Northern Iceland is a special region offering unique experiences not experienced by those who only visit the country's southern and western portions. In the north, you'll find an idyllic stretch of the famed Ring Road, passing through places like Húsavík, Iceland's whale-watching capital. In addition, you'll discover less-crowded alternatives to the popular Blue Lagoon and can explore Askja, one of the country's wildest regions. But don't worry, the north also boasts waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and thermal baths!

Getting Oriented

The whale-watching capital of Iceland, Húsavík.

Most travelers to Iceland stick to the south and west, which hosts some of the most popular natural sites in the country. But Northern Iceland is a special region with equally beautiful highlights, which you can enjoy without sacrificing. In Húsavík, you can watch whales from the harbor or ride along the sea by horseback, or you can venture further and explore Askja, one of Iceland's wildest regions. Stat in the city of Akureyri for surprisingly fun nightlife and a serious food scene, and when you're ready for some typical Icelandic charm, you can still visit thermal baths and roaring waterfalls, but with far fewer crowds. 

Thermal Pools

The masses flock to the Blue Lagoon, which is truly a unique experience. But Northern Iceland also hosts relaxing thermal pools with healing benefits as you soak in warm mineral waters.

Mývatn Nature Baths

Soak in the alkaline waters of Mývatn.

Although many visitors plan to visit the Blue Lagoon, Northern Iceland has a milky-hued thermal bath of its own. Mývatn Nature Baths feature alkaline-rich waters heated naturally, offering a relaxing and soothing soak. You can also enjoy the steam bath, which releases geothermal steam from vents on the floor. As you soak, take in the gorgeous scenery that surrounds the baths and nearby lake. Read More

GeoSea Geothermal Baths

Relax in mineral-rich seawater heated from the Earth's core.

GoSea Geothermal Baths are one of Iceland's most modern thermal spas. Honoring local traditions from the nearby fishing village of Húsavík, these baths harness a unique blend of mineral-rich seawater and heat from the Earth's core to create this relaxing and healing experience. As a bonus, the baths look out over Skjálfandi Bay, known for its whale watching and views of the Northern Lights in the winter. Read More 

Animals & Wildlife

One of the country's biggest appeals is its wildlife, including the unique breed of horses and the sea life that calls Iceland's shores home.

Húsavík Whale Watching

Spot whales in the whale watching capital, Húsavík.

Húsavík is Iceland's whale-watching capital thanks to the world-famous Skjálfandi Bay, which hosts populations of whales, porpoises, and sea birds within its harbor. Therefore, you don't have to sail far to see these magnificent creatures! You'll hop aboard a quiet carbon-neutral boat that offers a far more pleasant experience for both you and the animals. Read More

Seaside Horseback Riding near Húsavík

Ride Icelandic horses along the sea cliffs and beach.

Explore the incredible scenery of Húsavík on horseback as you ride along the coast and up the hills for gorgeous views of the Bay of Skjálfandi. This area is known as the "World of Whales" due to its large population of these massive sea creatures. You'll ride up past Salfarm Farm, learning more about the country's unique breed of horses and the region's history. Read More

Powerful Nature

Iceland is synonymous with powerful nature, as it's the land of fire and ice! In the north, you can explore unique areas like less-crowded waterfalls or the region of Askja, a lunar-like terrain covered in crater lakes and mountain peaks. 

Jeep Tour to Askja

Askja's famous table mountain. 

Get off the beaten path in Iceland and explore Askja, an area located deep in the Northern Highlands. The scenery is dominated by lunar-like landscapes, a table mountain peak, and crater lakes formed by the volcanic collapse of a magma chamber. You'll drive by rushing rivers and idyllic nature reserves before heading into the Dyngjufjöll Mountain Range. Enjoy a walk from the Vikraborgir craters to Askja's famed electric-blue crater lake, Víti. Read More

Visit Goðafoss Waterfall

Visit Goðafoss, known as the Waterfall of the Gods. 

Located between Akureyri and Húsavík is a waterfall that's hard to miss: the powerful Goðafoss, "Waterfall of the Gods." Park your car and enjoy a quick walk to the main viewing point of the waterfall, then opt to take a slightly longer trek around the cascade for different viewpoints and perspectives. As you enjoy the thunderous waterfall, think about the local legend that claims the Nordic gods were thrown into Goðafoss when the country converted to Christianity. Read More

Wonders of Lake Mývatn & Dettifoss

The beauty of Lake Mývatn.

The volcanic Mývatn Lake is worth a visit on its own, but its surroundings are what attract visitors from around the world. In the scenic lake region, you can explore several diverse natural wonders, including fascinating rock formations at the Dimmuborgir Lava Park, the unusual craters at Skútustaðagígar, bubbling geothermal areas, the Viti and Hverfjall craters, and the Grjótagjá Lava Cave. Additionally, not too far from the lake is Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall. Read More

Hike Ásbyrgi Canyon

Explore the scenic Ásbyrgi Canyon and its surroundings.

You could easily spend all day hiking in the scenic Ásbyrgi Canyon in Northern Iceland, with its numerous trails. However, if you're short on time, take the trail from the Visitors Center to the top of the 300-foot (100-m) high cliffs. From here, you can enjoy exquisite views of the canyon, which was carved out by flooding around 10,000 years ago and again 3,000 years ago. If you ask a local, however, you might hear the legend of the god Odin's eight-legged horse, who stamped the canyon into existence with its horseshoes. Read More 

How to Craft the Perfect Northern Iceland Itinerary

See a little bit of everything with Northern Iceland's diverse landscape.

Thanks to the country's famed Ring Road, getting to Northern Iceland and exploring this region isn't too challenging. It's best combined with a day or two in Reykjavik, but if you have more time, you can easily merge a trip to the north with other Icelandic regions, such as the Golden Circle, the South Coast, and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

How much time to spend in Iceland depends on how much you want to see and when you plan to travel. (Pay attention to the limited daylight in winter and plan a few extra days during the dark season.) Because the north is a little out of the way, it's best to give yourself at least one week in Iceland. Up to two weeks will give you enough time to see another region or two!

Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include experiences in Northern Iceland: