15 places in Iceland that you must visit in 2024

March 24, 2024

Iceland is inspiration – it is a travelers dream and it is the only place on the Earth where you can feel that you are on another planet. With black and diamond beaches, active volcanoes, hot springs and more then 10.000 waterfalls, Iceland will always stays in your mind and you will need a dose of Iceland every year. As I have been many times on this beautiful island, for 2024. I am recommending 15 places that you shouldnt miss if you really want to discover the land of ice and fire:

1. Reykjavik – good base for discovering western parts of Iceland

Tourists are not coming to Iceland for city break, visiting museums and churches. But Reykjavik is so much more then possible city break destination. It is perfect base for visiting other parts of the country, especially western and south-western Iceland. If you want to make whole circle around Iceland, Reykjavik will not be the only base that you will make, but it can be good starting point for first 3 or 4 days of your Icelandic adventure and road trip.

Harpa Concert hall

Reykjavik is really small city and you can walk around it for couple of hours. There are couple of destinations that you shouldnt miss while you are in the Capital of Iceland. One of them is Harpa Concert hall. It is unique building with interesting architecture. Nearby Concert hall is place with a lot of tourists that are waiting on their turn to make a selfie – Sun Voyager – sculpture that is symbol of Reykjavik. It is on a promenade near waterfrant and it is perfect spot in early morning or late afternoon. Beside those two places one of the most important stop over in Reykjavik is Hallgrimskirkja – one of the biggest Churches in northern Europe with breathtaking architecture. This church is visible from almost all points of Reykjavik.

Hallgrimskirkja – symbol of Reykjavik

2. The Great Geysir

You heard for Geysirs? Probably yes, but do you know that all geysirs on the planet have this name because the Great Geysir of Iceland. You can visit it on your Icelandic trip, it is just little more then 1 hour drive from Reykjavik. One of the greatest natural attractions of Iceland and part of the famous “Golden Circle Tour”, The Great Geysir, or Stori-Geysir, has been dormant since 1916 when it suddenly ceased to spout. It came to life only once in 1935, and as quickly went back to sleep. Since then its repose has sporadically been disturbed by the dumping of tons of carbolic soap powder into its seething orifice in order to tickle it to spout. It is not exactly known when Geysir was created. It is believed that it came into existence around the end of the 13th century when a series of strong earthquakes, accompanied by a devastating eruption of Mt. Hekla, hit Haukadalur, the geothermal valley where Geysir is located.

The Great Geysir

3. Seljalandsfoss waterfall

A unique waterfall in the river Seljalandsá, about 30 km west of Skógar: it is 60 meters high with a footpath behind it at the bottom of the cliff, but with a thin cascade. It is the only known waterfall of its kind where it is possible to walk behind it. The waterfall is very picturesque; therefore, its photo can be found in many books and calendars. Access to the waterfall is from the farm of Seljaland along the Ring Road, Iceland’s main highway. Several falls a little further to the west, including the interesting Gljúfrabúi, partially masked by its canyon. Access to it is from Hamragarðar farm along the road, east of Markarfljót. These “do-not-miss” attractions lie very close to the main Ring Road at the base of the Eyjafjallajökull Glacier, on the road leading into Thorsmörk. Read more about it at official website of Visit South Iceland.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall

4. Skogafoss waterfall

Only a few kilometers away from the south shores of Iceland lies the village of Skógar along the Southern Ring Road. It is a popular summer resort center surrounded by unusual scenic beauty. The breathtaking view of Skogáfoss waterfall and picturesque surroundings and the snow-capped heights of two towering glaciers are Skógar’s major summer attractions. There are two settlements by this name. One is Ytri-Skógar (outer or western Skógar) and the other Eystri-Skógar (eastern Skógar), located at a short distance from each other. Ytri-Skógar, commonly referred to as Skógar, is the main settlement. It is an old farm and has a church from 1890. It is located between the Skógá and Kverná rivers. Read more about it on official website of South Iceland tourism board.

