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Iceland: my complete list of best places to visit

 

Back from Iceland for the 3th time, today i’ll write a full list of my best favourite places to visit in Iceland, with lot of tips and indications to visit them

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Here we go!

DISCLAIMER: the present article has been realized in pure amateur form with a mere recreational, personal, non profit intention. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee in any case the absence of errors or the freshness of the informations reported. For this reason he strictly invites any reader to also search for more informations about the same arguments inside other external sources, and to report any eventual mistake to the author through the Contact page on this website. In any case the author will not be responsible for any action committed by anyone following the reading of the informations reported inside this article

BEFORE BEGINNING:

I’m back from Iceland for the 3th time with my girlfriend, and i must say, Iceland is a beautiful but at the same time dangerous country if one doesn’t take the necessary precautions

Me and my girlfriend in front of the spectacular Haifoss waterfall in Iceland

For this reason, i always invite everyone to act responsible!

Iceland is a place with difficult road conditions. For this reason, i usually like to check the actual situation before going by visiting the official website of Iceland Roads before taking any decision

I take no responsibility for what you do. Wherever you go, act responsibly and be careful

At the following link there is my Iceland guide reporting my further suggestions

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING ICELAND

Following i also suggest to read our Iceland travel story which contains 25 travel tips, each one marked throughout the story as “TIPS X/25:

BACK FROM ICELAND: OUR STORY + 25 MORE USEFUL TIPS

Here we go with my Iceland list of best places to visit….

PART 1: FAVOURITE PLACES I HAVE VISITED 

GULLFOSS

What is Gullfoss: Gullfoss is a huge waterfall situated north east of Reykjavik not second in terms of size to the Niagara falls. It’s possible to go very close to the edge, and depending by the period of the year, the walking area could be closed due to ice. However, the place itself I believe it’s open throughout the entire year, although during winter, the amount of water falling down is reduced, while in summer is in the middle of its maximum capacity

Best time of day to visit it: high sun hours, when the sun shines over it completely, by also showing rainbows

How to go to Gullfoss: From Reykjavik it is easy with a gps by following road 35. No unpaved or f-roads present. Once there i easily found the direction, and the visitor centre had a great car park available

Recommendations for Gullfoss: i liked to visit it around summer, more accessible and with more water flowing. The side walk in winter was closed due to ice. I liked to bring a raincoat and a towel to protect myself from water vapours and keep my camera dry

Gullfoss Iceland

GEYSER:

What is Geyser: Geyser is the name of the place where the popular geysers of Iceland are situated. The entrance is along the road 35 (same of Gullfoss), and on the opposite side i found a comfortable restaurant/fast food to have a rest (having the geyser on the back, it’s the one on the left. The one on the right istead, is tremendously expensive). I have been able to see the geysers on both March and September. It seems in fact that since the water is very hot, the geysers can resist to the snow of the winter. Anyway, i can’t say for sure if geyers are still active before march because i didn’t get there in the middle of winter.

Best time of day to visit it: entire day

How to go to Geyser: same as Gullfoss. They are on the same road. Very easy from Reykjavik with a gps

 

Iceland Geyser

Recommendations for Geyser: the area present two adiacent fastfoods. Having the geyser on the back, i must say, the one on left is full of everything and cheap. The one on the right is terribly expensive and not so much equipped. We paid so much for a sandwhich and i was really disappointed. So, watchout for prices!

Apart from this, quite comfortable area. We stayed close to the geyser but we didn’t get wet like it happens with a waterfall. The active geyser for now is called Strokkur. It erupted while i was there every 10 minutes all the time.

Finally, if you are a photographer, it’s very good to capture the big blue bubble which forms just one second before the eruption….check it out in the picture below!

The big blue bubble of the geyser before the eruption

HAIFOSS

What is Haifoss: Haifoss is a special twin and less known waterfall situated in a scenario which recalls a miniaturized version of the Grand Canyon of Arizona. When i arrived i enjoyed the view from the top of the canyon.

Best time of day to visit it: high sun hours, since it’s a canyon and during low sun it could be in shadow

How to go to Haifoss: I followed the road 32 and then turned left when i saw the sign which indicated both the waterfall and a place called Holaskogur which is also a refuge. It is an f-road, so a 4×4 vehicle was required. After a while i found a further sign indicating to turn left again. I arrived then. If you reach a huge powerplant on the left, it means that you have missed the left turn. Come back and look again for the sign, this time on the right.

