Iceland is an incredible country with stunning landscapes and geological formations. Included in the top 20 largest islands globally, Iceland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean in the northern hemisphere. The country is known for its incredible beauty and unique land of fire and ice.
This list of top 100 locations in Iceland is carefully listed to ease your travels. We have divided the sections into categories spanning from North and East to South and West, and popular spots. This detailed listing contains everything a traveler wants to know. These choices are based on individual experiences and data compiled from different online sources.
So without further ado, let’s get started with the incredible list.
The South Coast is a picturesque amalgamation of glacier lagoons, a national park, lava fields endlessly dried, awe-inspiring cliffsides, and unforgettable fishing villages. Numerous volcanic lava flows during the Ice Age make the coast geologically young. The Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull are two of the most active volcanos in the region.
The Quake 2008 exhibition at the Hveragerði displays the splitting of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. South Iceland is easily accessible through Ring Road Route-1, and most of the attractions in the region lie within 2-hours of driving distance via jeep, car, or bus from Reykjavik.
The area comprises marshlands, diverse landscapes, bays, estuaries, cultivated pastures, and black sand deserts. The Þjórsárhraun lava fields also rest underneath the soil, and early southern Icelandic settlements are based on fishing. Þorlákshöfn town is the most significant harbor in the area.
1. Seljalandsfoss Waterfall
Fed by the Eyjafjallajokull volcano’s glacier cap, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall goes directly into a pretty meadow. The attraction running beside the Southern Coast offers a mesmerizing view of the surroundings while walking behind it and is often a tour staple stop. The waterfall has been a part of Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You” music video.
2. Skógafoss Waterfall
Renowned for the legend of a treasure chest and 60-meters drop, Skógafoss waterfall offers a rainbow view during summers. Five hundred twenty-seven steps lead to the observation platform and surround it with photogenic landscapes. Unfortunately, the base rocks become icy and dangerously approachable during winters.
Lying between Dyrhólaey, and Vík í Mýrdal village, Reynisfjara, a black sand beach formed with volcanic shorelines, distant mountainscapes, rock formations, and towering cliffs. Infamous for sneaker waves and surrounded by ice-cold water, Reynisfjara is associated with Viking folklore. The locals refer to the rock-filled sea stacks on the shoreline as Reynisdrangar.
A small peninsula and a former volcanic island separated from the mainland, Dyrhólaey offers a spectacular view of birdlife from the cliff and a scene dominating the rock arch. You can view Puffins and Arctic Terns, except during the nesting months, May and June. The 120-meter promenade also has sights of glittering Atlantic waves, mountainscapes, and black sand beaches.
A village, souvenir shopping hub, and lunch stop, Vík í Mýrdal houses no more than 300 people and lies on the southern side of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. Inexperienced with eruptions, Vik offers Katla volcano excursions for natural ice cave explorations. Situated 186 km from Reykjavík, Vík has the warmest temperatures by two degrees compared to other country regions.
Renowned as Iceland’s Crown Jewel, Jökulsárlón offers scenic views of icebergs, seal colonies, ice caps, and Vatnajökull National Park mountains. The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is rapidly enlarging because of the large ice chunks and has expanded up to 18 square km since 1934-35. As a result, Jökulsárlón seems more like a lake formed with glacier outlet meltwater.
7. Diamond Beach
Almost five minutes from Jökulsárlón, the Diamond Beach is a photographer’s hub with black volcanic sand and pale blue ice. The naturally formed icebergs and rolling tides offer a distinct picture capturing experience and showcase ethereal nature. A plain strip of the greater Breiðamerkursandur, the diamond beach creates at stark contrast with washed-up Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon icebergs.
Lying amidst Öræfi or the Wasteland, Skaftafell nature reserve, a former national park, is home to Hvannadalshnúkur and Morsárfoss, the tallest peak and waterfall of the country. The fertile green birch land also coincides with the Vatnajökull glacier, making it a hiking hub. The rich and growing flora between the glaciers and sands is an amazing contrasting scenery for most visitors.
