Best Places to Visit in Iceland 2023

Most popular places to visit in iceland 2023

Been searching for a magical land filled with extraordinary attractions? Well we’re glad to inform you that your search ends right here. From lush grasslands to majestic mountains, destructive volcanoes to stunning glaciers, exotic hot springs to distinct island, Iceland has it all. And with this list of best places to visit in Iceland, your vacation is sure to transform into the most epic journeys of all time. Reykjavík, Akureyri, Hafnarfjordur, Mosfellsbaer, Vestmannaeyjar, Ísafjörður, Akranes, Kópavogur, Siglufjörður, Húsavík, Selfoss, The Westman Islands, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Landmannalaugar, Thingvellir National Park, Hella and many more. Riddled with gorgeous steep-cliffed glaciers and windswept national parks, the places to visit in Iceland beg a visit. Whether you’re looking for the quiet charm of old Viking villages, or the dazzling natural resplendence of its volcanoes and lakes, these tourist attractions will leave you asking for more. From steep waterfalls to nature reserves, Iceland is home to some of the most beautiful attractions in all of Europe. The glacial lakes in the country are some of the best tourist attractions in Iceland- whether it is the chilling beauty of Jokulsarlon or the warm and milk-blue waters of the Askja Caldera, each attraction here is more special than the last one. Those looking for a quiet vacation can also opt to visit one of the many fishing villages here, which are some of the best places in Iceland. From Hella with its whale spotting activities to the snow-capped mountains of Siglufjörður, these little towns and villages are the pride of Iceland. Several Iceland attractions also serve as prominent vantage points to enjoy the northern lights from, with the Kirkjufell mountain and Mount Esja being two of the best of such points.

#1- Hella
Hella is one of Iceland’s oldest towns. Initially home to Irish settlers, the town has gradually developed into a thriving tourist hub. The gushing Ytri-Ranga is an ideal spot for amateur fishing, although travellers at Hella can also partake in a number of other sports such as sledding and horse-riding.  Hiking is also a popular activity here, particularly at the hauntingly beautiful Hekla, the active volcano looking at a distance. Those interested in taking a hot spring dip could also make their way to the gorgeous Secret Lagoon located on the outskirts of Hella.

#2- Thingvellir National Park
One of the most prominent historical places to see in Iceland, the Thingvellir National Park was established on the 100th anniversary of Iceland’s parliamentary assembly. Riddled with high cliffs and deep gorges, the stunning National Park is known for its unparalleled beauty. The wildlife here consists of many arctic foxes and minks along with a large bird population. Tourists at the park can enjoy swimming and snorkeling at one of the many glacial rivers at the park. Fishing the park is also said to be a rewarding experience.

#3- Landmannalaugar
Its name literally translates to the ‘People’s Pool’, Landmannalaugar is one of the most uniquely beautiful tourist places in Iceland. Located within the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, Landmannalaugar is a sweeping area of frozen lava formed during the volcanic eruption of 1477. The rocks at the lava field can be seen reflecting the sun’s rays in shades of yellow, green, pink and blue, offering an ethereal sight. A number of geothermal pools litter the rocks at varying heights, offering a therapeutic dip to tourists. The area is also home to some of the most aesthetic hiking trails in Iceland, riddled with waterfalls, gorges and caves.

#4- Black Beach
The black beaches in Iceland have an aura of mystery and are wildly romantic. With the enormous stacks of basalt, the stunning panoramas, and the roaring waves of the Atlantic, the Reynisfjara is one of the famous black sand beaches of Iceland. If you are wondering what makes the beaches black then you must know that black sand beaches rise from volcanic ashes. Iceland being home to over 130 active volcanoes, these black volcanic beaches are certainly not a rarity here. The Breiðamerkursandur ice Diamond beach located by the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon is a sparkling beach with glistening icebergs sitting on the black sand. The minute you enter the lagoon you feel like you are entering a mystical locale that is surrounded by twinkling diamonds. Sólheimasandur is another black beach of Iceland that houses a mysterious attraction in the form of a plane wreck. The Sólheimasandur beach lies very close to the Skogafoss waterfall and this promises to transport you to a natural wonderland. Located on the Icelandic coast’s southeastern part, the Stokksnes beach is another black beach that promises you breathtaking views of the Vestrahorn Mountains and a perfect landscape for amazing photographs. Another other-worldly beach sitting on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula’s tip is the Djúpalónssandur beach, which is a black pebble beach with the most fascinating volcanic rock formations.