This is a map with road indications to reach Haifoss:

haifoss road map indications

Recommendations for Haifoss: In winter season i found it to be dangerous due to snow and mud on the road, while in summer the situation was absolutely better. In all cases, while in summer i easily reached it, when i went in winter we decided to left the jeep 1.5 km before and proceeded on foot for further safety since we were not confident enough with the road condition. One should also care about the 3G signal if the road condition is bad. If it’s not available, it could be useful to proceed in small groups so that one can assist the other one in case of trouble

Summer view of Haifoss waterfall with rainbow, in Iceland

SELJALANDSFOSS

What is Seljalandsfoss: it is a beautiful waterfall which falls down from the edge of the glacier Eyjafjallajokull, which is the cap of the popular volcano which erupted in 2010, called Eyjafjoll. The particularity of this waterfall is that it is possible to get on the back of it through a ladder

Best time of day to visit it: absolutely at sunset….forget to visit it for the rest of the day

Seljalandsfoss waterfall seen from the back

Seljalandsfoss waterfall seen from the back

How to go to Seljalandsfoss: i followed the ring road from Reykjavik toward south east. Then turned left toward f-road 249. The waterfall was visible while approaching it from the ring road on the left of the landscape. Although f-249 is allowed only to 4×4 vehicle, the first part to Seljalandsfoss was considered paved and allowed to all vehicles (i have checked the official website for this. It reports the first part as a paved road www.vegagerdin.is)

Recommendations for Seljalandsfoss: i liked to go there at sunset when the sun shines on it. I brought a raincoat and protected my camera with a towel. Don’t forget to take a look to the cave. Very easy to access, there is a comfortable ladder on both sides of the waterfall. The panorama from the back is wonderful. The ground in the cave is a little bit slippery and requires some attention

Seljalandsfoss iceland

View of Seljalandsfoss waterfall at sunset

SKOGAFOSS

What is Skogafoss: it is a vertical style waterfall, surrounded by rainbows in the morning, situated along the ring road 1. It offers a great sensation since it is possible to walk close to it. Moreover, it offered the chance to enjoy a trek by going upstair on its right through a ladder. Once arriving on top, i enjoyed the landscape and proceeded further by following its river. After a while i found a second smaller waterfall

Best time of day to visit it: high sun hours, since it will be possible to see the rainbow

Skogafoss with a beautiful rainbow in the morning

Skogafoss with a beautiful rainbow in the morning

How to go to Skogafoss: very easy to access, i saw it along the ring road 1 on my left (coming from Reykjavik). I turned left then when i saw the sign and i reached a fastfood and little shopping centre with the waterfall on the back and a car park on the left side

Recommendations for Skogafoss: i liked to go there in the morning when the sun shines and the sky is clear from clouds. Since it faces south, it is possible to see huge rainbows at the bottom of it at this time. Furthermore, i brought a raincoat and protected my camera with a towel and some transparent bags (like the Cuki Gelo bags)

Furtherly, once inside there is a big restaurant and a separated fast food restaurant which is also a souvenir shop center. On the latter, which is more on the right while arriving (it has a grey building) we have found food prices very nice, and also cheeseburgers very very good. I really suggest to try one, because we really liked it!

Iceland Skogafoss

View of Skogafoss waterfall in the morning

GLUFRAFOSS

What is Glufrafoss: It is the less known but still a wonderful little sister of Seljalandsfoss. It is situated less than 1 km on its left, inside a slot canyon which really looks like a scenario of the videogame Tomb Raider.

Best time of day to visit it: throughout the day

How to go to Glufrafoss: I just proceeded a little bit more (less than 1 km) on the road of Sejlalandsfoss (f-road 249). It is situated on the right of the road and i found it almost immediately. I left the car in the little car park and go on foot. From the road is not so much visible because it is protected by the slot canyon itself which is very narrow

Recommendations for Glufrafoss: those who have a fisheye lens will really enjoy it. Again, i brought a raincoat. Don’t be scared by the water vapour coming outside. By entering inside, it is possible to reach a little cave on the right of the waterfall from which it is possible to stay protected very nicely from water vapour and enjoy the waterfall without getting wet

Iceland, Gljufrafoss waterfall seen from the little cave on the right of it

Iceland, Gljufrafoss waterfall seen from the little cave on the right of it

 

BRUARFOSS

What is Bruarfoss: it is a small but still wonderful waterfall, with a unique vibrant blue water similar to that of the Blue Lagoon, and a huge whirlpool along the river which forms it, visible just beneath the bridge from which one can admire the waterfall itself

Best time of day to visit it: sunrise or early morning

Bruarfoss waterfall in Iceland...the water is blue like the eyes of a human

Bruarfoss waterfall in Iceland…the water is blue like the eyes of a human

 

