Iceland: the places worth seeing

What to see in Iceland

Iceland – a northern island state located in one of the most volcanic regions of the world. It seems that the country, covered with snow and ice for most of the year can not be so fire-breathing. But the number of active volcanoes suggests otherwise.

Black sand beach in Iceland

Geothermal activity has spawned no few local resorts. Ancient pools are filled with hot mineral water heated by nature itself. Chronic fatigue, reduced immunity – all this is cured as if by magic.

If you like the noise of big cities, the capital of Iceland – Reykjavik, offers one of the most vibrant nightlife in Europe. However, the lovers of nature will have an incomparably richer choice: volcanoes, geothermal lakes, glaciers, underground caves, national parks, beautiful waterfalls and northern lights.

Waterfall in Iceland

As tourists travel through the country, they begin to believe in trolls, elves, giants and other mythical creatures, which only adds to Iceland’s charm.

What to see first in Iceland

Iceland is a land of smoking volcanoes and charming fishing towns, rushing canyons and majestic fjords, hot springs and fun bars. Below we take a look at a list of the best places in Iceland that should be on every traveler’s menu.

Hadlgrímskirkja Church

Iceland’s main church is located in the capital, Reykjavik. The architect was G. Samuelson. By design, a number of cascading columns are supposed to represent the island’s rugged basalt cliffs. Although some visitors see them not as a landscape, but as the body of a rocket rushing upward. Inside the Lutheran Church is a 15-meter organ by German master J. Claes. For 1000 Icelandic crowns you can climb up to the observation deck of the church, where you can enjoy a beautiful panorama of the whole of Reykjavik.

Tingvellir National Park

Tingvellir National Park

Seeing pristine nature in Iceland is easy. The oldest national park in the country is a 45-minute drive from Reykjavik. Through Tingvellir runs the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the place where the tectonic plates join. There are numerous lakes in the national park where you can go diving. The most popular place for this is the Silfra Rift. The water here is so transparent that the visibility is over a hundred meters and the depth exceeds sixty meters.

Dinyandi Falls.

This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island and one of the noisiest. The roar of water can be heard far beyond Dinyandi. The raging waters plummet down from a height of over a hundred meters. On the ascent to the beginning of Dinyandi, tourists will encounter small waterfalls and streams on their way. There is a campsite at the foot of the falls, but it is not the most peaceful or quiet place to sleep.

Blue Lagoon.

Thermal Springs – Blue Lagoon.

This is perhaps Iceland’s most famous attraction. The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal complex created by nature itself. Heated turquoise water has healing properties. It easily cures skin diseases, nervous exhaustion, diseases related to musculoskeletal apparatus. At the thermal complex operates a professional clinic.

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What to see in Iceland in spring

The best time to visit the country is summer. But if your goal is to see the northern lights in all their glory, it is worth to come to Iceland in spring (until April inclusive).

Northern Lights

Northern Lights in Iceland

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see colorful flashes in the sky. Usually the color of the northern lights is green, but it can also be purple, pink, red and even orange. You can look at the dancing colored highlights from any city; you can even see it in Reykjavik. But it is better to go from the capital to the north, where there is less light pollution, such as Seltjadnarnes.

Viking World Museum

Viking World Museum – source

Long before H. Columbus discovered America, these lands were known to the Vikings. About 1000 A.D., 500 years before the voyage of the Spanish explorer, the Icelandic Viking Leif Eriksson had visited the New World. The Viking World Museum contains an exact replica of the ancient ship on which the Icelanders sailed across the ocean. It was built to prove that such a vessel could cover more than 4,000 miles separating Iceland from North America. In 2000, the voyage took place and was successful. Today, visitors to the museum can tour the hull of the Viking ship and learn more about its history.

Olgerdin Brewery

Olgerdin Brewery

This is the oldest brewery in all of Iceland, opening in 1913. It is worth going there not only to get acquainted with the process of making beer, but also to taste the Icelandic beer. Besides beer they also offer you to taste honey wine, which was especially popular in the Viking Age. And for the stronger ones, you can try schnapps.