Skogafoss waterfall

5. Vik – ,,Capital,, of south

Mýrdalshreppur is one of the three municipalities within Katla Geopark, a UNESCO Global Geopark. Vík in Mýrdalshreppur is situated in the center of the Geopark and is also Iceland‘s southernmost village. The municipalityGeoparkGeopark is bordered by Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the north, Jökulsá River to the west, Blautakvísl River to the east, and black sand beaches to the south. Due to the sandy beaches and rough seas, Vík remains Iceland‘s only seaside village with no harbour. Despite the lack of a port, it has long been an important trading post for farmers along the south coast of Iceland.

The Vík area is truly a place of outdoor adventures. Mýrdalsjökull glacier offers opportunities such as guided glacier hikes, year-round ice cave explorations, glacier-lagoon kayaking, and snowmobiling near Katla volcano. The adrenaline will surely kick in on an ATV tour on the black sand beaches of Sólheimasandur, Zip-lining down a canyon or floating in the air in a thrilling paragliding adventure. For those who prefer to have both feet on the ground, there are numerous hiking routes and a golf course in beautiful scenery on the outskirts of Vík. Lastly, a horse riding tour along the black sand beach overlooking Reynisdrangar sea stacks is an unforgettable experience.

Horse riding is popular activity in Vik

6. Fjallsárlón Glacial Lagoon

Scenic Fjallsárlón is a glacial lagoon largely within Vatnajökull National Park located around 10 km. west of Jökulsárlón, at the southern edge of Vatnajökull glacier. With the steep glacier tongue, Fjallsjökull coming down from Vatnajökull and all the way into the lagoon makes it a perfectly peaceful place for photos as well as enjoying the untouched nature. Fjallsárlón also offers boat tours on the lagoon as well as a bistro with fresh and tasty refreshments. 

7. Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon

Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon by the ring road and was recently designated as a part of Vatnajökull National Park. It’s still blue waters are a sight not to be missed, as it is dotted with icebergs from the edge of Breiðamerkurjökull, a part of the Vatnajökull glacier. The lagoon flows through a narrow gateway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving the spectacular sight of the large chunks of ice on the black sandy beach. In wintertime, the fish-filled lagoon hosts a number of seals, which visit the lagoon for an easy meal. Year-round curious seals can be seen basking on the blue-tinted icebergs. The lagoon is accessible from the beach all year round, and so is the café on the banks of Jökulsárlón. For hikers, a marked hiking trail between Jökulsárlón and Fjallsárlón is recommended as a scenic trip through unforgettable surroundings. 

8. Vestrahorn

In Iceland, one of the first settlement farms was Horn, built by Hrollaugur, son of Rögnvaldur Earl of Møre in Norway. The Hornafjörður Municipality and several natural sites are named after the settlement farm. Horn means the same thing in Icelandic and English. The area is approximately a ten-minute drive away from Höfn. The Horn area is below Vestra-Horn, a 454-meter-high mountain, and it is an interesting geological site composed of un-stratified plutonic rock, mostly gabbro but with some granophyre. East of the mountain is a strange-shaped outcrop called Brunnhorn that stretches out to sea. Seals also tend to hang out on the stretch of sand, so if you’re lucky, you can also catch a picture of a lazing seal. 

9. Animal spotting on the road

If you are on the ring road and visiting numerous destinations of Iceland, you will enjoy the view wherewer you are. But you have to be aware that domestic animals such are ships are free in Iceland, they are crossing the street sometimes, so you have to ride very carefully. Especially in southern Iceland, you will be surounded by thousands of ships – great photo opportunity.

10. Stuðlagil Canyon

In the valley Jökuldalur (Glacier Valley) in East Iceland there is a marvellous natural site that almost nobody knew about until recently. For a long time it was hidden under water or until the hydroelectric plant Kárahnjúkavirkjun was built and the waterflow in the glacier river Jökulsá á Dal, a.k.a. Jökla, was extremely reduced. This marvel is the part of Jökla‘s canyon which is called Stuðlagil Canyon. Stuðlagil Canyon has one of the biggest and most beautiful basalt columns formation in Iceland. There are two options to access Stuðlagil Canyon. To access the canyon from the west site you turn south on the Ring Road nr. 1 to road nr. 923. Then you drive about 19 kilometers to the farm Grund where you will find a parking lot and a path to riverbank (the walk is about 250 meters, or 5 minutes). There is a good view down to the canyon and the diverse columns look spectacular. Bear in mind that even though the walk is short caution is needed because the path is partly very steep. To get into the canyon, and down to the river, you have to access it from the east site. Then you drive to the bridge by the farm Klaustursel, also be road nr. 923 about 14 kilometers from the Ring Road nr. 1. Bear in mind that you are requested to park your car on the parking lot on the north site of the bridge. From there you cross the bridge on foot and take on a hike by a track (approx. 5 kilometers) to a place where you can get down into the canyon. You will need to be careful because the rocks and stones can be very slippery. You can read more about this destination on official website of Visit Iceland.

