The Most Beautiful Places to See in Iceland
Iceland is defined by its beautiful landscape of waterfalls, geysers, caves, glaciers and mountains. It is the perfect place for those with a sense of adventure and those who are in search of breathtaking cinematic landscapes. The splendor that Iceland has to offer allows us to really appreciate the beauty of Mother Nature.
Below are just some of the many extraordinary places in Iceland that are well worth visiting when traveling to this beautiful country.
This majestic waterfall is an iconic tourist attraction. It is located in the canyon of Hvítá (engl. white river), southwest of Iceland. There are no rails surrounding the waterfall, allowing spectacular and untouched natural views.
The waterfall is 70 meters high and on a sunny day the mist causes a stunning rainbow to appear above.
Hallgrímskirkja is not only the largest church in Iceland, but the sixth tallest architectural structure at 73 meters tall. The white-concrete church is a Lutheran parish in Reykjavik. You can get a beautiful view of the city by taking the elevator to the top. The church dominates the skyline and can be seen almost anywhere in the city. The structure was inspired by another Icelandic wonder — the Black Falls (seen below).
The Aurora Borealis or “Northern Lights” are the auroras that occur in the Northern Hemisphere around the magnetic poles. It is named after the Roman goddess of dawn and is also the the Greek name for north wind. The light that dances across the sky is caused by cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma interacting with the atmosphere. They are basically electric collisions of charged particles from the Sun entering Earth’s atmosphere. Auroras come in many colors, although pale green and pink are the most common.
Blue Lagoon in Grindavík
The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular attractions in Iceland. It is a geothermal spa located 40 minutes away from Reykjavík, Southwest Iceland. Six million liters of naturally warm seawater (about 37–39 °C) is pumped from more than a mile underground into the man-made basin. The waters are rich in minerals and are claimed to be beneficial to health and good for the skin.
Skaftafell Ice Cave
Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Europe. Within it, you’ll find the beautiful Skaftafell Ice Cave located on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier in Skaftafell. This cave attracts many adventurers looking for unique, breathtaking views. Ice caves form on the edges of glaciers in autumn and last throughout the winter.
This 463 meter high mountain is on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, near the town of Grundarfjörður. The stunning multicolored backdrop of the Icelandic sky makes it one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. The extraordinarily shaped mountain looms over the sea and is surrounded by beautiful beaches. There is also a scenic walking trail around the base of the mountain which offers amazing views and allows sightseers to fully appreciate this wondrous spectacle of nature. The walk takes about 3 hours to complete.
The Maelifell Volcano is located in the south of Iceland on the edge of the Myrdalsjökull glacier, from which it emerged over 10,000 years ago. This beautiful cone-shaped volcano towers at over 800 meters tall and is covered in a vibrant green moss. It is part of Vatnajokull National Park and attracts many adventurers with its nearby hot springs and beautiful surrounding landscapes.
The striking look of the multicolored rhyolite mountains, lava fields and Hekla volcano makes this place a unique and popular destination for travelers to Iceland. This majestic landscape has a wide spectrum of colors making you feel as if you are walking through a painting. Here you can go hiking or horse riding amongst the breathtaking landscape.
There are a lot of geysers, underground springs and thermal pools scattered across Iceland. Many geysers can be found south of Iceland in Haukadalur due to the underground volcanic activity there.
Strokkur (Icelandic for “churn”) is a famous fountain geyser located southwest of Iceland which is visited by many tourists each year. Every 8 to 10 minutes it erupts and shoots water an average of 15 to 20 meters high — sometimes reaching up to 40 meters. Strokkur is one of the few natural geysers in Iceland to erupt frequently and reliably, making it a popular attraction.
It is exciting to watch on in anticipation as geysers sporadically shoot boiling water high into the air.
Svartifoss (Black Falls)
Svartifoss is a waterfall located in Skaftafell in Vatnajökull National Park — along with the Skaftafell Ice Cave mentioned above. Its name was inspired by the impressive amphitheatre of dark lava columns.
As you can see in the photos, many sharp rocks have formed at the base of this 20 meter high waterfall.
If you enjoy hiking, you’ll find many hiking trails that begin at Svartifoss.