How to go to Bruarfoss: for reasons i’m not aware of, it seems like this waterfall has been “apparently” closed to public, since it belongs to an area which is a private house ville district. I mean, when we got there, we found that the entire area was closed with a fence, except for 2 points where the fence was broken. We suspected that someone did that to access the waterfall. At the same time we saw 2 groups of people coming back from it (trekkers and tourists). For this reason, in the end we decided to risk by getting there. I still don’t have exact informations. I can only say that before proceeding we would have liked to ask to people living there inside the district to understand what was going on, although noone was there at the moment. If needed, i have written an article about  i have written an article about how to find Bruarfoss

Recommendations: once again, close to Bruarfoss there’s a villes district. It would be useful to ask to people if one can effectively access the waterfall, and how. Despite that, no problem, after walking a little bit inside a very short wood path, we reached the bridge of the waterfall

Bruarfoss waterfall, Iceland

Bruarfoss waterfall, Iceland

KRISUVIK:

What is Krisuvik: it is a fumarole area, colorful and psychedelic, where the mud is boiling, and hot bubbles are coming from the ground. The air is full of vapour and the landscape is surreal

Best time of day to visit it: morning since it faces east

How to go to Krisuvik: From the area of Keflavik airport we went first to Grindavik through road 43 and then to Krisuvik through the f-road 42. A 4×4 vehicle was required. By passing through Grindavik, the road to Krisuvik was very panoramic and breathtaking.

Recommendations for Krisuvik: nothing special, except that we passed through Grindavik, since the landscape after it was beautiful. We needed a 4×4 vehicle, and we avoided to walk outside the predefined path since it was denied and dangerous at the same time. The place is very easy to be visited anyway

Krisuvik Iceland

View of Krisuvik fumarole area

DC3 WRECK CRASH SITE ON SOLHEIMASANDUR BEACH

What is it DC3 Wreck: this site is situated just west of Vik, and presents an old wreck of a DC3 cargo airplane which crashed here in November 24th 1973 over the Sólheimasandur beach, although all the crew survived the impact. The scenario is terrifying with just black sand beach and nothing else around. Here it is possible to read more about the story of the Iceland DC3 airplane wreck

Best time of day to visit it: throughout the day and even night. Very good with cloudy sky or northern lights

How to find the DC3 Wreck in Iceland: the trick to find it is simple. From the Solheimajokull road sign, just count 1.9 Km on the GPS toward Vik direction. You will find a right turn with a very small road sign inside hard to be read from the main road which report “DC3 Wreck”. This is a map showing how to go to the crashed DC3 airplane Wreck

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!: I have been recently informed by a contact that the road to the DC3 wreck has been closed by local landowners people. I have not verified this and i don’t know how long this situation will eventually last, however, i suggest to keep this in mind and to check it out this link where the news is reported ICELAND DC3 WRECK ROAD CLOSED

Map of DC3 wreck in Iceland. Copyright National Land Survey of Iceland

Map of DC3 wreck in Iceland. Copyright National Land Survey of Iceland

 

Recommendations: the road to get there outside summer can be muddy and dangerous based on what the car assistance told me on the phone the last year. One should be careful and possibly should firstly check road condition before going. Summer is a nice season to visit it

The site for me gives best when the sky is cloudy, because the atmosphere becomes even more scary

dc3 crashed airplane in iceland

dc3 crashed airplane in iceland

BLUE LAGOON

What is Blue Lagoon: outstanding place, although a little bit crowded, it is a fumarole bath situated south of Keflavik airport. It is particular for its water which presents a vibrant color. Inside there is a huge fumarole coming out from the middle of the main pool. It’s a little bit expensive, but i really enjoyed the experience. Furtherly, it can be visited even in winter with rain or snow. The scenario in this case is even better

Best time of day to visit it: throughout the day, also with cloudy sky

How to go to Blue Lagoon: i just checked the gps and followed road 43. No 4×4 vehicle was required

Recommendations for Blue Lagoon: by renting a towel and a cupboard it was more expensive. Without them the price was lower. Following is the link to my dedicated guide about my photography experience inside the Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon Iceland

VIK BEACH

What is Vik beach: Vik is a small town situated in the middle of the south coast. It is popular for its black sand beach called Reynisfjara. It’s really worth to visit it, and it’s divided into 3 main points:

1: Basalt Cave/Grotto: this is the easternmost point of the beach, and it’s popular for presenting an impressive basalt cave and some huge rocks in the middle of the sea. From here it’s also possible along the beach itself

