Planning a Muslim-friendly trip to Iceland? Find out why you must visit Iceland and what makes it a great travel destination. HalalTrip has compiled various travel tips on how Muslim travelers can explore the beauty of Iceland. Read on for more information.
Iceland is the second largest island in Europe and the most sparsely populated country of the continent. Mostly made of Tundra, considered the inhabitable Highlands of Iceland, its population is concentrated along its coastal region. So why visit Iceland? Well; with its geysers, glacier parks, volcanoes, ice caves, Aurora Borealis and its natural geothermal spa, there are some amazing must-visit places in Iceland for those Muslim travelers who wish to experience a holiday unlike any other.
Travelers to Iceland will have an unimaginable experience filled with rugged and natural beauty unlike any other, and memories to cherish for a lifetime!
Best Sightseeing and Must-do Experiences in Iceland
Majority of the must-see sights and top attractions in Iceland comprise of natural, nature created wonders…Here are 10 ways to experience the beauty of Iceland which will leave you breathless!
1) Northern Lights
The Northern lights can best be seen during the winter the nights when the skies are crisp and clear in Iceland. Visitors may be able to see them in Reykjavik, but the best views will be from somewhere remote and scarcely populated. Seeing the Aurora is possible from August to April anytime between dusk and dawn. So when in Iceland look up the Northern lights forecast website where they will list the Aurora sighting possibility depending on weather. There are also special tours arranged for viewing the Aurora and the longer your stay in Iceland the greater the chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
2) Geysers, Underground Springs and Thermal Pools
The volcanic activity under the surface of the island have created many geysers, underground springs and thermal pools around the country. A visit to one of these naturally occurring phenomena cannot be missed. Go to Strokkur in the southwest of Iceland beside the Hvítá River or Haukadalur in the south of the country to view some of these Geysers.
3) Volcanoes and Lava Fields
A very popular tourist activity in Iceland is a visit to the Hekla volcano, the lava fields and the multicolored rhyolite mountains. While at Landmannalaugar, consider taking a hike or a horse ride through some arresting landscapes that will make you forget you’re on earth. Summer might be the best time to visit as Landmannalaugar is situated in the Highlands of Iceland.
Another popular volcano that requires visiting in Iceland is the Maelifell Volcano which during summer displays its perfect cone shape covered in moss.
4) Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park
The Myrdalsjökull Glacier Park will stun you with its many wondrous sights, including the volcano Katla, ice caves and formations, glaciers covered in volcanic ash, hot springs and other beautiful sites. Some activities that travelers can enjoy include snow scooter, snowmobile, super Jeep, dog sledding and ice climbing tours. As with any natural glacier there are hidden dangers and hence, it is recommended to visit with an experienced guide.
5) Skaftafell Ice Cave
As the name implies, Iceland is covered in ice and snow, and there are is no shortage of ice caves and formations for travelers to explore and view. The Skaftafell Ice Cave, best viewed during the winter, is popular with tourists and recommended to visit with a guide.
6) Blue Lagoon at Grindavík
An experience like no other! A visit to the Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa surrounded by lava fields filled with black volcanic boulders can be done in any weather. Located only 40 minutes away from Reykjavík, this Spa offers a natural bathing experience in milky aquamarine waters together with the modern age entrapments. The water which springs from underground hot springs reaches 370 to 390 Centigrade.
7) National Parks
There are more National Parks in Iceland than you can count on one hand, depending on the length of your vacation, visit any one of these parks - Lakagigar and Laki, Landmannalaugar - Nature Reserve, Lónsöræfi, Öræfajökull Glacier, Skaftafell, Thingvellir National Park, and Vatnajökull National Park - and experience the wonders of Iceland.
8) Kirkjufell Mountain and Kerlingarfjöll Mountains
This beautiful Kirkjufell Mountain situated near a small town, Grundarfjörður in western Iceland, juts out from the surrounding flat landscape, making it a focal point for tourists and seamen alike. Covered in snow during winter and in greenery during the summer, it is surrounded by several small waterfalls where wildlife and birdlife abound. Surrounded by beaches, there is walking trail around the mountain, and those who want to do something more strenuous can climb up to see the bird and fish fossils as well as take in the breathtaking views from the top!
The Kerlingarfjöll Mountains are one of the largest geothermal areas in all of Europe, these mountains are full of small steaming hot springs, mud pools and water fountains, and considered a true a hikers’ paradise.
9) Gullfoss Waterfall
Another popular attractions of Iceland
, the Gullfoss Waterfall, is located in the canyon, which forms three step terraces. The river Hvítá which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier - the Langjökull, plunges down this canyon which creates a powerful waterfall that is spectacular show by nature. The surrounding landscape is beautiful and natural. A tour can easily be arranged and the waterfall that plummets down 32 meters is stronger during the summer and crowned by a rainbow on a sunny day.
Culture and People
Iceland’s cultural heritage is also something travelers must explore. In the south of Iceland, there are many exhibits and museums that showcase the history, geography, geology of the country as well as its art, music and dance. If you are curious about Iceland’s Viking history, then take some time to visit the National and Saga museums in Reykjavik, the Capital of the country situated in the North. Don’t miss out on a visit to the Hallgrimskirkja church and rotating Perlan glass dome restaurant, although Muslim travelers will have to dine on seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Top Activities in Iceland
In addition to sightseeing, Iceland is also a paradise for those Muslim travelers looking for an adventurous and extreme experience holiday. With its volcanoes, mountains, rivers, lakes, glaciers and untamed landscapes, Iceland is an ideal place for all kinds of adventure sports and fun activities including:
- Guided snow mobile trips around Iceland’s glaciers
- Jeep safaris across the highlands of Iceland
- Hiking and walking tours in the glaciers or across mountains with alien landscapes
- Snorkeling between the tectonic plates in Silfra in the Thingvellir National Park
- Skiing and snowboarding on mountains in the North, East and West of Iceland
- White water river rafting down the Hvítá River in South Iceland or Jökulsá River in East Iceland
- Trekking around the country on an Icelandic horse
- Exploring magma chambers and tube caves - Gjábakkahellir Cave near Pingvellir National Park in the summer, and the Leiðarendi Cave in the Bláfjöll area in winter
- Guided ice climbing and walking on the glaciers of Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull
- Whale Watching from May to September
- Taking in the bird like on a bird watching tour
Halal Restaurants in Iceland
There is limited Halal food
available in Iceland. Reykjavik has a few halal restaurants – Shalimar, Ali Baba, Kebab Grill, Mandi and Habibi that serve Halal food, while in other parts of the country, seafood and vegetarian would be the options available for Muslims travelers in non-Halal restaurants.
Mosques in Iceland
There is only one mosque
in Iceland, which is in Reykjavik. Therefore, the limited Muslim-friendly facilities
in Iceland calls for Muslim travelers to carry their prayer mat and Qibla direction compass and be ready to pray in the outdoors or in hotel rooms.
Weather in Iceland
Keep in mind that Iceland has long winters from October to April, where the nights are long but the best time to experience all winter related activities. The summer months start from June and lasts till August, this is the speak tourist season and pre-bookings are a must for tourists.
All in all, remember that the amazing top activities in Iceland will require travelers to be willing to walk, climb and hike. The magnificent must-see sights and attractions in Iceland require visitors to be responsible and opt for hiring experienced guides. And don’t forget your warm clothes as summer can also be cold in Iceland, especially if visiting the Highlands!