Transformed over 9,000 years, the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon has a 2 km and 100-meter deep river, narrow pathways, and steep walls. The ice age palagonite bedrock and Fjaðrá river arriving from Mt. Geirlandshraun have made a winding canyon shape. The dramatic canyon lies next to the historic Kirkjubæjarklaustur town.
Located 23 km east of the Seljalandsfoss waterfall, the Seljavallalaug outdoor pool dated 1923 and remained the most extensive country pool with a 25-meter length and 10-meter width until 1936. Algae grow underneath and on the sides of the pool and are reachable by driving east from the Ring Road while arriving through Reykjavík.
11. Reykjadalur Hot Spring
The Reykjadalur valley is home to many hot springs and is famous as “Stream Valley.” The hot springs are surrounded by lush green hillsides, waterfalls, and geothermal springs. The Reykjadalur hot springs lie beside the 2,500 people town Hveragerði. The hot spring lies 45 km from Reykjavík and is part of the Hengill area.
A small waterfall beside Seljalandsfoss, Gljúfrabúi, is hidden inside the ancient sea cliff’s gorge. Photographers often appreciate the surrounding greenery and water drawing from the Gljúfrabúi, a.k.a. Canyon Dweller, from a height of 131 feet. The waterfall is situated at Hamragarðar, and its cliff faces the Atlantic Ocean and the South Coast.
The 98-feet Kvernufoss waterfall is partially hidden in the gorge and lies on the eastern end of the Skógafoss waterfall. A 20-minutes hike beginning from the Skógasafn museum to Kvernufoss by the river also offers a view of gorge and gravel. Then, the trek leads towards the Kvernugil gorge and the Kvernuhólsá river.
A vast gravel and sand area amidst modern shoreline and interior cliffs, Sólheimasandur was constructed due to a glacier burst. The site offers scientific unpredictability and glacier flood vulnerabilities. Sólheimasandur offers haunting and ethereal beauty with black sand resembling a lunar landscape. One of the most prominent attractions of the place is the DC-3 plane wreckage sight.
15. Svartifoss Waterfall
Lying 1.5 km uphill from the Visitor Centre in Skaftafell, Svartifoss waterfall is accompanied mainly by viewing other gorge waterfalls. Invisible from the road, the magnificent waterfall takes 90-minutes to hike both ways and is an oasis. The 20-meter tall waterfall is an oasis and surrounded by columnar basalt structures.
The million-year-old Mt. Lómagnúpur offers garden surroundings, a base open blue fjord, and cliff faces. The mountain base consists of lava beds, palagonite, and sediments and holds cultural and historical significance and folklores. The 767-meter tall mountain has been clearly defined in the poem Áfangar by Jón Helgason.
17. Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck
Located amids the Vík í Mýrdal fishing village and Hvolsvöllur, Sólheimasandur plane wreck is a prominent US Navy DC-3 plane wreck site. The wreckage destination resulted from the 1973 crash and offered a stark contrast of history and natural resources. Visitors can go inside the abandoned plane for shooting and playing.
18. Foss á Síðu
A historic farm, Foss á Síðu inhabited since the Settlement Era of Iceland is associated with a cursed man’s mysterious 16th Century legends. The place is 10 km from Kirkjubæklaustur village, former piety, and religious center. Foss á Síðu is also mentioned in the Book of Settlements.
19. Hofskirkja Turf Church
The Öræfi regions Hofskirkja is one of the six Icelandic turf churches bearing the traditional style and was built by Páll Pálsson. The 16th or 17th-century Danish tin candle lights are visible inside St. Clement dedicated attraction. The chancel screen divides the church into two parts, namely choir, and nave.
20. Fjallsárlón Glacier Lagoon
The iceberg-filled Fjallsárlón glacier lagoon lies in the vicinity of the Vatnajökull glacier and Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon. The glacier snout of Fjallsárlón offers a better view than Jökulsárlón, and diminished height gives a chance to go close to the ice cap. The Fjallsjökull glacier outlet of the Vatnajökull reaches the lagoon surface.
21. Katla Ice Cave
One of the most visited places in Iceland, the Katla ice cave offers colorful and shimmering ice formations with a sight of surrounded gravel & snow roads and rivers. The cave forms unique ice formations every year during winter. The snow walk towards the cave provides unforgettable views.