View of the basalt cave/grotto on the beach of Reynisfjara, Vik, south of Iceland

View of the basalt cave/grotto on the beach of Reynisfjara, Vik, south of Icelandiceland-reynisfjara-beach-vik-basalt-cave-travel-when-where

2: Dyrolaey aerial view: this is the westernmost point of the beach, and presents a high point of view from which it is possible to see the entire beach with an aerial view together with a huge arch of rock

Iceland, Dirholaey aerial view

Iceland, Dirholaey aerial view

3: Beach aerial view: this is the middle point from which it is possible to see the beach from top

Best time of day to visit it: sunset or sunrise is preferrable, anyway, is great during the entire day

How to go to Vik beach: Vik is on the ring road 1, south coast. I followed indications in the town and reaching the beach has been easy because they present the indication. Anyway, here is a complete map:

vik beach indications map (copyright National Land Survey of Iceland )

vik beach indications map (copyright National Land Survey of Iceland )

Recommendations for Vik beach: after getting on top of the promontory i found a very strong wind and a cloudy sky. Not uncommon, since Vik is one of the most rainy place of Iceland, so be careful and check the weather first

JOKULSARLON GLACIER LAGOON

What is Jokulsarlon: It is a lagoon full of icebergs connected to the sea. It is situated at the base of a glacier from which huge ice fragments continuously detach. I consider it a special place to take pictures of aurora (although a little bit rainy). It also presents a beach on the other side in front of the sea full of icebergs, and very popular among photographers. It’s called Breiðamerkursandur, the diamond beach! Easy to guess the reason from the pictures below!

Breiðamerkursandur diamond beach near Jokusarlon iceberg lake

Breiðamerkursandur diamond beach near Jokusarlon iceberg lake

My girlfriend on Breiðamerkursandur, the diamond beach of Jokulsarlon full of ice fragments

My girlfriend on Breiðamerkursandur, the diamond beach of Jokulsarlon full of ice fragments

Best time of day to visit it: sunset or night with aurora for Jokulsarlon. Instead, icebergs beach is great also at sunrise

How to go to Jokulsarlon: it’s on the ring road 1, no special indications are required since you are forced to pass through its bridge. Just after passing it, there are 2 choices: turning left for the iceberg lagoon itself, or turning right for the icebergs sea beach

Jokulsarlon iceberg lake at sunset

Jokulsarlon iceberg lake at sunset

Recommendations: the lagoon sometimes presents some seals. It could be funny to spot them and take a nice shot, although a long zoom could be required.

Furtherly, it’s very interesting to take a walk on the iceberg beach right of the bridge, which is the place where many photographers usually make the shots of the huge ice fragments surrounded by the sea waves (picture below). It is also great to see the aurora, although i have found from statistics that this place is a little bit more rainy respect to other areas. I have written an article about Jokulsarlon area here TIPS TO VISIT JOKULSARLON

Note: There is also a little brother of Jokulsarlon, called Fjallsarlon just some miles west. Anyway, i didn’t like it for multiple reasons. Firstly, there are less icebergs, secondly i have seen no seals, countrary to Jokulsarlon. And third, there’s no iceberg beach. After coming there 2 times, i must say, Jokulsarlon is absolutely better

Breiðamerkursandur, the iceberg diamond beach next to Jokulsarlon in Iceland

SOLHEIMAJOKULL GLACIERS TONGUE

What is Solheimajokull: it’s a glacier tongue similar to Skaftafell, but situated more west on the Myrdalsjokull glacier, so closer to Reykjavik as well, which originate from the Katla volcano (Myrdalsjokull is the name of the glacier cap on top of it). It can be visited with the right equipment and have a walk on it, through an activity which is generally called “ice walk” or “glacier walk” and available in form of private guided tours

However, for those not willing to book a tour, there is still the chance to have a walk from the car park to the basement of the glacier, without of course proceeding further. Short, but still interesting trekking, although very similar to that of Skaftafell and Svinafellsjokull

Best time of day to visit it: high sun hours

How to go: there is a clear sign indicating Solheimajokull through the F-road 221, just 5 minutes after passing Skogafoss waterfall toward Vik direction.

