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Best places to visit in Iceland: Top 10 must-see destinations

Go to the best places to visit in Iceland! Travel to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, relax in the Blue Lagoon, walk around the Vík beaches and more

Julio Osuna

April 2, 2024

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When discussing what places to visit in Iceland, it might be hard for visitors to choose where. There’s a lot to meet in this Nordic paradise, so it’s better for travelers to know where to go and not waste time trying to choose what place to visit first.

That’s why we’ll talk about the best places to visit in Iceland, making 10 must-visit places! 

What is the best time of the year to visit Iceland?

When talking about a place such as Iceland, it’s hard to tell when the best date to visit the island is. Overall, Iceland is known for having cold weather throughout the year, except for some regions where summer days will give travelers hot weather to enjoy some outdoor activities.

Summer, which takes place from June to August, is ideal for travelers who want to enjoy outdoor activities without worrying too much about bad weather. During these dates, there are regions where the sun never sets in Iceland, giving people the chance to enjoy the Midnight Sun while traveling.

From September to March, Northern Lights are common to see on the island, which also attracts lots of tourists. Also, compared to other places at a similar altitude as Iceland, winter is not as cold as expected, allowing travelers to enjoy other activities on the island!

Best places in Iceland to visit

When it comes to telling what the best places in Iceland to visit are, it’s hard to choose one. As said before, travelers will find many unique places that are easy to access when traveling to the country.

The idea of traveling to a place that combines many beautiful coasts, accessible mountains, incredible fjords, active geysers, and much more makes it a must-visit site for travelers around the world.

That’s why, from now on, we’ll talk about the places to visit in Iceland!

1. Golden Circle

One of the most popular destinations in all of Iceland is the Golden Circle. The Golden Circle is not just one destination. It’s actually the combination of different important destinations for tourists on the island.

The Golden Circle in Iceland combines three locations: the Thingvellir National Park, the Gullfoss Waterfall, and a Geysir area that’s pretty active nowadays. These three destinations are a great option for people who are visiting Reykjavík, as many tours start from the capital.

First, let’s start with Thingvellir. Known as Þingvellir, this national park is a geological treasure within Iceland. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004, this place attracts thousands of travelers each year to see how the tectonic plates drift apart in a breathtaking scenario. 

People can either take a walk around Thingvellir to connect with nature or visit places like the Almannajgá Canyon or the Öxaráfoss waterfall to add more iconic views to the visit. Lastly, snorkeling is also possible in Silfra, where people will see the connection between Europe and America.

The Gullfoss Waterfall is another location in the Golden Circle. Even though people might think a waterfall is not something worth seeing, Gullfoss changes this idea. The unusual cascading shape and such a beautiful scenario make it the perfect scenario for photos and videos!

It’s important for travelers to be prepared with a raincoat, as the glacial water coming from the Hvítá River will flow continuously, creating a breathtaking scenario. People can visit the waterfall all year long, but during winter, some areas of Gullfoss might be closed.

Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park. Source: Pexels.

Last, we have the Geysir Area. Iceland is known for having an important geothermal area, but the Geysir is the mother of all geysers on the island. Nowadays, the Geysir hasn’t been active for some time, but smaller geysers around it called Strokkur are active and erupt every 5 to 10 minutes!

Beware that the water coming out from these geysers is boiling hot water, so stay on the wind side of the Strokkur with your camera ready for a unique photo!

2. Diamond Beach

The Jökulsárlón Beach is among the top places to visit in Iceland. Known as the “Diamond Beach,” this destination is located in the southeast part of the island. Once people visit this beach, it’s fair to say the rest of the beaches from the world will surely look completely different for travelers.

The name “Diamond Beach” comes from the icebergs located all around the beach, which come from the Jökulsárlón glacier, which is located near this place. As an additional fact, this is the biggest glacier in all of Iceland!

There are also some bigger icebergs, which, combined with the smaller ones, create a spectacle for those visiting the area. Also, this area is famous for having volcanic black sand, creating an impressive contrast when seen all together.

diamond beach best places to visit iceland
Diamond beach or Jökulsárlón. Source: Pexels.

For people visiting the area, the idea is to come during summer or spring, as there will be a larger amount of icebergs in the area. The weather will be better as well, but as Iceland’s weather changes from one second to another, it’s better to be prepared for rain!

While visiting Jökulsárlón Beach, apart from the beautiful view, travelers can see seals either swimming around the icebergs or resting on them!

3. Blue Lagoon

An attraction for many travelers compared to the Golden Circle is the Blue Lagoon. This one has rapidly become one of the most popular and important attractions within Iceland, as it provides travelers with a combination of relaxation, incredible views, and amazing food, all in one place.

What makes Blue Lagoon one of the most beautiful places in Iceland is the color of the water. It is a milky blue color due to the silica that forms soft and white mud at the bottom of the lake that visitors can use to rub and relax in the hot waters of the lagoon.

Blue Lagoon. Source: Pexels.

This location gives people the chance to enjoy the Blue Lagoon alone, or they can choose to visit the spa located next to it. The idea of taking a bath and then going for a massage in the spa sounds like an interesting thing to do!

