The trail to the majestic Glymur Waterfall offers all kinds of challenges - but the stunning views from the top are well worth the adventure. Get to the trailhead prepared for your exhilarating day of hiking with this detailed trail description and other helpful tips.
Iceland Travel Insights
Iceland's recent history tells a surprising story about its fast rise in popularity: Iceland's economic collapse during the financial crisis of 2008 created the perfect storm for its people to hunker down and join forces to rebuild its travel industry, and the subsequent 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull that grounded world air traffic for several weeks, provided an unexpected spotlight on Iceland's powerful, stunning nature. Together, these forces caused a surge in tourism, helping rebuild the Icelandic economy and earning Iceland a top spot on many travelers' bucket lists.
Every Christmas, kimkim travelers Jen and Garrison Draper give each other the gift of travel. This year, their goal was to glimpse the Northern Lights - so they headed to Iceland for a once-in-a-lifetime winter road trip. From climbing glaciers to eating hot dogs, Garrison shares his favorite moments and some great advice.
Looking for an eventful winter vacation? The South Coast of Iceland is chock-full of fun winter activities, from glacier hiking to snowboarding, snowmobiling and more. If you're lucky, you'll have the chance to witness the unparalleled beauty of the Northern Lights that often grace the crisp Arctic sky. Here's our recommended way to spend the winter on Iceland's South Coast.
Iceland has plenty to offer all year-round, but if there’s one holiday worth planning a trip around, it's New Year’s Eve. Check out this self-drive itinerary idea that starts with Reykjavik's famous year-end festivities and continues with a week of the winter activities Iceland is known for.
This chilly, scenic self-drive tour is perfect for nature lovers and adventure fiends alike. Visit the famous Golden Circle, explore vibrant Reykjavik, and get off the beaten path for tours of ice caves and craters, snorkel trips between tectonic plates, and walks behind ice-covered waterfalls.
Get off the beaten track and discover Iceland’s otherworldly volcanic landscape on a multi-day hike in the country’s less traveled Highlands region. Choose one of these 3 trekking itineraries and experience everything the storied Volcanic Trails have to offer: lava fields, mountains, and so much more.
With a variety of fun and unique outdoor and indoor activities, your kids will love Iceland just as much as you will. Where else can kids take a dip in a natural hot spring, explore a Viking village, and go ice-skating on the same day?
Looking for a unique destination to celebrate your marriage? Iceland offers the perfect escape for a newlywed couple, and with so many thrilling adventures that await you there, you can rest assured that your honeymoon will be an unforgettable experience.
Northeast Iceland is more remote and wild than its southern counterpart. It’s known for abundant wildlife, from whales in Húsavik harbor to puffins on the Rauðanes Peninsula, as well as desolate cliffsides by the sea.
Just a few hours’ drive from Akureyri, the northeast of Iceland is a mix of curving highlands, dramatic canyons and bubbling mud pits. One of the best locations is Jokulsargljufur National Park, home to three forceful and elegant waterfalls, canyons and craters.
Iceland’s capital is ideally situated only a couple of hours from some of the country’s most beautiful natural sights, and there's plenty to be seen in the span of a single day. Whether you drive the popular Golden Circle route or opt for the basalt columns and lava fields of the remote Snaefellsnes Peninsula, it won't take you long to feel far from the city.
As Game of Thrones fans already know, Westeros is a fictional continent, home to the famous Seven Kingdoms and the uncharted, snow-covered territory beyond. In reality, much of the hit show was filmed in Iceland, and you can visit many of these stunning locations on your next trip to the real land of ice and fire.
Whether it’s summer or winter, Akureyri proudly reigns as Iceland's second city. It may be no larger than a small town, but the capital of Northern Iceland abounds with activity. From taking in the town's history to hiking north of the Arctic Circle, Akureyri has something for every traveler.
Despite being Iceland’s second largest city, Akureyri is home to a mere 18,000 residents. Don’t let its size fool you though: this epicenter of Northern Iceland is home to world-class restaurants, hip cafés, and even a few hotspots for nightlife.
Most people come to Iceland to explore its natural beauty away from the hustle and bustle of cities, but its capital is worth your time and attention as well. Reykjavik offers an impressive array of activities, so whether you visit in the summer or winter, spending a couple of days here is a must.
Often overlooked by visitors traveling the famed Ring Road, West Iceland is packed with photo-worthy natural features and cultural history. Get off the beaten path on your next trip to Iceland and take in the waterfalls, geothermal pools, and cultural lore that make this region special.
Reykjavik takes its coffee seriously, with a café on practically every downtown corner. If you're wandering through town looking for a solid cup of joe and a sweet treat to go with it, you won't be disappointed by these recommended favorites.
Home to a rugged landscape and trails for every type of hiker, the Westfjords region provides a perfect backdrop for exploring Iceland on foot. Marvel at geysers, have a picnic on the shores of a scenic bay, and take in the mountain peaks as you make your way through one of the country's most beautiful trekking areas.
