9 famous sights in Iceland.
Iceland is known for its natural attractions. But what exactly is a must-see is the Top 10 Natural Sights in Iceland, with descriptions of how to get there and where to stay.
So. Top 10 places to visit in Iceland:
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1. Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula just a half hour drive from Reykjavik and the same distance from Keflavik International Airport. Here you can not only soak in the famous thermal waters but also apply natural cosmetics.
Blue Lagoon, the Icelandic wonder of the world
The Blue Lagoon was discovered in 1976 during the work at the nearby geothermal power plant. In the years that followed, people began to bathe in the unique water and apply.
2. glacial lagoon Jokulsarlon
Jokulsarlon is a very beautiful place with a hard-to-pronounce Icelandic name. Glacial Lagoon is popular for its icebergs of blue ice, proximity of the glacier and at the same time proximity to the ocean. Here you will have the opportunity not only to observe real icebergs, but also to swim among them on a ship amphibious. Maybe you will be lucky enough to see a new iceberg breaking away from the glacier.
Ice Lagoon Jokulsarlon, Jökulsárlón
In the southeast of Iceland you will find an ice lagoon with large blocks of ice. This icy lagoon has become one of the most popular attractions in Iceland because of its .
3 Tingvellir National Park
Tingvellir National Park is one of the main components of the Golden Ring of Iceland. Many people, due to lack of time, devote very little time to this place, sometimes only a couple of hours. But Tingvellir Park is huge! It has many hiking trails on which you can see and feel the nature of Iceland more fully. Especially through the park Tingvellir passes fault between the American and Eurasian tectonic plates.
Tingvellir National Park, Thingvellir, Þingvellir
Thingvellir National Park Thingvellir National Park is a favorite stop among travelers on Mar.
4. Godafoss Falls
The Godafos Falls are located in the north of Iceland and are part of the popular Diamond Ring Trail. It is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, though it is not too high but its power is overwhelming!
Godafoss Waterfall, Godafoss, Goðafoss
5. The cliffs of Dirkholei, Puffins and the village of Vik
It is in the area of Dirhólei Cape you can see a lot of typical landscapes of Iceland: the beaches with black volcanic sand, coastal rocks, including an interesting hexagonal shape, the symbol of Iceland – a dead end bird, a traditional Icelandic settlement – the village of Vik. In short, it’s a place not to be missed for anything.
Dyrhólaey Rocks, Dyrhólaey – bird sanctuary on the south coast of Iceland
6. Gudlfoss Waterfall
Gullfos Falls are called the most beautiful and one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland . It is also one of the most accessible waterfalls, because it is located near the capital of Iceland Reykjavik and is part of the famous route of the Golden Ring. Above Gudlfoss Falls you can often see a rainbow in the spray of the waterfall, and several observation decks allow you to view the waterfall from different angles.
Gudlfoss or Golden Falls, Gullfoss
7. Geyser Geyser.
Geysers are one of the natural wonders and Iceland is the place where you can experience it up close and personal! Geyser which gave its name to this natural phenomenon now erupts quite rarely and can be “silent” for days and weeks, but you can be lucky. But do not get upset, because right next to it is another geyser Strokkur that erupts with enviable regularity of 7-15 minutes, so you just do not miss its eruption.
The geyser that gave its name to all geysers, Geysir
Geysir is a famous hot spring in the geothermal zone of the Haukadalur Valley, found in the southwest of Iceland.
Making up just one of the landmarks.
8. Muvatn Geothermal Pool
If you’ve already been to the Blue Lagoon, it’s time to explore new places! Or maybe you’re just not interested in visiting the most hyped attractions, or maybe you’re just traveling in the north of Iceland and want to bask in thermal pools – the Müvatn geothermal pools are exactly what you need. Several pools with different water temperatures, steam rooms, a restaurant, and a convenient location – many attractions are nearby: waterfalls, Lake Myvatn, geothermal areas, the ocean shore and whale safari.
Geothermal pool at Lake Mývatn, Jarðböðin við Mývat
The natural thermal springs of Myvatn were discovered in 2004 and soon became a popular tourist attraction in Iceland. At ch.
9. Puffins or cul-de-sacs – the symbol of Iceland
There are few places in Iceland where you can see these colorful birds from the shore and Borgarfjordaholmi is home to one of the largest colonies of these colorful little puffins . All you need to do is get in your car and drive to Borgarfjardaholhoor, the parking lot is right next to where the puffins live.