22. Sólheimajökull Glacier
Rugged ridges, crevasses, and sinkholes form the Sólheimajökull glacier lying at the Mýrdalsjökull glacier’s tongue. A hiker paradise, the glacier is constantly changing and retreated almost a kilometer in the past decade. The rich sulphuric acid smelly Jökulsá river runs here, and Sólheimajökull may not exist after a few decades.
23. Svínafellsjökull Glacier
The Svínafellsjökull glacier stretches 8 km in length and 800 meters in width. The ice monster seems more awe-inspiring than the Vatnajökull and Öræfajökull glaciers. Walkers can experience sublime blue colors while glacier climbing for viewing the ice tongue. Svínafellsjökull is in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve, and the reserve was formerly a National Park.
Located near Kirkjubæjarklaustur on Ring Road 1, Stjórnarfoss is famous for its waterfall and surrounding rock formations. Stjórnarfoss’s sloping water sounds and captivating surrounding landscapes make it a perfect camping and picnic spot. You can find a campsite next to the waterfall called Kleifar. On warm summer days, you will find the locals jump in the waterfall for a swim. The water gets warmer in the evening when the sun has been shining all day.
A basalt column formation, Dverghamrar, a.k.a. The Dwarf Cliffs, lies 10 km east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur village. The hexagonal basalt cliff columns also have horseshoe-shaped cube-jointed basalt at the top formed during the ice age and associated with folklore. The columnar basalt is a result of cooled lava flow and the building of contraction forces. When you stand at Dverghamrar you can see Foss á Síðu between the cliffs.
26. Fossálar Waterfalls
A lesser-known Icelandic waterfall, Fossálar, is captured around geological foundations that seem like a landscape painting. The eye-capturing sight lies 16 km east of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The waterfall is located a few meters from the Ring Road so you will see them as you drive along the road. You can adore the scenic view of a gentle and tumbling cascade through the gigantic cliffs. The graceful cascade and Fossálar river are easy to reach by walking from the nearby parking lot. However, the sight is not well marked and the parking lot is very small.
27. Vestmannaeyjar / Westman Islands
Vestmannaeyjar is a volcanic island located just south of Iceland. Incredible natural beauty is everywhere around in Vestmannaeyjar and if you are a history enthusiast, this place will surely be of interest. The population of the island is around 4300 people. See where the eruption in Eldfell volcano happened in 1973 and forced a month long evacuation of the entire population of Vestmannaeyjar. Explore the magnificent cliffs, restaurants and see the puffins in their natural environment.
The famous Golden Circle tour takes you through promising south Icelandic destinations like waterfalls, Geysir, a national park, and geothermal fields. The 300 km natural attraction tour is top-rated in Iceland, and excursions include activities like snowmobiling, snorkeling, helicopter rides, and hot spring bathing.
The Golden Circle is Iceland’s finest example of magnificent landscapes, geological forces, and rich culture. The route is often a precursor to South Coast exploration and Ring Road detour. The vicinity to Iceland’s capital city and visiting the most famous attractions make the Golden Circle a favorite.
The Golden Circle was named after the Gullfoss waterfalls, and the second part represents the circular route. Likewise, you can even spot a Diamond Circle in northern Iceland covering famous attractions.
Golden Falls, a.k.a Gullfoss, is a loved Hvítá river canyon attraction with a total height of 70 meters from the Gullfossgjúfur canyon. You can drench in mighty waterfall sprays through 140 and 109 cubic meters of surging water during summers and winters. The waterfall is one of the most popular attraction in Iceland and for a good reason. The photos of the waterfall are breath taking, but it is nothing like seeing it in real life. The feel is totally different. You can even add nearby activities like Langjökull glacier and ice cave visitation or snowmobiling on the Gullfoss tour itinerary.
In a geothermal area called Haukadalur valley, Geysir erupts water up to 70-meters and surrounds the area with fumaroles and yellow sulphuric stains. Geysir, also known as The Great Geysir, is one of the most famous hot springs in the world. Geysir lends its name to all the geysers that are present around the world. The famous Geysir is rarely active, but the site has many hot springs, including Strokkur who erupts 30 meters up in the air every 5-10 minutes.
