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With unique geology, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and charming towns, there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Iceland. Here are our favorite places to visit in the land of fire and ice.
Iceland packs a punch.
With a fragile crust, stretched across two tectonic plates and a soul-satisfying personality, there are places to visit in Iceland that are unlike anywhere else in the world.
Standing in a 45-kilometer caldera; wandering through steaming lava fields; witnessing the northern lights. Iceland invokes the senses and baffles the mind.
In a country that’s no bigger than the state of Kentucky, Iceland has a greedy stash of iconic things to do, mesmerizing landmarks, geological wonders, and breathtaking wild vistas.
This guide was decades in the making. Our first trip was over 20 years ago, and 4 visits later we’re still discovering exactly what this country has to offer.
Here are the very best things to do in Iceland.
Booking your trip via the links on this page (or on our book page) will earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support – Paul & Mark.
ICELAND MAP – WHAT TO SEE AND DO
You can find all our favourite places to visit in Iceland on the map below. They are color-coded for each of the different regions of Iceland: southwest, south central, southeast, eastfjords, north, the highlands, and west Iceland.
THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND | SOUTHWEST
1 – GOLDEN CIRCLE (THINGVELLIR, GEYSER, GULFOSS)
The Golden Circle is a driving loop that visits three of the most popular places to visit in Iceland. It’s is easily accessible from Reykjavík. The main stops on the Golden Circle are Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Geysir.
Thingvellir National Park – The Icelandic parliament from the year 930 until 1798, Thingvellir is set in a dramatic location between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates with a clearly visible fault line. Þingvellir is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gullfoss – Golden Falls – is a dramatic Iceland Waterfall, wedged into a crevice of the Hvítá canyon. It falls down a curved staircase in two stages creating a magnificent plume of spray.
Geysir is the famous spouting hot spring that can reach up to 70 meters. It erupts around 3 times a day, but the nearby Strokkur is much more frequent throwing plumes of water into the air every ten to fifteen minutes.
More details are on our guide to driving the Golden Circle Iceland.
2 – BLUE LAGOON
There are plenty of hot springs in Iceland, but none are more famous than the Blue Lagoon.
Although artificially pooled, the water in the Blue Lagoon is naturally heated from the nearby Svartsengi geothermal power station. The milky blue appearance is due to the high content of silica which you can rub on your face to rejuvenate the skin.
Soaking in the pools as steam drifts into the air gives it a magical, ethereal feel and it’s a highlight of any visit to Iceland.
How to get to the Blue Lagoon – The Blue Lagoon is accessible from the main road between Reykjavik and Keflavik Airport (20 minutes from the airport, 50 minutes from Reykjavik).
DETAILS | BLUE LAGOON
cost – IS 8,490 ($58 / £50 / €59) | bookings – bluelagoon.com | parking – onsite and free
3 – FAGRADALSFJALL VOLCANO
Dormant for over 800 years, Fagradalsfjall Volcano came to life in 2021. Spewing molten lava into the air it became Iceland’s latest eruption.
After 5 months the lava flows died down, but in August 20222 the fissure reopened, and lava flowed again for 2 weeks. Today, there is no more vivid illustration of Iceland’s continually changing landscape than Fagradalsfjall.
What to do at Fagradalsfjall – There are several hikes around the volcano area, each going to a different viewpoint. See the eruption site, the cone, and the long winding trail of black steaming lava from different vantage points.
How to get to Fagradalsfjall – Fagradalsfjall Volcano is in the Reykjanes peninsula in the southwest of Iceland. It’s 1 hour drive from Reykjavík or a 45-minute drive from Keflavik Airport.
Read more in our guide to visiting the Fagradalsfjall Volcano.
TOURS | REYKJAVIK TO FAGRADALSFJALL
The easiest way to see Fagradalsfjall is on a guided tour from Reykjavik. This tour includes a guided hike around the area.
BOOK ON GETYOURGUIDE.COM
4 – REYKJADALUR HOT SPRINGS
Meaning ‘Steam Valley’ the whole Reykjadalur area pulsates from the activity beneath the earth’s surface. There are bubbling mud pots & steaming vents surrounded by billowing reeds, succulents, and moss-covered rocks that thrive in the heated waters.
The highlight of visiting is the Reykjadalur Hot Springs, where you can soak in a series of beautiful hot pools set in a thermal river.
