Places to Visit in Iceland
From stunning glaciers to geothermal springs and active volcanoes, Iceland is a place centered on nature. Even in Reykjavik, the country’s lively capital, the view of the sea and nearby mountains is very eye-catching. For centuries, this land of fire and ice has been isolated from the rest of Europe and there are many beautiful and attractive places to visit in Iceland.
In this article we are going to share;
15 Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Iceland.
The Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes peninsula, less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik, and is the most popular tourist destination in Iceland. This man-made lake is replenished by superheated seawater discharged from nearby lava flows. Geothermal water contains minerals such as silica, which is considered to be good for health, but it is an opportunity to relax in the steaming lagoon surrounded by black lava that attracts tourists the most. In addition to a restaurant overlooking the lagoon, this 35-room resort also offers a range of comfort facilities, including spa treatments, saunas, steam rooms and a well-equipped fitness room.
Golden Circle Route
The area east of Reykjavík has fascinating unique Iceland attractions, including historical sites, quaint villages, geysers and waterfalls. A number of tour companies offer day trips to areas along the roads and highways collectively referred to as the Golden Circle route. The most popular tourist attractions stop at Gullfoss, where there are huge “golden waterfalls” that pass through the Hvita River Gorge, as well as geyser hot springs, from which the term “geyser” gets its name. The ancient Þingvellir marks the place where Iceland was founded in 930 and is usually included in the tour.
The Northern Lights or Northern Lights is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The aurora is related to the solar wind, which is a stream of ions radiated from the sun.
These particles are captured by the earth’s magnetic field and collide with atmospheric molecules, causing energy bursts, which appear as large circles around the poles. This spectacular natural light show is most suitable for viewing in remote areas and is especially impressive when solar activity increases.
Since the appearance of the Northern Lights is unpredictable, most hotels and accommodation operators can provide you with a nightly forecast before you go to bed and add you to the overnight call list.
Vatnajökull National Park
Vatnajökull National Park has the largest glacier in Europe. Its area is so large that it covers approximately 14% of the country. The park is divided into four separately managed areas. The most visited part is the southern territory of Skaftafell, where trails take you past blue glacier tongues and waterfalls. Brave adventurers can climb the Vatnajokull glacier or explore the long row of craters called Lakagigar. The park also has many easily accessible features, including the mighty Dettifoss, a waterfall known for the volume of water pouring down from its edge.
Few travel experiences in Iceland are more memorable than the sight and sound of an iceberg breaking off a glacier and falling into the sea. The best place to witness this display of natural power is the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. This iceberg-dotted lake is located in southeastern Iceland and is formed by melting ice from the Breidamerkurjokull glacier, which is a major attraction in itself. Although you can watch the slow-moving lakes of floating icebergs from the loop on the island, nothing is more appropriate than watching them up close on the deck of a cruise ship.
Reykjavík is located on the Seltjarnarnes peninsula in southwestern Iceland. It covers an astonishingly large area and is the capital with a population of approximately 120,000. Most visits start from the visitor center located near the picturesque Tjornin Lake on the west side of the city. The National Museum and the Saga Museum are full of exhibits about the Icelandic Viking heritage and are must-see attractions. To enjoy a panoramic view of the capital, take the elevator to the observation deck of the modernist Hallgrimskirkja church in the east of the lake. The central street of Laugavegur is also worth exploring with a series of attractive shops, bars and restaurants.
Lake Myvatn was formed by a hot lava river thousands of years ago and is the best spot for bird watching in Iceland. More than 100 species frequent this lake, feeding on midges, which is why Lake Miyani gets its name. Formed by volcanic eruptions from the water, the so-called pseudo crater that dominates the landscape also attracts tourists. The best place to view the crater is on the southern shore of the lake, close to the rural community of Skutustadir. At Dimmuborgir, a lava field east of Lake Mývatn, pillars, caves and rock forests formed with the loss of water are exhibited.
Raufarholshellir Lava Tunnel
The land of fire and ice has so many fascinating natural elements, visiting a volcano is an exciting science course to understand how volcanoes work. One way to find out is to visit the Raufarhólshellir lava tunnel in southwest Iceland.
