Why Visit Iceland in 2022?

January 10th, 2022

Written by:

Max Naylor

Of all the travel destinations out there, why visit Iceland? And why this year? With flight connections and attractions reopening, you can now travel safely and get the most out of your vacation time. 

And with new places to visit and things to do popping up, there have never been more reasons to go to Iceland. From breathtaking views in the hot Westfjords region to new bathing experiences around the country, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy!

Why visit Iceland now?

There are plenty of brand-new reasons to visit Iceland in 2022, including:

  • A fresh lava field left by the Fagradalsfjall eruption
  • Unspoiled natural beauty in lesser-visited regions, like the Westfjords
  • Exciting new spa experiences near natural hot springs
  • New attractions opening along the Ring Road
  • Easing Covid restrictions and safe reopening of tourist attractions

Of course, any of these new can be paired with tried-and-tested favorites, such as:

  • Classic road trip routes, like the legendary Golden Circle
  • Whale watching boat tours from Reykjavík or Húsavík
  • Bucket-list must-sees, such as black sand beaches and ice caves
  • Northern Lights hunting in the winter season
  • Outdoor activities, like riding an Icelandic horse or diving in the Silfra fissure
  • Relaxing in a hot tub at one of the local swimming pools

What’s new in Iceland for 2022

Here we’ve rounded up what we think are the 5 hottest new things to see and do in Iceland this year.

1. Westfjords

The Westfjords offers miles of unspoiled coastal views

Lonely Planet has highlighted the Westfjords as one of its must-visit destinations for 2022, and it’s easy to see why. This remote region of Northwest Iceland is off the beaten track and home to some of the country’s most unspoiled landscapes.

The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve towards the very north is the star attraction of the Westfjords. Abandoned since the 1950s, the mountain heaths and rocky cliffs have returned to nature. Here you can see the Arctic fox roam free, and the coast is the domain of dozens of seabird species, including the famous puffin.

The Westfjords region is also home to Dynjandi, a multi-tiered, veil-like waterfall and one of Iceland’s most beautiful. 

Dynjandi cascades down the hillside towards the sea

And new to the region this year: a viewing platform at Bolafjall near the town of Bolungarvík. There you’ll be able to safely step over a cliff edge and admire the fantastic view out onto the fjords and ocean.

You’ll find these and a whole host of other breathtaking pearls of nature along the Westfjords Way. This new touring route aims to bring you the best of what the region has to offer. 

Also not to be missed is Ísafjörður, the largest town and unofficial capital of the Westfjords. Home to quaint wooden houses, cafés, and museums, it feels like a massive metropolis after driving through the wilderness.

Plan your own visit with our Ultimate Guide to the Westfjords.

2. Sky Lagoon

The Sky Lagoon near Reykjavík looks straight out onto the sea

Geothermal spas are now a well-established part of any travel experience in Iceland. The one that kicked off the craze was the Blue Lagoon, still amongst the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

Over the past few years, lots of other spas have opened around the country, each offering a different experience. The Sky Lagoon in Kópavogur is the new kid on the block and the first to open in the capital area, near Reykjavík.

Set right on the shore, the lagoon offers incredible views of the Bessastaðir peninsula and North Atlantic. You could even see the 2021 Fagradalsfjall eruption from there when it was in full swing!

You’ll find a range of different bathing experiences, including a large open-air lagoon, wet steam room, dry sauna, hot tubs, and cold baths.

The Sky Lagoon was an early hit with locals thanks to its tranquility and design. The building’s architecture is inspired by traditional Icelandic turf houses, and its turf walls were hand-built by local craftsmen using historic techniques.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re looking for the hottest alternative to the Blue Lagoon.

3. Selfoss ‘old’ town

Mjólkurbú, the rebuilt dairy and food hall in Selfoss town center

It’s hard to drive anywhere along the south coast of Iceland without passing through the growing town of Selfoss. One of the largest in the country, it was seen by some as a great place to stop and refuel, and not much else.

That’s all changed thanks to a new ‘old’ town development just off Route 1 (the Ring Road). Historically, Selfoss was known as the center of the dairy industry in Iceland. One of its most famous outputs is skyr, a thick yogurt-like product that’s taken the world by storm with its high protein and low fat content.

The town’s dairy has now been rebuilt in its original place and design, and is home to a modern food hall packed with local-run restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world. In the basement, you’ll find Skyrland, an interactive exhibit all about Iceland’s most famous milk-based export.

The new ’old’ main street in Selfoss

The dairy sits just off a new main street lined with new ‘old’ buildings. All of them are faithful reproductions of actual buildings that were once found around Iceland. You can read about their histories on plaques on the front of each building.

Selfoss is just a short detour off the main Golden Circle route. So why not spend an afternoon grabbing a tasty lunch and wandering the new ‘old’ town in the capital of Iceland’s south?

4. Zipline Perlan

The new zipline runs from the top of the Perlan building

Perlan, on top of the Öskjuhlíð hill in Reykjavík, has long been one of the best spots to catch a panoramic view of the city. In summer 2021, a new thrilling attraction was added in the form of two 230-meter (750-foot) ziplines.

Now you can strap into a harness and zoom down the hill and over the forest at up to 50 km/h (30 mph). The zipline was a smash hit with Icelanders when it first opened, so make sure you book ahead if you want to have a go!

5. Forest Lagoon

Set to open in early 2022, the Forest Lagoon in North Iceland will be the first bathing experience of its kind in the country. 

A previously unknown geothermal water source was discovered during the construction of a nearby tunnel a few years ago. The locals have now found a use for this pure, naturally heated water that had been going to waste.

As the name suggests, the Forest Lagoon is nestled within a forest on a hillside just outside the town of Akureyri, the capital of Iceland’s north. We expect this will become a must-visit destination almost as soon as it opens, so keep an eye out!

When is the best time to visit Iceland in 2022?

The Dyrhólaey sea stacks near Reynisfjara black sand beach

Choosing when to go to Iceland might seem tricky, but it really comes down to what kind of experience you want to have.

If chasing the Aurora Borealis is top of your list, then you need to go in winter, as they only appear in dark skies. Then you’ll also be able to see Iceland in its snowy, icy glory (a sight definitely worth seeing). Winter is long in Iceland, but October, November, December, and January are all popular months to visit.

Alternatively, if you want to see the midnight sun, enjoy warmer weather with more greenery, and travel to Iceland’s interior, then a summer trip is for you. Summer arrives fairly late in Iceland, so you’d be looking at a trip in June, July, August, or early September.

Of course, February to May is also an option too. That said, winter isn’t truly over until around April, so that’s worth bearing in mind when picking your dates.

Planning your 2022 trip to Iceland

If you’re thinking about a trip to Iceland in 2022, it may well be your first in a few years. So what’s changed, and how do you go about planning everything successfully?

First of all, decide how you want to travel. Are you happy to drive yourself and have the freedom to go wherever you like, whenever you like? Or would you prefer to stay in Reykjavík and join day trips into the countryside?

If you’re planning a summer trip, you might even consider a camping itinerary so you can get close to nature. At the other end of the spectrum, a private tour might suit you if you want to take advantage of the knowledge of a local guide.

However you decide to travel, Iceland Tours has you covered. With our Book with Confidence promise, you’ll have extra peace of mind. Change your travel dates or get a refund should Covid disrupt your plans, all hassle-free.

Also, you can now secure your booking with just a 5% deposit. So why not book an Iceland vacation package today and start looking forward to your 2022 Iceland adventure?

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Written by:

Max Naylor