Ísafjörður (Isafjordur) is the largest town in Iceland's beautiful Westfjords, making it a perfect jumping off point for day trips around the region. The town itself, surrounded by dramatic scenery, also has a lot to offer in the way of historical value and opportunities to get out into nature.
Landmannalaugar is a geothermal wonderland in the Fjallabak Nature Reserve, home to lava fields, hot pools, and steam puffs that rise from the earth. Hike among vibrantly hued mountains and explore highlands dotted with glaciers, black sand beaches, geysers, and waterfalls. Stunning and remote, this area is a perfect representation of all the Icelandic landscape has to offer.
From cultural events featuring film and music to Reyvjavik's vibrant pride parade, the people of Iceland know how to throw a party. Read our list below of the country's top 6 annual festivals, and get ready to celebrate on your next trip to Iceland.
East Iceland is home to some of the best hiking in the country, including a vast trail system that traverses black sand deserts, ruins of ancient homesteads, and dramatic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. One of the most dynamic and accessible treks in the area is this three-day trek from Borgarfjörður to Seyðisfjörður.
With 7-9 days in Iceland, we recommend you hit the road and explore the incredible wonders further afield from Reykjavik. We’ve put together these unique one week Iceland itineraries which let you explore a variety of landscapes: volcanoes and lava fields, green pastures and farmlands, scenic vistas above fjords, beaches of every color, glaciers and ice caves, and the rugged interior. Here are our recommended drives, an option for all travelers and seasons.
The Ring Road is the most popular way to see and experience a variety of landscapes and sights all over Iceland. Route 1 starts from Reykjavik and circles to Akureyri in the North, to the small fishing villages in the East Fjords, passing Vatnajökull National Park and the South Coast. From this highway, you can also get to all the main detours like Snaefellsnes Peninsula, the remote Westfjords, Thorsmork, and the Highlands.
The Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a remote wilderness in the northwest claw of Iceland’s West Fjords. A wild gem of green slopes, snow-capped glacier peninsulas, and slate-blue bays, Hornstrandir is largely uninhabited and accessible only in during summer by daily ferry. It’s precisely these features that make it one of the best-preserved parts of Iceland--nothing for miles except green valleys, tufts of dandelions and Angelica, and pebbled shores. If you’re lucky, you may just spot a flying goose or an Arctic fox.
Thorsmork is a mountain range nestled between major glaciers Tindfjallajökull, Mýrdalsjökull and Eyjafjallajökull. The ridge, named “Thor’s Valley” in Icelandic, is a dramatic landscape of towering peaks, glacier rivers, and black deserts. Craggy mountains and ice-topped peaks slope down to lush birch forests and mossy gulches. Luckily for visitors, it’s also home to some Iceland’s most beautiful hiking routes.
In Iceland’s East Fjords, you’ll find many peaceful fjords, small fishing villages, and scenic trails tucked away in the hollow of towering mountains. Often overshadowed by more hyped, nearby attractions like the Glacier Lagoon and Myvatn Lake, make no mistake--the East Fjords are definitely worth a few days' trip. Day excursions will take you hiking past waterfalls, kayaking through the fjords, or exploring emerald ponds.
In a wilderness as wild and dramatic as Iceland’s, you’re sure to find countless opportunities for long day hikes. Here's a list of the best day hikes, ideal for a day’s adventure from your road trip around the Ring Road, or from a base camp in the highlands.
If you do one activity in Iceland, make sure it’s a hot spring. Swimming in hot springs or geothermal pools are a time-honored tradition among Icelanders, ever since the days of the sagas. Families, couples, and friends get together regularly to soak, play, and share the latest gossip or news in hot waters. Depending on where you are, hot springs range from natural hot pools carved from the rock, to man-made pools with carbonated thermic waters, to more typical swimming pools, heated with geothermal energy. While the Blue Lagoon can be a bit crowded for some people, this guide will show you the best-kept secrets awaiting you all over Iceland. So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit.
As Iceland’s popularity grows, tourists have discovered what locals have always known: the sparsely populated country is a nirvana for hikers. With miles of trails dotted with geological wonders—flowing waterfalls, sawtooth mountains, massive glaciers, steaming fumaroles, and lupine-studded valleys, to name a few—its surreal landscape is best explored on foot. Here are some of the best areas for hiking in Iceland.
Iceland offers plenty of hikes of any length. Curious hikers who venture just 15 minutes from the highway are often generously rewarded with emerald-green hills, mountain streams, dramatic cliffs and--best yet--no noisy crowds or gargantuan tour buses. Here's a list of the best short hikes ranging from 1-8 miles, ideal for stops along road trips, and to leave the tour bus crowds behind even if you have limited time.
Iceland is a world-class hiking destination. Its colored mountains, green valleys, and windswept cliffs provide the perfect setting for epic multi-day hikes. Since most Icelanders live in and around Reykjavik, and most travelers stay close to the roads, the rest of the sparsely populated country offers plenty of room to roam. These multi-day treks cover some of the most beautiful places in Iceland.
This example driving itinerary is great for the summer when the crowds of the south coast and golden circle area are at their peak and accommodation can be hard to find. Instead, escape to the more remote areas of the country to experience some of the best that Iceland has to offer, with few other people to share it with.