The water is a perfect 36°C – 40°C (96°F – 104°F) and the views over the surrounding mountains are wonderful. It’s one of our favorite geothermal pools in Iceland.
How to get there? – Reykjadalur is 45 minutes’ drive from Reykjavík. From the parking lot, it’s a 1-hour walk through a scenic valley to get to the bathing area.
Read more in our complete guide to visiting Reykjadalur Hot Springs.
DETAILS | REYKJADALUR THERMAL RIVER
facilities – there are no facilities at the thermal river, but there is a cafe and toilets in the parking lot | cost – free to enter, however, the parking is 200ISK ($1.50)
5 – REYKJAVÍK
Reykjavík is the capital and largest settlement in Iceland. While the country is blessed with unique natural landmarks, most vacations in Iceland start or end with a visit to the capital.
It is an attractive city with charming old streets, museums, a decidedly cool attitude.
To see all the main attractions, we’d suggest 3 days in Reykjavík.
WHAT TO DO IN REYKJAVÍK
- Take the elevator to the top of Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík’s magnificent 74-meter-high church steeple.
- Visit the extraordinary Harpa Concert Hall with its honeycomb-like design.
- Understand Iceland’s environment at the Perlan Museum of Icelandic Natural Wonders.
- Stroll around the Old Harbour for a taste of Icelandic culture.
6 – NORTHERN LIGHTS
Catching the Northern Lights as they dance gracefully through the clear night sky is one of the unmissable things to do in Iceland.
With a unique landscape of barren mountains, glacial lagoons, and basalt stacks, there are plenty of places to see the northern lights in with a dazzling backdrop.
Best places to see the Northern Lights in Iceland
- Þingvellir National Park – The dramatic location of Thingvellir, free from light pollution is a great place to see the Northern Lights.
- Reykjavík – To get the best views of the Northern Lights from Reykjavik, leave the light pollution of the city behind and head out to Grótta Lighthouse or up onto Perlan & Öskjuhlid Hill.
- Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon – It’s hard to find a setting quite like Jökulsárlón to see the Northern Lights. With the display reflected in the still lagoon, it’s unlike anywhere else.
- Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach – Another popular location is the famous black sand beach on the south coast of Iceland. Read more in our guide to visiting Dyrhólaey.
TOUR | NORTHERN LIGHTS
This Northern Lights bus tour includes entry to the Aurora Museum in Reykjavík on the day of the tour.
7 – SECRET LAGOON
The Secret Lagoon is the oldest swimming pool in the country and another of our favourite geothermal pools in Iceland.
An active nearby geyser provides resource-rich water at just the right temperature to enjoy a hot soak. Consistently between 38-40°C (100 – 104°F), soaking in the Secret Lagoon is a wonderful thing to do in Iceland in summer or winter.
Facilities – Traditional Icelandic showers are available for use before using the pool and there’s a small café area to buy snacks and drinks. Otherwise, the Secret Lagoon has been kept delightfully natural. It’s the perfect place to relax in Iceland.
How to get there? – Secret Lagoon is located in the town of Flúðir, a 5-mile (8-kilometer) detour from the Golden Circle. It’s around 1 hour 40 minutes’ drive from Reykjavík.
DETAILS | SECRET LAGOON
cost – Adults 3300 ISK | Children (0-14) Free | 67+ 2300ISK | bookings – secretlagoon.is
PLACES TO VISIT IN ICELAND | SOUTHCENTRAL
8 – SELJALANDSFOSS & SKÓGAFOSS
Iceland is blessed with a host of dramatic waterfalls.
Two of them, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss are just 25 minutes’ drive from each other. Located right by the Ring Road, they are two unmissable Iceland attractions that are very easty to get to.
For details on how to include these two icons on a road trip, read our 10-day Iceland itinerary.
Skógafoss – One of the most recognizable waterfalls in Iceland with a 25-meter-wide cascade dropping 60 meters over a rocky moss-covered cliff face. Located just off the Ring Road, it’s an easy place to visit on any Iceland road trip.
Seljalandsfoss – A trail allows you to walk behind Seljalandsfoss falls for a unique perspective at night. The waterfall is lit at night, creating a moody atmosphere and making it a must-see attraction in Iceland that you can experience without the crowds.