Þingvellir National Park is The Field of Parliaments also known as Alþingi, the globe’s first elected parliament through democracy, in 930 AD. In addition, the place is home to Silfra fissure where you can snorkel between the continents. Þingvellir National Park is a part of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The ground also has remains of 10th Century and 18th & 19th Century agricultural remains.
31. Secret Lagoon
Gamla Laugin or Secret Lagoon is Iceland’s oldest swimming pool surrounded by the Hverahólmi hot springs and Flúðir villages geothermal area. The 1891 artificial pool has a water temperature of 38-40°C with visibility of erupting geyser and lava fields. Located in the Flúðir village, the Secret Lagoon receives steam from the natural hot springs.
32. Kerið Crater
The 3000-year-old and 55-meter deep Kerið crater lies in the Tjarnarhólar area, a home for crater hills. Kerið has a bowl lake believed to rise and fall in the Mt. Búrfell, and is a natural protected site. The crater is in the vicinity of the Golden Circle attractions and appears vividly red.
33. Hrunalaug Hot Spring
The Hruni hot spring or Hrunalaug remains open throughout the year and has a temperature of 40°C. Dramatic artificial improvements surround the eight-person capacity hot spring, and a private land attraction lies in the vicinity of the Secret Lagoon. The best time to visit the hot spring is during the early morning as it allows you to stay away from the crowd.
34. Faxi Waterfall
Faxi waterfall, sometimes called Vatnsleysufoss waterfall lies 12 km from Geysir and 20 km from Gullfoss waterfall. A part of the Golden Circle, the waterfall is a vast, impressive, and natural sight. You can experience the drizzle up close and even enjoy the peacefulness, unlike the Gullfoss waterfall.
35. Snorkeling in Silfra
The Thingvellir National Park’s snorkeling in Silfra is one of the most famous activities that take people through glacier-like crystal clear waters and offer an experience of incredible rock formations. Silfra fissure allows snorkeling between the slowly drifting Eurasian and North American continental tectonic plates and provides an unforgettable sub-aquatic life experience.
36. Öxarárfoss Waterfall
The water of the Þingvellir National Park’s artificial Öxarárfoss waterfall arrives through the Öxará river and runs towards the Þingvallakirkja church. The 44-feet high and 20-feet wide waterfall has a rock-filled base, and the water freezes during winter. The waterfall is surrounded by lava fields and the ravines of the national park. It is the ideal stop if you are visiting Thingvellir National Park.
37. Laugarvatn Fontana
The geothermal baths of Laugarvatn Fontana are in the midst of the Golden Circle route. The geothermal springs offer a healing experience, and you even admire the natural lake pool besides steam baths with temperatures between 40°C and 50°C. Geothermal energy changes the temperature of the green beaches, pools, and streams.
Covering approximately 22,721 square kilometers, East Iceland houses almost 16,000 people and is a peaceful and beautiful area. The site has a dramatic coastline, small villages, narrow fjords, mountains, and waterfalls. Since East Iceland is located farthest away from Reykjavik, it is not visited by travelers as much as some of the other parts of Iceland. Because of this, you will not find as many travelers at the best tourist locations and everything is more quite and peaceful.
The most significant Icelandic rhyolite foundations of Borgarfjörður Eystri with inhabited area accessibility are visible in East Iceland. The region is also known for colored mineral deposited magma chambers visible and reachable from the east coast. In addition, creatives and millennials from around the globe make it a hub for arts and music festivals.
The place is even an adventure area with activities like hiking, skiing, horse riding, and others. Filled with art history and a rich palette landscape, East Iceland has hometowns of painters like Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval and restores the art in a nearby museum.
A town with 668 people, Seyðisfjörður lies in the fjord’s inner corner surrounded by waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Prone to avalanches, the small village is 17 km from Skalanes nature reserve and was a base for Allied Forces in World War II. The ferry that comes from Europe to Iceland stops at Seyðisfjörður so it is a first stop for many travelers. Seyðisfjörður is known to be the best place in Iceland for art and you can find young artist all over the town.