Borgarfjardarhofn, Borgarfjarðarhöfn is the best place to see tupiks in Iceland!
One of the strongest experiences when visiting Iceland is the chance to see and get up close and personal with the deadheads, called puffins in English. The most famous bird.
10. Colorful Mountains Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar is a place that most people fall in love with from the first moment. Landmannalaugar valley and the colored mountains of Iceland is one of the most incredible places not only in Iceland but also in the world! This place is located 600 meters above sea level, in the middle of the central highland region of Iceland – the Highlands.
The colorful mountains and thermal springs of Landmannalaugar
Landmannalaugar, often called the colored mountains in Russian sources, although the name translates from Icelandic as the land of baths / springs.
11. Svartifoss waterfall
Svartifoss Falls is different from its other Icelandic brethren. It is not as powerful and not the highest, but it is surrounded by beautiful hexagonal basalt columns, which are formed when the volcanic lava solidifies very slowly.
Svartifoss Falls, Svartifoss
In Skaftafell National Park there is a famous tourist attraction – Svartifoss (Black Falls). The name of the waterfall is Svartifoss.
As a result I would like to say that of course it would be difficult to limit your visit to these 10 sights, but it is worth to include these places in your list of “must see”. If you haven’t planned your itinerary to Iceland yet, use our sightseeing map:
Iceland’s map of sights with descriptions
On this map you can find all the most important sights in Iceland. All the sights are shown on a google map, which means you’ll be easy to navigate.
This is our top 10 in Iceland, and you write your top favorite places in Iceland or those you want to visit in the comments.
27 best sights in Iceland
Thanks to its remote location and harsh climate, Iceland has preserved its pristine nature and distinctive culture. The rugged polar landscape and original architecture draws many tourists here.
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Who and why should come to Iceland
Natural reserves, geysers, volcanoes, thermal springs and glaciers are the main attractions of Iceland. They appeal to fans of outdoor activities, hiking and idle contemplation.
Fancifully shaped houses, located at the junction of Gothic and futuristic, will impress fans of ancient architecture and everything unusual. And those who are interested in culture, history and art should visit the art and ethnographic museums in Iceland.
An unusual Lutheran church rises in the center of Reykjavik. It embodies the spirit and beauty of the Nordic country. The futuristic tower, which resembles a mighty geyser, rises up to 75 meters.
The interior resembles an ice cave, and the huge pipes of the organ are associated with a mighty waterfall. Its design was developed in 1937, but the building works began in 1945 and lasted more than 40 years.
Church of Landakotskirkya
Known as the Cathedral of Christ the King, Landakotskirkja is a Catholic church. In a predominantly Lutheran country, this is a rarity. The Neo-Gothic style building was erected in the first half of the 20th century.
The dominant feature of the architectural ensemble is the square tower with a flat roof and lancet windows that let in maximum light. Inside the temple impresses with restrained luxury. Its floor is adorned with elaborate mosaics, and its numerous arches rush into the sky, as if bringing the faithful closer to God.
Harp Concert Hall
This is the largest building in Reykjavik and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture. Built in 2011, the concert hall can seat almost 2,000 people at a time. Here are held festivals, theatrical performances, music shows.
The facade of the building is made entirely of glass. During the day it looks like a bizarre ice crystal, and in the evening, when they light up inside – like a shimmering jewel.
Built in 1787 in Danish colonial style, this cathedral is considered Iceland’s main attraction. But it wasn’t always like this. The spiritual center of the country used to be in the town of Skålholt. The devastating earthquake that accompanied the eruption of the Laki volcano nearly destroyed it.
The bishop and the clergy had to look for a new home. A small church in Reykjavik was chosen. It was rebuilt, enlarged and turned into a cathedral. The interior decoration was completed with a white marble font by local sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen.
Museums and galleries
Harbour House Gallery
Gvydmundjur Gvydmundsson, known by his pseudonym Erro, is considered one of Iceland’s most distinguished artists. He donated almost all of his Surrealist and Pop Art works to the Reykjavik Art Museum.
They gratefully accepted the gift and housed it in a separate building that had previously been used as a warehouse. The impressively sized artwork looks great in the square.
The museum was established in 1863, but it had no room or exhibits. The first artifacts related to the appearance of the Vikings in Iceland were provided by a Danish museum. Gradually the collection grew and included objects of art, so the museum was renamed an antique museum. It became national only in 1950 and moved into its own building in 2004.
