Are you looking for the best places to visit in Iceland? You’re in the right place. If Iceland isn’t on your must-visit list, it probably should be! This country offers numerous authentic experiences that you won’t soon forget.
15 of the Best Places to Visit in Iceland
From its capital city of Reykjavik to a fascinating tour around its Golden Circle, Iceland will quickly make a lasting impression on you. The country’s dramatic volcanic landscape is another must-visit destination, with many other authentic attractions sure to pique your curiosity.
Are you ready to explore the best of what Iceland has to offer? We’ll walk you through the country’s most stunning landscapes, luxurious experiences, and must-see destinations.
You’ll also learn why Reykjavik is one destination you won’t want to miss and why swimming in Blue Lagoon is an otherworldly experience. So, let’s get to it! Here are 15 of the best places to visit in Iceland.
Reykjavik is the pulsating capital of Iceland, laden with spectacular scenery and a myriad of activities you won’t find anywhere else. From lively nightlife to eclectic shops and restaurants, Reykjavik provides an unforgettable experience for everyone who visits!
For those who love to shop, Laugavegur street in downtown Reykjavik is the perfect destination. Here you can find an array of stores selling items from clothing designed by local designers to high-end jewelry crafted by world-renowned artists such as Bjork Gudmundsdottir.
The city is home to many attractions, such as the Hallgrímskirkja church, which stands tall over the skyline and offers fantastic views from its observation deck.
The Harpa Concert Hall is also worth visiting with its unique architecture and beautiful interior design. For those who love nature, there are plenty of parks in Reykjavik, including Tjörnin lake, where you can take a peaceful stroll or rent a boat for fun on the water.
2. The Blue Lagoon
Visit the awe-inspiring natural wonder of the Blue Lagoon, located on a tiny island in Iceland’s captivatingly pristine lagoon. Revel in its brilliant blue waters and marvel at its remarkable geothermal landscape – an absolute must-see sight!
At the Blue Lagoon, you’ll find more than just a relaxing soak in its mineral-rich waters. The area also features a luxurious spa with treatments like massages and facials and restaurants serving traditional Icelandic cuisine.
There’s even an artificial beach where visitors can sunbathe or participate in activities like snorkeling or kayaking. Plus, there’s plenty of room to explore nearby caves and waterfalls!
Read Next: The Best Time to Visit the Blue Lagoon in 2023
3. Golden Circle
The Golden Circle is a popular tourist destination in some of the country’s most iconic sites. It includes impressive stops. One of them is the Geysir geothermal area.
Just downriver from Gullfoss lies Geysir geothermal area — an active hot spring region with bubbling mud pools and exploding geysers!
The main attraction here is the Strokkur geyser which erupts every 5-10 minutes shooting boiling water up to 30 meters (100 feet) high!
Plenty of other smaller hot springs are scattered throughout this area, so visitors can get close enough to feel their warmth while admiring the unique colors created by mineral deposits!
4. Snæfellsnes Peninsula
Snæfellsnes Peninsula is a stunningly beautiful area of Iceland located on the western coast. It’s known for its rugged landscapes, majestic mountains, and picturesque villages.
It boasts an array of incredible natural attractions that will take your breath away. From towering volcanoes to thundering waterfalls, there are plenty of awe-inspiring sights to explore here.
One of the volcanoes is Snæfellsjökull. The iconic Snæfellsjökull volcano is one of the highlights; it stands at 1,446 meters tall and can be seen from miles around!
Other must-see spots include:
- Kirkjufell Mountain, with its distinctive peak shape
- Gerðuberg Cliffs – hexagonal basalt columns formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago.
As well as admiring the scenery from afar, visitors can get up close and personal with nature on Snæfellsnes Peninsula thanks to its wide range of available activities.
5. Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the most breathtaking places in Iceland. Located on the south coast, it’s a glacial lake filled with icebergs that have broken off from Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
It is full of floating icebergs constantly shifting and moving around as they melt into the water. The bright blue color of these massive chunks of ice creates an incredible contrast against the black sand beach nearby.
Visitors can also spot seals swimming around, searching for food, or lounging on the icebergs. In addition, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of whales passing by during their migration season!
Aside from just seeing, visitors can take boat tours through the lagoon to get up close and personal with these majestic glaciers and wildlife surrounding them. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are options for kayaking or paddle boarding between the ice formations!
6. Þingvellir National Park
Þingvellir National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. It has been an important site since 930 AD when it was established as the world’s first parliament by Viking settlers.
This area has seen many changes and still holds much of its original charm today. The park is home to some of Iceland’s oldest historical sites and beautiful natural scenery.
It’s also an excellent place for outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and more. Visitors can explore ancient ruins such as Althingi (the old Parliament), Law Rock (where laws were declared), and other archaeological sites from centuries ago.
Several churches in the area offer insight into Icelandic culture and history through their architecture and artifacts.
7. Húsavík Whale Watching Tour
Do you love watching whales? Húsavík, Iceland, is one of the best places to go whale watching. Its unique location on the northern coast of Iceland offers unparalleled views and opportunities for spotting whales in their natural habitat.
The Húsavík Whale Watching Tour takes you out into the bay, where you can see some of these majestic creatures up close and personal.
The tour starts with a boat ride out into Skjálfandi Bay, where you’ll have a chance to spot minke whales, humpback whales, dolphins, and porpoises swimming around in their natural environment.
You’ll be accompanied by experienced guides who share exciting facts about each species and teach you how to identify them from afar using binoculars or other optical aids. After your time at sea, you’ll return to shore with many memories and photos that will last a lifetime!
8. Vestmannaeyjar Islands
Vestmannaeyjar Islands, also known as the Westman Islands, are a small archipelago located off the south coast of Iceland.
The islands are home to some of the most stunning European landscapes and offer visitors an unforgettable experience. The Islands consist of 15 main islands and numerous smaller ones.
These islands range from tiny rocky outcrops to large expanses of land with lush vegetation and dramatic cliffs that plunge into the sea below. The largest island is Heimaey, which has a population of about 4500 people living there year-round.
Other popular destinations include:
- Surtsey Island (a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
- Elliðaey Island (home to thousands of puffins)
- Thórshöfn (known for its excellent fishing)
Additionally, nature lovers can explore miles upon miles of hiking trails. At the same time, birdwatchers can observe some rare species, such as Atlantic Puffins or Gannets at Elliðaey Island or Eldfell volcano on Heimaey Island respectively.
9. Myvatn Nature Baths
Myvatn Nature Baths, located northeast of Iceland, is a unique and popular tourist attraction. It offers visitors an opportunity to relax and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of this part of the country.
The baths are two large hot pools surrounded by lava fields and steaming geothermal vents. The water temperature ranges from 37°C to 40°C (98-104°F), making it perfect for soaking away your stress or enjoying a peaceful moment in nature.
The baths offer many amenities such as changing rooms, showers, toilets, lockers for storing valuables, sun loungers for relaxing on the terrace area overlooking the lake, and even massage services if you want to treat yourself after a long day exploring!
10. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
In recent years, Seljalandsfoss Waterfall has become a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Reykjavik and ease of access. Located just south of Reykjavik, this stunning waterfall plunges 200 feet into a deep pool below.
The waterfall is easily accessible from the Ring Road and can be seen from both sides, making it a popular spot for visitors to explore. The main feature of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall is its sheer size.
At 200 feet tall, it towers over everything else in the area! Additionally, there are several caves behind the falls that you can explore if you’re brave enough!
11. Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park lies at the base of the Vatnajökull glacier, making it one of the largest glaciers in Europe. It is part of Vatnajökull National Park, which covers an area of over 13,000 square kilometers and includes some of the most spectacular landscapes in Europe.
The park has been designed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique geological features and diverse wildlife. It is home to many species, including arctic foxes, reindeer, ptarmigans, and golden eagles.
Visitors may even spot whales swimming offshore during certain times throughout the year! Additionally, there are plenty of opportunities for bird watching here, too – so remember your binoculars!
12. Dynjandi Waterfall
Dynjandi Waterfall can be found in the Westfjords region of Iceland, near the town of Ísafjarðardjúp. This area is known for its rugged landscape and dramatic scenery, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking or camping.
The waterfall cascades down from over 100 meters and has multiple tiers, creating an impressive display of power and beauty. It’s no wonder why Dynjandi Waterfall is considered one of Iceland’s most iconic natural wonders!
There are plenty of things to do here, including taking panoramic photos, exploring nearby trails, fishing off rocks into deep pools below the falls, and even swimming if you’re brave enough!