Langökull Glacier

This is one of the most picturesque places in Iceland. Langökull Glacier is ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Be sure to try out the snow-covered slopes. If you’re far from skiing, there’s a snowmobile ride available. Fresh air, blue skies and vast expanses of Iceland await you!

Marine excursion “See whales”

Whale Watching Sea Tour

You may think that seeing whales is only possible far away from the coast in the dark waters of the ocean. But that’s not true! To see the giants it is enough to take an excursion from Reykjavik. Dolphins, seabirds and puffins can be found throughout the year. Winter and early spring are ideal for whale watching.

What to see in Iceland in summer

The ideal time to travel in Iceland is summer. Summer has comfortable temperatures and is not as cold and windy as other times of the year. In August the thermometer can reach 20 degrees, which is not insignificant for a Nordic country.

Golden Ring

Valley of Geysers in Iceland.

This is a hiking route that begins and ends in Reykjavik. It is ideal for those who have little time to visit all the beauties of the island and want to see everything. Sites along the route include Tingvellir National Park, Gudlfoss Falls, the Valley of Geysers, and the Kerid Crater Lake.

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Skogafoss Falls

This waterfall owes its fame in part to its accessibility. It is near the village of Skogar and only 5 km from the coast. By Icelandic standards the waterfall is not very powerful: only 61 meters high and less than 25 meters wide. The main highlight of Skogafoss waterfall is a rainbow that appears in sunny weather. If you are lucky, you will be able to capture a double rainbow. For the most energetic, there is a hiking route to the top of the waterfall.

Lake Miwatn

Lake Miwatn claims to be the fourth largest lake in Iceland. It was formed by a volcanic eruption. There are many legends around Miwatn. According to one, it is the place where Satan fell to earth when he was cast out of heaven. And from here he was driven out by the elves, who chose the dark lava formations as their home. The lake does not freeze even in winter, thanks to the volcanic heat. That’s why people swim here all year round. Interestingly, this is where the filming of season 5 of Game of Thrones took place.

Leidarendi Cave

This is a long lava cave that was formed several thousand years ago. In Icelandic, the name of the cave is translated as “The End of the Way”. The cave owes its colorful lava interiors, beautiful stalactites and rock formations to the volcano. The length of the route is 900 meters, which pass in the artificial light of lanterns.

Gudlfoss Waterfall

The waterfall is part of the “Golden Circle” of Iceland. It starts at the Langjökull Glacier, then crosses the Höjkadalur Valley to plummet down from two escarpments with great force. It is worth visiting on its own, as it is only a 90-minute drive from Reykjavik. A few years ago, plans to build a hydroelectric power plant threatened the integrity of the falls, fortunately that didn’t happen.

Atlantic Dead End

Atlantic Dead End – Birds on the Islands of Iceland

Iceland is loved by birdwatchers for the opportunity to observe the largest colony of the Atlantic stalemate. Entire colonies of these birds nest on the country’s islands. Anyone can take a boat and watch deadheads, cormorants, ducks and gulls. Observation during the courtship and nesting period of seabirds is of particular interest.

Ausbirgi Canyon.

In the north-east of the country is Ausbirgi Canyon. The height of the steep walls of the canyon in some places reaches 100 meters. Its length is 3.5 km, and width is only a kilometer. In the center of the canyon towers a rock, which offers a beautiful panorama of the National Park Yokulsaurgluvur. By shape the canyon resembles a horseshoe, which gave rise to many legends about the origin of Ausbirga. According to one of them, it is the imprint of Odin’s horse, Sleipnir.

The most beautiful places in Iceland (+ PHOTO)

Iceland is often called “the land of fire and ice” because of the wide variety of local landscapes that include ancient volcanoes, rumbling waterfalls, creeping glaciers, and amazing black sand beaches. High mountains stretch to the clouds here, surrounded by rolling valleys. The sky, burning with a magical northern glow, is reflected in the clear water of glacial lakes.

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Hryojnfossar waterfall CC0

The Hvytau River is famous for its many small waterfalls, two of which are located just a few steps from each other, near Borgarfjordur in the western part of Iceland. The most famous of the pair is Hröinfossar. This, in turn, is a series of waterfalls, stretching down the river, for 900 meters, and making their way through the rocky deposits of ancient lava. Upstream is the more powerful Barnafoss, which rushes noisily through narrow rocks, carrying tons of crystal-clear water.