Note: i have recently discovered that the F-road 221 is not unpaved anymore. during the last year they have completely paved the road with tarmac, thus making it feasable also for standard cars

Recommendations:  except if one wants to make the small trek until the basement of the glacier, for the walk over the ice it’s better to contact a tour company. I know a couple of good ones below:

Official website of EXTREME ICELAND

Official website of LOCAL GUIDE

Myrdalsjokull Solheimajokull Iceland

GLACIER ICE CAVES

What are Ice Caves: they are caves completely made by ice which lie at the basement of glacier tongues like Skaftafell, Solheimajokull, Svinafellsjokull, and not only. They present an intense blue color thanks to the strong compression of the ice itself, due to the low presence of air bubbles

Where are and how to visit Ice Caves: I’ve prepared a dedicated article HERE. More or less, i can only recommend to not go alone, too dangerous. It’s better for me to contact a tour operator and to do it right in advance, since most booking dates get full very early. In my opinion, the 2 2 tour companies indicated above in the previous paragraph are enough reliable

Recommendations: just one statement….don’t go alone….period

Iceland Glacier Ice Cave

LANDMANNALAUGAR (FJALLABAK)

What is Landmannalaugar (Fjallabak): Maybe the most beloved area of trekkers. It’s a sort of “Nevada Death Valley” of Iceland, since the rocks which compose the mountains here are full of many different colors shades exactely like those of the Artist Palette area of Death Valley. The basecamp presents a hot river where one can have a bath. It’s possible to make from short 6Km to very long treks, depending by personal skill.

Fjallabak national park, Landmannalaugar basecamp

Fjallabak national park, Landmannalaugar basecamp

LANDMANNALAUGAR PARK HIKES TREKKING MAP: This is the guide of all the possible hikes and treks paths:

LANDMANNALAUGAR GENERAL PARK MAPThis is a second version of the guide which shows the map in its entirety

Best time of day to visit it: go in the morning, since the hikes are very long

Trekking inside the Fjallabak national park (Landmannalaugar)

Trekking inside the Fjallabak national park (Landmannalaugar)

How to go to Landmannalauagar: regarding road indications to Landmannalaugar, there are 3 possible ways:

– Through F26 and F208 (from north): at present time the road is the easiest one without the presence of river crossing except at the entrance of the basecamp, where anyway you can still park the car outside and cross the river toward a pedestrian bridge. This path is feasable for those coming from Gullfoss, Fludir, and Hvolsvollur area. The very last part of the road toward the base camp is called F224

– Through F208 from Kirkjubaejarklaustur (from south): this is the F208 taken from south, feasable for those coming from Vik or Kirkjubaejarklaustur, although it could present some river crossings. As above, the very last part of the road toward the base campo is called F224

– Through F26 and F225: this is an alternative version of the first option, which passes close to the Hekla volcano, although as i saw from a video it present some minor river crossings. From the video, it looks like there’s nothing special to be worried about, although river level can always change depending by the season and weather condition

Concluding, the only river crossing free option seems to be only the first one. In the other 2 cases, more caution is needed, and apart from this, in every case a 4×4 should be used

View of the fumarole area in the park of Fjallabak, Landmannalaugar

View of the fumarole area in the park of Fjallabak, Landmannalaugar

SKAFTAFELL AND SVINAFELLSJOKULL

What are Skaftafell and Svinafellsjokull: they are two twin glacier tongues situated on the west side of Vatnajokull similar to Solheimajokull. The first one presents a well organized campground with a visitor center where it is possible to leave the car and proceed on foot toward many different trekking paths, some suitable for short hikes, some others for advanced trekkers. From some points it is possible to enjoy a great view over the two glaciers itself or visit Svartifoss, which i will talk about of in the next voice.

svinafellsjokull-iceland-vatnajokull

Best time of day to visit them: throughout the day. Best to start in the morning in case of hiking

How to go to Skaftafell and Svinafellsjokull: very easy, there are indications on the Road 1 (ring road), and they are situated half way between Jokulsarlon and Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Recommendations: Svinafellsjokull is more suitable for a short visit with a great view from top, by leaving the car in the unique car park present and doing the short trek on foot from there. Instead, Skaftafell is the more popular one which presents a great basecamp with an information office, and multiple trekking path which can be followed, one of which takes also to Svartifoss and Hundafoss

Note: Svinafellsjokull is the Iceland glacier tongue where two movies have taken place, Batman Begins (the scene of fight on the frozen lake), and Interstellar (the scene of the astronaut (Matt Damon) lying on a frozen moon)

This is the entire trekking map of Skaftafell with all the treks and hikes paths: SKAFTAFELL TREKKING MAP

SVARTIFOSS AND HUNDAFOSS

What is it: Svartifoss is a very strange and unique waterfall, hidden in the valley of Skaftafell glacier tongue. Quite easy to reach, it only demands a couple of hours or so and the path is well signed. The peculiarity of this place is represented by the basalt wall on the back of the waterfall, full of natural cube shaped rocks.

