An Iceland honeymoon is sure to get you and your partner excited. The Nordic country may not have the beaches of Hawaii or the Bahamas, but it is so much more! Iceland is a land that is just waiting to be uncovered.
Intimate hot springs, beautiful glaciers, majestic wildlife, and striking waterfalls come together in this Scandinavian island and it is sure to dazzle any traveler, especially those looking for romance on their honeymoon (who isn’t?).
Expedia.com asked me to share this post with you guys as we both have a love for Iceland! There is no right or wrong time to enjoy your Iceland honeymoon. Summer months yield 24-hours of daylight from the “Midnight Sun,” and long winter months provide a dark sky for the Aurora Borealis.
Either way you look at it, you’re in for a special and unique treat in the picturesque country of Iceland. I’ve been to Iceland twice now, once alone and together as a couple with Cameron.
Our latest trip was driving around the incredible ring road to uncover all the nooks and crannies of the country. Here are some of my favorite things to do for a romantic honeymoon in Iceland.
Enjoy the Black Sand Beaches
Black beaches aren’t something seen every day. However, when touring around Iceland’s Southern Coast there are a few spots to see the dramatic black sand beaches. Reynisfjara, near Vik, is probably the most well known black sand beach in Iceland.
That means it is packed with tourists. We went in the offseason and we’re still amazed at how many people were on the beach. I would recommend visiting the East Fjords if you have the time. We thought the Egilsstaðir region was stunning and yielded far fewer crowds, which is exactly what you want on an Iceland honeymoon.
Check out the Wildlife at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
It’s hard to deny that there are many gems in Iceland, but Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon in the southeast of the country has to be the one of the most beautiful. We spent 12 days in Iceland, and I think that the Jökulsárlón lagoon was the most spectacular location we saw.
You can get out and enjoy the beauty from the side, or you can hop on a boat tour to get more up close to the glacier. If you are in for an adventure and traveling during the winter a great thing to do on your Iceland honeymoon would be to go on an ice caving tour in the nearby Vatnajökull glacier. Whatever you do, the lagoon is always changing, so no two trips will ever be the same.
I would advise bringing some binocularsand a travel camera as there are often seals swimming in the lagoon (we saw five!). After you are done make sure to go across the street to Diamond Beach to hold an Icelandic ice cube! Or eat one like Cameron…
Tackle the Ice and Climb a Glacier
While you’re at Jökulsárlón, you may as well conquer the biggest glacier in Europe (Vatnajökull glacier) nearby! This challenging experience is one of Iceland’s most memorable.
We suggest any active traveler to strap on some crampons and prepare to climb a massive glacier with mesmerizing views. It’s not the expansive landscape that is will steal your breath away, but when you enter the ice caves within the glacier. What’s better than telling your friends back home you went ice climbing in Iceland?
Have a Date Night in Reykjavik
A honeymoon in Iceland will be expensive. It is one of the most expensive countries in the world and the high costs are reflected in the food and alcohol. However, when you are in one of the coolest capital cities in the world I would suggest at least having one or two special nights out in Reykjavik.
There is a thriving bar and restaurant scene that is vibrant on weekends and summer months. The best food we had in Reykjavik was at Matarkjallarinn. It’s a central and upscale restaurant that serves up modern Icelandic cuisine. They have live music or a pianist playing every night and on weekends the cocktail bar here is packed with patrons for a lively atmosphere.
There is almost a bar on every corner of the capital so it won’t be hard to find a good one. Many offer happy hour specials so make sure to do your research and get there a little bit early for a deal. Keep in mind that the sun never sets during the Icelandic summer so when you walk out of the bar at 2 am you may be just a little bit confused.
Drive Iceland’s Ring Road
This one involves renting a car (or campervan like us!) and is the ideal thing to do if you have longer than seven days for your Iceland honeymoon. However, it is hands down the best adventure you can have in Iceland and will ensure you get the absolute most out of your trip.
Iceland’s famous ring road connects the whole country in a…well… a ring. The road is one road technically called “Route one” and is approximately 1332 km. Along the route, you’ll find glaciers, a million waterfalls, winding roads, and just a few of the Icelandic horses.
A drive around the ring road with your own car gives you the freedom to stop where and when you want without any time limits. It’s what allowed us to spend hours atSkógafoss, take a detour to the Snaefellsnes peninsula, and camp out under the Northern Lights.
You can either rent a car and stay at hotels, camp in a tent at campsites along the way or take your house with you in a Happy Camper Van. Either way, the trip is iconic and is sure to give you lots of honeymoon memories to share together. See our full review of Happy Campers here.
Descend into a Volcano on your Iceland Honeymoon!
What’s more romantic than going inside a volcano in Iceland together? Inside Þríhnúkagígur you will descend 120 meters into a gigantic chamber, only to be overcome by shimmering hues of pink, blues, and oranges.
