I love travelling around my country and have a bit of experience in that field ;), so I put together a few things for you, of what I think is a must see on your travel in Iceland. These are either projects of local people in each area or simply just a stunning place to visit.
Of course this is just a short list, but things/attractions that you might not know of, but would love to see.
- When in the Southern region:
If you are visiting the village of Vík and its surroundings and you want to enhance your experience of the area, book a tour with one of the best local guide! This is his company – not only is he born and raised in the area, but he was one of the first to do tours where you visit ice caves under a volcano – nobody knows the area better!
Want to taste the local ale? – then visit the small brewery that will open in spring 2018! Smiðjan Brugghús is the only brewery in the area and certainly worth visiting if you want to taste a local beer – which you can´t get anywhere else!
Art lover? Don´t miss out visiting the gallery run by EY collection in an old cowshed at a stunning location, right by the famous Dyrhólaey cliff. High quality souvenirs and design products made by two locals in a remote area – if you want to bring something unique from Iceland. You will have to call ahead to see if they are open.
- When in the East Fjords:
Okay, there are endless things to see and do here, but first and foremost – visit the town of Seyðisfjörður. Everything about this little town is so unique, it is hippy, trendy, colorful and just so beautiful. When there, pay a visit to my friend´s house, but my friend Erna has a small Icelandic designer shop in her living room!
Want one of the best views in Iceland? Then drive to the Hólmanes peninsula between Reyðarfjörður and Eskifjörður towns. Easy to access by a car, great parking place and hiking routes, where you can hike all the way down to the sea. If you are lucky you might spot dolphins out in the ocean or even reindeers in the hills – so bring your camera!
- When in the North side:
Endless, endless things to see in this area. But don´t forget to visit the Víti crater while in the Mývatn lake area! It is just so amazing site, where nature is the only producer.
I know this location can often be busy during the high season, but still there is something unique visiting the highest located farm in Iceland. It is so amazing to think back about the people who have lived here, often in very difficult conditions as the weather in the area can often be (least to say) very, very bad.
When close to Akureyri, don´t pass the side road that leads you to the village of Grenivík, not so much visited by tourists. On the way to the village, visit the old turf farm and church of Laufáskirkja, an amazing visit back in time! If you need accommodation, stay at the local farm Ártún – the hosts are the nicest people! In the village take a dip in the swimming pool and grab a bite at Kontorinn – restaurant run by a local guy and his family.
Also, don´t just drive through Skagafjörður on your way from north to south! Visit the village of Hofsós and dive in their swimming pool – it is a must! And if you are looking for a natural hot pool to enjoy – Grettislaug is something you have to visit!
- When in the West fjords:
Oh my… where to start…., as this is my favorite area in my country.
You can spend many days here and still you will not be able to see all of it. I am just mentioning a very few spots, that can be far between and remember that the roads can be a little bumpy, so drive carefully!
I really can´t recommend one village/town better than the other, they are all nice and and all are very typical Icelandic fishing villages – it´s an experience visiting any of them. But the largest one called Ísafjörður due to its size has the most service to offer. But Patreksfjörður town is also a great place to stay at. And when driving the fjords, try not to miss the remote Selárdalur valley – you will be amazed by the sculptures made by the local Samúel Jónsson who passed away in 1969. Such remarkable work that he left by his farm, testimony of a very creative person who lived in the middle of nowhere.
Djúpavík is an amazing, ghost-like, mysterious and a remote place worth the visit and it is on the way to the ever so amazing swimming pool literally at the end of the world called Krossneslaug. And if you are interested in local handcraft, visit this unique museum and handcrafts gallery almost in the middle of nowhere….
On the other side of the fjords, visit Látrabjarg one of Europe´s biggest bird cliffs and the westernmost part of Iceland. If you need accommodation in the vicinity stay at Hotel Breiðavík, not because this hotel is the best, but it has the most awesome location and amazing beach.
Want to see seals? Then the area at Hvítanes is a great spot to see them.
Then try your best to visit as many swimming pools as you can while here 🙂 – especially this one!