Top Attractions in Iceland
Collected by Paul Sullivan , AFAR Local Expert
From the steam rising off the Blue Lagoon to the black basalt cliffs looming above the roiling Atlantic, Iceland's dramatic vistas are second to none. And in addition to waterfalls and geysers, the island nation's museums—fine art, folk life, and fascinating oddities—round out a destination that will enchant you.
Tjörnin, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Despite being so close to the harbor and the ocean, Reykjavík’s city lake has a charm and atmosphere all its own. Bordered by a main road on one side and a string of pretty, colorful residences on the other, the natural, stone-edged Tjörninis home...
4, 110, Kistuhylur, Reykjavík, Iceland
This impressive open-air museum was once a functioning farm as well as a popular resting place for people on their way to and from Reykjavík. It was transformed into a museum in the 1950s in an attempt to preserve something of an old...
Hallgrímstorg 101, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
You can’t miss Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík’s 240-foot-tall, rocket-shaped church, which soars above the city skyline and is illuminated at night. Designed by famed national architect Guðjón Samúelsson in 1937, and inspired less by outer space than...
Laugavegur 116, 105 Reykjavík, Iceland
Surely the world’s only museum to showcase the phalluses of an entire nation's mammalian wildlife, Iceland’s Phallological Museum is somewhat unique. Despite its obvious quirk factor, the museum is actually an interesting...
Aðalstræti 16, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavík’s Settlement Museum was established in 2001 after archaeological remains were discovered during an excavation. Said remains turned out to be the oldest relics of human habitation in the city, with some fragments dating to...
Rekagrandi 14, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjavík’s old harbor, built between 1913 and 1917, has seen quite the transformation in recent years, morphing from a mainly functional area dominated by ships and their fishermen to a lively, modern tourism area that’s almost...
Austurbakki 2, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Reykjadalur means "Steam Valley"—a perfectly apt description of this pleasant geothermal area close to the town of Hveragerði, a 40-minute drive south from Reykjavík. Formed from a now extinct volcano (Mount Hengill), the valley is best...
Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and...
Established in 2001, Snæfellsjökull National Park—the first ever national park created in Iceland—covers an impressive 65 square miles around the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, which itself extends some 44 miles into the sea from Iceland’s west coast. The...
Þjóðvegur, Reykjahlidh, Iceland
Lake Mývatn is an unusually scenic body of water that covers some 14 square miles of the landeast of Akureyri. This is one of the most striking regionsin Iceland:The lake’s surrounded by a jaw-dropping landscape of extinct volcanic cinder cones,...
64.964220, -15.157244, Múlavegur í fljótsdal, Egilstaðir, Iceland
This unique nature retreat in Iceland’s remote east (around 31 miles from Egilsstaðir) offers an alluring and comprehensive mix of services that span renovated farmhouse accommodation, a specially curated exhibition on Icelandic...
Iceland’s Westfjords have always possessed a character and culture that’s markedly different from the rest of the country. Extending like a lobster claw from the northwest of Iceland, the region combines geographic remoteness with the compelling...
Eyrardalur, 420 Súðavík, Iceland
The Arctic Fox Center, tucked away in the tiny Westfjords village of Súðavík, is dedicated to the only landmammal native toIceland. The nonprofit research institution and exhibition center was set up in 2007 by a group of enthusiasts and...
The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, establishedin 1975, lies at the northern tip of the Westfjords region of Iceland. It was peppered with working farms and a tight-knit community up until the postwar era, but the area today hosts just a few summer...
This fascinating museumis locatedin a former farmhouse in the small village of Hólmavík along the east coast of the Westfjords. As well as positing some interesting facts (most of the witches in Iceland were men, for example), it also showcases...
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