Top 20 Things To See And Do In Iceland

Iceland – Wonder of the World

Rarely do you visit a country where each attraction is prettier than the last. Iceland happens to be one of them. There are landscapes right out of a fairy tale, magnificent waterfalls you have never witnessed before, bubbling hot springs that will take your breath away, hidden caves, dramatic canyons and surreal glaciers that go for miles. Iceland is packed with beauty and diversity.

Watch our Iceland drone video here

Read our guide on how to do Iceland on a budget

Picking up our top favorite experience in Iceland was very hard. After a lot of struggle here we are penning down the list of top 20 places that shouldn’t be missed when visiting Iceland.

1) Thingvellir National Park

This marvelous national park is located in a mighty rift valley where the American and Eurasian continental plates are slowly tearing apart.

You will be welcomed with nice waterfalls.

If you are a die-hard fan of Game of Thrones, you should not miss it.

Apart from Game of Thrones, the other reason this place is extremely famous is Diving and Snorkeling between tectonic plates of the 2 continents. Yes, here you can dive & snorkel between North America and Europe. Silfra is a spectacular underwater wonderland.

 

Thingvellir National Park

 

Diving between tectonic plates of the 2 continents

2) Thórsmörk Valley

This valley is a paradise for hikers. You can hike between the valleys of Þórsmörk and Skógar and along the way you will witness the mesmerizing sight of Eyjafjallajökull. Trail is one of the most picturesque trails we have been to. Vast, dramatic landscapes stretch out for miles and you won’t get enough of the panoramic view.

 

Hiking trail in Thórsmörk Valley

 

 

Hiking in beautiful Thórsmörk Valley

 

Canyon in Thórsmörk Valley

3) Gullfoss Waterfall

This massive waterfall is located in the canyon of the Hvítá River. You will find many spectacular rainbows. An easy drive from Reykjavik along the Golden Circle makes it one of the most popular touristic spots in Iceland.

Gullfoss Waterfall

 

Admiring surreal view of Gullfoss Waterfall

4) Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is certainly one of the jewels in Iceland’s crown – full of beautiful hiking trails, stunning untouched natural beauty, colored dramatic hills and bubbling sulphur springs. After your hike, you will be rewarded with a natural hot spring at the camp. Landmannalaugar is every hiker’s dream which offers incredible panoramic views in every direction and endless awe-inspiring sights.

 

Panoramic landscape of Landmannalaugar

 

Hiking in Landmannalaugar

 

View of Landmannalaugar to die for

5) Kirkjufell Volcano

Probably this site was one of the reasons we started planning our trip to Iceland. Located in the north of Iceland in Snæfellsnes peninsula, Kirkufell volcano has been a filming location for many movies. It really is a picturesque, inspiring and peaceful place. It’s beauty is straight out of a painting.

Kirkjufell Volcano

 

 

 

Midnight Sun near Kirkjufell Volcano

Need some photo inspiration read our photo blog here for Iceland

6) Reykjadalur Hot Spring

Reykjadalur means “Steam Valley” and this place definitely holds up to its name. If you ever wanted to soak in a natural hot spring in the middle of the mountains, then this is the place for you.  And it’s not only the hot spring that is spectacular, a 3 km of hike that leads to this natural marvel is full of bright turquoise water, green valleys and geothermal hot spots.

Reykjadalur Hot Spring

 

Hike towards Reykjadalur Hot Spring

Top 5 Hot Springs To Visit In Iceland For Free

7) Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Snaefellsnes Peninsula is also known as “Iceland in Miniature” because of the diversity of its landscape. It is a day trip from Reykjavik and is full of mesmerizing landscapes, lava fields, breathtaking waterfalls, volcanoes, hot springs and many fishing villages.

Snæfellsnes Peninsula

 

Breathtaking Snæfellsnes Peninsula

8) Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

Iceland is full of beautiful waterfalls. But what special about this waterfall is that you can walk behind it and see it from a completely different perspective. You can hike up a bit and you will be able to see the source of the waterfall too. We promise, it is a stunning view and worth the hike.

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

 

Behind the Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

9) Jökulsárlón Lagoon

Jökulsárlón means “glacier’s river lagoon”. The landscape is breathtaking and is full of broken icebergs. This is one of the most picturesque spots in Iceland and hence, is a paradise for photographers. Contrast of the black beach and white icebergs in the backdrop is jaw-droppingly beautiful.