TOUR | ICELAND’S PREMIER WATERFALLS
See both Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss on this very well-rated tour from Reykjavík which also includes the Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. A trifecta of unmissable Iceland attractions.
BOOK ON GET YOUR GUIDE
9 – DYRHÓLAEY ARCH & REYNISFJARA BLACK SAND BEACH
The Dyrhólaey Peninsula is the southernmost point of mainland Iceland and a picturesque stretch of coastline. It’s a popular stop on the Ring Road with excellent views along the coast and out towards the Mýrdalsjökull Glacier as it slowly creeps towards the coast.
It’s most famous for Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, one of Iceland’s most picturesque locations.
WHAT TO DO ON THE DYRHÓLAEY PENINSULA
- Visit Endless Beach Viewpoint for the most dramatic views of the largest stretch of black sand from the 120-meter-high cliffs.
- Photograph the scenic Dyrholaey Arch.
- Stroll along Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, voted one of the best beaches in the world by National Geographic.
- Dyrhólaey is an important habitat for birdlife. Spot puffins nesting here from May to September.
We’ve included Dyrhólaey and the black sands beach on several of our Iceland itinerary ideas which includes information on how to get there plus tours from Reykjavík,
For more details, read our complete guide to visiting Dyrhólaey.
10 – FJAÐRÁRGLJÚFUR CANYON
Fjaðrárgljúfur is an un-pronounceable canyon in southern Iceland and one of the most scenic places to visit.
The canyon is 100 meters deep and over 2 kilometers long. Its sheer walls are twisted into jagged shapes with moss-covered rocks formed into mini-side canyons from years of erosion.
There are several lookout points a short distance from the car park along an easy path that follows the canyon edge.
How to get there? – Fjaðrárgljúfur is 154 miles from Reykjavík, just off the Ring Road on Road 206. It’s difficult to get there on public transport and day trips are very long. We recommend stopping on our Iceland itinerary.
THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND | SOUTHEAST
11 – SKAFTAFELL NATIONAL PARK
Skaftafell is a wilderness area on the south coast within Vatnajökull National Park with a host of hiking trails that explore the mountainous edges of Vatnajökull, the largest ice cap in Iceland.
There are two highlights in the park well worth hiking to.
Sjónarnípa viewpoint – This is a breathtaking rocky peninsula overlooking an immense tongue of the glacier. It’s a 1-hour hike from the parking lot.
Svartifoss – The second hike is to Svartifoss Waterfall, a beautiful cascade dropping between black basalt columns. It takes 2 hours, 30 minutes to complete the loop of both Sjónarnípa and Svartifoss.
Other things to do at Skaftafell National Park
- Book a Glacier Hike tour to get up close to the Vatnajökul Glacier.
- Hike to the Valley of Kjos, a 10-hour circular hike through woodland, waterfalls, and glacial scenery.
- Explore another world on an Ice Cave Tour including a hike to Falljokull Glacier
DETAILS | SKAFTAFEL NATIONAL PARK
parking – ISK 700 payable on this app | facilities – public toilets, a café, and several food vans.
12 – FJALLSÁRLÓN & JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIAL LAGOON
Fjallsárlón is a glacial lake fed by the Vatnajökull ice cap and one of the unmissable attractions in Iceland. The slow march of the glacier ends at a lagoon pool where icebergs drift on the stillness of the surface.
Nearby, Fjallsárlón’s more famous big brother, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is fed from the mouth of Breiðamerkurjökull, a tiny section of the much larger Vatnajökull ice cap.
Dotted with icebergs that can be several stories high and stained with the volcanic activities of centuries past, Jökulsárlón flows to the nearby Black Diamond Beach where nature serves up a spectacular sight.
WHAT TO DO AT JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIAL LAGOON
- Take a boat tour on the lagoon to get up close to the massive ice blocks.
- See the lagoon pool from this kayaking tour which includes all equipment.
- Follow the river from the lagoon to Diamond Beach to catch seals playing with the floating icebergs.
DETAILS | JÖKULSÁRLÓN GLACIAL LAGOON
facilities – there are toilets and a cafe in the parking lot | tours – boat tours run from May to October | parking – free
13 – VESTRAHORN
Vestrahorn is a dramatic saw-tooth mountain ridge surrounded by a tidal lagoon offering some of the best landscape photography in Iceland.