Another interesting thing about the Blue Lagoon is how it looks. The milky blue water contrasts with the black rocks filled with vegetation, creating the perfect scenario for relaxing while enjoying the hot water.

4. Snæfellsnes Peninsula

When talking about must-visit places in Iceland, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula can’t be left out from the list. The idea of having a place that’s worth visiting in all the seasons in Iceland makes it the ideal destination for all types of travelers.

Depending on when people decide to visit the peninsula, they need more than one day to enjoy everything it offers. The main attraction for many are the Kirkjufell Mountain and the Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall, but there’s a lot more to see in the area!

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is filled with volcanic landscapes that are worth taking a walk on. The idea of walking through black volcanic rock in such a beautiful landscape is something unique! But there’s still more to see here!

Go to the best places to visit in Iceland! Travel to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, relax in the Blue Lagoon, walk around the Vík beaches and more
Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Source: Pexels.

People can enjoy the beautiful beaches of the peninsula by walking through the coast and visiting the colorful lighthouses around the area. Or if they prefer a more adventurous scenario, there are lots of waterfalls and rock formations to visit!

One important fact about this area is that some beaches, like the Ytritunga beach, have golden sand, which is something strange to see in a scenario where most beaches have black sand! This beach is also the home for harbor seals, so people will surely see some of these relaxing on the beach or swimming around!

Overall, the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is the perfect place for whatever activity travelers prefer to do, thanks to how vast it is!

5. Myvatn

Located in the north of Iceland, Myvatn comes as a must-see location for travelers. One thing that makes it a great option for travelers is how good the place is either in summer or winter. Depending on when people visit Myvant, the scenario will look completely different, which is part of the magic of the area.

For those visiting the area in summer or spring, Myvatn has a lot to offer. Walking around the caldera of the Krafla Volcano and the nearby lava fields is a must-do for visitors. The idea of being so close to lava while being safe is a unique opportunity!

myvatn best places to visit iceland
Myvatn lighthouse. Source: Pexels.

There are also other outdoor activities to do, such as taking a walk on the Leirhnjukir trail, walking to the Krikjan lava tube structure through a lovely scenario, or even taking pictures at the Dimmuborgir areas!

But there’s more to see and do in Myvatn! The Námaskarð geothermal area is a must-go near Myvatn, with mud pools and colorful steams around the place, but be ready as the smell is a bit strong! Another similar option comes with the Myvatn Nature Baths, which, aside from the hot water, there are some beautiful views as well!

Lastly, people can also visit Hverjall, a place that provides an outstanding view of the area, which is perfect for pictures!

6. Borgarfjordur Eystri

Borgarfjordur Eystri is a small place, with somehow near 100 inhabitants living there at the time. This location is remote, as it is located in the eastern fjords of Iceland. But it provides a unique adventure for those who decide to visit the village!

Getting here is a bit complicated, as people will have to go through a windy mountain pass, but that’s part of the adventure! Once people arrive at the village, things will change. Compared to other locations in Iceland, this one seems like a hidden gem!

At Borgarfjordur Eystri, travelers have the chance to relax while enjoying nature, as the nearby areas are full of color. Truth be told, there’s a lot of green in the area, but there are also craters and waterfalls on this site that make it seem like a magical place.

Borgarfjordur Eystri. Source: Guide to Iceland.

For those who want to connect more with nature, Borgarfjordur Eystri is a perfect place for going for a hike. There are many places to visit that aren’t far from the village, and during summer and spring, the weather is great for doing such activities. People can also rent a bike and enjoy a ride near the village.

Another must-do activity in the village is bird-watching the puffins in their natural habitat! This is something that is possible to do on foot, but there’s a bird-watching house located in Hafnarhólmi that’s a better option for seeing these beautiful little birds.

7. South Coast of Iceland

For people who want to walk around the famous black sand beaches in Iceland, the South Coast comes as the best option to make it possible. While most of the beaches in the country have black sand beaches due to the volcanic activity, those located in this area take the prize for being even more attractive!

These beaches are also known as the Vík Beaches. Due to its attractive look, these are among the most visited places in the country, so you will surely see a lot of people enjoying a walk on the black sand beaches! As a little fact, the Vík Beaches used to be ranked as the most important non-tropical beaches in the world!

Something travelers need to keep in mind is that, even though water looks calm, it’s better not to get into it. So, avoid walking near the water as there are undercurrents and strong waves that are dangerous for tourists!

Vík town. Source: Pexels.

For those who want to visit these beaches, there are two alternatives to consider visiting. One is Reynisfjara, and the other one is Vikurfjara. The first one is the most famous one, and most tours take it as their main destination in the Vík area. Vikurfjara is also an outstanding place to visit as an alternative if the first one is filled with visitors.

Another important thing about these beaches is their basalt rock cliffs. These impressive formations of rock, which are called Reynisdrangar, are also a must-see while visiting this area!

8. Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel

For people who are planning on staying in Reykjavik, there are many things to do near the town. One of the most important locations to visit is the Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel, which is located close to the town!