At 4,461 feet tall, it is one of the longest lava tubes in the country. You can walk through the cave under the guidance of a guide and get up close to the amazing lava rock formations and colorful walls that are formed under the ground.
Outside the lava tube, you will see stunning green moss covering the crater formed by lava and volcanic eruption. It is only about half an hour’s drive from Reykjavík and can be visited all year round. If you visit in winter, plan to wear a few more layers and sturdy boots in cold and humid conditions.
Thingvellir National Park
As the place where the Icelandic parliament was established in the 10th century, Thingvellir National Park is of great historical significance to the island nation. It is located in the rift valley at the boundary of the two main tectonic plates and is also a geologically significant park. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, the cliffs, cracks, lakes, and evidence of volcanic activity in the valley show the power of earth change in a dramatic way. Iceland’s first national park is a popular day trip destination in Reykjavik, with marked trails that allow you to see the best sights in two or three hours.
Reynisfjara black sand beach
Although Iceland has some fascinating beaches, the black sandy beach of Reynisfjara on the southern coast of the country has an otherworldly appearance. This unique beach is famous for its black sand and rocky sea pillars that protrude from the violent waves from the Atlantic Ocean.
The creepy but breathtaking natural beauty of Reynisfjara Beach is one of the reasons why it was chosen as a filming location for films such as “Star Wars”. The lights of this beach add to its contrasting charm, which is why it is a must-visit for anyone who likes photography.
Like many natural landscapes in Iceland, the black beach of Reynisfjara also has dark folklore associated with it. According to Icelandic legends, the rocky basalt piles were once used by trolls to pull sailing ships ashore at night and turn them into stone at sunrise.
Landmannalaugar is located in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in Iceland’s inland highlands and is famous for its scenic hiking trails. Located on the edge of the lava field, the flat and easily traversed area is also known for its natural hot springs. Popular hikes include short hikes through lava fields and climbing nearby Blahnjukur Mt. Blahnjukur, a rhyolite mountain range that straddles the gravel plain of Landmannalaugar. Tour companies regularly visit the area for day trips during peak seasons, and also provide basic accommodation for overnight stays at the location.
The magnificent Gullfoss Waterfall is located about 90 minutes’ drive west of Reykjavik. The Hvítá River flows into the gorge, forming three levels of terraces, forming a powerful torrent. Gullfoss consists of two cascades; the upper level has a drop of 11 meters and the lower level has a drop of about 21 meters.
Water flows through the Golden Falls at an average speed of 109 cubic meters per second, although the recorded flood speed is almost 20 times astonishing. One caveat: There are no railings or obstacles, just enjoy the excitement of the surrounding environment in nature.
Dettifoss is located in the northern part of Vatnajökull National Park and is indeed an amazing example of the raw power of nature. The waterfall is 45 meters high and 100 meters wide. It is said to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Generally speaking, it is best to be close to the east side of the Jegulsa River, where the roads are better. Along the simple path of Dettifoss, Selfoss is a smaller waterfall, about 1 km upstream, with a drop of about 10 meters. Below Dettifoss, Hafragilsfoss falls from a height of 27 meters into a steep gorge. Driving to Hafragilsfoss is preferable to walking.
Husavik, a small fishing village located in a sheltered bay in northern Iceland, is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best whale watching locations in Europe. The most common species found on cruise ships include minke, humpback and blue whales, as well as white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises. The Husavik Whale Museum exhibits several life-size skeletons, provides a lot of information about whales, and records the history of whaling in Iceland. Husavikurkirkja’s beautiful wooden church was built in 1907 and is also worth a visit.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
When it comes to admiring the natural beauty of Iceland, no area can match the unspoilt wilderness of the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve in the Westfjords. Although the rugged terrain of rugged mountains and steep sea cliffs does bring challenges, Hornstrandir is an ideal place for nature-loving adventurers. However, since there are no shops or services in the reserve, hikers need to be prepared for any emergencies. The top destination for hikers is Hornbjarg, a towering sea cliff at the northernmost end of the reserve. In summer, guide services are provided, allowing you to enjoy this world-class experience in a relatively safe and relaxing environment.