When I first moved to Iceland I made an Icelandic bucket list of all the places I wanted to visit and things I wanted to do. This list (which I am happy to announce that I have now completed everything on that list!) ended up being a great way to keep pushing me to get out and explore my own backyard no matter how long I had been living here and got used to the aw factor of Iceland.
So, here we are four years later, one extra explorer in tow, and I am back with a new list of places I want to visit in Iceland!
These 7 places are all about getting somewhere off the beaten path in Iceland, which is becoming a difficult thing to do these days with so many tourist traveling here. If you are planning a trip to Iceland and looking for places to visit that won’t be overcrowded (south coast of Iceland I am talking about you!) add one of these below locations to your itinerary!
Since falling for the Westman Islands a few summers ago I have decided that some of Iceland’s best hidden gems are the small islands that surround it. And thanks thanks to Cynthia from Adventuringswho stayed here a few summers ago it is now at the top of my list.
Can’t you just imagine a quiet summer evening taking in the midnight sun here?!
This little island just seems packed full of Icelandic charm. I think Flatey Island is the perfect place to kick off our little Viking’s Icelandic adventures.
Know Before You Go: Flatey Island is located in the fjord between Snæfellsnes peninsula and the Westfjords. To reach Flatey Island you will need to take a ferry from either Stykkisholmur or Brjanslaekur. There is only one hotel located on the island, Hotel Flatey, that is only opened during the summer months.
Valley of Heydalur
After the Viking and I’s roadtrip to the Westfjords I have been itching to get back there to explore more. Our three days was far to short in this gorgeous region of Iceland! During our trip we spent most of our time exploring the lower part of the Westfjords. I now have my eyes set on exploring the more northern part of the area, and at the top of that list is the valley of Heydalur.
I mean, imagine enjoying your morning coffee with that view!
The more I research about Heydalur the more I want to pack up my bags and boys and spend a week camping and exploring there. This area is known for it’s nature and is said to be one of the best places to stay for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts… hello Icelandic nature wonderland! I envision day’s spent hiking with my boys and evenings relaxing in the natural hot pools, they even have a pool located inside a greenhouse!
Know Before You Go: Heydalur is located 31 km from Ísafjörður and is easily accessible by car. Country Hotel Heydalur is a great accomodation option here with both a restaurant and three different hot springs on site, but they also have summer cabins and a camping site to choose from.
I first found out about Hveravellir when I was looking for hot springs to visit around Iceland a few months after I had moved here. At the time I didn’t know where the area was located, all I knew was that I had to visit the hot springs I saw in the pictures.
When I first showed my Viking the pictures of the gorgeous hot springs I had just discovered I remember telling him I thought it would make for a great little weekend roadtrip. He then laughed at me as he explained where Hveravellir was located… in the central highlands of Iceland, aka several hours away and basically in the middle of no where.
I pushed my dreams of relaxing in pretty hot springs aside, but it is now back on my list because it looks gorgeous and I don’t care if it is a bit tricky to reach, I want to go here. Now I just need to figure out how I can convince the Viking that a family trip here is a great idea, it may take a few more years on that one.
Know Before You Go: Hverarvellir is located between two big glaciers, Langjökull and Hofsjökull, in the highlands of Iceland and is only accessible during the summer months. You can either drive on your own here, or take the bus. In Hverarvellir there are a few different accommodation options from camping huts, a campsite and a hostel.
Located in the north of Iceland is this charming fishing town that I sadly have only ever driven through. But since that short two minute visit the Viking and I have talked about returning and I think it is high time we make that happen!
Siglufjörður is located on a beautiful fjord with some gorgeous mountains surrounding it, all the makings for the perfect place to go for a relaxing trip that involves doing nothing but sitting in the pools and enjoying the views. I have a feeling though the next time we are in this area H is going to try and convince me to hit the slopes with him, we will see about that!
Fun fact, the Viking actually lived in northern Iceland for several years when he was little and has a lot of family in the area, even more reason to take our little guy up there for a trip.
Know Before You Go: Siglufjörður is located 65 km away from Akureyri in the north of Iceland. If you end up visiting here I recommend a stay at Siglo Hotel, the pool here is located right in the harbor with some amazing views!
Growing up my summers were full of camping adventures, and while it might still take me quite awhile to set up my own tent I love the feeling of sleeping outside and waking up to the sounds of nature. My Viking and I have done a few camping trips around Iceland (tent camping in Iceland in May is veryyy chilly!) but there is one place we have not yet camped that is high on my list, Lake Myvatn.
We visited this unique area a few years ago at the beginning of summer and it didn’t take me long to see why Lake Myvatn is a popular camping location for Icelanders.
Not only is there a ton of unique and interesting attractions to visit close by (Grjótagjá cave, Dimmuborgir and Goðafoss to name a few) the views of the lake and lush greenery mixed with lava rock is so beautiful. I think this area would be the perfect location for our little Viking’s first camping adventure!
Know Before You Go: Lake Myvatn is located in the north of Iceland over an hour away from the town of Akureyri. This area is known for camping but you can also find some great accommodation options. For a memorable stay I recommend checking out Vogafjos Farm Resort where you will also find a café with some delicious traditional Icelandic food.
There is one part of Iceland that I have not gotten to visit yet, the East of Iceland, and I think this needs to change asap. While I want to explore all of this region one area I have my sights set on is Borgardjordur Eystri. When I read things like, “the trails in this area will have you exploring mountains in a range of colors, walking past black sand beaches and taking in the views of beautiful isolated fjords” it is immediately added to my list!
Photo via Hit Iceland
The best part, few people make the journey this way making it the perfect location to visit to get away from the crazy busy southern part of Iceland.
So… who has some roadtrip tips for a one year old??
Know Before You Go: Borgardjordur Eystri is located in the north east part of Iceland, 70 km from Egilsstaðir. Make the most of your time here with a stay at Álfheimar Country Hotel, they offer guided hiking tours from the guesthouse so you won’t miss any of the beautiful hikes in the area.
My girl Jeannie, she knows Iceland and all the best spots, so when she tells me that this town is a must see in Iceland it instantly goes on my list. And once you see the pictures of the charming colorful little town of Seyðisfjörður you will be wanting to visit as well.
I mean hello charming right?!
That blue church and rainbow brick road, I must see this place. This town is also located in the East of Iceland which just adds to my case that the Viking’s and I need to travel over here before it becomes the next hot spot in Iceland.
Know Before You Go: Seyðisfjörður is located in the east of Iceland 26 miles away from the town of Egilsstaðir. While this is a small town that is perfect for a day trip once you see the colorful streets you won’t want to leave! I have my eyes on this accomodation for when we finally get to visit, I mean those views!!!
Iceland may be small but the list of places to explore is never ending!
My Viking is still not sure how I am constantly finding new places that I want to visit, but I think he should just look at the positive side of how much of his own country he gets to explore 🙂
If you are looking for some unique places to visit while in Iceland add one (or all) of these spots to your trip, and if you get to go share some pictures with me at #unlockingiceland so I can pretend I was there too;)