Iceland's most beautiful places: Hryojnfossar CC0

Legend has it that two boys drowned here after trying to cross the natural bridge that sits above the river. Hreinfossar, is less powerful than Barnafoss, but much more beautiful. It is beautiful at any time of the year: in the fall the gold and copper of the surrounding trees harmonizes with the milky blue water, while in spring and summer the bright green color of the foliage creates a strong contrast with the dark rocks around.

Sunsets in Westfjords

Sunsets in Westfjords CC0

Although the country best known for its fjords is Norway, the picturesque Westfjords peninsula of Iceland is certainly no worse. Located in the Danish Straits opposite the east coast of Greenland, the peninsula is connected to the Icelandic mainland by a narrow isthmus. The mountainous terrain is covered with fairly steep hills and dozens of beautiful fjords.

Sunsets in Westfjords CC0

The cliffs of Lautrabjarg, at Iceland’s westernmost point, are the largest rock bird nesting area in the North Atlantic. Whole populations of birds live here, such as tupiks, the national bird of Iceland.

Dead ends CC0

Westfjords also has dozens of natural harbors, where in the evenings the last rays of sunlight, highlight the silhouettes of the sheer cliffs, and the red sunset is reflected in the clear blue water surrounded by lush vegetation.

Misty Skogafoss

Misty Skogafoss CC0

Skogafoss is perhaps the most fabulous waterfall in Iceland: water cascades over steep cliffs covered in moss and lichen, tumbling down into the green valley far below. White clouds of water spray rise from the rumbling water, and if you’re lucky, on sunny days you might see a huge rainbow in the air, right at the base of the waterfall. Although Skogafoss is not the highest or largest waterfall in the world, or even in Iceland, there is something magical about it.

Misty Skogafoss CC0

The magnificent scenery is like a magnet that draws the eye. The misty waterfall creates a mysterious atmosphere, enveloping the nearby lush green moss-colored hills and the clear, bright sky overhead. It seems that everything around is saturated with magic, and magical creatures from ancient legends have gathered somewhere nearby to admire the beauty of this place together with you.

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Volcanic Lakes of Askia

Volcanic Lakes Askja

Askja is a volcanic caldera located in the Dyngjufoll Mountains in central Iceland. There are two lakes in the calderas: the large Eskewatn and the small, geothermal Viti. The milky blue color of Viti is characteristic of the volcanic waters of Iceland, the color of the water is due to the increased content of silicone in the water. Both lakes are popular tourist destinations, although they are accessible to tourists only about four months a year, from June to October.

Volcanic Lakes Askja

During the winter, ice and snow prevent access to Askia, and the road is closed until the following summer. Volcano in the place Askia last erupted in 1961 and recently, according to seismologists, is in a state close to the active phase. Tourists can visit the legendary Dragon Canyon, as well as the volcanoes Herdubraid and Kverkfjödl.

At you can also admire other equally beautiful volcanic lakes on Earth.

The indestructible Reynisdragnar

Indestructible Reynisdragnar

Drive about 180 km south of Reykjavik and you’ll find yourself in a small Icelandic village called Vik. Vik is famous for several unique natural phenomena, including black sandy beaches, the Mirdalsjökull glacier and a series of basalt sea cliffs below Mount Reynisfjall.

Beautiful places in Iceland: Indestructible Reynisdragnar CC0.

Local legend has it that they are two trolls who tried to pull a 3-masted ship from the sea to land, but were caught in the sun’s rays at dawn and turned to stone. Surrounded by black sandy beaches and the powerful surf of the North Atlantic seas, Reynisdagnar rises majestically above the waves, ignoring the raging elements around it.

The Lava Fields at Landmannaleighar

The lava fields at Landmannalejgar

Located in the mountains of Iceland, this popular hiking area sits on the edge of a lava field, and is famous for both its natural geothermal hot springs and the surrounding landscape. Narrow trails lead hikers through the nearby mountains and volcanic deserts of the Fjallabak Reserve.