The most popular room is called “Birth of a Nation,” with more than 2,000 objects from different eras. Engravings, photographs and paintings are displayed separately.
Iceland is an island nation, so it was only logical for it to have a maritime museum. It is located in Reykjavik and is called Víkin, which means “bay” in Icelandic. Legendary ships and boats are moored at the perpetual mooring near the building. Among them is the Magni, the first ship built in Icelandic shipyards, and the patrol boat Odinn, which saved more than 200 ships from destruction.
The museum itself keeps items related to seafaring and fishing: ship’s logs, binoculars, diving equipment. There is a hall devoted to fishing, where you can see how the gifts of the sea used to be harvested.
This is an open-air folklore farmstead. It aims to preserve the unique but gradually disappearing culture of old Reykjavik. On the impressive size of the area are built old houses made of Norwegian timber and logs taken out by the sea. Their roofs are covered with turf. Tourists can go inside each house and see how a doctor, a postal worker or a prosperous merchant used to live.
The farmstead is constantly running several exhibitions, offering an overview of artifacts found during archaeological excavations, as well as household items and cults of past eras. There are also functioning craft workshops and souvenir shops.
Perlan means “pearl” in Icelandic. The oddly shaped building resembling a daisy used to be a boiler house. Today it’s a cultural center. The petals of the flower house a botanical garden, a cafe, a concert hall and several exhibition halls with permanent and temporary exhibitions. The heart of the daisy is a transparent hemisphere. It has an observation deck.
Art Museum in Akureyri
Akureyri is the second largest city in Iceland with a population of 20 thousand people. The Art Museum was the main event in it in 1993. The museum is situated in the building of a former dairy. On its territory conceptual works of Icelandic sculptors, painters and graphic artists in avant-garde style are exhibited. The museum also hosts theatrical performances, concerts, seminars and conferences.
It is a valley and park of the same name in the southwest. Here in ancient times the Viking Parliament of Althingi gathered. Among the mountains, glaciers and thermal springs epochal decisions were made, on which the development of the country depended.
Located on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge rift, Tingvellir is interesting from a geological point of view. Here you can see how the plates of the 2 continents, the Eurasian and the North American, diverge.
The area of this nature park is 4807 square kilometers. The mountains, which define its landscape, reliably protect it from bad weather. When the rains and winds rage outside the country, the reserve is quiet and peaceful.
Its main attractions are the “Black Waterfall,” named after the color of the surrounding volcanic rocks, a small birch forest and an ice cave. The latter is an unforgettable spectacle.
An amazing place with an almost Martian landscape. The main point of attraction – unusual mountains. They consist of rhyolite, volcanic rock, which over millions of years has been compacted and turned into pyramids with almost perfectly smooth sides.
The rhyolite slopes change color depending on the light, time of day, and weather. They appear burgundy, then pink with a purple hue, piercing blue or yellow.
At the bottom of the valley of Landmannaloygar there is steam from thermal springs and lakes. Winding rivers and waterfalls complete the landscape.
About 8,000 years ago in the north of the country, a powerful earthquake struck the Yökulsau-au-Föötlüm River delta, creating a large canyon. Today it is the Jökulsaurglüvur Reserve, famous for its countless waterfalls, among them Dettifoss. This is the largest waterfall not only in Iceland but also in Europe. Its height is more than 44 meters and a width of 100 meters.
Another attraction of the reserve is the rock Hlödarklehtar. Its bizarre lava ridges make it echo in a way that is not quite normal to hear.
Mountains and volcanoes
Esia volcano last erupted about 3 million years ago. Today it is a jewel in Reykjavik’s natural landscape. On the slope of the ridge there are about a dozen hiking trails of varying difficulty and length. Regardless of the route taken, you can enjoy the breathtaking scenery of northern nature.
Active volcano in the eastern part of the country. Last time it was active in 1965. As a result of eruption in 1875 in the caldera 2 lakes were formed: Eskewatn and Viti.
Eskuvatn has an area of 11 sq. km and is 220 m deep, making it the deepest lake in Iceland. Over time, it has become covered in ice. Viti is strongly inferior to it in size: with a diameter of 100 m its depth does not exceed 7 m. But this lake, on the other hand, is warm. The water temperature there is +27 ° C throughout the year. The dissolved salts and minerals give the lake a milky blue hue.
