There’s a reason why Iceland is a bucket list destination for so many people. Known for its stunning landscapes and northern lights, today we’re counting down our picks for the most breathtaking natural sights you must visit in Iceland!
Located just off the Ring Road of the northwestern coast of Iceland, sits a rock formation or basalt stack that is accessible for most travellers. The structure was once the plug of a volcano and stands roughly 50 feet high. Though this site is naturally-occurring, conservation efforts have been made to ensure it remains intact by securing the base with concrete. Fun fact: the name Hvítserkur roughly translates to ‘white shirt’, and the landmark was named because of all the guano, otherwise known as bird poop, that covers it.
In Western Iceland near Grundarfjörður you’ll find this country’s most photographed mountain. The name Kirkjufell translates to ‘church mountain’ in Icelandic and just by looking at it you can understand the name. It’s possible to hike to the top, although this is only recommended for very experienced hikers, or those travelling with a guide. And if you can, try to see this mountain at night time with a backdrop of the Northern Lights! The remote and desolate appearance of the mountain in the winter months made it the perfect filming location for Game of Thrones, when they were shooting scenes that took place beyond the wall!
3. Reynisfjara Beach
About a two-hour drive from the nation’s capital of Reykjavik on the southern coast of the island, is Reynisfjara, known for its black sand beaches. If you didn’t know that black sand beaches were even a thing, we’ll forgive you, because there aren’t many of them in the world. And in fact back in 1991, this area was voted by National Geographic as one of the most amazing non-tropical beaches on the planet! This site is very accessible to tourists because of its proximity to Iceland’s country circumnavigating Ring Road.
There are many epic waterfalls in this small country, but Gullfoss or ‘Golden Falls’ is probably the most visited, and perhaps also the most beautiful. Located within a canyon of the kita river in the southwestern part of Iceland, this waterfall is part of the Golden Circle, a popular tourist route that covers some of the country’s most awe-inspiring sights. It’s common to be able to see rainbows spanning the falls depending on weather conditions, so make sure to have your camera ready! No matter the time of year, this spot is a must visit in Iceland.
Inside Fjallabak Nature Reserve in the Atlantic Highlands you’ll find this gorgeous natural gem, comprising geothermal hot springs and truly otherworldly landscapes. Landmannalaugar is slightly more remote than some of the other spots you must visit in Iceland, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Its name translates to ‘The People’s Pools’ and the locals surely take advantage of this natural resource. The rainbow of colours in the mountain sides is created by the volcanic rock Rhyolite, which gives them their distinctive range of hues.
The Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier in southeastern Iceland creates this spectacular body of water. This lagoon is filled with huge pieces of ice that vary in size and shape, and reflect different colours depending on the weather and time of day. Talk about bling! Of course you can appreciate the views from the shores, but there are also boat tours that can take you right into the centre of the icy action. Depending on the time of year you might even be able to spot seals! Jökulsárlón is part of Vatnajökull National Park which offers even more to explore.
We’ve already explored one waterfall, but this one couldn’t be more different. While Gullfoss Falls tumble in a gorge, Seljalandsfoss is a tall waterfall that you can actually venture behind to gain spectacular views! If you plan on taking the path into the cave behind the falls, make sure to pack some rain gear because you’re sure to get wet. This almost 200 foot high waterfall is conveniently located just off Route 1 in the southern part of the country and it’s convenient to get to.
If you want to feel like you’ve truly travelled to another planet, there is no better destination than here. We saw the exterior of the outlet glacier at Jökulsárlón, but if you want to delve even deeper into this glacial natural wonder, a tour of Vatnajökull ice caves is a bucket-list experience. You can only visit in the colder months, which makes it difficult for travellers visiting in the summer, but planning an off-season trip is worth it for this spot alone!