These days, it can sometimes feel like the pace of life just keeps on speeding up. For many of us, there just doesn’t seem to be time to stop and think, or to simply breathe and ‘be’. It takes a planned vacation to allow us the time out from our regular routine to really slow things down.
So in this article, we are going to take a tour of the most relaxing places in Iceland. These are places where you can be alone with the majesty of nature. Reconnect to the rhythms of the natural world and spend time under the wide-open sky. Feel the elements on your skin and fill your lungs with pristine fresh air.
Any visit to Iceland is all about its natural wonders. And one of the wonderful things about Iceland is that so many of its landscapes are wild and unspoiled. You can hike across vast swathes of countryside unsullied by human habitation. Or gaze up at a dark night sky unpolluted by city lights. In Iceland, you really can come back to nature and reconnect.
In our guide to the most relaxing places in Iceland, we’ll cover the following:
- The best time of year to visit Iceland for the ultimate calm
- The best places to relax in Iceland
- How to travel around Iceland in the most relaxed way
When to visit Iceland
Iceland has become a very popular place to visit in recent years. So during the height of the summer season, it can and does get pretty busy. If you would like to experience Iceland with fewer other visitors around, then plan a visit during the low season.
The busiest months are from June through August, when the days are longer and the weather is more settled. But if you visit Iceland during the shoulder seasons, you’ll find far fewer people around. If you’re lucky, then a visit in April, May or September could even bring summer-like weather conditions.
The winter season can also be a beautiful time to visit Iceland. Snowy landscapes are easy on the eye, and there’s something very calming about gazing out across pristine snowdrifts. There is immense beauty at this time of year. With glaciers and ice caves to visit and the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights dance across the winter sky.
If you can only manage a visit to Iceland in the summer high season, then don’t worry. There are still plenty of places to visit where you can easily get away from the crowds and relax. From hiking to hot springs, Iceland offers opportunities for quiet and calm around every corner.
The most relaxing places in Iceland
1. Myvatn Nature Baths
One of the most relaxing things to do in Iceland has to be soaking in a hot spring pool. Thermal hot springs are everywhere in Iceland and it is very much a way of life here. Icelandic people visit pools and spas regularly, and it is a wonderful way to relax and unwind.
We have all heard of Blue Lagoon, but there are many more hot springs to discover. One of our favorites has to be Myvatn Nature Baths in North Iceland. The thermal pools here are at one end of a large and beautiful lake. The pools here are far less visited than the Blue Lagoon. This means you’ll have all the space and time in the world to wallow in its balmy waters.
There is also a campsite on the shores of Lake Myvatn. So if you’re hiring a camper van for a road trip, it’s a wonderful place to stay. The whole area is very unspoiled and there’s a lot to see and do. Basing yourself here for a few days gives you plenty of time to leisurely enjoy the sights.
2. The Westfjords
The Westfjords is an unspoiled and relatively unvisited region of Iceland. Located up in North Iceland on a large peninsular cut-in with long ocean fjords. Travel here takes time, and the landscapes are only interrupted by a handful of small villages. These villages are mostly on the northern fjords and are calm and quiet.
It is a truly beautiful place for a slow and unhurried road trip. Even during the summer months, you won’t be sharing the Westfjords with many other visitors.
3. The Central Highlands
You can only visit Iceland’s Central Highlands in the summer. But despite this, they still feel incredibly remote and untouched. The Central Highlands’ roads are all F-roads. This means that you can only drive them in a 4x4 vehicle. A fact that ensures there are far fewer visitors here than in much of Iceland. Hiring a 4x4 camper van and spending a full summer’s day traversing the highlands is an incredible experience. The landscapes here are wild and rugged and almost primeval. Aside from the rough roads, you’ll see little other sign of human touch up here.
This region in the Southern Highlands is one of my favorites for summer hiking trips. The hills here are painted an array of wonderful colors. With burnt ocher, orange, green and red, there’s a veritable kaleidoscope of colors to enjoy. It’s not too busy either, despite being in South Iceland.
5. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach
The mesmerizing Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is firmly on the South Iceland tourist trail. Located a short drive from Iceland’s Ring Road route, not far from the town of Vik. When you do visit, you will almost certainly see plenty of other tourists around. But even so, it is a beautiful and relaxing place to be.
Jökulsárlón Glacier is connected to the open ocean by way of a lagoon. So floating in the lagoon waters is an incredible array of icebergs in all shapes and sizes. Seeing these sculptural ice pieces is enthralling and you’ll likely forget all about other people as you gaze at them.
Diamond Beach is found nearby. Much of the ice that floats through the lagoon ends up washed onto the shores here. This is one of Iceland’s famous black sand beaches. So the ice pieces contrast beautifully with the sands and sparkle like diamonds. It is breathtakingly beautiful, especially at sunset.
How to travel to the most relaxing places in Iceland
Many people who visit Iceland choose to stay in hotels and join guided tours. But we’d argue that roaming around on a camper van or a motorhome is a much more relaxing way to travel. True, you will need to plan your own itinerary and figure out some logistics. But the open road offers so much more freedom and independence than a guided tour.
Most of Iceland’s campsites are located in the countryside, close to the national parks, and in beautiful natural surroundings. There is something really special about cooking, eating, and sleeping so close to nature. You are automatically much more connected to the rhythms of the natural world than you are within four walls.
For the ultimate relaxation on your road trip, we recommend taking it slowly. Don’t try to rush around and fit too much in. Instead, plan an unhurried trip that gives you plenty of time to explore. You might even choose to park up your motorhome somewhere special and stay put!