Best time of day to visit it: high sun hours to see the rainbow

How to go to Svartifoss: just refer to the Skaftafell paragraph above, since Svartifoss is situated along a hiking path of it. Check the link below for an overview of the are By Clicking

MAP OF THE SVARTIFOSS HIKE TREKKING

Svartifoss waterfall in Iceland inside Skaftafell with rainbow

Recommendations: along the path to Svartifoss there is also a less know but still impressive waterfall called Hundafoss, which can be seen from the very top, with a great aerial effect. Just check it out while reaching Svartifoss!

Hundafoss waterfall along the trek to Svartifoss, in Skaftafell

Hundafoss waterfall along the trek to Svartifoss, in Skaftafell

 OXARARFOSS IN THINGVELLIR

What is it: a pleasant waterfall situated inside the Thingvellir park area. Nothing special, but still looks pretty and easy to reach. Thingvellir is popular for representing the first parliament of history, although i must say, with all the beauty Iceland presents, there’s nothing special to see here. I suggest to just spend half a hour in Oxararfoss and go away for seeing more interesting things

Best time of day to visit it: sunrise or high sun hours since it faces east

How to go: just put Thingvellir on GPS, piece of cake. It’s the most popular touristic site of Iceland, no problem in finding it

Recommendations: as said, although greatly publicized for its historical importance, it is also easily recommended as one of the most interesting place of Iceland. Sincerly, i have found it very boring and meaningless. Just look at this article to understand how many better and beautiful sites Iceland presents…..In my strict opinion it’s worth to visit it for not more than a hour. I understand that is important for historical reasons, but who comes in Iceland for that?? we all want lanscapes!!!  🙂 🙂

Oxararfoss waterfall inside the Thingvellir park, in Iceland

Oxararfoss waterfall inside the Thingvellir park, in Iceland

HVERAVELLIR

What is Hveravellir: A great fumarole area which is also very close to two glaciers, in the middle of Iceland. This location can be reached by proceeding north east along the road which takes to Gullfoss. This place really represents the heart of Iceland, far from everything and very mystical. For those unable to reach this place there is still the chance to visit the “lite” version of it, which is called Krisuvik, situated quite close to the airport of Keflavik (I have talked of Krisuvik above)

The place is popular for presenting a thermal bath area, and also a very small cone which emits a great vapour with a speed and power capable of producing a sound which is very similar to that of aircrafts jet engines

 

view of the great vapour cone of hveravellir producing a jet engine sound

view of the great vapour cone of hveravellir producing a jet engine sound

Best time of day to visit it: go in the morning to have the entire day to visit it and come back with the light of sun while driving

How to go: just follow the F-road 35 from Gullfoss. Keep in mind that although the first Km are paved, after a while the entire road will be unpaved. Useless to say, go only in summer

Recommendations: a jeep 4×4 is absolutely needed. Furtherly, bring a mobile phone with an icelandic sim just to call for help in case of emergency it’s a nice idea.

Iceland view over the black sand beach of Vik from Dirholaey arch at sunset

Iceland view over the black sand beach of Vik from Dirholaey arch at sunset

For the entire path, which lasts around 80Km, there’s noone, except for some vehicles going back and forth along the road.

Anyway, in Hveravellir itself there is a basecamp with a very small fastfood and toilet service. It is also possible to have a thermal bath in a open sky pool, so it’s nice to bring the bathing suit

HORSE RIDING TOUR

What is Horse Riding Tour: more than a place, horse riding tour is a special activity recommended to both expert and novice people. People are taken with icelandic pony horses for a short or long trip along the meadows of iceland. It’s a lovely experience, and one for which i didn’t need to be particularly worried about my skill (i’m not expert). Horses tend to follow the leader most of the time, so no special experience is required

Best time of day to visit it: ask to the tour company. Morning for me is ok

Me and my girlfriend enjoy a horse ride with Kari from the Steinsholt Guesthouse

Me and my girlfriend enjoy a horse ride with Kari from the Steinsholt Guesthouse

How to go for a horse riding tour: it is possible to check the web for companies which organize it. Personally, i can only recommend Kari from the Steinsholt Guesthouse, since she owns beautiful and clean horses, and is very competent in what she does. I have found all the informations on the official website STEINSHOLT OFFICIAL WEBISTE and also on the facebook page STEINSHOLT GUESTHOUSE FACEBOOK PAGE