If you’d rather stay dry while admiring this majestic waterfall, there are also several viewing platforms where you can take it all in without getting wet.
13. Glymur Waterfall
Standing at 198 meters (650 feet) tall, Glymur is the highest waterfall in Iceland and one of its most spectacular sights.
Located in Hvalfjörður fjord, it can be reached by a short hike from the parking lot along a well-marked path that winds through some beautiful scenery.
The trail leads to two viewing platforms with stunning views of the mighty cascade as it plunges into the depths below.
- The first platform offers an up-close view of the falls and allows visitors to feel its power firsthand as they stand just meters away from where it crashes into the canyon below.
- The second platform provides a more distant perspective, allowing visitors to take in its grandeur without getting too close to any potential danger points around the edge of the cliff face.
Alongside breathtaking views of Glymur itself, hikers pass through lush green meadows filled with wildflowers and towering cliffs covered in mossy lichen – truly an unforgettable experience!
14. Kerid Crater Lake
The Kerid crater was formed about 3,000 years ago when a volcano erupted and left behind this unique natural wonder.
It has been estimated that the hole is around 55 meters deep and 170 meters wide, while its circumference measures 270 meters across.
The walls are made up of colorful volcanic rock, which gives off an incredible hue when seen from above or below the lake’s surface. The bright blue water contrasts with the surrounding landscape, creating a mesmerizing view that will take your breath away.
There are plenty of activities to do at Kerid crater lake! You can swim in its crystal clear waters or participate in bird watching as many species flock here during summer.
15. Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach
The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is located near Vik, a small fishing village on the south coast of Iceland. It can be reached via Route 1 (the Ring Road) from Reykjavik or Vik. It is known for its black sand, created by volcanic activity.
The beach also features basalt columns, and sea stacks carved out by the waves crashing against them over time.
At Reynisfjara, there are plenty of activities to enjoy! Visitors can participate in birdwatching as many species make their home here, including puffins, guillemots, fulmars, and razorbills, among others!
Things to Consider
There are a few things to consider when planning a trip to Iceland:
- Weather: It can be cold and wet in the winter months, while summers tend to be milder with more sunshine. Be sure to pack accordingly!
- Accommodations: There are plenty of hotels and hostels available for those on a budget, as well as luxury resorts for those looking for something more upscale.
- Budget: Budgeting is key when traveling abroad, so make sure you plan and have enough money saved up before you go. Consider researching different activities that interest you and how much they cost so, you don’t overspend once you arrive in Iceland.
- Transportation: Car rentals or public transportation may be necessary depending on where exactly you plan on going during your stay in Iceland.
- Local Culture & Customs: Icelandic culture is rich and varied, with many unique customs that are important to the local population. For instance, greeting someone in Iceland typically begins with a hug! You should also take off your shoes before entering someone else’s home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions about visiting Iceland:
What is the best time to visit Iceland?
The best time to visit Iceland depends on what you’re looking for. If you want warmer temperatures and longer days, summer (June-August) is ideal.
How much does it cost to travel to Iceland?
Traveling in Iceland can be expensive due to its remote location and limited resources. Accommodation costs vary depending on where you stay but expect prices between $50-$200 per night for a hotel room or hostel bed.
Is it safe to travel alone in Iceland?
Yes, traveling alone in Iceland is generally considered safe as long as travelers take basic safety precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night and keeping valuables out of sight when exploring tourist areas.
Are there any visa requirements for visiting Iceland?
Citizens from certain countries may need a visa before entering Icelandic territory. However, this requirement varies based on nationality, so check your specific situation before purchasing tickets or booking your Icelandic accommodations.
What kind of clothing should I bring when visiting Iceland?
Keep weather conditions in mind when packing clothes for your trip – even during summer, temperatures can drop significantly, so layers are essential. Bring waterproof jackets and shoes, warm sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarves – all necessary items for extended periods outdoors.
So, What Is the Best Place to Visit in Iceland?
With so many unique options available in Iceland, it’s hard to land on just one destination above all others. However, the Blue Lagoon offers visitors an unforgettable and luxurious experience while traveling through this beautiful country.
You can also go for a road trip and visit the delights of Þingvellir, Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, or the country’s capital of Reykjavík, which offers a unique mix of culture and entertainment.
Whichever you decide to explore, Iceland is sure to offer something that you will truly enjoy and never forget. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to this stunning country today!