The most famous active volcano in Iceland is located 110 km from Reykjavik. Its height is only 1491 m, but its small size is compensated by high activity. The first documented evidence of Gekla eruption dates back to 1104. Since then it has erupted more than 20 times.
One of the most powerful eruptions happened in 1159. A layer of ash reached the upper layers of the atmosphere, causing a severe cooling in Europe. In some parts of Scotland and the Netherlands, rivers were frozen all year long.
The mini-glacial period ended only six years later. The last significant eruption of Hecla began in March 1947 and did not end until April 1948.
The canyon is about 4 km long and the height of the rocks is about 1 km. It was formed back in the glacial period, when the river Jökülsau-au-Fjödlüm changed its course as a result of a massive flood.
Today it is a beautiful horseshoe-shaped place with a special microclimate inside. It has proved ideal for the growth of trees and flowering plants, a great rarity in the polar country.
Heingidl is one of the highest volcanoes in Iceland (803 m). The name translates as “sheer rock”, which fully corresponds to its appearance. The slopes of the volcano are almost impregnable cliffs with many tunnels and caves, which, according to local legends, are inhabited by trolls.
The last time the volcano woke up about 2,000 years ago, but it is considered active. Its foothills are rich with geysers and thermal lakes.
This is officially the youngest volcano on Earth. It was born on January 23, 1973 near the fishing town of Heimay and nearly caused its demise. Volunteers from around the country pumped seawater for six months to cool the lava and prevent it from spreading.
Now the volcano is less active, so tourists can climb almost to the very core.
Waterfalls, geysers, and thermal springs
The water temperature in the lagoon does not depend on the season and always stays between +37 ° C +40 ° C. The only things that can cause variations are wind direction and precipitation. Thanks to the high mineral content, the water in the lagoon has a piercing blue color.
Bathing in it provides not only aesthetic pleasure, but also has a health-enhancing effect. The lagoon is 210 m wide and over 2 km long and varies in depth from 1.5 to 2 m.
In the northern part of the country, not far from Akureyri, the Skjaulfandafljöut River rushes down to form the famous Godafoss waterfall, also known as the “Waterfall of God”. Long ago figures of pagan gods stood around it. When the decision was made to convert to Christianity, the unnecessary idols were thrown into the churning abyss.
Godafoss is 12 meters high and about 30 meters wide. It is crescent shaped, and its waters fill a natural basalt basin with crystal clear water.
Heukadalur Valley of Geysers
The valley is located just 500 meters from the volcano Hecla, its pride – 40 hot springs, wrapped in a perpetual fog due to temperature differences in the interior and the air. Here is the oldest geyser on our planet – the Great Geysir. It burst out in 1294 and gave its name to all the hot springs on Earth. Its bowl reaches a diameter of 3 meters, the fountain itself rises to a height of 70 meters, bringing to the surface 230 tons of water.
In 2000 after another earthquake the activity of the geyser decreased and the government of Iceland ordered a canal to reanimate the natural gem. As a result, a large hydrogen sulfide lake appeared in the valley.
This is one of the most beautiful and largest lagoons in Iceland. Its area is approximately 20 square kilometers. The natural landmark was formed as a result of melting glaciers. But here’s the paradox – if the warming process does not slow down, Jokulsarlon could disappear from the face of the earth by the end of this century.
A boat or motorboat ride across the mirror-like surface of the lagoon past several million-year-old blocks of ice is a rare opportunity not to be missed.
Also known as the “Golden Falls,” Gudlfoss is located on the Hvitau River, one of the country’s longest and mightiest rivers. The waterfall is two consecutive cascades, 11 and 21 meters high respectively.
Between them there is a natural viewing platform, which offers an amazing panoramic view. The name “golden” waterfall received because of the rainbow, which always appears here in sunny weather.
One of the most visited waterfalls is located on the river Seljalandsau. It is relatively small – only 60 meters, and at the foot of it stretches a small lake. The main feature of the waterfall is that it can be viewed from all sides – literally walk around in a circle.
The view of the surroundings through the water is impressive. There are also many trails of varying difficulty for hiking near Seljalandfoss.
Lake Kerid, located in the mouth of an extinct volcano, attracts tourists with its almost perfectly round shape and mysterious black water color. The phenomenon is explained by the large amount of volcanic ash deposited at the bottom. Because of this lake seems opaque, despite its relatively shallow depth of 14 meters.
The slopes of the crater leading to the reservoir are covered with traces of volcanic activity. There are several hiking trails around Kerid.