The colors inside Þríhnúkagígur are sure enough to dazzle any visitor. The dormant volcano is accessible only accessible with a guided tour. This is one of the best and most unique things to do in Iceland.
Practice Your Horse Riding skills
You know how most people take romantic horseback rides on the beach? You should try riding Icelandic horses through the wild countryside. Trust me – it’s the perfect Iceland vacation idea. Icelandic horses are small in comparison to other horses you may be used to, but they have a very distinctive gait style that makes riding them exceptionally smooth.
The “Tölt” is one of the five gaits of an Icelandic horse and is what makes this breed so different than any other on earth. The Tölt is a natural, fluid gait where at least one foot is always touching the ground. The horses are known for being well natured and strong horses, not to mention beautiful. How can you not love that hair?
We went on a two-hour horse riding adventure together with Hestasport near Varmahlid. It was an amazing time and a chance to learn about Icelandic horse culture. Our guide was very professional and made us feel natural on a horse we had never been on before. Together with our Icelandic horses, we were able to conquer the Iceland countryside and flowing rivers.
Get Out and Hike
Looking for a quick break from the city life while staying in Reykjavik? There is plenty of challenging, yet magnificent hikes to stretch your legs. The best part is you don’t have to travel far to get to them!
Esjan, Glymur, Hveragerði, Gjáin, Seljavallalaug are all located within an hour of Reykjavik and are accessible by public transport (and of course two feet). All of these hikes are well worth a day in my opinion; however, the climb up Esjan is a favorite. Once at the top you are rewarded with a stunning view of Reykjavik.
Of course, if you are able to get outside the city the walking and hiking opportunities are endless. We specifically enjoyed hiking around the Husafell region when we stayed in the beautiful Hotel Husafell in Northern Iceland. This is where the fall foliage really comes alive!
Always prepare yourself for a hike and tell someone about your plans. The weather conditions in Iceland can be extreme and unpredictable and you don’t want to get caught in a bad situation on your honeymoon.
Cozy Up in a Hot Spring
Iceland may be short of McDonald’s, palm trees, and Starbucks, but it does certainly not fall short in the hot spring category. All over the country hot springs and geysers can be found and they are idealistic spots to take a warm (or incredibly hot) dip in.
Don’t forget some local beer and a swimsuit for Icelandic pools! Visitors can visit the famous Blue Lagoon, but we personally don’t recommend that. The admission prices to get into this unnatural lagoon are sky high and it is a tourist trap.
There are plenty of natural hot springs around the country that are free to enjoy and more romantic without all the tourists. There are also geothermal pools in almost every town in Iceland.
The local pools are great for swimming and some hot tubs. The pools are where the locals go to get active and socialize so you may even get to know a few Icelanders while visiting one! Or check out our post on ten awesome hot springs in Iceland.
Be Awestruck by the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, are one of the greatest spectacles on earth! In the winter months, from late September to early April, the Northern Lights are visible from all over Iceland.
Just make sure to get out to the countryside and pack a tripod for photographs to capture the most beautiful hues of the green, pink, purple, and yellow. Jökulsárlón is a very popular place to come during winter months and view the spectacle and is where we spotted the Northern Lights at their best. You can check the Aurora forecast here!
Drive the Golden Circle
For those that don’t have the time to do the whole ring road then I would at least recommend taking a day for a Golden Circle trip. The Golden Circle is a popular 300-kilometer route to looping around Reykjavik. The drive only takes a day and along the route, you can find some of the best of Iceland’s beauty. Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and the geysers Geysir and Strokkur are the main hits of the Golden Circle. You can also see the Kerið volcanic crater and the hot river nearby too.
Like many things in Iceland car rentals can be expensive. Gas is $8 a gallon! However, the most popular form of travel in Iceland is via a tour. The tour will be sure to get you to the best sites on the Golden Circle with none of the stress of driving yourself. Not to mention you won’t miss one of the highlights for lack of knowledge!
Hit the Slopes
In the winter time, Iceland becomes a ski or snowboarding fanatics playground. Iceland has a few different ski resorts around the country so if you are into winter sports Iceland is a great skiing destination.
We personally love snowboarding, but we really weren’t there at the right time of year. For those that visit January through April check out ski resorts near Reykjavik, Akureyri, and Husavik. Or for the truly adventurous you can check out helicopter skiing in Northern Iceland.
There are waterfalls all over Iceland. I can’t give you an exact number as many glaciers will melt and form small waterfalls that feed the rivers. That being said, we can direct you to a few of the more notable ones:
- Goðafoss: Waterfall of the gods in the Northeast
- Háifoss: A bit off the beaten track, but one of the highest in Iceland
- Morsárfoss: Highest waterfall in Iceland
- Dettifoss: The most powerful waterfall in Europe
- Gullfoss: Along the Golden Circle and one of the most popular falls to visit
- Seljalandsfoss: You can stand behind this waterfall
- Skógafoss: Unique waterfall that comes directly from two glaciers
Search for Puffins
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to spot puffins. If you love birds, then this has to be at the top of your Iceland honeymoon “must-dos” list. There are plenty of places around the country to see puffins.