The lava fields at Landmannalejgar

The mountains are a collage of many different colors reflecting their composition: red tones indicative of iron deposits, bright patches of sulfur, and the black and gray of volcanic lava and ash. The landscape is dotted with milky blue lakes, in stark contrast to the bleak hues of the mountain peaks. These are perhaps the most colorful mountains in Iceland and certainly some of the most photographed in the country.

Sunset over the icy lagoon of Jokyulsadlon

Iceland's beautiful places: Sunset over the icy lagoon Jokyulsadlon

Jokyulsadlon is a glacial lake in southeastern Iceland, also known as the “glacial lagoon.” The lake is located on top of the Breiamerkurkjokull glacier. The lake is home to many blue icebergs, pieces of ice that have broken away from the main glacier and are now slowly melting into the water.

Sunset over the icy Jokyulsadlon lagoon

Jokyulsadlon is the deepest lake in Iceland and is considered one of the country’s natural wonders. In the evenings, the setting sun is reflected in the calm waters and the icebergs are colored in the fiery hues of the sunset. The lake looks stunning during the aurora, when the colorful sky, constantly changing, looks at us from the water depths, striking the imagination with its indescribable beauty.

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Northern Lights over Kirkewfell

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Kirkjufetl is one of the highest mountain peaks located on the Snsfallsnes Peninsula in western Iceland. The area is sometimes called “Iceland in miniature” because almost all of Iceland’s most popular tourist attractions and natural wonders can be found here.

Iceland's most beautiful places: Kirkjufetl CC0

Kirkjufetl looks stunning in any light, in any weather and season, its majestic view perhaps carries all the essence of the rugged nature of Iceland. It’s hard not to marvel at the beauty of this mountain when the polar lights, illuminating the velvet night sky behind its peak. Most-beauty highly recommends a visit to this place to every tourist.

Winter Gullfoss.

Winter Gullfoss CC0

Gullfoss is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. The wide Hvytau River, striving south, abruptly turns about a kilometer above the waterfall, and descends a curved, 3-step “staircase,” breaking off into a 32-meter deep crevasse. Gullfoss is part of the Icelandic Golden Circle hiking trail, which is very popular with tourists and also includes a visit to the geysers of Höjkadalur.

Winter Gullfoss CC0

Gullfoss rushes down, despite the low temperatures, and the snowy landscape around it. Fog rises from tons of cold water falling to the ground. On long winter nights, in the light of the moon, the powerful Gullfoss rushes through the snow and ice, like cold blue blood boiling in the icy heart of Iceland.

Colored Vatnaekul

Vatnajökull. The most beautiful places in Iceland

Vatnaekul is a complex of 30 glaciers of Iceland and a lot of small volcanoes, hidden under the ice shell. The last eruption here was very recently – in 2011. Vatnaekul ice contains many sedimentary impurities, which give it different colors, from ghostly blue to deep blue.

Amazingly beautiful places in Iceland: Vatnajökull

The ice caves beneath the Vatnaekul glacier amaze tourists with a fabulous blue glow. Light falling on the surface of the glacier, passes through a dense array of crystals of pure ice, and getting into the caves, makes their walls glow bright blue color. Depending on the weather and time of day, the color of the caves can vary from pale turquoise to a deep purple hue.

Blue Lagoon.

Blue Lagoon. The main attraction in Iceland.

This is perhaps the most popular attraction in Iceland. So much has been written about it that it’s hard to say anything new about it. It is a geothermal lake that is 40 kilometers from Reykjavik and is open to tourists all year round. Here you can not only enjoy the beautiful views of the warm springs, but also swim in them, regardless of the time of year. The water there does not drop below +38 degrees Celsius.


The most beautiful places in Iceland

Every tourist must visit at least a few of these attractions of such a beautiful and extraordinary country like Iceland. We hope that this article was of interest to you.

More pictures of beautiful places in Iceland:

Basalt rods at sunset

Photo: Basalt rods at sunset.

Northern Lights


In the photo: A beautiful landscape in Iceland.


In photo: A beautiful cabin in Bordafjordur.

The Girl

In photo: Beautiful girl among the Icelandic ice.

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