Any trip to Iceland is bound to be unforgettable. After all, hiking on glaciers and volcanoes, getting behind waterfalls and exploring the vast rugged landscapes of our beautiful country are not your everyday experiences. The tricky part is that there’s just so much to see and do that you could end up with serious FOMO or even worse, feel like you’ve done too much to really take it all in!

So Hidden Iceland has invited one of our expert trip planners, Karólína Verdonk, to share her thoughts on what she thinks are the 8 Top Tips for Creating Lasting Memories in Iceland. Who better to give you tips than one of Hidden Iceland’s most experienced trip planners? Take it away, Karólina.

The best vacations are those that leave you with the best memories, not the best pictures



  1. Be active. There are outdoor activities to suit most fitness levels.

  2. Take a breath while taking in the view.

  3. Forget your camera for a bit. Create memories, not Instagram posts.

  4. Be prepared and plan ahead. Book in advance to avoid disappointment.

  5. Don’t forget to relax too! Iceland’s hot pools are natural, beautiful and plentiful!

  6. Do something out of the ordinary. Iceland has plenty to choose from.

  7. Journal. Get it down on paper to reinforce that memory.

  8. Slow down. Iceland has too much to see in one visit so don’t even try.

Hi, I am Karólína, Travel Expert and Trip Planner at Hidden Iceland.

I really enjoy planning trips for our guests and I want them to have the best experience they can get. I am passionate about sustainable and transformational travel and love to share my tips so you can enjoy your trip to Iceland to the fullest. Very often I get requests from people who just want to pack their trip to the brim with activities and sightseeing. While I don’t mind making this planning puzzle work, I’d rather use the tips below when I am creating itineraries, to give you the most amazing experience that will last you for a long time. So here are my top tips for creating lasting memories in Iceland:

1. Be Active

There is so much to see in Iceland that you can just drive around and be amazed by the gorgeous landscapes for weeks on end and never be bored. And I’ll guarantee you’ll have a wonderful time doing so. But if you really want a truly memorable vacation, you’ll want to include activities that really invite you into the landscape to fully experience it.

It is one thing to drive past a glacier and look at it, impressive as it is. It is another to actually walk on top of the glacier, be surrounded by the age old ice and taste the incredibly pure melt water. Or to drive your snowmobile across the endless icy plains. And the mountains in the distance look so pretty, but to experience them up close from a superjeep and then walk in the valleys between them is a whole different ballgame. Any experience that raises your heart rate and increases your adrenaline, even for just a bit, will be lodged in your memories for a long time to come.

Hidden Iceland: In summer we run a glacier hike as part of our Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon two day. In winter we swap out the glacier hike for an incredible trip to a blue ice cave, which are only accessible from November to March.

2. Take A Breath

In our daily lives we often don’t even notice that we are constantly breathing in and out. Paying attention to your breathing is not just a proven meditation technique, it is a great way to bring you to the here-and-now. To what you’re actually experiencing.

So a great way to make anything you experience have more impact, is to stop for a moment and take a breath. Just stand still, take it all in, and breathe. Slow your breath if you can: take a few seconds to breathe in, hold your breath for a moment and then slowly release your breath. Plant both feet firmly on the ground and do nothing but breathe in and out, and take it all in. It’s a great way to forget everything else for a bit and focus all your attention on where you are and what you are doing. And as an extra bonus, you’ll remember this experience much better, so you’ll also get to enjoy the memories more when you’ve returned home.

By the way, did you know that the air in Iceland is incredibly pure? All the more reason to really enjoy breathing, out in nature.

Hidden Iceland: Thankfully, Iceland has no shortage of breath-taking views (pardon the pun). One of the best places to stop off for a moment to catch your breath is at the Dyrhólæy cliff side on the south coast of Iceland that is included on many of the slower private tour itineraries.

3. Forget your camera for a bit

I know, Iceland’s landscapes just beg to be photographed. But when you constantly experience it from behind your phone or camera, you basically get a second hand experience. So when you arrive at a new amazing location, try to resist the temptation to take a photograph. If even just for a few minutes. Focus on the experience itself. Turn around. Look. Take it all in. Breathe. Imprint it in your memory.

And only then, when you’re done, take your time to take a picture. As a wonderful reminder of what you just experienced.

Hidden Iceland: All of Hidden Iceland’s tours give you ample time to take a moment before heading off to the next impressive spot. If you are driving yourself, in our detailed trip itinerary we will always allocate enough time at each stop so it doesn’t turn into the dreaded ‘picture stop’.

4. Prepare

It sounds like a cliché, but nothing helps you better to have a fabulous time than preparation. Iceland isn’t really a country to visit on a whim. It’s only a small country with around 370,000 and many more tourists that visit Iceland mostly in summer. This means that in summer you’ll find that hotels, car rentals, activities and restaurants can be fully booked from quite some time in advance. So you’ll want to plan your visit well in advance to have the best experience with all your preferred hotels, activities and restaurants.