#5- Jokulsarlon
One of the best places to visit in Iceland, Jokulsarlon is a glacial lagoon bordering the southwestern edge of the Vatnajokull National Park. Dotted with icebergs throughout the year, Jokulsarlon is indisputably Iceland’s most beautiful attraction. At a depth of 248 meters below ground, Jokulsarlon is Iceland’s deepest lagoon. The black sand beach along the shores remains riddled with chunks of ice as the lake flows alongside, resembling little pieces of black diamond. Boat tours at the lagoon are quite common, although tourists frequent the spot for simply photographic outings or leisurely seal-spotting as well.

#6- Blue Lagoon
One of the most beautiful wonders in the world, Blue Lagoon is the epitome of scenic beauty, pleasing ambiance, opulence, and indulgence. Its clear blue water is not only divine but is full of minerals that work magic for the skin. The scenery of azure water amidst the black lava fields and creeping grey moss is awe-strikingly beautiful and makes you fall in love with the surroundings. The Blue Lagoon is located on the Reykjanes Peninsula and attracts tourists from across the world for its extremely wonderful skin-nourishing hot spring water and spas. The average temperature of its mystical water also remains at 39°C (102°F) all year round, offering a proper bathing environment. Although the Blue Lagoon is amongst the world’s 10 best natural spas, in reality, it is a man-made wonder that is not natural and was formed in 1976 close to Svartsengi geothermal power plant. The water of the lagoon is completely clean, free from harmful chemicals, and is rich in natural minerals and silica that are highly beneficial for people suffering from skin ailments like Psoriasis. Another high point of the lagoon is that the water continually streams into the lagoon and gets renewed in 48 hours, making it completely clean. Nestled in the Reykjanes UNESCO Geopark, Blue Lagoon is close to the Keflavík International Airport and Reykjavík city center. It is advisable to book the Blue Lagoon package in advance as it is a hot favorite destination amongst tourists and allows only a limited number of visitors at a time. A café, restaurant, hotel, walking paths, tiny bridges, saunas, and a store selling Blue Lagoon’s luxury skin products are other highlights of this majestic lagoon.

#7- Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
Set against the backdrop of icy mountains, the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a goldmine when it comes to the natural wealth of Iceland. The conservation area was built to protect the indigenous flora and fauna of the islands, and is one of the best places to visit in Iceland for photographers and bird watchers alike. Arctic foxes and seals can be commonly spotted throughout the park, along with a number of birds. Several hiking trails snake their way through the Reserve’s rugged territory, inviting hiking enthusiasts to it throughout the year.

#8- Golden Circle Route
One of the most famous places to visit in Iceland, the Golden Circle Route is known to be housing some incredibly stunning sites. Lying east of Reykjavik, the Golden Circle encompasses three important locations - Geysir area, Gullfoss Waterfall, and Thingvellir National Park. In general, it takes around 4 to 5 hours to cover this photogenic route and you are rewarded with breathtaking attractions, including thundering waterfalls, quaint villages, charming geysers, impressive historic sites, Icelandic horse farms, Lutheran churches, and dramatic cliffs. Some of the top local landmarks that you can stop by on this world-famous route include the Golden Waterfall, Öxarárfoss waterfall, Strokkur Geysir, Langjökull glacier, North American plate, Almannagjá gorge, Fontana Geothermal Baths, Kerið Crater, Sólheimar, Skálholt, and Þjórsárdalur Valley. You can also find a host of elegant restaurants and cafes bordering the Golden Circle Route. Some of the best food joints on this route include Friðheimar Farm, Gallerí Laugarvatn, Kaffi Krús, Fjöruborðið, and Linden.