Having a great first day in Iceland after a long flight requires a bit of planning. We recommend starting your adventure on the right foot by diving right into all the great things Iceland has to offer. Based on the experience of travelers and the expertise of our local specialists, here are some useful strategies to make the most of your first day in Iceland.
Iceland’s interior is by far its most rugged area. The terrain can be tough, and the F-roads are only accessible by jeeps with 4WD (in Winter, only by modified “super jeeps”). But the increased difficulty level means you will have the place to yourself, as few tourists reach the highlands. Here you will find some of the best hiking destinations: the red and orange volcanic landscapes at Landmannalaugar, strange canyons and other-worldly landscapes at þórsmörk (Thorsmork, “Thor’s Valley”), and some of the top geothermal areas at Hveradalir Geothermal Area where you can wander through the hills walking past steam vents and mud pools.
You can have an epic Iceland experience when you spend 5 days or more in Iceland. Shorter trips are possible but won’t give you enough time to really explore beyond the Reykjavik area and the western section of the South Coast. Starting at 8 days or more you can complete the famous ring road and experience Iceland’s natural beauty in all its glory, seeing incredible sights most tourists miss, like Godafoss Waterfall, the unique volcanic hotspots surrounding Lake Myvatn and the Westfjords.
If you have 4 days in Iceland you can enjoy Reykjavik's city life and then leave the masses behind by heading north to explore beautiful Snaefellsnes Peninsula with its waterfalls and volcanoes. This way you'll get a great sampling of all Iceland has to offer. Day 1: Arrival, Reykjavik Day 2: Glymur Falls, Borgarnes, Snaefellsnes Peninsula Day 3: Snaefellsnes Peninsula, back to Reykjavik Day 4: Blue Lagoon, Departure
If you are short on time, or perhaps you are looking for an extended layover on your way from Europe to North America or vice versa, your options in Iceland are limited to closer to Reykjavik. Here is a 3-day itinerary that will still let you experience some of the spectacular beauty of Iceland.
For a unique Iceland experience, avoid the crowds of the south completely. This trip has it all: volcanoes, waterfalls, hot springs, nature baths, whale watching, fjords and more. Below are 2 great ways to experience the north: all the highlights with only a fraction of the people. You can maximize your time by taking a domestic flight over the beautiful highlands of the interior to Akureyri, or you can drive one way and fly from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.
This 5-day self-driving itinerary is a great way to get away from the crowds of the south and explore the more remote areas in the north of Iceland. Maximize your time exploring with a one-way domestic flight from Akureyri back to Reykjavik.
The East Fjords are known for their sweeping landscapes, calm scenic fjords, and picturesque tiny fishing villages. Supplement your explorations with delicious meals made with local ingredients from the waters and land.
With 2 weeks in Iceland, you can complete the entire ring road and add some great detours. This grand tour will take you to all the best places giving you plenty of time to hike, explore, and soak it all in. This 14-day itinerary covers all the major regions except the highlands, which you can see with a couple more days or by spending less time in some of the areas below.
This itinerary packs a lot into 8 days, but if you have limited time and have your heart set on driving the entire Ring Road, then this guide will be your best friend for the journey.
This 7-day itinerary will take you to the north, away from the crowded south coast. On this trip you will enjoy the volcanic Snaefellsnes Peninsula and the scenic and remote Westfjords.
Don’t just stick to the Golden Circle and South Coast. You may see some great sights, but you’ll spend a lot of time in lines and waiting for people to get out of your pictures. To see a side of Iceland fewer travelers see, spend some time in Snaefellsnes, the Westfjords, or the North of the country. You’ll appreciate more of Iceland’s beauty and culture than you can by sticking to the most-visited areas.
Isafjordur is home to some of the best hiking areas in all of Iceland. Whether you’re looking for short hikes with jaw-dropping views, day trips to remote areas, or multi-day backpacking treks where you can camp out away from it all, the heart of the Westfjords has it all. Here are a few hikes to that will really make your time in the Westfjords memorable.
Want to spend your holidays in a winter wonderland, see the northern lights, take a dogsled or snowmobile tour, hike on a glacier, or climb through ice caves? Iceland is the perfect place to spend some time this winter. While daylight is limited and the nights are long, you can experience some truly unique adventures without the big crowds of the peak season.
If you want to see incredible waterfalls you don’t need to go very far: many of the most popular giants are only a brief walk away, and many can be seen from the car. While their easy access means larger crowds, they are popular for a reason and you should take the time to enjoy them.
Iceland is home to many incredible waterfalls, with several just off the main tourist roads. While this makes for easy access, it also means lots of people crowding around all trying to take the same photo. With a little extra time, you can leave the crowds behind and hit the trail to explore some of Iceland’s hidden wonders on your own.
Explore Iceland in 5 days - Seven Optimized Itineraries to help you make the most of your Short Trip to Iceland
Have only 5 days to explore Iceland? Most people stay in and around Reykjavik and do day trips, While there are plenty of great things to see and do in that area, staying near Reykjavik will have you experience Iceland along with all the crowds and tour buses.