Most notably in Vestmannaeyjar, Látrabjarg, Vigur Island, Papey. If you have a car you can get to these places yourself, or you can hop on a tour and sail just outside of the capital to see them in Akurey, Engey or Lundey. Seeing the puffins is only possible in the summer due to their migration patterns.
Hop on a Snowmobile
To ride on one on top of a glacier in Iceland would really complete an adventurous honeymoon. Snowmobile tours are extremely popular in Iceland and make a great way to get out of the car and actually get even more up close to the incredible glaciers.
Plan Your Romantic Honeymoon in Iceland
When is the Best Time to Visit Iceland?
In my opinion, the best times to visit Iceland are June, July, September, October, and December – but it all depends on what you want! June-August is high season, but it is also summer in Iceland and when you will find the most pleasant temperatures. It’s also when you will experience the most amount of daylight and get the most of our of your trip. December is great because it is winter, you stand a strong chance of seeing the Northern Lights, it’s low season, and the temperatures haven’t gone to complete freezing yet.
However my personal favorite time to travel Iceland is during the fall months. It’s during September and October where you will see the leaves change vibrant colors around the country. Temperatures are still mild, and tourism is slowing down. You can see the full month by month breakdown for Iceland travel here.
Things to do in Iceland
There are literally so many things to do in Iceland I could write a book about it. Unfortunately, I don’t have that kind of time so I’m showing you the ultimate Iceland bucket list here. Some things that are a must do are go to an Iceland swimming pool, soak in a natural hot spring, stand under a waterfall, and see the Northern Lights.
Photography Gear for Iceland
A high-quality camera is an important packing item for Iceland if you want some great shots while on your vacation. We travel with our Fujifilm Camera and 200mm telephoto lens. Drones have sort of taken Iceland by storm, and can capture fantastic footage as well. We had our DJI Mavic in Iceland, but make sure to use your drone responsibly as many locals are getting increasingly annoyed at the sight of them.
Whatever you do do not forget a tripod for Iceland – especially if you plan on photographing the Northern Lights. You’ll need one for the long exposures.
Is Iceland Expensive?
Iceland is mega expensive. One of the most expensive countries in the entire world actually. Make sure that you plan accordingly and in line with your budget. It’s certainly possible to do Iceland on a budget of less than $100 if you are camping, cooking all your own basic meals, and traveling by public transport or score a good deal on a rental. The good news is that nature is free, and you’ll be able to see Iceland’s beauty without paying for it. So yes – it’s completely doable to have an affordable Iceland vacation.
If you plan on drinking be sure to pick yo duty free alcohol before you leave the airport. A pint of beer can easily run you $15-$20!
Helpful Iceland Travel Tips
- Icelanders speak Icelandic, but every single person I came across spoke English.
- The local currency is the Icelandic króna (ISK). ATM’s are found throughout the country
- Have I mentioned Iceland is expensive as hell? Well, it is! Save money by eating in and cooking for yourself. Check out our Iceland grocery store guide for all the tips!
- Iceland is one of the safest countries in the world; however, it’s always important to use common sense when walking alone at night.
- Tipping is not customary in Iceland.
- Iceland has strong internet infrastructure and you should be able to easily stay connected.
- To feel more at home we use Airbnb you can check out some tips and read more about getting an Airbnb coupon code here. Or just take this coupon for your first stay!
- Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend Lonely Planet to get you through those wireless nights.
What to Pack for Iceland
Make sure to protect your eyes from the sun when you’re traveling. There are a lot of options for sunglasses and everyone should own at least a pair. It’s best to make sure they do have UV protection for the health of your eyes.
We made our first investment in quality polarized sunglasses with a pair of SMITH Optics Lowdown 2. Truthfully, not everyone needs to invest $150 in a pair of sunglasses, but they do make a huge difference from the crappy $10 ones.
Goretex Rain Jacket
We’re building up a collection of shell jackets. We always carry one in our pack and they’ve come in handy many times. Weather around the world can be iffy in October, so it’s best to be prepared. They are lightweight, durable, packable, waterproof, and windproof and really a great travel rain jacket. We have a bunch of different shell jackets after several years, but my favorite right now is from Arc’teryx.
Any jacket can do the job, but the top dollar ones will hold up and really help in inclement weather.
I love real books, but for traveling it can be easier to carry a lighter and more compact item like a Kindle. Plus, then you can download new books on the go!
Please consider purchasing a travel water bottle before your trip! We hate to see one time use plastic bottles ending up in the ocean. The tap water is so good here – seriously please don’t be one of those tourists that buys plastic water bottles. It’s a waste of money and plastic!
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Last Updated on March 30, 2020