#9- The Westman Islands
Fondly dubbed as the Home Islands, the Westman Island is the largest and most populated island off the Icelandic coast. Home to stunning shores and a teeming population of Arctic baby puffins, these islands are one of the best places to visit in Iceland for those keen on exploring the natural beauty of the archipelago. The Westman is home to two active volcanoes, which are regarded as major tourist spots here. Tourists at the island can try their hand at Spranga, the rock climbing sport local to Iceland, or navigate the cyan waters around the coast in a kayaking tour.

#10- Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon
The breathtaking glacial lagoon of Jokulsarlon is one of the unique places to watch the Northern Lights in action. Lying to the southeast of Vatnajökull National Park, the ice boulders on the black sandy beach pick up and radiate the green and red glow of the Northern Lights, resulting in a photogenic kaleidoscopic effect. With a depth of around 248 meters, Jokulsarlon happens to be the deepest lake in Iceland. Owing to climate change, this lake becomes bigger year after year. Surrounded by lush vegetation, glistening snow, and gigantic mountains, Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon attracts a heavy influx of tourists. With no urbanization in this region and unpolluted skies, the lake is known to be a hotspot for enjoying an uncompromised sighting of the Northern Lights.

#11- Selfoss
The largest town of southern Iceland, Selfoss is nestled on the banks of the picturesque Ölfusá river. Packed with abundant small industries, this town happens to be the commercial center of the country. Home to a myriad of historical buildings and observing a number of colourful festivals, Selfoss is said to be the cultural center of southwestern Iceland. The unmatched beauty of the town of Selfoss is defined aptly by its cascading waterfalls, breathtaking hot water springs, and azure blue swimming pool. The quaint ancient villages with well-preserved houses also add to the unique charm of this town. You will never fall short of choices on your tour to Selfoss as this place will reward you with a myriad of attractions. The top places to visit in this town include the Selfoss Swimming Pool, Bobby Fischer Center, Selfosskirkja, Huppa Ice Cream Shop, Bíóhúsið Cinema, and Tryggvaskáli. While you are in the town of Selfoss, you can plan to enjoy an extensive array of fun activities. You can sample exotic beers at Ölvisholt Brugghús, hangout with friends at Bókakaffið, relish street food at Vefjan, and go Northern Lights hunting. The climate of Selfoss is warm and temperate with a significant amount of rainfall all through the year.

#12- Siglufjörður
Siglufjörður is a tiny fishing village, lying at the far end of a breathtaking fjord in North Iceland’s Troll Peninsula. Encompassed by dramatic mountains, this town is rich in history and culture. Being the northernmost town of Iceland, this place offers excellent ‘Midnight Sun’ experience. Lying in a spectacular fjord and overlooked by towering mountains, Siglufjörður brims with natural beauty. With more than 2,000 avians of around 18 species calling Siglufjörður home, the bountiful birdlife of this town make it even more appealing. The enchanting hiking trails and verdant vegetation also add to the charm of Siglufjörður.The important attractions of the town of Siglufjörður range from ski trails and pools to breweries and museums. The prime places of interest of Siglufjörður town include the Folk Music Center, the award winning Herring Era Museum, Kaffi Rauðka, Siglufjörður Marina Village, Siglufjörður Harbour, and the 9 hole golf course. You can choose to enjoy a wide array of activities when in the town of Siglufjörður. You can go skiing in Skarðsdalur, sample some fresh beer at the legendary Segull 67 Brewery, shop for some handmade chocolates, and dine at the iconic Hannes Boy Restaurant. Siglufjörður enjoys a tundra climate with very low temperatures throughout the year. The warmest month is July, while the coolest is January.

