Learn about the highlights of the different regions and select the one(s) that you would like to visit during your stay in Iceland. If you want our advice based on what you have selected above, just tick the ‘Advice me’ box.
The south of Iceland has many attractions and is very rich in natural history and culture.
There is big bang for your nature “buck” here, and you can see some of Iceland’s most stunning waterfalls, experience the geysers erupt as well as walk and climb on glaciers. There are also two national parks in the south; Þingvellir and Vatnajökull’s national park. Visit Þingvellir to see where the Icelandic Parliament was established in 930. There is also a continental drift between the North American and Eurasian Plates in Þingvellir, the main of which is known as Almannagjá. The black sand beaches will overwhelm and the glacier lagoon always stands up to expectations. Anywhere from the edge of Reykjavik to the town Höfn.
The north is truly unique. It is often called a land of contrasts because its long valleys and peninsulas are bestrewn with mountains and its lava fields and smooth hills are carved out by rivers. The Vatnajökull National Park (Same one as is mentioned in the South region) stretches to the very impressive canyon called Ásbyrgi and the most powerful waterfall in Europe; Dettifoss. In the category of nature there is also lake Mývatn with all its beauty that is well worthy of your visit.
There are quite a few towns in the area north, but the biggest one is Akureyri which is the second largest urban area in Iceland. It is, as all of Iceland, very rich in history and culture. The downtown is filled with nineteenth century wooden houses which makes the town very charming. There is plenty to see and discover in the north of Iceland. You can enjoy activities such as Whale Watching, Horse riding, geothermal bathing, hiking and much, much more.
The East beholds wonders that are yours to discover. The east coast is home to Iceland’s largest forest and is an area of small islands and fjords. There are also impressive magma chambers which have colorful mineral deposits which can be seen and visited along the coast. The east is definitely an enchanting region where you can find Iceland’s most attractive aspects, culture and a flourishing society. In Summer there are several arts and music festivals in this region which are very popular among inhabitants. In the east you can find Iceland’s only wild reindeers. They live at higher elevations in summer but seek to lower grasslands in the winter. In addition you can find the arctic fox, hundreds of seals and beautiful birdlife. The east is, as most of Iceland, rich in history and culture. History reveals itself in every fjord or village, either through museums, ruins or other historical sites. East Iceland has loads of places to stay and the people to greet you.
The west coast of Iceland has so much to offer you. This area beholds so many natural wonders and interesting sites that bypassers are advised to slow down so that they will be able to enjoy better. This broad area consists of valleys, fjords, glaciers, craters and volcanoes. The region has many opportunities for hiking and mountain climbing with incredible views. Lets not forget the magnificent surroundings in the Snæfellsjökull national park, the only one that ranges to the sea. And at last, but not least, there is the mystical volcano Snæfellsjökull which is one of the highest energy centers on Earth. The volcano has influenced poets and artists, the most known being Jules Verne’s book; journey to the center of the earth. The towns in the region are mostly by the sea and their atmosphere is truly unique. The west is a comfortable and a popular destination.
The Westfjords are doubtlessly one of Iceland’s best kept secrets. Its isolation and the fact that it is a mainly unpopulated region makes the area rather unspoiled. Hornstrandir is a good example of pristine wilderness. Hornstrandir are located in the northwestern corner of the Westfjords. It is an unpopulated peninsula with preserved nature. It is really a paradise for a variety of birds as well as the arctic fox. The westernmost point of europe, Látrabjarg, is not only known for that but it is also a bird cliff with a variety of species. As you may have figured out by now the Westfjords are a pure Icelandic wilderness and the optimal place for spotting the arctic fox, birds and other amazing animals in their natural habitat. Apart from having spectacular nature the westfjords also have very lively towns and villages. As the westfjords have a strong relation to the ocean, all of the towns are situated by the sea as they were and are primarily based on fishing. And as well as anywhere else in Iceland there are museums dedicated to sorcery, witchcraft and the creatures of the sea. The westfjords are yours to discover!
Reykjavík is a rather small capital with a population of 120.000, but in all of the capital area live over 200.000. The city is not noise nor crowded. Traffic jams are rare, skyscrapers are still few and everywhere you go there is a familiar face. This doesn’t mean that the city is boring. On the contrary its steady flow of events and energy keeps it lively and enjoyable. The city’s downtown is so rich of art and other cultural scenes. There is something so delightful about the idea of just walking down the city’s streets, maybe wander into some museums and then sit down in a cozy café afterwards. The city gets especially lively in the summertime with loads of events happening each day and there is always a concert somewhere to be enjoyed. Reykjavík is generally the gateway to the Icelandic Experience. Each day there is a handful of trips that can be taken from the city and to the surrounding mountains, glaciers, hot springs and etc. Combining the number of things to do inside the city to the tours to be enjoyed outside of it will give you countless ways of fully exploiting your stay.
Want to experience a geothermal wonder? The Reykjanes peninsula is the place! Aside of hosting the International Airport and the spectacular Blue lagoon, the peninsula is a stunning destination all on its own. Throughout the region you can see the dramatic, rocky landscape that consists of volcanic craters, caves, lava fields, hot springs and geothermal water. This is what defines the nature on Reykjanes. The biggest towns are Keflavík and Njarðvík but in addition there are several smaller fishing hamlets along the coast of the peninsula. There are quite a few activities to be enjoyed and the possibilities are endless! You could bath in a hot spring or take it a step further and visit the famous blue lagoon. Hiking is also ideal and you could even stop and look into caves on your way or stumble upon a volcanic crater. However you choose to spend your time, the nature will greet you with open arms.
The Icelandic Highlands are incredibly diverse in landscape. Some areas are remarkably colorful from the geothermal activity and in other places you might experience seeing only black sands and mountains as far as the eye can reach. Years ago the interior of Iceland was practically impassable for years at once. The only people around there were the outlaws. However nowadays you can visit the highlands in the summer months. There are so many things to see in this region. Landmannalaugar is a geothermal area which is popular to bath in and is also the starting point of Iceland’s most known hiking trail; Laugavegur. Traveling through the highlands you might see ice caps, jagged peaks, green valleys and volcanoes. This area should at all times be explored with caution and care for the nature. There are no towns in this region, only nature and huts, so this might be the closest you will get to a pure and pristine nature. Make sure you stop and breathe in the fresh air along with enjoying the sounds of nature.
The Vestmannaeyjar Islands
The Westman Islands archipelago is one of the best kept secrets in Iceland and a true wonder of nature. The main island Heimaey (Home Island) is surrounded by rocky mountains, a volcano and 14 smaller islands are that are home to thousands of seabirds. The name of the islands comes from old Norse and refers to the Irish who the Norse called "Vestmen". In 1973 a big volcanic eruption occurred by the doorstep of the village and the population was temporarily evacuated. The lava and ash destroyed part of the town, and today an interesting interactive museum tells the story of the events. This fascinating place is the home of one of the most extraordinary 18 hole golf course in the world.
While in the Westman's you can take a boat tour around the islands, sail into caves, experience the active bird life and you might as well see a group of killer whales swimming by. Take a hike, walk up to the Skansinn cliff with view over the harbor, walk up to the volcano Eldfell, or rent a scooter if you want to cover more ground.
You get get to Westman islands by plane or ferry, from Reykjavik or from Bakki, even closer. But please note that going to the Westman Islands depends on the weather.