The mountains were formed 8-11 million years ago by the cooling of magnesium and iron-rich magma. This mineral combination has given Vestrahorn its distinctive and foreboding green-black appearance.
WHAT TO DO AT VESTRAHORN
- Capture the iconic image of Vestrahorn at sunset with the sweep of black sand beach leading towards the towering pinnacles.
- Hike the Red Walk on the Stokksnes Peninsula along the rocky edge of the Atlantic coast.
- Visit the replica Viking Village under Vestrahorn which has been featured in several movies.
Where to stay? – Vestrahorn is privately owned by the Viking Cafe which is the best place to stay to be in the right position for sunrise and sunset.
How to get there? – Vestrahorn is just off the Ring Road in the southwest corner of Iceland around 1 hour from Jökulsárlsón.
Read more in our guide to visiting Vestrahorn.
The area comprises 3 mountain ranges, Vestrahorn, Eystrahorn and Brunnhorn – nicknamed “Batman Mountain” thanks to the peaks resembling the caped crusader.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ICELAND | THE EASTFJORDS
14 – SEYÐISFJÖRÐUR
Seyðisfjörður is a colorful town in the east of Iceland, known for its collection of early 19th-century wooden houses. Occupying a picturesque setting on the edge of a lagoon, Seyðisfjörður is located at the innermost point of the fjord of the same name and is accessed by a scenic drive over the Fjarðarheiði mountain.
The town has a vibrant, welcoming culture with a cool local art scene, some great cafes, and several festivals throughout the year.
THINGS TO DO IN SEYÐISFJÖRÐUR
- Attend one of the summer concerts at The Blue Church (Seyðisfjarðarkirkja) with its famous rainbow flag footpath, to hear Icelandic folks, blues, and jazz.
- Hike along the Fjarðará to Fjarðarselsvirkjun through a forested area with several waterfalls.
- Take the steep 1-kilometer walk up to the Tvisongur Sound Sculpture.
See Seyðisfjörður on our Ring Road itinerary.
15 – HENGIFOSS
Hengifoss is one of the most striking waterfalls in Iceland due to the red clay and back basalt rings formed on the backdrop to the slender 128-meter falls. In a slightly remote part of the east of the country, it’s an adventurous but scenic place to visit in Iceland.
The walk to the falls – The falls are a 2.5-kilometer (1.5 mile) walk from the car park which should take around 1 hour each way. Don’t miss the smaller waterfall, Litlanesfoss around halfway along the walk which is framed by a parade of basalt columns.
How to get there – Hengifoss Parking Lot is a 30-minute drive from Egilsstaðir in the east fjords.
Facilities at Hengifoss – There are toilets at the car park (free) and a food truck serving delicious vegan soup and homemade ice cream.
Read more in our guide to the best waterfalls in Iceland.
16 – STUÐLAGIL CANYON
After the Kárahnjúkar Hydropower Plant was built in 2009, the water levels of the Jökulsá á Brú river dropped, revealing one of Iceland’s most incredible natural formations, the basalt columns of Stuðlagil Canyon.
Rising on either side of a river that changes color with the seasons, Stuðlagil is a steep-sided narrow canyon that has become an Instagram favorite since its unveiling 10 years ago. Perfectly vertical columns eventually twist to gnarled shapes pointing down the river.
How to get there? – Stuðlagil Canyon is in the Jokuldalur Valley in eastern Iceland. It’s 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the town of Egilsstaðir and 140 kilometers (87 miles) from the popular tourist destination of Myvatn
All the details are in our guide to visiting Stuðlagil Canyon.
EAST OR WEST | BEST VIEWS OF STUÐLAGIL
There are viewpoints on both sides of Stuðlagil Canyon, but you need to do the 1-hour hike on the east bank for the best views.
THINGS TO DO IN ICELAND | NORTHERN ICELAND
17 – MÝVATN
Mývatn is an active volcanic area in central north Iceland with a large array of geological features that make it an interesting pitstop to get a taste of the diverse things to do in Iceland.
With steaming lava fields, bubbling mud pots, a huge fissure in the earth’s crust, and excellent geothermal hot springs, Mývatn is an interesting Iceland destination.
With no specific town, just a collection of outdoor experiences, the highlights of Mývatn are spread over a wide area, but it’s one of our favorite locations in the country.