#13- Húsavík
The oldest settlement of Iceland, Húsavík is located along Skjálfandi Bay, in northern Iceland. Húsavík happens to be a very popular fishing port as well as a potent market for sheep-raising and dairy-farming. Travelers know Húsavík as one of the excellent whale watching destinations in Iceland. Húsavík is unarguably one of the most beautiful fishing towns in the northeastern part of the country. The impeccable beauty of this town is well-defined by its spectacular snow-clad mountains, beautiful museums, elegant restaurants, and colourful houses. The flamboyant town of Húsavík is packed with a plethora of amazing destinations that range from museums and churches to restaurants and baths. The prime landmarks spread across the length and breadth of Húsavík town include The Whale Museum, the GeoSea Geothermal Sea Baths,  Könnunarsögusafnið Exploration Museum, The Culture House at Húsavík, the the Húsavíkurkirkja, the Húsavík Swimming Pool, and the Húsavík Campground. While you are in the town of Húsavík, you can engage in a number of adrenaline-fueling activities, including whale watching, sea kayaking, birdwatching, and horseback riding. You can also relish authentic seafood at the Gamli Baukur Restaurant, buy beautiful Icelandic souvenirs at Kaðlín Handicraft, and pay a visit to the Húsavík Museum. In general, winters in Húsavík are long, snowy, and windy, while summers are short, cloudy, and cold. July is the warmest month, while January is the coldest. May is considered to be the driest month and October the wettest.

#14- Kópavogur
Located on the southeastern shore of Faxa Bay, in southwestern Iceland, Kópavogur is a fast growing, modern residential suburb. Kópavogur is considered to be the second largest municipality of Iceland in terms of population. This town is also famed to be home to the tallest building of the country, the Smáratorg Tower. The beauty of Kópavogur is majorly described by the fascinating seals that are sheltered in the ocean waters by the shoreline of the oldest part of this town. With the stunning  Kópavogsdalur Valley lying at the middle of this town, the unmatched scenic charm of Kópavogur further multiplies. The 30 indegenous species and 10 exotic species of birds living here, also make Kópavogur a mesmerizing place to visit. The town of Kópavogur is packed with a myriad of attractions, ranging from public parks and cultural museums to churches and restaurants. You can plan your visit to the famous places in Kópavogur including the Natural History Museum of Kópavogur, the Kopavogur Church, the Portið Antic market, and the Rush Trampoline Park. On your tour to Kópavogur you can go shopping at Smaralind, take a bath in the geothermal swimming pool of Kópavogslaug, watch a concert at Salurinn, and explore the Gerðarsafn Kopavogur Art Museum. Kópavogur is bestowed with a warm and temperate climate, experiencing heavy rainfall even during the driest month.

#15- Ísafjörður
Translating to “fjord of ice” in english language, Ísafjörður lies in the northwestern part of Iceland. Ísafjörður is considered to be the administration hub of Ísafjarðarbær and the largest settlement in the Vestfirðir peninsula. With fishing being the primary industry in Ísafjörður, this town is known to shelter one of the country’s largest fisheries. Much of the beauty of Ísafjörður town lies in its colourful culture and beautiful festivals including the Ski Week Festival and the Aldrei fór ég suður music festival. Encompassed by steep mountains and packed with a rich biodiversity, Ísafjörður brims with natural splendors. The host of famous attractions in Ísafjörður range from cascading waterfalls and scenic nature reserves to colourful souvenir shops and modern restaurants. The prime landmarks of Ísafjörður include the Dynjandi Waterfall, Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, Westfjords Maritime Museum, the Edinborg Cultural Center, and the Snæfjallaströnd Beach. When in Ísafjörður, you will always have an action-packed holiday, thanks to the myriad of activities available here. You can kayak around Mt. Oshlid, sample some croissants at Gamla Bakaríid, hike to the Latrabjarg Bird Cliffs, pay a visit to the Museum of Everyday Life, and shop for traditional clothing at Karitas. Ísafjörður experiences a tundra climate, with the warmest month being August and the coldest being January.