Recommendations: Steinsholt guesthouse, despite the horse riding tour, offers a beautiful and cheap accomodation from which seeing aurora is very comfortable (it’s a nice dark area). I spent some nights in this place in the hope of seeing the aurora and i managed to see it. The only drawback was that the last miles to reach this place were unpaved, although with my 4×4 vehicle i didn’t have any problem

Me and my girlfriend enjoy a horse ride with Kari from the Steinsholt Guesthouse

Me and my girlfriend enjoy a horse ride with Kari from the Steinsholt Guesthouse

 

REYKJAVIK

What is it: of course it’s the capital of Iceland as well as the biggest city. It’s not particuarly special, but it still presents some interesting points which in my opinion should be visited. Among my favourite there are the main cathedral, which is great basalt architecture which recalls the beach of Vik as also explained inside the church itself, the Laugavegur main street, full of beautiful shops, the viking ship monument, which is an incredible icon of Reykjavik, and finally the lighthouse beach on the westernmost side, which for me is the best way to conclude a romantic journey in iceland

Best time of day to visit it: main cathedral is great with night sky, the viking ship monument and lighthouse beach are great at sunset, and the main street can be visited throughout the day

Iceland, the viking ship monument in Reykjavik

Iceland, the viking ship monument in Reykjavik

How to go: just put Reykjavik on your gps…if it doesn’t find it, no problem, just trash it and check the horizon with your eyes!

Recommendations: i recommend to park in the car park area of the cathedral and go on foot to Laugavegur and the viking ship monument, which is very easy to find. then take the car again and go to the lighthouse beach

Us in Seltjarnarnes with Grotta Island in the background

AURORA BOREALIS (NORTHERN LIGHTS)

What is aurora borealis: there’s too much to say……i talk about it in my following article FULL GUIDE TO SEE AURORA IN ICELAND

Best time of day to visit it: of course night, between 10pm and 3am

How to go to see aurora: i have written about it in my article indicated above

Recommendations to see aurora: again, i have written about it in that article

Me and my girlfriend under the northern lights in Alftaver, near Klaustur

Me and my girlfriend under the northern lights in Alftaver, near Klaustur

northern lights seen from Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon over the Vatnajokull glacier

Aurora seen from south of Iceland, east of Vik in the first days of September

PART 2: MY FURTHER FAVED PLACES WHICH I HAVEN’T SEEN YET

Ok, i’m planning a third trip in Iceland since i missed some places. Below is a list of my faved ones which i hope to visit in the near future with a very short description….

Here we go!

GUNNUHVER: very similar and at the same time very close to Krisuvik, this is another very nice and easy to reach geothermal area, situated on the south west coast of the Reykjanes peninsula. So, together with a stop to Krisuvik, it can represent a nice opportunity to photograph fumaroles and vapours in the air

OFAERUFOSS AND ELDGJA: this waterfull is special for presenting a double layer together with an entire natural arch bridge which passes on top of it. A unique scenery situated close to one of the hugest volcano fissure of the earth, called Eldgja. It’s on the same area of the other one called Lakagigar, although the road is different.

How to go to Ofaerufoss and Eldgja: regarding road indications to Ofaerufoss, just follow the road F208 toward Landmannalaugar basecamp from Kirkjubaejarkclaustur, and turn right to F223. The latter, is situated exactly 41Km from the ring road. Since it’s not present on Google Maps, i suggest to check it on the at this link Vegagerdin road map

DETTIFOSS: the hugest waterfall of Europe, background of the first scene of the movie Prometheus. Situated near Akureyri.

GODAFOSS: quite near to Dettifoss, is a nice waterfall which seems the big sister of Bruarfoss, since it presents almost the same wide structure

DYNJANDI: a very majestic “ladder style” waterfall, situated in the fjords area of Iceland, north of Reykjavik.

THORSMORK: Thorsmork is a trekking canyon valley situated north of the Eyjafjoll volcano, accessible at present time by passing through many different river crossings, reason why if i get there i think to book a bus trip (it’s not a common bus, it’s like a giant 4×4 jeep, and it passes through river crossing to take people there back and forth)

LAKAGIGAR: an area situated between Landmannalaugar and Vatnajokull which houses one of the most deadly volcano fissure in history. It looks like a huge scar on the ground, and it’s a good area to make some trekking. River crossings present (at least since today). One must be careful and follow all the necessary safety recommendations

HVERAGERDI: Hveragerdi is a pleasant and easy centre which presents a popular trekking path called Reykjadalur which takes to a hot stream where it is possible to have a bath under the sky as i have seen from a couple of bloggers stories. The trek looks not so difficult or long and the only negative side is that sometimes it can be a little bit crowded, although still enjoyable (it happens especially when a full group of guided tour arrives altogether)

WHALE WATCHING IN AKUREYRI: people are taken with a boat on open sea to see whales. I read that whale watching is also available in Reykjavik, anyway, at present time Akureyri is considered the european capital of this activity. I still need to check better on the web to understand where this activity can be made

CONCLUSION

Thanks for reading!