Jökulsárlón Lagoon

 

10) Geysir

Located in Haukadalur, 2 famous geysers can be found in this geothermal area, Geysir and Strokkur. Apparently, Geysir was the first geyser known to modern Europeans who then decided to call all geysers after it. Geysir actually does not erupt any longer but its neighbor Strokkur explodes up to 70 meters in the air every 10-15 minutes. Make sure you witness it.

Strokkur Geyser explodes up to 70 meters in the air

11) Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

Fjaðrárgljúfur is a stunningly magnificent canyon, about 2 km long and 100 meters deep. Deep in the canyon you will witness beautiful waterfalls. The walking path along the canyon offers some dramatic and stunning views.

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon

12) Reynisdrangar Cliff

This stunning cliff is located in the south of Iceland on the Reynisfjara Beach. Its stacked columns of different size and shape come out of the ocean and make this place so memorable. The Reynisfjara Beach was actually voted as one of the top ten most beautiful non-tropical beaches in the world and you’ll know why when you see it.

Reynisdrangar Cliff

 

Reynisfjara Beach

13) Dettifoss and Selfoss Waterfall

The power of nature can be witnessed in all its glory at the Dettifoss waterfall, one of Iceland’s most iconic sights. It is the largest waterfall in Europe (100 mt wide and has a drop of 45 mts). This truly is nature at its most spectacular.

Selfoss is another waterfall located about 1 km from the mighty Dettifoss and is about 10 mt high. You will see many incredible rainbows here. 

Dettifoss Waterfall

 

Selfoss Waterfall

14) Skaftafell National Park (Svartifoss Waterfall)

Skaftafell is an incredible mountainous region in the south of Iceland. The area offers an amazing place to view diverse and stunning terrain, active volcanoes, valleys, glaciers and endless flat sandy plains. Svartifoss waterfall is the signature attraction of Skaftafell National Park.

Svartifoss Waterfall

15) Viti Crater

Viti Crater is another Icelandic surreal landscape. It is a circular crater filled with blue turquoise water, surrounded by colorful mountains and geothermal area.

16) Namafjall Hverir

Namafjall Hverir is a geothermal area that feels like some other planet altogether. Namafjall is the mountain overlooking Hverir, a geothermal area with fumaroles and boiling mud pots. The terrain boasts shades of green, red, white and yellow. Scenery of the surrounding is surreal.

Namafjall Hverir – a martian landscape

 

Warming up at Hverir

17) Grjótagjá

If you love caves and you love hot springs, this is the place for you. Grjótagjá is a lava cave near Lake Myvatn and inside the cave you can find irresistible hot spring. During summer, water temperature could get very high, so it is not recommended to take a dip. However during winter, just jump in and enjoy the bath. Game of Thrones famous scene was shot here where Jon Snow and Ygritte got “very close” for the first time.

Grjótagjá Hot Springs

18) Goðafoss waterfall

Also known as Waterfall of the Gods, Goðafoss is one of the largest waterfalls in Iceland. It is 12 meters tall and 30 meters wide located one hour drive from Akureyri. 

Goðafoss Waterfall

 

Woke up to this view 🙂

19) Kolugljúfur Gorge and Waterfall

This isn’t a very famous stop and you won’t find many tourists here. That is actually where the beauty lies. Beauty that is so untouched and unexplored. Kolugljúfur canyon is absolutely stunning, a sight that will leave no one unmoved. On the other side of the road lies breathtaking Kolugljúfur waterfalls. You will witness a surreal sight where the calm waters of the river suddenly leap over so many impressive falls.

Kolugljúfur Gorge

Kolugljúfur Waterfall

20) Glaumbaer

This is a lovely historic turf house site located in Skagafjörður in North Iceland.

Again it isn’t a very famous spot but it should not be missed on your trip to Iceland. People lived in Glaumbær turf houses until 1947. If you have a look inside, you can see how life in Iceland was back in the 18th and 19th century. 

 

Icelandic turf houses

If you are interested in glacier walk read full guide here

Iceland is one place where journey is as beautiful as the destination. So while driving you will be stopping a lot (like every 5 minutes, no kidding). So make sure to account for those stops when planning your trip. Here are some pictures from our journey:

If only traffic jam to office was this pretty

 

Stop the car and enjoy the misty breeze

 

 

Old ruined house on the way to Vik

 

Icelandic beauty

 

This was our top 20 favorite places. Have you visited Iceland yet? If so, what was your favorite place?