#16- Vestmannaeyjar
Vestmannaeyjar is a conglomeration of 14 beautiful islands, lying off the southern shore of Iceland. These barren and rugged islands are volcanic in origin, with over 300 meters high cliffs. Vestmannaeyjar is also famed to be home to a myriad of seabirds, including puffin, guillemot, gannet, kittiwake, and Iceland gull. With stunning basalt columns encompassing the photogenic islands, Vestmannaeyjar is naturally beautiful. Mystic caves, coves, and grottos add to the unparalleled charm of this island. The vibrant birdlife of this place also makes Vestmannaeyjar an appealing destination for nature lovers and shutterbugs. The “Puffin Paradise of Vestmannaeyjar is packed with abundant attractions for an enjoyable sightseeing tour. Some of the prime places of interest on the island of Vestmannaeyjar include the Eldheimar Volcano Museum, the Sæheimar Aquarium, the  Stave Church, the Elephant Rock, Þórsvöllur Camping Ground, and the Beluga Whale Sanctuary. While you are in Vestmannaeyjar, you can enjoy a hiking tour to Stóraklif & Heimaklettur, relish cheesy pizzas at 900 Grillhús, and take an exploration tour of Heimaklettur. You can also pay a visit to the Sagnheimar Folk Museum and sample some locally brewed beer at Brothers Brewery and Bar. Vestmannaeyjar is blessed with a subpolar oceanic climate with extremely high precipitation.

#17- Akranes
Located around 20 kilometers away from Reykjavík, the country's capital, Akranes is a charming port town. Akranes is nestled on the foothills of the stunning 572 meters high basalt mountain of Akrafjall, on the western coast of the country. Majorly a factory town and administrative center, Akranes is known popularly for its ancient lighthouse. The beauty of Akranes is defined perfectly by its beautiful campsites, stunning museums, azure swimming pools, and elegant cafes. This ancient town also boasts a rich culture, which adds to its unparalleled appeal. The town of Akranes is filled with a wide range of attractions, starting from museums to pools. You can always plan a visit to the prime attractions of Akranes, including  the Akranes Folk Museum, the Akranes Lighthouse, the Jaðarsbakkar swimming pool, and Langisandur beach. On your tour to Akranes, you can plan to enjoy a number of amazing activities. You can enjoy some good coffee at Lesbókin Café or treat yourself to exotic pizzas at Galito. You can take a refreshing dip in the hot water pool of  Guðlaug. You can also go marvel at the Breiðin lighthouse and check out the ancient rowing boats displayed at the Akranes Folk Museum. The town of Akranes experiences a warm and temperate climate with significant rainfall throughout the year.

#18- Hafnarfjordur
Situated in the Greater Reykjavík Area, Hafnarfjörður happens to be the third most populated city in Iceland. The history of Hafnarfjörður dates back to the 14th century and its name is mentioned in the early literature of Iceland. Home to many renowned rock bands, including HAM, Jet Black Joe, and Ulpa, Hafnarfjörður is also referred to as the  “rock ‘n’ roll capital” of Iceland. The unique appeal of Hafnarfjörður town can be aptly described by its lively harbour, relaxed atmosphere, and artsy surroundings. Surrounded by stunning lava fields, the town is packed with colourful houses that make it truly picture-perfect. The boisterous town of Hafnarfjörður is packed with umpteen varieties of attractions, which range from cute boutiques and cafes to intriguing museums and galleries. The top landmarks you can choose to pay a visit to include the Hafnarborg Art Museum, the Hellisgerði Botanical Garden, Seltún-Krýsuvík Geothermal Area, and Ástjörn Lake. While you are in Hafnarfjörður town, you can marvel at the magnificent ships at the harbour, walk around the colourful houses around downtown, go horse riding in Mt. Helgafell area, and take an exploration tour of the Sívertsen House. Hafnarfjörður experiences a subpolar oceanic climate, with winters being windy, cold, and wet and summers being cloudy and cool.

