Due to its position on the Mid-Atlantic ridge, Iceland is one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. Its unique geological conditions make for some awe-inspiring rock formations, both beneath the surface as well as above it. Various tube caves—formed by magma flowing underneath the earth's surface after lava has solidified overhead—can safely be explored through guided excursions year-round.
For safety reasons, different caves are explored during different seasons. The most commonly visited caves are the Gjábakkahellir Cave near Þingvellir National Park in the summer months, and the Leiðarendi Cave in the Bláfjöll area in wintertime.
Come and see what the Northern Lights are all about at Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center.
We are a Northern Lights Center and Iceland's first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center. People can learn about, enjoy the beauty and facts about the Northern Lights. We use multimedia along with touch and play methods to explain it all. We are located downtown in Reykjavík, at the Old Harbour, next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Víkin Maritime Museum.
The Aurora Borealis, more commonly referred to as the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon created when particles emitted by the sun interact with the atmosphere in the Earth's magnetic field. This releases energy, causing peculiar luminous green streaks across the skies.
On clear winter nights, sightseeing trips are organized around this spectacular—though fickle—natural phenomenon. The ideal location for sightings varies and excursion leaders are skilled in "hunting" the lights, finding locations where conditions are best for seeing them on any given night.
There are no guarantees that you will see the Northern Lights during your stay, but in most cases, sightings are immediately improved outside populated areas, especially away from the light-pollution of the capital. A number of hotels in the countryside offer special Northern Lights wake-up service.
In Southeast Iceland, you'll find a glacier lagoon filled with icebergs. This ice lagoon has become one of Iceland's most popular attractions due to its stunning beauty. The lagoon is called Jökulsárlón, or 'Glacier's-River-Lagoon'.
Jökulsárlón is one of Iceland's natural crown jewels, and we've even started calling the nearby black beach our Diamond Beach, as the ice chunks lying on it resemble diamonds glistening in the sun.
Thousands of people are drawn to Jökulsárlón all year round. An incredible amount of photographs capture the lagoon's stunning beauty, and it has even become one of Iceland's most popular filming location!
A visit to the Blue Lagoon Iceland geothermal spa is an important part of your stay in Iceland.Guests renew their relationship with nature, soak up the scenic beauty and enjoy breathing the clean, fresh air while relaxing in the warm geothermal seawater. It is no surprise that the readers of “Conde Nast Traveller” voted Blue Lagoon as the best spa worldwide and voted one of 25 wonders of the world by National Geographic. For ten consecutive years Blue Lagoon has been awarded the Blue Flag environmental recognition granted to natural beaches and marinas. The water’s temperature is 37-39°C / 98-102°F. The lagoon holds nine million liters of geothermal seawater. Regular sampling shows that “common” bacteria do not thrive in this ecosystem, thus additional cleansers such as chlorine are not needed.
In the last few decades, research has made it clear that Þingvellir is a natural wonder on a international scale, with the geologic history and the biosystem of Lake Þingvallavatn forming a unique entity, a magnificent showcase.
Being able to witness the evolution and formation of new species in a place like Lake Þingvallavatn is of immense value.
The Þingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust.
A favorite stop along the Golden Circle is the highly active Geysir Hot Spring Area with boiling mud pits, exploding geysers and the lively Strokkur which spouts water 30 metres (100 ft) into the air every few minutes. The newly opened Geysir Center offers exhibits and informative presentations year round. Geysir Hot Spring Area is one of the most popular tourist stop in Iceland.
The geothermal field is believed to have a surface area of approximately 3 km². Most of the springs are aligned along a 100m wide strip of land running in the same direction as the tectonic lines in the area, from south to southwest. The strip is 500m long and culminates near what once was the seat of the lords of Haukadalur.
The area became active more than 1000 years ago and comprises more than a dozen hot water blow holes. Although the geyser is less active these days, it did lend its name to hot springs all over the world. It was the first geyser described in a printed source and the first known to modern Europeans and along with the geyser in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Geyser is the most famous geyser in the world.
