Icelandic bucket list

I thought it might be fun to make a list of things I HAVEN’T done in Iceland yet but want to do…

1.       Whale watching – although I am a huge chicken about boats and feel seasick just thinking about them, I’m going to go on my first whale watching trip in Husavik next year. The odds are around 98% to see them at the right time of year and if I’m suffering on a boat for 3 hours I want to see something! So this trip is about as good as it gets for someone like me and I think it will be a memorable experience for my poor fellow passengers if nothing else!

                               Whales really close up!

  Photo from Gentle Giants Husavik

2.       Visit Iceland in the winter. Ok, the lack of daylight is a problem, but I’d love to see how everything looks with snow. And maybe there are Christmas sales…

3.      See Heimaey Island part of the Westmann Islands and site of a volcanic eruption in 1973. All residents were safely evacuated, and there is still a thriving community. You can visit today and see the lava flow still in place and the effects it had on the town. This is another trip that involves a boat or a small plane, but I think it would be really amazing to see.

4.      The West Fjords – worth a whole trip of their own.

5.       Walk an Icelandic sheepdog – my favourite invite from the recent Inspired by Iceland campaign. Does Mosi have his own fan club yet?  What cute dogs.

Icelandic Sheepdog

6.       Knit my own lopapeysa. If you haven’t got one of these wool sweaters that you see everywhere in Iceland, get one, it’s worth the money! They keep you at just the right temperature somehow whether it’s cold or warm outside. Knitting one might unfortunately always be beyond my capabilities/patience level even with the helpful people at Knitting Iceland’s DVD. 

7.       Run the annual Reyjkavik Half Marathon or Marathon.  I keep looking at the website and then not doing it because it’s an expensive time of year to go. I will do it someday as it looks like a really good race. And it has lots of other foreigners that come to do it who also won’t know where they’re going.

8.       Learn a little bit of Icelandic. Can we have an immersion course for tourists please?

9.       Climb Mount Esja, overlooking Reykjavik. This one is quite doable in the right weather. I’ll skip the glaciers.

Photo from Visit Reykjavik

10.    Drive something with huge tires. Is it weird that I get really, really excited by these cars with big tires??  I don’t think I could stand the excitement of a Super Jeep trip.

I can just see me driving one of these:

"The man wouldn't mind if it came with 44 inch tires" - Ólafur Ragnar Hannesson, Fangavaktin

There are some other Icelandic things that I haven’t done for good reasonÞorrablót food anyone?
I’m always looking for new things to do in Iceland so if you have any suggestions let me know! You can also tell me what’s on your bucket list.

24 thoughts on “Icelandic bucket list

  1. As a fellow Iceland-phile, I am enjoying reading your blog.

    Speaking from experience, you should really try and make it to Iceland Airwaves, the musical festival at the end of October. Five days of all kinds of music, from 12 noon until 4AM everyday. Don’t bother trying to get into the big name shows with foreign acts- the Icelandic artists usually much more interesting. Don’t forget to go to the off- shows, they can be very intimate. If you’d like you can read my account from the last time I went:

    I’ve been dreaming of Iceland again, it might be time for my fifth trip soon!

    • Thank you! I’ve checked yours out and you have a lot of great Icelandic posts which I’ve started on and need to come back to finish!
      And you’re right, I have left the Airwaves out of the bucket list and I shouldn’t have done. I’ve heard from others that the off-shows alone are worth it and you don’t have to bother with the expensive ticketed shows. So this is another thing to look forward to doing someday. I hope you get back there soon.

  2. May i start by saying, i like your bucket list 😉
    You should definitely visit Iceland during winter, it’s a completely different country in the winter. You will see northern lights, for sure in December and January, and if you are a christmas child, well then Iceland is for you during that season. plus new years, we are KNOWN for spending money on fireworks.

    Westfjords ( where i come from ) 🙂 Patreksfjordur to be exact, Westfjords is completely different from other parts of the country.
    Torrablót… Yakk!!.. well, it’s a must try event, but not all Icelander’s (me) like the food, and all houses stink the 23 of December when people eat Skata… not good..

    Airwaves, i agree, must see. But did you know about the first weekend in August?. Every child of Iceland goes out camping that weekend and it’s a huge festival thing. Every year the first weekend in August.

    The jeep thing 🙂 maybe im too used to it, but i think you should definitely try that, take a jeep ride to the glacier.

    Heimaey, good one to see.. Have you thought about going to Vestmannaeyjar?..

    • Thanks for all your good advice, this is just what I need! : )
      Oh, I didn’t realise you were from Westfjords. I know you love your travelling but I think I would be pretty homesick for Iceland. We are going to see a little of the Westfjords next year, but I think to do it well you need to spend a lot more time there.
      No, I didn’t know about the camping thing but I seem to remember Sigur Ros making a point of doing a lot of their concert filming around that time of year. August wouldn’t be my first choice of time to go because of the expense and other tourists (!) but I will come some time to do the race in August.
      Yeah, Vestmannaeyjar is another good place…I wish I had more money! And lots of time off! My bucket list is growing!

      • Yes i do love the travels, but nothing has compared yet to beautiful Iceland 🙂 and especially westfjords. The nature is so different there, i love the mountains and the rugged nature, so beautiful.
        I can see August would’nt be good time to visit Iceland, but for me its the best month 🙂
        And unfortunately, Iceland is getting more expensive, especially for turists :-/ when are you going, do you know yet? feel free to ask if you need any tips about Westfjords, if im there at the same time, i will be pleased to help you guys out if you want, could even give you some “non turist tips” always the best way to travel, get to know the locals and get tips from them 😉

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  8. I’d love to ride an Icelandic horse across real saga scenery 🙂 That would be my number one thing on the bucket list. I’ve ridden one in Sweden which was brilliant, the tolt was so cool.

    The Arnamagnean Institute (sorry if I got the spelling wrong!) to see real medieval saga manuscripts. Mmmm… manuscripts… 🙂 Sorry, mad medievalist here!

    Bathe in the hot springs.

    Paddle in the sea with black sand.

    See places mentioned in the sagas.

    Sleep in a turf hut.

    I’d also want to see majestic scenery, waterfalls, lava fields etc of course.

    • I think you need to book your flights. 🙂 Those are all great ideas, although I’m not sure about the horses. I love the idea of them but every time I try riding them I get scared. We did a ride on Icelandic horses and someone got thrown off. About half of us didn’t want to tolt either but were forced to! All a bit traumatic. I still love the horses.

  9. Love your blog. I’m heading to Iceland in August for the first time. Tracking down family. Have you checked out Svavar Knutur ( “Songs for my Amma” and “Clementine”? Such delicious music and so healthy for my Canadian-Icelandic soul!

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  12. I’ve been working on my own Icelandic bucket list 🙂 I would say Heimaey is a must, although to be honest I wasn’t as impressed with it as I thought I would be. I spent 3 weeks living with relatives in Patreksfjörður this summer, so a lot of my favorite places are in or near the Westfjords – Rauðisandur and Flatey, for instance. Patreksfjörður itself doesn’t have too much to offer, but if you’re ever passing through, get lunch or coffee at the Stúkuhúsið.

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