#19- Mosfellsbaer
Mosfellsbaer lies 12 kilometers east of Reykjavík, the country's capital, in the southwestern part of Iceland. Packed with a myriad of greenhouses that have been constructed here over the years, Mosfellsbaer is also referred to as "the green town of Iceland". The entire town of Mosfellsbaer is dominated by towering hills, including Grímannsfell, Helgafell, Úlfarsfell, and Mosfell. Mosfellsbaer is a mountainous area with a rugged landscape, surrounded by grassy mountains. Packed with verdant valleys and picturesque hills, this town looks naturally appealing. The town is lined by the azure ocean at the Leirvogur Bay, which makes it even more beautiful. A number of charming footpaths and walking trails running across the town also add to its unparalleled beauty. The town of Mosfellsbaer is packed with a plethora of stunning attractions that propel all kinds of travelers. The top landmarks of this town include the Laxnes Horse Farm, the Kirkjufell Mountain, and the Mosfellsbaer Golf Club. While you are in Mosfellsbaer, you can engage in a myriad of adventure activities, including swimming, hiking, trout fishing, and skiing. You can also munch on delicious snacks at the quaint little Fjoruhusid Cafe. Mosfellsbaer enjoys the tundra climate, with cloudy and cool summers and windy and wet winters.

#20- Akureyri
Lying in northern Iceland, Akureyri is the fourth largest municipality in the country. Nestled on the western side of the fjord Eyjafjörður, Akureyri is surrounded by magnificent mountains, including Strýta and Kerling. Also referred to as the "Capital of North Iceland", this city is a prime fishing center and port of Iceland. Akureyri happens to be a scenic town packed with natural splendors including breathtaking canyons and picturesque waterfalls. The well-paved roads, cute little houses, and charming cafes add to the beauty of this town. Being a prime town of Iceland, Akureyri is packed with a myriad of attractions, including cafes, pools, hiking trails, waterfalls, and natural baths. The top places to check out in the town of Akureyri, include Laufas Turf Houses, Myvatn and Grjotagja hot spring, Dettifoss waterfall, Godafoss waterfall, Asbyrgi canyon, Lake Mývatn, Akureyri Art Museum, and the Akureyri Botanical Gardens. On your tour to Akureyri, you can indulge in a variety of exhilarating activities. You can take a walk through history at the Akureyri Museum, go on a hiking tour to the Hlíðarfjall Mountain, and seek blessings at the iconic Lutheran Church of Akureyrarkirkja. Akureyri features a subarctic climate or cold-summer mediterranean climate with mild summers and cold winters. The most ideal time for planning a trip to Akureyri is during the hot months of June, July, and August.

#21- Reykjavík
The capital and largest city of Iceland, Reykjavík is nestled on the Seltjarnarnes Peninsula, in southwestern Iceland. Founded by the Norseman Ingólfur Arnarson in 874, this city was just a small fishing village until the 20th century. The city was granted municipal and administrative powers in 1786 and it was declared the capital of Iceland in 1918. At present, Reykjavík is an important fishing port and the cultural, industrial, and commercial hub of the country. The beauty of Reykjavík lies in its scenic natural beauty and intoxicating nightlife culture. The colourful traditional houses, quaint cafes, and lush public gardens add to the appeal of this flamboyant city. One of the main attractions of the city of Reykjavík is its pristine swimming pools. Some of the top pools that you can head to for a refreshing dive include Laugardalslaug pool, Sundhöll Reykjavíkur, and Nautholsvik. Other prime places of interest in Reykjavík include the Hallgrimskirkja Church, the Harpa Concert Hall and Old Harbor, and the Statue of Leif Eiriksson. While you are in Reykjavík, you can engage in a myriad of exciting activities. You can enjoy shopping at the Kolaportið Flea Market, go whale watching, and take a Northern Lights tour. You can also relax in one of the public parks or spend some time at the Reykjavík Art Gallery. Reykjavík experiences a subpolar oceanic climate with cool summers and colder winters. The most ideal time to visit Reykjavik is between June and August, when the weather is balmy and you can experience the ‘Midnight Sun’