THINGS TO DO AROUND MÝVATN
- Visit the Skútustadagígar pseudo craters, the strange-looking natural formations resembling giant pimples.
- Stroll around Dimmuborgir – a unique landscape where lava drained into theMývatn forming pillars, arches, and caves.
- Check out Grjótagjá, a small cave with a thermal pool where the love scene between Jon Snow and Ygritte in Game of Thrones was filmed.
- Stroll the surreal landscape at Hverir – a burnt orange geothermal landscape of bubbling mud pots and steaming vents.
Read our guide to visiting Mývatn Iceland for more details.
18 – HÚSAVÍK
Húsavík is a fishing village on the north coast of Iceland with a collection of charming colorful houses centered around a small marina. It’s a great place to visit in Iceland, but the main reason for visiting Húsavík is for whale watching.
WHALE SPOTTING AT HÚSAVÍK
From May to September, whales can often be seen from the coast, but to increase your chances take a Traditional Whale Watching Tour with a specialized guide. In July humpback whale sightings are almost guaranteed.
WHAT TO DO AROUND HÚSAVÍK
- Drive the Diamond Circle Road Trip – a 250-kilometer circuit that includes Goðafoss, Dettifoss, and Myvatn.
- Visit the Húsavík Whale Museum for a fascinating insight into their history and biology. (Note – The museum is closed for renovations until March 2023.
- Soak in Geosea Húsavík, a unique hot spring in north Iceland that uses naturally heated, mineral-rich seawater in pools sympathetically built into the environment.
19 – DETTIFOSS
Dropping 44 meters into a narrow canyon, Dettifoss is the largest waterfall by volume in Iceland. It’s estimated that over 3 million US gallons per minute thunder over the falls.
Surrounded by a lunar-like landscape in the Vatnajökul National Park, the falls are fed from the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River which flows from icecap and feeds several other waterfalls in the area.
Dettifoss Viewpoints – There’s an upper and lower viewpoint and given the power of these mighty falls, you can expect to get wet at both.
How to get there? – Dettifoss is a remote waterfall in the north of Iceland around 45 minutes from Myvatn. The west side of Dettifoss is the easiest access point with a paved road from the Ring Road and a large car park that is accessible throughout the year.
20 – GOÐAFOSS
Goðafoss is another popular waterfall in Iceland, more renowned for its beauty than sheer power.
Cascading over a wide horseshoe shape, the falls are between 9 meters and 17 meters high. The low-lying lava fields that surround the area give the water a blue-green pattern, making Goðafoss one of the most picturesque places in Iceland.
The “waterfall of the Gods” is rich in folklore with tales of Christianity, trolls, and pagans adding their own brand of mystery to Goðafoss. There are plenty of opportunities to keep an eye out for mystic creatures on the viewing platforms which are on both the west and east side of the falls.
How to get there? – Goðafoss is on the Ring Road in the north of Iceland. It is 30 minutes drive from Akureyri, the capital of the north, and 40 minutes from Mývatn.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ICELAND | THE HIGHLANDS
21 – ASKJA
Askja is a large volcano situated in the Dyngjufjöll Mountain Range which is part of the Vatnajökull Glacier National Park in the highlands.
The main caldera was formed over 10,000 years ago when the roof of the large magma chamber collapsed in on itself causing a depression that resulted in a whopping 45 square kilometer caldera.
It’s a fascinating place to visit in Iceland with has 2 interlinking calderas from a subsequent eruption and 1 larger crater. In addition, a volcanic eruption in 2014 at nearby Holuhraun which left behind an 85-square-kilometer lava field, has made Askja an important location for scientific study.
THINGS TO DO AT ASKJA
- Hike to the Viti Crater – the burnt orange rim surrounding the milky blue geothermal pool is an unmissable sight at Askja.
- Explore the strange rock formations in the Drekagil Canyon
- Drive to the Holuhraun Lava field, an 85 square kilometer carpet of black lava in Iceland’s desolate interior.
How to get to Askja? – Self-driving to Askja involves an adventurous but achievable journey on some of Iceland’s more challenging F-roads.
Read more in our complete guide to visiting Askja.
22 – KERLINGARFJÖLL
Kerlingarfjöll is a small but stunning mountain range wedged between two glaciers in Iceland’s highlands. Tucked into the snowy peaks around Kerlingarfjöll, the geothermal area of Hveradalir is a fascinating thing to do in Iceland.