Stokksnes is home to the black sand beach at Stokksnes peninsula and Mt. Vestrahorn. The landmark is surrounded by black sea beaches, stunning lagoons, and cliffs. Lying on Mt. Kastarárfjall’s south side, the place also houses the H3 Radar Station. The Stokksnes peninsula dates back to the 9th Century and is associated with the first Horn settlement. The view from the black sand beach and over to Vestrahorn Mountain is simply amazing. It is one of the most popular location in Iceland for photographers.
A 2,000 people fishing town, Höfn is a natural harbor located in the southest part of East Iceland. The city has three-sided ocean surroundings, and Vatnajökull glacier, the largest glacier in Europe,vlies within the town’s vicinity. The town is one of the few Icelandic places with a domestic airport.
41. Borgarfjörður Eystri
Egilsstaðir is the largest East Icelandic town with 2,464 residents. The town lies on the Lagarfljót river banks within the Fljótsdalshérað district valley. The town is near Hallormsstaðaskógur forest and Lagarfjlót lake. Egilsstaðir is a famous reindeer region and unspoiled nature. It serves as a service center for East Iceland, being the largest town in the area.
Running through the Hengifossá river in East Iceland, Hengifoss waterfall has a length of 128 feet. It is one of the highest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. The waterfall trail is one of the most notable Icelandic hiking routes. Basaltic strata layers and red clay surround the waterfall. Geologists even discovered that the layers have fossilized trees that showcase evidence of warmer tertiary periods.
Found on the Hengifoss trail, Litlanesfoss is a two-tier waterfall with a length of 30-35 meters. The waterfall is also known as Stuðlabergsfoss because it is surrounded by 20-meter high basalt columns and is hidden from the hiking trail. Litlanesfoss, a.k.a, Basalt Column Falls, are renowned for these marvels.
Folaldafoss waterfall is a hidden waterfall in East Iceland. The waterfall has a 20-meter drop and is visible from the main road over Öxi. A quick walk towards the attraction from the parking lot takes you into a serene environment of Icelandic scenery with high cliffs and Route 939 landscapes. The waterfalls divert the water of the southern flowing stream almost northwards and land in an attractive pool.
A hidden black sand beach, Fauskasandur is a perfect stop for self-drivers. The black sand beach in East Iceland is renowned for green top standing monolith with a demeanor colored in black and a massive rock amid the ocean. The dark black sand, stone, side basalt rocks, and sea create a glimmering contrast.
47. Rjúkandi Waterfall
The Jökuldalur valley’s Rjúkandi waterfall offers geological uniqueness and receives water from Jökulsá á Brú river harnessed through the Kárahnjúkar Dam project. The water falls 305 and 109 feet drops surrounded by greenery make a picturesque view.
48. Stuðlagil Canyon
Stuðlagil Canyon has become one of the most popular location in Iceland in the recent years. And for a good reason. This magical place is on top of every photographers list. The basalt columns light up in the sun and the water streaming below is simply beautiful.
Contrasting North Iceland has peninsulas, mountains, lava fields, smooth hills, and curved rivers. The northern coast also showcases lush vegetation, vicinity to the arctic circle, awe-inspiring midnight sun, and other barrens. The natural marvels spread through unpopulated and vast areas.
Whale watching is best experienced in north Iceland, and the tours take on picturesque journeys of the North Atlantic cetaceans. However, one of the most commonly missed places is the Árskógssandur’s beer spa located in a community on the Eyjafjörður Fiord shores.
A natural lake surrounded by a small northern island, volcanic activity, and birdlife, Mývatn is a sight for sore eyes. The attraction is a nesting ground for thirteen duck species and is located below a water surface and on an active geothermal area.
Situated on the northern side of Mývatn lake, Krafla caldera is an explosive volcano with 29 eruptions since settlement. The caldera is known for 90 km fissure zone extensions and has a peak height of 818 meters, and lies in the vicinity of Ásbyrgi horseshoe structured canyon.