7-day North, East & South Iceland
Here are our suggestions of the key sites of interest, though of course there are a variety of alternative options from which you can further tailor your trip according to your specific needs. Please contact your Travel Specialist for more details.
At 469m above sea level, the Modrudalur farm settlement is the highest inhabited place in Iceland. Boasting beautiful panoramic views and offering a remarkable silence and tranquillity, this is a must visit for anyone visiting East Iceland. Mount Herdubreid, often referred to as the Queen of Icelandic Mountains, looms in the distance whilst the picturesque features of the settlement are extraordinary, including the tiny church which was built by the farmer who first settled in this area.
See, hear and smell the bubbling mud pools at Namaskard, an expanse of hot springs, fumaroles and mud pots which seem to boil with relentless energy. The region owes its geothermal energy to the Krafla volcano system which is also responsible for the unusually beautiful colourful minerals that layer the area.
Soak in milky-blue geothermal waters whilst taking in the magical views of the area around Lake Myvatn in north east Iceland. The water is a consistent temperature of 38-40 degrees and is a great place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring. It is natural and unique, allowing for a true Icelandic feeling.
The volcanic region of Lake Myvatn is one of Iceland's most remarkable places, both for its diversity of geographical features and for its natural beauty. Clustered on the south shore are pitted moon-like pseudocraters, formed when lava flowed over marshy ground, causing steam explosions.
An unusually shaped lava field composed of various volcanic caves and rock formations. Twisted towers of rock loom eerily from the earth’s surface whilst giant pillars, chimneys and tubes provide a mesmerising backdrop as you hike and scramble across the field.
Though no one was around to witness it, Hverfjall, an explosion crater over 1km in diameter, is believed to have formed around 2500 years ago in a short and violent eruption. Those with the stamina can climb to its rim for a panoramic view of the area.
Krafla is an active volcanic region with three main attractions. Firstly, Krafla Geothermal Power Station, an appropriate stop to discuss Iceland's use of renewable energy. Here you can explore the site of the Myvatn fires eruptions from 1724-1729 and 11 small eruptions from 1975-1984. You can peer down into Viti, an impressive explosion crater with a cobalt-blue lake on its floor. At Leirhnukur, walk across to the main fissure where steam still issues from the crater row. This is a great place to discuss plate tectonics as evidence of subsidence and rifting is clearly visible at the site.
The stunning Dettifoss is Europe’s most powerful waterfall with an average waterflow of 193 m³/s, thundering down to the Jokulsargljufur canyon. The waterfall is eroding at an astonishing rate cutting a dramatic 20km long gorge into the landscape.
Tjornes & Asbyrgi
The Tjornes peninsula is one of Iceland’s most remarkable geological locations, known for its fossil layers formed at the end of the Tertiary period. The locally found fossils include petrified wood, fossilised crystalline, whale and shark bones and lignite, which make it possible to trace changes in climate, vegetation and marine life from the beginning of the Ice Age. Near to Tjornes you will find Asbyrgi, a beautiful canyon made up of honeycombed basalt rocks. Hike at the bottom of the canyon and marvel at the sheer scale of the rock formation.
A quaint northern coastal town regularly referred to as the whale watching capital of Europe. The harbour side Whale Museum has an interesting collection of artefacts and skeletons and is both educational and informative.
The ‘waterfall of the gods’ can be found near to Lake Myvatn and is said to be one of the most beautiful in Iceland. At 30m wide and with a 12m drop, it is certainly very photogenic.
This fjordside town of 18,000 people is Iceland's second 'city' and is located on the shore of Eyjafjordur, a very scenic fjord, surrounded by high mountains. Akureyri is home to an important port and several industries, including fishing.
One of the star attractions of the East Fjords, Hengifoss is Iceland’s third tallest waterfall towering at 128m.The pattern of alternating red and brown/black strata has been formed as clay has become trapped between successive layers of ash and basalt, turning red as the iron content in the clay is oxidised by the volcanic material.
A thriving fishing port, Neskaupstadur has the largest population of any of Iceland’s eastern towns. Visit the impressive 17m avalanche barriers and hike along the attractive coast line to Easter Cave.
A beautiful hamlet with a population of just 700, Seydisfjordur is beyond picturesque with its multi-coloured wooden houses, surrounding snowcapped mountains and cascading waterfalls. It is also a historically important destination to Iceland and its harbour has been a thriving trading centre ever since the early 19th century.
Offering scenic views of the largest ice-cap in Iceland, Vatnajokull, Hofn is a small harbour town known for its diverse fishing opportunities. More species can be found in the surrounding waters than any other fishing town in Iceland, with the ‘Norway lobster’ being particularly popular. Whilst visiting, consider the economic shift from fishing to tourism, evident from the increasing number of hotels, campsites, marked trails and museums.
Iceland’s most famous glacial lagoon and also one of its deepest lakes. Enormous icebergs, some the size of houses, calve off the Breidamerkjokurjokull glacier tongue as it retreats and drop into the lagoon, creating a spectacular sight. As they drift slowly towards the ocean, they occasionally break up in the process, and some become washed ashore on the black sand beach nearby.
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell is a geographer’s wonderland and one of Iceland’s primary areas of natural beauty. With many natural features including glaciers, mountains and valleys, Skaftafell is very popular with locals and tourists alike.
An extensive now moss-covered lava field originated from the flow of a Laki volcanic eruption in 1783. It is believed to be the largest flow from a single eruption worldwide.
Reynishverfi and Dyrholaey
Reynishverfi is famous for its incredible hexagonal basalt columns and impressive cliffs. The coastline between here and Dyrholaey is worthy of study, with a variety of features including Iceland’s answer to Durdle Door – an immense natural rock arch.
An iconic waterfall in the south situated on the Skoga River at Iceland’s former coastline. After the coastline had receded 5 kilometres seawards, the former cliff’s remained.
A narrow plunge waterfall where the water plummets over a former sea cliff, far enough away from the bedrock to allow you to walk behind it. The waterfall from the river Seljalansa drops 60metres over the cliff of the former coastline.
The UNESCO World Heritage site of Thingvellir National Park is where the divergent North American and Eurasian tectonic plates can be found, pulling apart at an average rate of 2.5cm per year. It is also where Iceland's national assembly, the Althing, was set up in 930AD.
The geothermal area beside the Hvita river is well known for its numerous hot springs, fumaroles and geysers. Here you will find Iceland’s most reliable geyser – Strokkur, which erupts roughly every 5 minutes up to 30 metres high.
Nicknamed the Golden Waterfall, this two-tiered natural wonder channels the river flow of the Hvita from a glacier into a rift valley with impressive power.
A dramatic volcanic crater lake, originally believed to have formed following a huge volcanic explosion. Yet more thorough studies show that Kerid was a cone volcano which erupted and emptied its magma reserve.