Do you have a dream of visiting Iceland but feel overwhelmed with the amount of things to see and do? Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered with my handy list of top locations to visit in Iceland. Broken down by region, this list will help you plan your Iceland roadtrip with ease. And if you’re looking for hotel and restaurant recommendations, I’ve got you covered there, too. Check out my complete Iceland Travel Guide.
Top Locations to Visit in Iceland
- Seljalandsfoss – The first waterfall you will come to along your drive of the southern coast is Seljalandsfoss. This waterfall is one of my favorites because there is a walking path that goes behind the waterfall. There is also a walking path in front of Seljalandsfoss that leads you to Gljufrabui waterfall located just north of Seljalandsfoss. The walk takes about 10 minutes and the waterfall is partially obscured by the cliff rock, but you can follow a trail to enter the narrow canyon. I would recommend arriving early (around 9am or earlier) to beat all of the tour buses. You do have to pay to park (the machine took credit cards) and it is around $7.00 (USD).
- Skogafoss – Skogafoss is located about 20 minutes from Seljalandsfoss and it’s so stunning and powerful. There are stairs located along the side of the hill beside the waterfall that allow you to walk up and view the waterfall from above. The parking at Skogafoss is free and there is also a gift shop and café on-site.
- Kvernufoss – Another beautiful waterfall that you can walk behind. This one isn’t as popular as Seljalandsfoss, and requires a short hike to reach, so it’s perfect for those that want to avoid the crowds.
- Solheimasandur Plane Wreck – The famous DC-3 plane wreck is located a few miles from Skogafoss and once upon a time you could drive right up to the plane; the plane is on the beach about 2 miles from the road. Unfortunately, tourists weren’t respecting the land, so the local land owners banned vehicles. Now you have to park in a little makeshift parking area on the side of the highway and walk. Make sure you thank all those jerky, inconsiderate visitors for the 4 mile roundtrip hike you have to take now.
- Reynisfjara Beach – Reynisfjara Beach is located just outside the tiny little village of Vik. The beach has these beautiful, massive basalt columns and according to local Icelandic folklore, the columns were once trolls trying to pull ships from the ocean to shore. For any Game of Thrones fans out there, you will also recognize the columns from Season 7 of the show.
- Fjaorargljufur Canyon – The canyon is about 100 meters deep and two kilometers long with the Fjaðrá river flowing through it. Definitely a must see while in Iceland, but please respect the land and don’t be douchy. Make sure you obey any signage and any barriers. They are there for a reason.
- Diamond Beach – A black sand beach where the icebergs from a nearby glacier wash ashore. Many seals call Diamond Beach home, so you’re likely to see some when you visit.
- Hengifoss Waterfall – This is the third highest waterfall in Iceland and must see while on the eastern coast. The hike to the waterfall is about an hour (and it is uphill) so make sure you are prepared.
- Laugarvellir Geothermal Pool – The perfect natural pool to visit in Iceland and a great way to decompress if you’ve been in a car for a long period of time. The water temperature typically stays between 39 and 41 degrees Celsius, but check the water before jumping in.
- Seydisfjordur – Considered the ‘Secret Gem of the East‘, Seydisfjordur is s charming little town with an impressive art scene and only about 700 permanent residents. You’ll probably recognize this town from social media as the one with the rainbow road leading up to a blue church.
- Dettifoss Waterfall – Located in Vatnajökull National Park, Dettifoss is considered to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe and if you’re visiting the northern region, it cannot be missed.
- Lake Myvatn – Known for bird-watching, hiking, and geothermal mud pots, Lake Myvatn is a perfect pitstop for any nature lover.
- Akureyri – Located at the base of Eyjafjörður Fjord in northern Iceland, Akureyri is nicknamed the Capital of North Iceland. It’s the perfect overnight stop on any Ring Road road trip. While you’re there, don’t forget to indulge in an Icelandic hot dog from Pylsuvagninn Akureyri.
The Westfjords Region of Iceland is a large peninsula in northwestern Iceland. It’s absolutely breathtaking and a hidden gem. The region is very remote, and because of this, you won’t find a bunch of tourists. Due to the remoteness, the Westfjords are better experienced over the course of several days. I would recommend at least 3 days in the Westfjords. If you don’t have the time, I would skip the Westfjords and head down the Snaefellsnes peninsula instead, which you can read about in the next section below.
- Hornbjarg – An enormous cliff in the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Hornbjarg is one of the northernmost locations in all of Iceland. There are no roads in the nature reserve, so the only way to access it is via boat from Isafjordur.
- Valagil Waterfall – A short 2km hike from the carpark will take you to Valagil. The hike is relatively easy, but can get muddy depending on the weather.
- Dynjandi Waterfall – Dynjandi isn’t one waterfall, but a series of waterfalls and the largest in the Westfjords.
- Kirkjufellsfoss Falls and Kirkjufell Mountain – A small waterfall with a perfect view of Kirkjufell Mountain located on the north side of Snaefellsnes Peninsula. This is also another location you’ll recognize from Game of Thrones if you watched the show.
- Budakirkja Church – This black wooden church dates back the 19th Century and is located within the Budahraun lava fields.
- Bjarnarfoss Waterall – If you want to avoid crowds, then definitely check out Bjarnarfoss. It’s visible from the road, but not usually overrun with tour buses, which makes it even more enjoyable.
- Arnarstapi – A small fishing village at the foot of Mt. Stapafell on the southern side of Snaefellsnes. Also a great place to stay the night if you’re visiting Snaefellsnes for more than one day.
- The Great Geysir – A popular stop on the Golden Circle and worth a visit if you’ve never seen a geyser before, but be warned that it smells like rotten eggs.
- Thingvellir National Park – Hands down my favorite part of the Golden Circle. Don’t miss the Silfra Fissure and, if you have time and are a certified scuba diver, you can dive the site. If you aren’t, don’t worry you can snorkel, too!
- Gullfoss – Gullfoss waterfall is probably the most popular stop along the Golden Circle. I would recommend getting an early start because Gullfoss gets incredibly busy around 10am once of all the tour buses start showing up.
- Kerid Crater – Kerid Crater is a volcanic crater lake and is approximately three thousand years old! There is a small entrance fee of about about $3.00(USD) to get in, but it’s totally worth it.
Reykjavik is such a cute and walkable town that definitely deserves at least half a day of your time.
- Hallgrimskirkja Church – The best views of Reykjavik can be seen from the top of Hallgrimskirkja. You can purchase tickets to go to the top of the church and I highly recommend it.
- Harpa Concert Hall – Amazing architecture and when the sun shines, the windows glimmer in multiple colors.
- Explore the City by Foot – Downtown Reykjavik is very compact and is easily walkable. Spend a few hours roaming around and enjoy all the shops.
There ya go, there’s the highlight reel of places to see in Iceland. Although this guide is a great start and includes many top locations to visit in Iceland, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track! Iceland is such a beautiful country and full of amazingly wonderful places, so get out there and explore it.
What are some of your top locations to visit in Iceland? Leave me a comment below!