A ride along the Golden Circle in the south of Iceland reveals the breathtaking Gullfoss Waterfall. There you traverse a narrow path that provides close-up views of the massive, two-tiered waterfall below. In winter the view is spectacular when the waterfall freezes over into undulating waves of glistening ice. On sunny days you are treated to thousands of rainbows, a natural reaction with the clouds of spray from the tumbling falls.Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attraction in Iceland and part of the Golden Circle. The waterfall is by many considered one of the most beautiful waterfall in Iceland. You can find the waterfall in the upper part of the Hvita river. The water cascades down in two stages, one 11 m (36 ft) high, and the other 21 m (69 ft), into the 2,5 km (1.6 mi) long crevasse below. This crevasse was created at the end of the Ice Age by catastrophic flood waves and is lengthened by 25 cm (9.8 in) a year by the constant erosion from the water.If you visit Gullfoss during winter time, please be careful, since the narrow path can freeze over. We strongly recommend that you stay within the path.
When making a trip to Iceland, it is hard not to pay special attention to the country's namesake—namely, its 4,500 square miles of glacier. Ice climbing on the glaciers is practiced year-round and takes place mainly on the Sólheimajökull and Svínafellsjökull glaciers in the south of Iceland, to which day trips are offered from Reykjavík (and Skaftafell).
Hiking trips are also available onto the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the west and the Vatnajökull glacier in the east. Without exception, glacier walking or climbing should not be done without the accompaniment of a trained guide. Glacier walking tours can often be combined with other tours such as jeep safaris and boating on a glacier lagoon.
Travelling around Iceland on two wheels is both challenging and rewarding. There is no better way to experience the beauty of Iceland than from the saddle of your bicycle. But the weather is unpredictable and the distances you'll need to cover can be long. Many bike enthusiasts come to Iceland to cycle the Ring Road, the well-known highway number 1, that runs around the country. Others choose more difficult paths into the highlands, such as the beautiful trail across Kjölur. Such paths are only suitable for experienced cyclists.
If you intend to travel into the highlands, be prepared to face gravel roads, as most of the roads in the Icelandic highlands are not paved. You should not travel alone in the Icelandic interior. In some cases, you can expect unbridged rivers. Do not attempt to cross them without taking proper safety measures. Fully equipped bikes with shock absorbers are a good idea as well.
Outside of urban areas, bike paths are uncommon, and cyclists will usually have to share the road with motor driven vehicles.
With distinctive red volcanic rock slopes, measuring 170 meters wide, 270 meters in circumference and 55 meters deep, Kerid crater lake is a 3,000 year old volcanic crater lake in South Iceland on the Golden Circle route. The actual lake itself is relatively shallow, between 7 and 14 metres, depending on rainfall and other factors, but as a result of minerals from the surrounding soil, the water is a unique and strikingly vivid aquamarine shade of blue. Take an easy hike around Kerid crater and enjoy the spectacular view!
Although there are other crater lakes in the area, Kerið is famous for being one of the lakes with the most caldera still intact. A unique factor about this crater is that it is (only) about 3000 years old, so is about half as old as the geological features that surround it! There’s an easy hike around the rim of the crater, so you can get really close if you like! Alternatively, there is a ladder down to the lake.
A short walk into Skaftafell National Park in South Iceland provides visitors with a breathtaking view of Svartifoss (Black Falls). Ice-cold meltwater from the Svinafellsjokull glacier feeds the famous Svartifoss waterfall. The waterfall tumbles down 20 metres (80ft) over a cliff which is bordered on both sides by tall black basalt columns, resembling pipes of a giant organ, which is where the waterfall gets its name.
This wonder of natural architecture inspired the design for Iceland’s National Theatre and the Hallgrimskirkja church in Reykjavik. The hexagonal columns form inside a lava flow which then cools extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Similar well-known lava formations are seen at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
Iceland's diverse landscape is at its most breathtaking when viewed from above, which makes aerial sightseeing tours by plane or helicopter an awe inspiring experiences. Many of Iceland's most beautiful locations are in remote areas, where the rugged terrain can be difficult to traverse. Flying allows you to reach hard-to-access places with limited effort, and gives you an opportunity to experience nature from a new perspective.
And if you are in to skiing, there are pristine areas ripe for Heli skiing in many areas. Take your skiing to new heights by reaching untouched slopes via helicopter. This unforgettable experience is an epic adventure, combining powder skiing with an exhilarating air journey and incredible views.
An island, where art, history and nature lie just beyond the city shore.
The combination of stunning views, historical ruins and contemporary art pieces make Viðey island something special. Just a short boat-ride takes you to another world, to be explored in your own time. From nesting birds and panoramic views, to Yoko Ono's famous 'Imagine Peace Tower' and Richard Serra's 'Milestones', you'll discover an oasis of peace, beauty and history. Close to shore, but a world away.
