Authored by Mike Jensen
Iceland is a breathtaking country, famous for volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers and absolutely stunning nature. And as such, there are a lot of places that are considered a must when you’re visiting.
The Blue Lagoon, Reykjavik, the Golden Circle; if you’ve researched Iceland in the slightest you’ll know the list. But just as there are many incredible ‘musts’, there are also many beautiful spots that are overlooked – undeservedly sacrificed off internet lists!
Granted, you’ll have to step far off the beaten path to find some of the gorgeous places mentioned here, but their beauty will make it definitely worth your time.
From amazing examples of modern architecture to a little known underground cave – here are the best things to see in Iceland, which most other people miss!
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Places To See In Iceland, That Most People Completely Miss
Laki is a mountain in the south of Iceland, which is bisected by a volcanic fissure. It is a fairly small mountain when compared to some others in the country, but it’s more beautiful than all of them put together.
Seriously, Laki is a place that’s overlooked by many people, so don’t make the mistake all of them did! Visit this glorious mountain and enjoy the scenery of otherworldly beauty.
A trip to Laki is going to appeal the most to those with an outdoorsy side. There’s a pretty popular hike you can do, which will take you to the top of the mountain. From there, you can see the glaciers and the rows of craters both to the east and west.
If you opt for a guided hike, you will get to hear the story of the Laki eruption and the consequences it had on the area. We’d definitely recommend the guided hike; it’s only 90 minutes long and is suitable even for those who have very little experience with hiking!
Image credit: Mirra (Kristin Jona) (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
People frequently overlook interesting spots if they’re in the middle of nowhere. And that’s one reason why the Vidgelmir Cave is not visited by more people. It’s also not something you will just stumble upon, since it’s an underground cave in Hallmundarhraun.
The Cave is a two-hour drive away from Reykjavik, and we highly recommend that you make the time to explore it. It’s absolutely amazing, with subterranean lava formations, unique rocks and wonderful colors.
If you want to be sure that you will be able to enter the cave, book a tour. There are three types of tours to choose from, but the last of which is only suitable for those with a background in geoscience.
It’s not necessary to book your spot since they accept walk-ins, but it will depend on the amount of people that are there.
Gjáin is a small valley in the south of Iceland. It is one of Iceland’s hidden gems, and a place you absolutely need to visit if you want to see extraordinarily beautiful nature.
The valley is a short hike away from Stöng, a residence from the Viking era. Both spots are worth visiting, so don’t miss out on anything if you’re already in the area! But definitely take your time in Gjáin; see all the waterfalls, ponds, unique rocks and admire the volcano views.
Gjáin valley is going to be particularly appealing to fans of landscape photography. The entire area of the valley is stunning, and the greenery that surrounds the waterfalls is simply otherworldly.
It’s hard to tell when Gjáin is the most beautiful, since those who were fortunate enough to visit it have divided opinions. Some claim that you have to experience it in the fall, when the leaves turn red and orange. Others say it’s summer, when the nature around the ponds and waterfalls is greener than the Hulk.
Image: Ilya Grigorik [CC BY-SA 3.0] via 500px / Wikimedia Commons
Iceland is known for its many breathtaking waterfalls. And, while everyone has their favorite, I think we can all agree that Aldeyjarfoss should be high up on every list.
But it’s not! Which shocks me!
Located in the Highlands of Iceland, in the northern part of the country, Aldeyjarfoss is pretty remote; you need to travel some 40km on a gravel road, and you can only cross the last 4km in a 4×4. If you don’t have a 4×4, you will have to hike.
But don’t let that put you off; trust me when I say that the view of the waterfall once you get there will make the gruelling trip worthwhile.
The contrast of the white waters and the black basalt columns is unreal, and definitely an image you won’t forget for a while. Don’t forget to bring your camera, since you will have the opportunity to take some truly magical photographs!
Image: Marco Nürnberger (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
Petra’s Stone Collection
Another interesting spot that people often miss is in Stöðvarfjörður, a village with less than 200 inhabitants in East Iceland. It is pretty far from the beaten path, so that’s the main reason why this museum is not as popular as it should be.
Petra’s Stone Collection is a privately owned museum, run by the Petra family. You can see a myriad of different stones here, most of which have some really unique shape.
All of the stones in the collection were collected by the woman who runs the museum, and they are all from East Iceland. This is something that could be interesting for everyone, and a mind blowing experience for those that are actually into rocks and minerals.
You can also stop by the gift shop inside the museum, where you can purchase some exquisite, unique souvenirs to bring back home.
Iceland is known for gorgeous nature, but there are some man made buildings you definitely need to see. One of them is the Stykkishólmur Church in Stykkishólmur, designed by architect Jón Haraldsson.
Stykkishólmur Church is an amazing example of modern architecture, with excellent acoustics. But this is very different from the usual Gothic and Renaissance churches you’re used to seeing in most European cities.
It definitely stands out, but it’s a building that people overlook quite often. The church is beautiful both inside and out, so definitely go inside if you get the opportunity to visit.
If you hear any music while you’re outside taking photos of the church, once again, we highly recommend taking the time to go inside; the acoustics in the church are superb, and it’s frequently home to all sorts of musical events.
Image credit: Wurzeller (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
Hofsós Swimming Pool
There are loads of swimming pools throughout the country, and people generally make a mistake by avoiding them when it’s cold out. There’s no reason for that; most of the pools in Iceland are heated, and are actually a great way to escape the cold for a bit.
Hofsós pool is perhaps one of Iceland’s most underrated swimming pools. The lap pool is located in Hofsós – one of the country’s oldest trading ports. It is a regular pool, but it looks like an infinity pool in photos because of the angles.
So, what’s so special about this heated pool? It’s the view. Hofsós swimming pool is located right on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Greenland Sea.
Its surroundings are absolutely breathtaking, and swimming around in hot water while admiring this amazing scenic view is an experience you should not miss out on.
Alternatively, you could also relax in the hot tub, which is right next to the vast lap pool.
Image credit: tsnoni (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
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