11. Hengifoss waterfall

Hengifoss waterfall is one of the main stop on eastern part of Iceland. It is the third highest waterfall in Iceland with 128 meters. It is located in Hengifossá in Fljótsdalshreppur, East Iceland. It is surrounded by basaltic strata with thin, red layers of clay between the basaltic layers so it is very unique in Iceland and in whole world. Must stop for great photo opportunity.

12. Myvatn Lake

Myvatn lake is one of the best spots in northern Iceland to see Aurora Borealis – the northern lights. When is the best time to see the northern lights? Guaranteed darkness is the first important factor. The best season to see the northern lights in Iceland is from September to mid-April – these are the months where there are full dark nights. Some sources will recommend November to February, as they are the darkest months with the longest possible window to see the lights, however these sources often fail to take into account that these months can have the worst weather with lots of rain and snow. It is also not unheard of to see the lights as early as mid-August, once the final traces of the midnight sun summer are gone. Read more about it on official website of Lake Myvatn area.

13. Siglufjörður

Siglufjörður is Iceland’s northernmost town and is a historic fishing town whose fame, and fortune has always been linked to the ebb and flow of the fishing industry. A tiny shark fishing village in 1900, Siglufjörður soon became one of the largest towns in Iceland and the undisputed capital of herring fishing in the Atlantic. Siglufjörður is an area of spectacular natural beauty. The mountains and the fjords are awe-inspiring and the opportunities for outdoor activities and recreation are almost inexhaustible. The closeness to nature is always within reach, whether you wish to go on a hike, play golf, try ocean swimming or go skiing. In Siglufjörður there is a flourishing cultural life. There are several restaurants, there are also numerous galleries and workshops, museums and our local church in Siglufjörður. More about Siglufjörður read on official website of North Iceland.

14. Snaefelsness peninsula

Snaefelsness peninsula is Iceland in small – because you can find a lot of features of all Iceland in such a small peninsula, from Volcanoes to waterfalls and many other must see spots The lonely Kirkjufell “church mountain” rising from the sea as a backdrop for the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall is probably the No. 1. photographed location in Iceland. The Búðir black church and the columnar basalt cliffs of Arnarstapi and Gerðuberg are close rivals.

The migration route of large cetaceans like blue whales and sperm whales lies around the westmost tip of the peninsula, so make sure you keep an eye out for a blow or a fluke there. In addition, harbor seals and gray seals are common along the coastline, and a visit to the seal-lair at Ytri-Tunga beach is likely to guarantee a sighting of the former. Adding a boat trip to Flatey island from the beautiful town Stykkishólmur, a whale watching tour from Ólafsvík, or a puffin tour from Grundarfjörður harbor will bring you into the world of seabirds and marine mammals in Breiðafjörður bay, where the magnificent orcas rule. Read more about this peninsula on official website of Visit Iceland.

15. Þingvellir National Park

The Þingvellir area is praised as the national shrine of Iceland due to its great historical and geological significance. Iceland’s first national park was established there in 1928, and the Þingvellir area has now been recognized for its outstanding universal value and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. The name Þingvellir literally means “Assembly Plains,” and the place symbolizes the history of Iceland. The Alþingi, or Iceland’s parliament, was founded there as early as 930, making it the oldest operating parliament globally. The parliament continued to convene at the fields of river Öxará for 868 years or until 1798. Therefore, many significant events of Iceland’s history have taken place there, and Icelanders consider it the nation’s birthplace. You can read more about this National Park on official website of Visit Iceland.