The valley with rust-colored rhyolite hills features steaming vents, bubbling mud pots, and boiling rivers coursing through a colorful area devoid of vegetation.
THINGS TO DO AT KERLINGARFJÖLL
- Hike from the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort and over a high, snowy pass to the Hveradalir Geothermal Area.
- Soak in the remote hot springs, 1.5 kilometers upstream from the Kerlingarfjöll Mountain Resort.
- Relax in the nearby Hveravellir hot springs then explore the lava field at Kjalhraun.
How to get to Kerlingarfjöll – The best road to Kerlingarfjöll is the 35 Kjölur Road from Blönduós in north Iceland. This is an unpaved F-road so a 4×4 vehicle is required. The drive should take around 2 hours, 45 minutes one way.
Read more on our guide to visiting Kerlingarfjöll.
23 – LANDMANNALAUGAR
Landmannalaugar is a wilderness area on the edge of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, situated within a massive caldera. Striking colorful mountains, huge rusty craters and steaming lava fields combine to create a wild and scenic area that’s an unmissable place to visit in Iceland.
It’s one of the most accessible sights in the highlands thanks to a relatively easy F-road and tours from several different locations in the area.
THINGS TO DO AT LANDMANNALAUGAR
- On the way to Landmannalaugar, don’t miss Sigöldugljúfur Canyon – a beautiful sheer-sided gorge with a turquoise river.
- Go to the nearby Ljótipollur Crater to see one of the most vibrant rusty-red craters in Iceland with stunning views of the Landmannalaugar mountains.
- HIke the Bláhnúkur Mountain (Blue Peak) trail for 360° views hike of the Landmannalaugar mountains. It could be the single best viewpoint in Iceland.
- Do one of the other great hikes from our guide hiking in Landmannalaugar.
How to get to Landmannalaugar – Landmannalaugar is in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the southern part of the highlands, about 180 kilometers (111 miles) from Reykjavík. The F26/F208 route from the north is the easiest way to drive to Landmannalaugar.
Read more in our complete guide to visiting Landmannalaugar.
24 – HAIFOSS
In our opinion, Haifoss is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Iceland. Here, the River Fossá drops 120 meters as a slender cascade down a sheer rockface layered in multiple colors of orange, brown, and green.
A second waterfall, Granni, drops just beside it, creating a magnificent dual waterfall in a massive, deep canyon. With green fields on the top and several tributaries of the river charging toward the falls, it’s a spectacular sight.
How to get to Haifoss – Haifoss is close to the Golden Circle, but it requires a 4×4 vehicle for a small patch of road that is not regularly maintained. It’s 20 minutes along Route 332 (off Route 32) and it makes an excellent stop on the way to Landmannalaugar.
25 – THÓRSMÖRK
Three mighty rivers all converge on a thin slither of land called Thórsmörk.
Located beneath huge moss-covered mountains and dwarfed by the mighty glaciers of Mýrdalsjökull, Tindfjallajökull and Eyjafjallajökull, the rivers have carved sweeping shapes through the valley floor.
It’s an incredible place to visit in Iceland with breathtaking scenery and some of the best hiking in the country.
WHAT TO DO AT THÓRSMÖRK
- Take the 40-minute hike (one way) up to the viewpoint from Mount Valahnúkur for a stunning view over Thórsmörk.
- Hike the Tindfjöll route for incredible viewpoints and glorious woodlands on narrow trails high up on the valley.
- Visit Stakkholtsgjá a 2-kilometer canyon with steep-sided moss-covered walls and a beautiful waterfall that was used in Game of Thrones.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Thórsmörk is a remote wilderness inaccessible in a normal 2WD or 4×4. The best way to get there is via a super jeep tour which includes a number of interesting stops in southwest Iceland.
Read more in our guide to visiting Thórsmörk.
26 – MAELIFELL
The green cone-shaped volcano of Maelifell rises out of a massive expanse of black sands called Maelifellsandur. The contrast of the huge green cone surrounded by the flat expanse is one of the most awesome spectacles of the desolate beauty of Iceland.
The best view of Maelifell is from the summit of Rauðibotn, a colorful crater with walls a deep shade of rust. From here the green cone rises above the black sands with the aqua swathe of the Hólmsá River in the foreground and the Mýrdalsjökull glacier behind you.