Moyan

Copyright © Moyan Brenn and Earthincolors.wordpress.com

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Small excerpts or the pictures contained in the article may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Moyan Brenn and Earthincolors.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

Discussion

26 thoughts on “Iceland: my complete list of best places to visit

  1. Your photos are incredible! Especially the one of Jokulsarlon – just breathtaking! I’ve always wanted to see Jokulsarlon but haven’t made it there yet. I saw some of the sights on your wish-list are in northern Iceland. I did a trip in that area this past October (based myself in Akureyri) and highly recommend it! But then again, what area of Iceland isn’t beautiful 😉

    Posted by Sara @ Simply Sara Travel | January 9, 2015, 8:35 pm
  2. Great list, great photos, great information! When I visited I was thrilled to see the Kerið crater – the colours of the water and the amazing red walls of the inside of the cone! I also enjoyed Þingvellir… wow what an fabulous place!

    Posted by Lois | January 9, 2015, 9:59 pm
  3. Thanks for sharing your experience and insights!

    Posted by Tina C | January 11, 2015, 1:33 am
  4. I am going end of March/April. Loved your article. Thank you for all the info and your amazing pictures!

    Posted by sue | January 15, 2015, 4:26 am
  5. WOW, this is the best information I’ve found regarding lesser-known places to try to see in Iceland! I’m going solo next month to write some articles and have been trying to figure out what to try to see, so this was a great help, thanks!!!

    Posted by Alyssa Ramos | June 21, 2015, 4:03 am
  6. I found some of your Iceland photos today while browsing Flickr and started reminiscing about our trip this spring. My friend and I stayed for 12 days and did an entire lap around the island – a wonderful experience and one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken. We definitely want to go back and I’ve made note of some of the places you mentioned. For some reason we didn’t know about Bruarfoss, though we drove past while doing the Golden Circle. Definitely want to go there, so thanks for the tip!

    I saw you mentioned whale watching in the north: I highly recommend taking a tour from Husavík, Iceland’s whale watching capital. We saw a few humpbacks during our tour and were told they’d even spotted blue whales earlier in the week. I think the variety and chances of seeing whales are best up there.

    Also, lake Myvatn has a lot to offer, the Snaefellsnes peninsula was beautiful and I highly recommend the hike to Glymur foss, which is now the second highest waterfall. It’s a bit of an adventure, but well worth it!

    Posted by Isabell | June 22, 2015, 7:09 pm
  7. good day, i do like your experience, you did with the car, i will be there this august , i do looking to do it with the publice transportation, can you give me spme advice for the buses?

    Posted by yanster | July 15, 2015, 3:15 pm
  8. great articel. we have been a couple of times in iceland and we could enjoyed some of the places you comment. We hope to visit the rest of them soon.

    Posted by fotografiadslr | September 15, 2015, 6:26 pm
  9. very nice and informative article, a must browse for pre trip. we are going in mid nov and looking forward to see northern lights
    Girish

    Posted by Girish Patel | November 10, 2015, 5:50 am
  10. I must say you saved lot of time for many! Details shared are just priceless! Thank you so much!!

    Posted by Manoj Singh | January 4, 2016, 8:22 pm
  11. awesome article, very detailed and informative. thank you for the articles you have written, it really helps me to plan my trip this coming march :). hope i can catch the northern lights!

    Posted by kas | January 5, 2016, 10:41 am
  12. Such a helpful outline. You mentioned flying into Keflavik. For a 5 day trip are the areas reasonable to drive to? Several of the first places you list, we want to go to. Is Keflavik the closer airport to those areas?

    Posted by Athena Kinch | March 11, 2016, 3:28 pm
  13. It should be mentioned that the road between the ring road and the abandoned airplane on Sólheimarsandur has been closed by the landowners until further notice. This happened on the 14th of March, 2016. Read more about it including a description where to find the plane for you can still go there but you have to walk from the main road. http://www.goiceland.com/blog/the-solheimarsandur-airplane-wreck/7760/
    Safe travels!

    Posted by Goiceland.com (@Goicelandcom) | March 16, 2016, 2:40 pm

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  1. Pingback: 6 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING ICELAND + FAQs | Earth in Colors - January 9, 2015

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