10 Best Places to Visit in Iceland

Martina Rosado
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Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

If you have time for a proper break, then try to head to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. This is definitely one of the most gorgeous walks that you've ever had the good fortune to be part of. You'll wonder how you've ever lived without the place. It's that magnificent.

Hornstrandir is a coastal nature reserve that sits on Iceland's Northern Peninsula. This area is one that's so full of life that you'll be sure that you've never seen anything like it before.

The walking is not the joyous part, but rather a joyless trek that is set amongst rough terrain. You may find yourself coiling up in baby-like huddles in order to avoid getting wet from the cold and the harsh winds. Others, however, may be in for a surprising experience. The sea here is pregnant with life. If you’re a seal or whale watcher, then be prepared to be a part of an amazing event. Hundreds of seals play and frolic in the wild sea right before your eyes.

You will see the scope of the variety of species that love to come here, and not only that, but there's lots more room for you to do the same.

The area is rich with opportunities to enjoy many different walks. You can attempt some of the tougher trails, but then again, you can opt for just wandering through the fjords.

Husavik

Husavik is an Icelandic fishing village located on the western coast of Iceland. There are plenty of accommodations available, and the ocean is a ten-minute drive. A stop at the Kromurhus museum is a must.

The interesting exhibits include a stuffed whale’s head, a whole whale skeleton, as well as fossilized remains. There are also traditional Icelandic hand and power tools exhibited, and the Krakorti folk museum exhibits traditional Icelandic items, ranging from sheepskin clothing to dry goods from the olden days.

Husavik is the perfect place to walk around and discover the wonders of the town. There are plenty of shops to make your visit enjoyable. A visit to the cinema can be arranged, and those who are interested in history can view an Icelandic house built in the 1880’s.

The area is also ideal for those with a love for the outdoors. The area overlooks the ocean, which is a perfect place to go birdwatching. There are many opportunities for hiking, and the Ingolfafoss Waterfall is just a short drive away.

Rock shops and glass shops are also available here, and the nearest airport is only a thirty-minute drive away, which makes Husavik a great spot for travelers.

Landmannalaugar

Landmannalaugar is the start of the Laugavegur (elevation gain) that lead to the highest point in Iceland, Surtsey. The direct route is a rugged and demanding 22 kilometres (14 mi) with almost 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) of elevation gain in four kilometres (2.5 mi).

This route is usually done in a day and should only be attempted on foot when you’re fully fit and acclimatised. You can also do the same drive and hike on horseback. The horses are allowed and it is an excellent way to get the most out of this short hike.

Landmannalaugar is known for its natural beauty and access to waterfalls. The area features lava fields, similar to many other areas in Iceland, but the ones in Landmannalaugar are unspoilt and rich in history. This uninhabited valley of mountains and waterfalls became a popular on-road, off-road and just plain off-the-track destination for difficult and adventurous drivers from around the world.

In 1974, a landslide at Liajavallalaug pushed the waterfall into the valley behind it, creating a new waterfall. Landmannalaugar is now very popular during the summer time due to the waterfall, its geothermal pools and the activities that can be done there.

Thingvellir National Park

Myvatn

Lake, Tolna.

This lake is located in the south of Iceland and is part of the larger site called Myvatn Nature Reserve. This place is a major home to Icelandic puffins. Since 2008, puffin watching expeditions have been running at the lake’s edge. On the shore, there is a puffin museum, a theater dedicated to puffins and the film, and a tourist office.

The lake is also the base for a 9-hour horse-riding trip through the Jokulsargljufur National Park. On the way, you will stop at the Myvatn Nature Baths, which are located on the island that is at the southern end of the lake.

One of the best reasons to visit is the bird watching. Many water birds, mud birds and ducks can be observed here and there is a huge variety of tundra flowers.

Reykjavik

Jokulsarlon

If you know Iceland at all, you probably know that it isn’t a place to take pictures. Sure, you can get a good picture when the sun is beaming, but once the sun drops below the horizon, the photos just turn dark and unexciting.

But one spot that you need to take pictures at any time of day or night is Jokulsarlon. Iceland’s most famous glacier lagoon is the perfect spot for photographers. The lagoon is surrounded by hundreds of glacial tongues, which are floating blocks of ice.

The ice tongues are constantly bobbing up and down in the lagoon, giving you a perfect photo opportunity at any time of day. In fact, Jokulsarlon is often Iceland’s most visited tourist spot.

The surrounding volcanic geothermal land runs through the center of the lagoon, and if you walk a few steps out onto it, you’ll get the opportunity to see a boiling mudpot, steam vents, and a mountain of mud, which is made up of minerals from entering the lagoon. There are even giant black sand beaches that you can wade through.

As you take in the beauty of the lagoon, remember not to forget that the glaciers are melting at a rapid pace. If you catch the changing landscape, you can make it into a large photo.

Vatnajokull National Park

On the cusp of Iceland's middle and Highlands, Vatnajokull National Park is a land of extremes. Due to its proximity to the Highlands the region has been protected since the 1930s.

This protected reserve has over 7,000 feet of ice-covered mountains that is snow-covered nine months a year! Roughly 2,000 years ago the glacier covered most of Iceland but has receded from roughly .3 to .6 miles since 1000 AD.

That’s right. That means that the glacier reached all the way to the capital of Reykjavik (North Iceland) before retreating around 1000 AD! Vatnajokull was also one of the most active volcanoes during the last few hundred years, with around 200 eruptions over the last 100 years.

Vatnajokull is home to some of the best hiking trails in all of Iceland, and its breath-taking surroundings are an awesome sight. This is where the famous Tongue of Fire canyon is located. It’s this natural land bridge where you can walk to the icebergs that have floated into the lake and plop into the water!

Golden Circle Route

The Golden Circle Route is the most popular tourist route in Iceland and one of the highlights is the magnificent Gullfoss waterfall.

The Golden Circle route is also referred to as the Fun Loop. This route includes the Geysir geothermal area, Haukadalur and Kerid Crater. Along the way, there will be many off road areas where you can stop for a short break.

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a geothermal spa, and this amazing place is located on the island of Landeyjahökull. The main feature of the Blue Lagoon is its clear, silky blue waters.

Inside this lagoon, you and your loved ones will be able to find a wide variety of warm and cool people. If you have never been to the Blue Lagoon, you don’t know what you’re missing, as there are so many other things to do here, including various whirlpools, a variety of saunas to try, and many other wonderful things.

This incredible spa is affordable, and it will be a great place to spend some fun time in Iceland with your friends and family.