Iceland is famous for its many active and inactive volcanoes, geothermal springs, awe-inspiring glaciers, fairytale-like Northern Lights, hundreds of stunning waterfalls, its Viking past, and gorgeous mountains and black sand beaches as far as the eye can see. Even while walking down the nation’s capital, Reykjavík, views of the ocean and nearby mountains steal the show.
One of the safest and friendliest countries in the world, Iceland is increasing its popularity every day when it comes to tourism.
With so much to see and do in Iceland, it can be hard to know what exactly are must see places. That’s why we made this list of what we here at Iceland Wonder consider to be the top 12 must see places in Iceland. There are countless more gorgeous places to explore, but these are definitely sights you don’t want to miss!
Pretty much every visitor to Iceland ends up exploring the famous Golden Circle route, and there are multiple great reasons why!
The Golden Circle is a a region east of the capital, Reykjavík, and it features some unique attractions, such as, geysers, waterfalls, volcanic craters, historical sites, and quaint villages.
The three most famous sights on the route are Þingvellir National Park (where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates meet), Geysir (featured in the image above), and one of Iceland's most beautiful waterfalls, Gullfoss.
It's a fantastic area, full of stunning nature and history.
Seljalandsfoss is one of Iceland's best known waterfalls. The 65 meter (213 feet) high waterfall is breathtaking in every way and is easily accessible from the south-coast road. What makes this waterfall so unique is that you can walk behind it, but just make sure to bring a raincoat on those windy days!
The picturesque little village of Vík is the southernmost village in Iceland, located on the main ring road. The village is famous for it's cliffs, miles of black sand beaches, and a series of basalt sea stacks known as Reynisdrangar.
Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they turned into needles of stone.
No trip to Iceland is complete without spending some time in our quirky capital city. The colorful little city has many different museums such as the Saga Museum, Viking Maritime Museum, The Settlement Exhibition, Árbær Open Air Museum, Whales of Iceland, the National Museum of Iceland and the Phallological Museum. Yes, a museum dedicated to nothing by penises.
The city also has a great night life and make sure to go up the bell tower of Hallgrímskirkja church for a 360 degree view of Reykjavík's skyline.
Set in the middle of a lava field, The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. The lagoon's warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulfur and bathing there is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.
The lagoon is an out of this world experience, full of relaxation and pampering...something you'll need after all the hiking you'll end up doing on your Iceland trip!
The tiny picturesque fishing village of Húsavík is nestled in a cove in north Iceland. The area around Húsavík is famous for its geothermal springs, often believed to have healing powers, as well as being one of the best spots in Europe for whale watching.
Commonly spotted whales in the area include, minke, humpback and blue whales, as well as white-beaked dolphins and harbor porpoises.
Goðafoss is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland. Located in North-Central Iceland, the waterfall lies just off the Ring Road.
Goðafoss means 'Waterfall of the Gods' in English and it got its name when chieftain Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði threw his statues of the Norse gods into the waterfall after Christianity became the official religion of Iceland in the year 1000 AD.
Mývatn (meaning Midge Water) is a shallow eutrophic lake situated in an area of active volcanism in the north of Iceland, not far from Krafla volcano. The lake and its surrounding wetlands have an exceptionally rich fauna of waterbirds, as well as billions of annoying midges that can be found there in summer.
The area is also home of Myvatn Nature Baths, a spectacular natural spa that is a must visit for anyone heading north.
If you love a good hike out in stunning nature than put on your hiking boots and head for the area known as Landmannalaugar.
Located within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve in Iceland’s highlands, Landmannalaugar is best known for its scenic hiking trails, with colors that look like they are straight out of a painting. Situated at the edge of a lava field, the mountainous region full of hiking paths is famous for its natural hot springs as well.