Tell us if you would like to know more about planning a trip to Iceland.

Author: Low Cost Travellers

60 Comments

  1. Yet another wonderful collection of photos on Iceland! This place is so beautiful that’s its almost unreal. I was reading somewhere that Iceland is not among the most overly-visited destinations in the world, in the same category as Venice. Hop its able to retain its untouched appeal.

  2. Iceland is truly a haven for all things natural beauty! I am amazed by all the otherworldly landscapes you’ve featured here. The waterfalls are also breathtaking. And the icelandic horses look so photogenic! I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and your photos have proven why!

  3. Iceland might just be one of the most beautiful countries I’ve been to. I think it holds that title as I didnt know what to expect prior to going and it left such an imprint. Great breakdown of some of what there is to see. I swam the Silfra Fuissure as well – defintily a must for anyone going.

  4. Iceland is awesome no other country like it. It is really high on my list. Its my dream to visit Iceland as soon as possible. Your photos are awesome making me more eager to visit….great

  5. First of all, I would say your photography looks really awesome. It exceeds expectations in a travel blog. I have never been to Iceland but it will definitely be added to wish list. Hot spring in Iceland sound so exiting for me and your post will make any traveler to love the nature more and more as well.

  6. As usual, your pictures are absolutely breathtaking, especially of Kirkjufell Volcano and Diamond Beach. Iceland is at the top of my bucket list right now but I also want to catch the Northern Lights so I’m aiming to travel next winter. Is it the most beautiful country you’ve been to till date?

    1. Thanks Medha so much. Yes Iceland is our fav country so far. I am sure Iceland is amazing in any season but only things is there is so much to see in Iceland that I am not sure if 6 hours sunlight will be enough to see everything. But watching Northern lights in Iceland will be an experience in itself.

  7. I’m reading so many posts on Iceland of late. Guess so many bloggers and travelers and heading to the country… I’m yet to go there. So thanks for this detailed guide on what I shouldn’t miss when I plan my itinerary. Diving between tectonic plates of 2 continents?? Whoa, that’s thrilling!!!

    1. Thanks so much. Yes Iceland needs to be in every person’s bucket list. diving between the tectonic plates was thrilling experience.

  8. I was in Iceland 3 years ago, and did many of the thing in your list. I didn’t swim in the hot springs, that would have been cool! Beautiful photos of an amazing country.

  9. Love your pics and all the things you’ve listed here but I would love to see Landmannalaugar. I have just written a post on where to go next which I’m sure you’ve seen or will do soon. After reading this post I think I should change it and put Iceland on it haha.

  10. You got me with the first sentence LOL because I thought the same exact thing when I was there! I didn’t get a chance to see much of Iceland besides the southern rim. Kirkjufell Volcano is a must next time.

    And you have such pretty outfits!

    1. Thanks so much Jojo. Kirkjufell volcano was one of our fav spot. And visiting it during the midnight sun made it even more wonderful.

  11. How you were able to, arrow the list to 20 is remarkable. I am sure there are even more spectacular places to see. The list is incredible and the places you listed are nothing short of breathtaking. Truly a beautiful unspoiled country. Hopefully they are able to keep this country beautiful for a long time.

  12. Iceland is wonderland. The hot spring!!!! The waterfall!!!!!!! The landscape!!!!! I’m wowed. I must visit Iceland in this life time. These sights are a beauty to behold. The thought of me in at Godafoss Waterfall thrills me

  13. Oh gosh, this is making me SO excited to visit Iceland next year! How long were you there? Unfortunately, I only have 6 days, so I will probably miss out on a lot of this 🙁

  14. I’m so desperate to travel to Iceland. Your pictures are truly truly breathtaking, I just can’t imagine how beautiful it is to see it all. And the noise too – I can really imagine perfect stillness with just the sounds of those waterfalls crashing. Such natural beauty!

  15. These photos are incredible! You really touched on the best things to see in Iceland. I was only there for 3 days in the winter and saw a small fraction of it, so I definitely want to go back in summer to see it in a different light.

  16. I’m actually off to Iceland in December for 5 days, so I’ve bookmarked this to come back to! I love the sound of some of these activities and excursions, so will be adding them to my plans 🙂 x

  17. Iceland is so beautiful! It is one of the places on my bucket list. Someday, I’ll be able to afford to travel, and I really want to see Goðafoss waterfall!

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