape our planet and created Iceland through displays such as the Geology Globe, The Fiery Heart of Iceland, Volcano, Ash, Lava and Earthquake corridors and the site of actual volcanoes. The centre also introduces the Katla Geopark as well as Iceland’s elaborate monitoring system for surveying volcanoes and earthquake zones. Located in Hvolsvöllur on the south shore of Iceland, the LAVA Centre brings you closer to the breathtaking and powerful forces that make Iceland a showcase of volcanism.
Laugarvatnshellir is actually two caves near Laugarvatn on the Golden Circle. In recent years it has mostly been inhabited by sheep seeking shelter from the Icelandic weather, but around a 100 years ago the caves were the home of two Icelandic couples, one of which had three children. The cave home has now been restored and visitors are invited to come and see how the so-called “Cave People” lived. A small café has been opened in the caves as well, in line with the “Cave People’s” history since they used to sell coffee and refreshments to passersby. You can try waffles baked using the original waffle maker owned by Vigdís, the last inhabitant of the caves. Icelandic history doesn’t get more authentic than this.
One of the longest and best-known lava tunnels in Iceland, Raufarhólshellir is located close to Reykjavik and is easily accessible year-round. Visitors will walk the path of the lava flow released by the Leitahraun eruption that occurred around 5200 years ago. The total length of the tunnel is 1360 m, with the main tunnel being 900 m long. The tunnel is up to 30 m wide with headroom up to 10 m high, making it one of the most expansive lava tunnels in Iceland. At the end of Raufarhólshellir, the tunnel branches into three smaller tunnels where magnificent lava falls and formations are clearly visible. Near the entrance of the tunnel the ceiling has caved in, creating three beautiful columns of light inside the tunnel and in winter the frost forms beautiful ice sculptures inside the entrance, giving you the feeling of being about to enter a magical winter wonderland.