You’ll also want to be prepared for Icelandic weather, as sunny weather and blue skies are not a daily sight in Iceland. Nothing can ruin a day more than being cold and wet. So prepare for your trip with these Top 10 things to pack for Iceland all year round and read our blogs about What to wear in Icelandic summer and Packing for Icelandic winter.

Hidden Iceland: If you are coming during the busier times such as the summer then tours like our 7 + day Grand Circle should be booked far in advance so that we can match the itinerary with our favourite hotels too.

5. Relax

Relaxing is usually the point of many vacations, but somehow it can be a challenge when there is so much to see and do. The good thing is that Icelanders really know how to relax and Iceland provides lots of opportunities to do so. Every village has their own swimming pool with hot tubs. Just join the locals there or visit to one of the many geothermal spas and hot springs around the country. There’s nothing better than to soak in warm water, while you reminisce about what you’ve been seeing and doing.

Of course everybody knows the famous Blue Lagoon. But Iceland has many more options for fantastic relaxation, often located in amazing areas with breathtaking views, such as the Sky Lagoon, Mývatn Nature Baths, Vök Baths, GeoSea, Krauma Spa, Fontana Laugarvatn, Akureyri Forest Baths, the Secret Lagoon, Beer Baths, just to name a few. We’d be happy to include them in your itinerary, especially if you’re going around the island.

6. Do Something Out Of The Ordinary

A great way to make your trip all the more memorable is to do something that is new to you, something that takes you out of your comfort zone, or just do something else from what the crowds do.

Instead of simply wandering along the beach at the glacier lagoon, why not take an adventurous zodiac boat tour that takes you all the way to the glacier wall and close to the icebergs? Never sat on a horse in your life? No worries, the Icelandic horses are small and super friendly, you will love the experience! Instead of visiting an easily accessible ice cave, book a helicopter tour to a secluded ice cave further up the glacier. Take a RIB boat whale watching tour instead of a classic big boat tour to meet the gentle giants even closer. Hop into a SuperJeep. Hike on a volcanic crater. Go white water rafting. Snorkel in glacial melt waters. Zoom over the vast glacier plains on a snowmobile. Or even do an ice climbing tour on the glacier. It is often that thing that was so out of the ordinary, that lifts your whole trip to another level and makes you experience and relive it vividly.

Hidden Iceland: All our private itineraries and self-drives are customisable so simply let us know what activities you want to add in and we’ll work out the best option for you. If you don’t have any ideas already, let us come up with something for you.

7. Journal

You will surely remember your vacation well through all your memories and photos. Journaling is a great addition to that. Especially when you do it on the same evening. Just take 10 minutes after you’ve arrived at your hotel, or after dinner or when you go to bed, to write about your experiences of the day. What struck you the most? What was your favourite moment? And why? Even writing only five lines a day will let you relive the day again as you decide what to write. And you’ll get to relive it again every time you read your journal. How great is that?

8. Slow Down

With all there is to see and do in Iceland, it is tempting to pack your itinerary to the fullest with sightseeing and activities. Of course you want to make the most of your vacation. But you don’t want to need another vacation to recuperate from this one, right? So why not slow down?

Instead of doing the full ring road in 9 days and spending big chunks of your day driving, why not focus on exploring just a part of Iceland? Or plan 14 days instead of 10. Take 2 days to explore the Golden Circle instead of one, and get to explore the hidden gems as well. Instead of jam packing your days, why not leave a morning or afternoon unplanned? Sleep in for a change, and really enjoy the comfort of your wonderful hotel. Or arrive early at your countryside hotel, and take a stroll in the often breathtaking surroundings? Take a long lunch break to enjoy Icelandic cuisine and chat with locals. Or just take your time sightseeing. Sit down on a bench and watch the waters fall down for a bit, instead of checking the waterfall from your list and moving on.

Best Relaxed Hidden Iceland Itineraries:  Immersive South Coast Self Drive (9 + days), Grand Circle At Leisure Self Drive (ca 14 days), Iceland Must See Private Tour Summer (6 days of guided touring), Iceland Must See Private Tour Winter (6 days of guided touring). All our itineraries are custom made, so feel free to send us a request and we’ll be happy to create your slow down itinerary for a relaxed experience.

These are just a few of our tips to help you make your trip to Iceland even more memorable. Our Trip Planning team will be more than happy to help you plan your unforgettable trip to Iceland and apply these tips in the process.

Karólina Verdonk

Hi, I am Karólína, Travel Expert and Trip Planner at Hidden Iceland.

I really enjoy planning trips for our guests and I want them to have the best experience they can get. I am passionate about Transformational Travel and love to share tips so you can enjoy your trip to Iceland to the fullest.

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