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Top 7 Must-See Places in Iceland

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Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain Iceland

Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall with Kirkjufell mountain Iceland

Iceland captures natural drama with epic landscapes of fire and ice, overflowing with nature’s raw power and breathtaking beauty that you can experience at the must-see places in Iceland.

With gushing geysers, glassy lakes, volcanoes hidden by glaciers, and the coveted dancing colors of the Northern Lights, Iceland brings unspoiled beauty with charming culture for unparalleled adventures.

Use this list to inspire your own trip, along with inspiration for essential experiences, recommended length of stay at each destination, and when it is the perfect time to visit.

1. Reykjavik

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik is a colorful coastal city connected to Iceland’s rich Viking heritage. The quiet streets boast a whimsical and artistic ambiance steeped in history and highlight the distinct perspective of locals shaped by the dynamic landscape. Whether you visit one of the city’s thermal pools or the nearby Blue Lagoon, explore the church at the heart of the city or wander the galleries tracing the deep historical roots, Reykjavik effortlessly combines traditional culture and urban life with the great outdoors.

Highlights: Blue Lagoon | Hallgrimskirkja | National Museum | Settlement Exhibition | Culture House

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: February | March | August | September | October

2. Golden Circle and Southern Coast

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Iceland

The Golden Circle and Southern Coast embody the pristine drama for which Iceland’s landscape is known. Glacier lagoons, rigid mountains, epic volcanoes, shimmering glaciers, and curtains of waterfalls only scratch the surface of the region’s mesmeric ambiance. You can trace Icelandic history to the first parliament in the 10th century, dive into a crystalline lake, visit small villages, or find exciting glaciers for a comprehensive view of Iceland’s unending beauty.

Highlights: Seljalandfoss |  Eyjafjallajokull | Skogafoss | Thingvellir National Park | Geyser Geothermal Field   |  Gullfoss Waterfall

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: February | March | August | September | October

3. Vatnajokull National Park

Ice forms at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Ice forms at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon

Pictures fail to capture the inherent wonder and captivating spirit in and around Vatnajokull National Park. From Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon to the trails winding around Skaftafell, the looming peak of the nation’s tallest mountain to unfettered icy landscapes, a visit to Vatnajokull National Park is worth your time. Black pebbled beaches, soaring summits, and glistening glaciers immerse you in natural adventure and the drama found around every corner of Iceland.

Highlights: Skaftafellsjokull | Fjallsjokull Glacier | Jokulsarlon Glacier | Diamond Beach | Fjallsarlon | Jokulsarlon

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit:  February | March | July | August

4. Akureyri

Akureyri, Iceland.  Photo © Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, courtesy of Visit Iceland

Akureyri, Iceland. Photo © Ragnar Th. Sigurdsson, courtesy of Visit Iceland

Akureyri is unique with lively cafes, delicious restaurants, and art galleries. With a delightful combination of modern life and historic aesthetic, it is unlike anyplace else. The city squeezes into the country’s longest fjord and neighbors the edge of the Arctic Circle. A relaxed ambiance and fierce culinary scene turn Akureyri into a destination in its own right while also making the surrounding remote nature accessible.

Highlights: Whale Watching | Hrisey | Myvatn Hot Spring| Botanic Garden | Laufas Turf Houses | Akureyri Church

Recommended Length of Stay: 1-2 days

Best Time to Visit: June | July | August | September | October |  November

5. Eastern Fjords

Landscape en route to the village of Seydisfjordur in the Icelandic East Fjords

Landscape en route to the village of Seydisfjordur in the Icelandic East Fjords

Iceland’s eastern fjords feel remote and undiscovered. As an epic escape into action and adventure, you can find pristine hiking trails and wander the waters far off the headlands. Seabirds and soaring cliffs capture the essence of the coastline with dazzling rhyolite reflected in the sunlight. Waterfalls thunder, small towns offer a charming look at local culture, and emerald ponds bring a touch of a new color to the landscape, highlighting the majesty of encircling fjords.

Highlights: Egilsstadir | Seydisfjordur | Mount Herdubreid | Skrudur Island | Hengifoss

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: June | July | August | September

6. Western Fjords

Dynjandi waterfalls in the Westfjords of Iceland

Dynjandi waterfalls in the Westfjords of Iceland

Iceland’s Westfjords bring the song of the scenery to a resounding climax as familiar crowds in the more popular areas of the country fade away. Tiny fishing villages have preserved their traditions, and the coastal fjords lead to the dazzling central mountains. Beaches radiate rainbows of color and trails lead to glimpses of avifauna and Arctic foxes. Geothermal springs and oceanside vistas only add to the mystical atmosphere of the untouched region.

Highlights: Latrabjarg | Dynjandi | Hornstrandir Nature Reserve | Raudasandur | Hot Springs | Isafjordur | Patreksfjordur

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: April | May | June | July | August

7. Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Kirkjufell mountain near Grundarfjordu, Iceland

Kirkjufell mountain near Grundarfjordu, Iceland

The Snaefellsnes Peninsula displays the epic beauty that makes the island nation such a popular and enchanting place. Crunchy lava flows lead to steep sea cliffs, and golden beaches contrast the rich volcanic peaks crowned by the jewel of the Snaefellsjokull glacier. Quiet horse farms bring a touch of rural charisma to the drama of the unforgiving landscape but the scenery, culture, and overall beauty of the wider region immerses you in the essential spirit, natural history, and traditions of greater Iceland.

Highlights: Kirkjufell | Kirkjufellsfoss | Gerduberg | Olkelda Mineral Spring | Ytri Tunga Beach | Budakirkja

Recommended Length of Stay: 2-3 days

Best Time to Visit: May | June | July | August | September

How many days is enough to see Iceland?

View of the Stokksnes mountains on Vestrahorn Cape, Iceland

View of the Stokksnes mountains on Vestrahorn Cape, Iceland

You could experience the highlights of Iceland in five days but 10 to 12 days gives you the best opportunity to experience Iceland’s dynamic culture, landscape, and natural wonder. Whether winter, summer, or in between, 10 to 12 days in Iceland can immerse you in the inspiring scenery, give you access to a culture dating back a millennium, and surprise you with time to venture off the beaten path.

More Travel Information & Tips

Exploring ice cave in Iceland

Exploring ice cave in Iceland

Iceland embodies the fantastical with ancient scenic charms and a culture that balances modern luxuries with traditional hospitality. Iceland practically overflows with exciting things to do, with every possibility immersing you in an ancient volcano or taking you on a glacier, uncovering a dramatic waterfall or witnessing an epic coastline. Our Iceland Travel Guide has more helpful information and tips to help experience your perfect trip. You can also speak with an Iceland travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.

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