HOW TO GET TO MAELIFELL
Maelifell is in the highlands, just northeast of the massive Mýrdalsjökull Glacier Park.
The easiest route to get to Maelifell is the F232 from the south which leaves the 209 road near Hrífunes in south Iceland. It takes around 3.5 hours to drive there and back and involves a few small river crossings so a 4×4 vehicle is required.
All the details are on our guide to visiting Maelifell Iceland.
27 – HAFRAHVAMMAGLJÚFUR & LAUGAVELLALAUG
Hafrahvammagljúfur is an 8-kilometer canyon in a remote part of the highlands. It drops 200 meters below the barren landscape that surrounds it creating an awe-inspiring scene and a rewarding place to visit in Iceland.
The gorge starts from the Kárahnjúkavirkjun Dam, one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in Iceland.
Best viewing point at Hafrahvammagljúfur — The best viewing point is from a recently constructed viewing platform which is a short walk from the Hafrahvammagljúfur car park.
LAUGAVALLALAUG THERMAL SPRINGS
Just nearby, Laugavallalaug (sometimes referred to as Laugavellir) is one of our favorite hot springs in Iceland. Quite literally in the middle of nowhere, soaking under the naturally heated waterfall as it drops into a small pool overlooking a wide valley, is a rejuvenating secret experience in Iceland.
HOW TO GET THERE?
Laugavallalaug is down a rugged but scenic track off the west side of the F910, around 1 hours drive from Stuðlagil Canyon. The track is easy to drive but bumpy. Both Hafrahvammagljúfur and Laugavallalaug and free parking lots.
28 – LANGJÖKULL GLACIER
Langjökull is the second largest ice cap in Iceland, after Vatnajökull, stretching about 50 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide. In some places, the ice is up to 580 meters thick.
The glacier is in a very active geothermal area with two volcanic systems stretching out in opposite directions underneath the massive expansive of ice, one of which feeds the hot springs at Geysir.
A man-made tunnel has been carved into the ice where you can take a tour to learn more about the unique geology of Langjökull.
HOW TO GET THERE?
To see the best of the glacier you’ll need to join a snowmobile tour, but it is possible to drive to one of the tongues of the glacier in a 4×4 using the 551 and 550 Kaldidalur roads.
PLACES TO VISIT IN ICELAND | WEST ICELAND
29 – WESTFJORDS
The Westfjords is a rugged peninsula of mountains cut by massive fjords stretching out to the Atlantic Ocean in the northwest corner of Iceland. It’s a wild landscape, isolated from the rest of the country by large inlets.
The remoteness of the Westfjords gives it a local charm and a slower pace that can be hard to find in some of the more tourist-focused areas of Iceland.
But it also has some must-visit attractions, including Látrabjarg Cliffs, a spectacular coastal location and one of the most important bird habitats in the world.
WHAT TO DO IN THE WESTFJORDS
- Visit the Látrabjarg Cliffs, one of the best places in Iceland to see puffins as they dive from the dramatic cliffs right beside the trail.
- Drive the switchbacks down to Rauðisandur, a 10-kilometer sweeping beach of red and golden sand.
- Visit Dynjandi, a spectacular waterfall that cascades down a series of tiered staircases.
- Have a local night out at Flateyri, a small community nestled under massive mountains with an awesome local bar scene.
More details are in our guide to the best things to do in the Westfjords.
30 – SNAEFELLSNES & KIRKJUFELL
The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is often described as a mini-Iceland.
A large glacier, red craters, basalt columns, dramatic coastal roads, and beautifully shaped mountains all combine to provide a compact version of all the interesting things to do in Iceland.
WHAT TO DO AT SNAEFELLSNES
- See the amazing Gerðuberg Basalt Cliffs, just off route 54 at the start of the peninsula.
- Visit the Búðir Black Church in its isolated location on the Budhahraun lava field.
- Photograph Kirkjufell (which featured in Game of Thrones) as the backdrop to the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall.
- Lóndrangar Rock Pinnacles is a dramatic stretch of coastline with views across the Snæfellsjökull glacier.
How to get there? – Located just 2-hours from Reykjavík, Snaefellsnes is a great destination in Iceland if you are short on time and want to see a snapshot of what Iceland has to offer.
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