Enjoy a relaxing visit to Myvatn Nature Bath. Located in the heart of north-east Iceland about 105 kilometres (65 miles) south of the Arctic Circle, Lake Mývatn and its surroundings are one of Europe's greatest natural treasures. A designated nature reserve, Mývatn is an area of fragile beauty where tourist services have been developed in such a way as to cause as little disruption as possible to what is a unique and highly delicate ecosystem.
Opened in June 2004 Mývatn Nature Baths is the latest addition to the region's many visitor attractions. Drawing on a centuries-old tradition, the tastefully designed complex offers bathers a completely natural experience that begins with a relaxing dip in clouds of steam rising up from a fissure deep in the earth's surface, and ends with a luxurious swim in a pool of geothermal water drawn from depths of up to 2,500 metres. Containing a unique blend of minerals, silicates and geothermal micro-organisms, the warm soothing water of Myvatn Nature Bath benefit both skin and spirit alike.
At the foothills of this spectacular volcanic mountain is an expanse of hot springs called Hveraröndor Hverir that are known for their changing variety. You may also find a number of fumaroles, mud pools and mud pots that all seem to be boiling with relentless energy. The pass Námaskarð is strategically located at a short distance from the Krafla volcano system as well as other interesting geological spots like Búrfellshraun and the desert Mývatsöræfi.
Námaskarð earns its notoriety chiefly because of its sulphurous mud springs called solfataras and steam springs called fumaroles. Though you will scarcely find any pure water spring in this wonderful geothermal site of Iceland, the beauty of the colorful minerals defies all comparisons. The gigantic size of the mud craters is what makes you go 'wow' at the sight of them.
The other thing that is sure to strike you about Námaskarð is the sheer lack of vegetation. However, if you give a thought to the high temperature range, it does not appear an impossibility altogether. The constant emission of the fumes has made the ground utterly sterile and acidic, unfit to sustain any floras and faunas.
Plunge into Iceland’s purest hot spring water, bath in floating pools out on the lake.
Vök Baths is a new destination opened in summer 2019 by lake Urriðavatn, just northwest from Egilsstaðir, in Eastern Iceland. It features the first floating pools in Iceland.
Located in Eastern Iceland, still one of the most untouched places on the island, Vök Baths offer a new bathing experience and the perfect stop for travellers to rest and rejuvenate by the crystal clear waters of Urriðavatn lake along their journeys.
The 75-degrees warm water streams from hot springs deep under the lake. Years ago, during the long arctic winters, the locals noticed that the lake ice always melted in the same place. The name, Vök, is the Icelandic word for these melted ice holes.
One of East Iceland's most illustrious spots is the Stórurð ("The Giant Boulders"). Stórurð lies below the small glacier west of Dyrfjöll mountains. It consists of gigantic tuff boulders, charming meadows and attractive ponds. This wonderful scene can be reached in 2.5 hours on foot from Vatnsskarð pass. To enjoy Dyrfjöll and Stórurð a whole day plan is highly recommended.
Hikers start from the facilities cabin in Vatnsskarð to crossroads south of Mjóadalsvarp. Hikers are always advised to go by the staked trails. In Stórurð you will find the box with visitors’ logbook and stamp. Few other trails lead back from Stórurð. You can walk towards Vatnsskarðsvegur or you can go to Njarðvík. The best time of year to hike to Stórurð is from the middle of July to the middle of September.
The East is the only part of Iceland where you will find wild reindeer. They contribute to the unique nature and are strongly connected to the region’s history and culture. The focus of the exhibition is on the reindeer's nature, characteristics and survival, as well as reindeer hunting and how reindeer products have been used in fashion design and handcraft.
On display are items from the historical old rural community of East Iceland that lasted until the mid-20th century. Some items relate their practical roles in everyday life, while others bear witness to the fact that life was not only about basic survival but also about creating beautiful things for decoration and pleasure.
Fardagafoss is a waterfall located just outside of Egilsstaðir on the route towards Seyðisfjörður town. It winds its way up the mountainside of Fjarðarheiði heath. The ascent from the parking area (located only 6 km from Egilsstaðir) to the waterfall takes about half an hour and on the way you will see another waterfall in a beautiful gorge and great views over the surrounding area. There used to be a cave behind the waterfall and legend said that if you entered the cave and made a wish it would come true. Now that the cave has collapsed it is well worth the try to just make a wish by the waterfall.