This lava tunnel is one of the oldest in Icelandic territory. It’s said this tunnel has more than 5,000 years of existence, and it was created after a volcanic eruption on the island. Even though it sounds like the conditions to access the zone are a bit harsh, it’s actually one of the safest places to visit in Iceland!

Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel. Source: Thelavatunnel.

One of the best things about the Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel is that people can visit it all year long. It won’t matter if it’s winter or summer. The tunnel will be open, waiting for visitors to show up!

As for how to visit the place, there are different ways to get there. The idea of going on a tour sounds good, as people will go by car, making it faster to access. But there’s also an option to go there on foot, as there’s a 3-to 4-hour excursion from Reykjavik that many would love to take!

One important thing to know about the Raufarhólshellir Lava Tunnel is that people have to book their visit in advance. Many people visit this location, so it might be hard to show up without a reservation!

9. Húsavík

Are you into seeing whales in their natural habitat? Well, Húsavík is the perfect place to visit! Located in the northern part of Iceland, Húsavík is one of the most important places for those who want to go whale-watching!

But that’s not everything this town has to offer! As a matter of fact, Húsavík is a lovely town where people can get to know local traditions and visit historical places, like the Húsavík Whale Museum! 

The idea of watching whales sounds interesting, but this is also a perfect place to go for a bird-watching tour. It’s pretty common to see local birds near Húsavík, so having the chance to see them without getting near them is a great activity for travelers.

In the town, there’s also a famous geothermal sea bath named GeoSea, which, apart from giving people the relaxation they need, also provides stunning views of the sea. 

husavik best places to visit iceland
Húsavík at night. Source: Pexels.

Lastly, the idea of walking on Skjálfandi is also an important part of the trip for travelers. The views from the bay are unique, as people will see the connection between the sea and snowy mountains in the background.

Overall, this town is quite friendly, and people will see it in the atmosphere as soon as they arrive! 

10. Langjökull Glacier

The last destination we have on the list is the Langjökull Glacier. This is the second most important glacier in the country, and the translation of its name means “The Long Glacier,” which makes it a must-visit place for visitors.

Something good to know about the Langjökull Glacier is how close it is to the Golden Circle. Those who plan to complete the Golden Circle tour can take some extra time to visit this glacier if they are close to Reykjavik. But the glacier is also accessible from Húsafell, which is also close to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula!

It’s important for people to keep in mind that this place is better to visit with a guide. As there are different places to visit, like a natural ice cave and a man-made ice cave, it’s better to be with someone who knows how to move around the area! Still, both caves are great when it comes to taking a picture.

Langjökull Glacier tour on snowmobile. Source: Iceland Travel.

Compared to other destinations, accessing the Langjökull Glacier is not as easy on foot. People have to get a snowmobile or glacier truck tour to enjoy the area as much as possible. No matter what tour you choose, the views while getting to the glacier are second to none, as these are quite impressive.

What is the most beautiful part of Iceland?

Iceland has many places that are considered to be the most beautiful on the island. For digital nomads in Iceland, surely places like the Golden Circle, Myvatn, or Húsvaik will be the most outstanding to see.

Truth be told, these aren’t the only places that are considered the most beautiful parts of Iceland! The capital, Reykjavik, is an amazing place to visit, not to mention everything that can be done outside of the city, and it’s one of the most beautiful places in all of Iceland!

It will depend on what people like to see, and especially during what season they travel. Iceland is full of colors, even in winter. It is one of the most magical Nordic countries, and people will love to visit it!

Conclusion

Up to this point, people have an idea of how to create an Iceland travel guide! There are many places to visit in the country, and most of them will surely take people’s breath away as everything feels taken from a movie.

Also, having an idea of when to travel to Iceland, it’s better for travelers. Even though many of the locations are open in summer and winter, travelers might choose a different date to travel to enjoy different scenarios.

As for now, Iceland remains a gem for tourists, especially when talking about the inner part of the country, as it’s harder to access it compared to other places. Overall, people won’t run out of ideas of what to do in Iceland.

Our advice here is for people to get either a SIM card for Iceland or, a better option, an eSIM. This way, travelers will stay connected and won’t have a hard time trying to get access to the internet while abroad!

FAQ about Best places to Visit in Iceland

Which part of Iceland is the best?

Iceland has many parts to visit. The idea of telling which one is the best is hard as travelers have plenty of locations to visit. One of the best places to go is the capital, Reykjavik, where people can take tours to other locations, like the Golden Circle or the Raufarhóselshellir Lava Tunnel.
Still, there are other places that are among the best places to visit in Iceland, like Húsavik or the South Coast, where people will find unique views along the way.

Where should I go for the first time in Iceland?

For first-time travelers in Iceland, starting at Reykjavik is a great plan for the trip. There are many outstanding locations in or near the capital, which makes it the ideal place for first-time visitors.
But, for those who want to live a Nordic adventure, visiting the glaciers is a good way to go, such as the Langjökull Glacier or the Diamond Beach. After all, it truly depends on what people prefer to do!