Wonders of Iceland

Territory

Arnarstapi
Arnarstapi. / apasciuto, / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

Iceland is very rich with peculiar natural landmarks and the island contains also interesting cultural landmarks. The most amazing wonders of Iceland are:

  • Waterfalls – Iceland is very rich with magnificent, large waterfalls. Some other European countries have taller waterfalls, but a multitude of Icelandic waterfalls are unsurpassed in their width, power, and visual impression. Several Icelandic waterfalls (Dettifoss, Gullfoss) belong to the most impressive falls of the world.
  • Geysers and other geothermal features – the only true geysers of Europe are located in Iceland. Haukadalur geothermal area contains the two most famous geysers – Geysir and Strokkur, but there are several more beautiful and interesting geothermal fields in the country.

Map with the described wonders of Iceland

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Iceland

Geological wonders of Iceland

Strokkur

Suðurland

Strokkur is very intense geyser, erupting 25 – 35 m high every 4 – 8 minutes.

The famous bubble of Strokkur is rising, Iceland
Haukadalur geothermal area

Suðurland

Two spectacular geysers – Geysir and Strokkur – located close together. Geysir has given the name to the geological phenomenon of geysers. Geysir has been up to 100 m high in the past. Strokkur is very intense, erupting 25 – 35 m high every 4 – 8 minutes. In the area are some more geysers and hot springs.

Geysir and Strokkur erupting simultaneously, June 1984
Geysir

Suðurland

Geysir has given the name to the geological phenomenon of geysers. Geysir has been up to 100 m high in the past.

Geysir erupting, August 2009
Gullfoss

Suðurland

One of the most spectacular waterfalls in Iceland and worldwide. Consists of two steps (11 m and 21 m tall), located at right angle to each other.

Gullfoss, Iceland
Surtsey

Suðurland

This volcanic island is very new: it rose from the ocean in 1963 – 1967. The island is pristine and serves as a natural laboratory where the colonization process of plant and animal life is researched. The area of the island is decreasing.

Surtsey from air
Dettifoss

Norðurland eystra

Magnificent waterfall, considered to be the most powerful in Europe. Falls are 45 m tall, 100 m wide, with a single plunge. Average water flow – 193 m²/s. A bit upstream there is another giant waterfall – Selfoss. This waterfall is 11 m high, but it is very wide – the stream has shaped a long V-shaped cliff and water is falling down along more than 500 m long cliffs. Downstream from Dettifoss is Hafragilsfoss – 27 m tall and 91 m wide.

Dettifoss
Svartifoss

Austurland

Unique waterfall – free falling, more than 20 m tall plunge in a valley adorned with basalt columns.

Svartifoss
Hveravellir Geothermal Field

Norðurland vestra

Beautiful geothermal field and popular tourist destination. Area contains several notable hot springs and geysers, such as Gjósandi, Bræðrahver, Grænihver, Rauðihver, Öskurhóll, Fagrihver and others. Here are at least six geysers.

Hevravellir Geothermal Field. Öskurhóll in the forefront with Bláhver behind it
Hraunfossar

Vesturland

A very unusual, 900 meters wide waterfall, emerging from under a lava field and falling directly into the Hvítá river.

Hraunfossar
Gunnuhver geothermal area

Suðurnes

A geothermal field with mud pools and fumaroles, former geysers. Legend about a ghost that was dragged in the fumarole.

Gunnuhver geothermal area, Iceland
Krysuvik – Seltun geothermal area (Krýsuvík – Seltún)

Suðurnes

Spectacular geothermal fields right on the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Hot springs, solfataras, fumaroles and colored soil.

Seltún geothermal field, Iceland
Ásbyrgi

Norðurland eystra

Unique canyon. When looking from the air, it reminds a tongue with approximately 100 m tall, vertical walls. In the middle of this tongue has remained a long, 25 m tall, narrow cliff named Eyjan. Ásbyrgi most likely has been formed by glacial flooding.

Ásbyrgi
Goðafoss

Norðurland eystra

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Height – 12 m, width – 30 m.

Goðafoss
Stórihver Geothermal Area

Suðurland

Impressive geothermal area in the picturesque mountains north of Mýrdalsjökull glacier. The large, blue pool of Stórihver is some 15 m wide. Several boiling springs. It is possible that some springs could be geysers.

Stórihver Geothermal Area
Ystihver and Hveravellir (Husavik) geothermal field

Norðurland eystra

The northernmost geyser in Iceland and the whole world is Ystihver – the only remaining geyser in Hveravellir geothermal field.

Ystihver, the northernmost geyser in the world
Skógafoss

Suðurland

One of the most impressive waterfalls in Iceland, 25 m wide and 60 m tall single plunge fall. In sunny weather here is seen a rainbow.

Skógafoss
Glymur

Vesturland

The second tallest waterfall in Iceland, 198 m tall. The waterfall is falling into a green, moss-covered canyon.

Glymur
Grjótagjá

Norðurland eystra

Small lava cave with thermal spring and hot lake inside. Earlier the lucid water in the cave was suitable for bathing but in 1975 – 1984 the temperature of water in it exceeded 50° C.

Grjótagjá
Hvítserkur

Norðurland vestra

Amazing, 15 m tall cliff in the sea. This narrow cliff has two natural arches carved by the sea wave action.

Hvítserkur, Iceland
Dynjandifoss

Vestfirðir

Cascade of beautiful waterfalls, total height – 100 m, width above – some 30 m, below – up to 60 m. Several more waterfalls follow below these falls.

Dynjandifoss
Námafjall Geothermal Area

Norðurland eystra

Large, colorful geothermal field with boiling mud pots, solfataras, sulfur deposits. Once important mine of sulfur for medieval Europe.

Víðgelmir

Vesturland

Largest (by volume) lava tube cave in the world. 1,585 meters long cave , with volume 148 000 m³. Contains ice formations, evidence of habitation, possibly from the Viking Age.

Víðgelmir
Laki fissure vent

Suðurland

Volcanic fissure – a clearly visible fissure – that in 1783 – 1784 was the site of one of the largest and most destructive eruptions in modern times. Eruption was coming simultaneously from 130 craters.

The Laki crater row

Architecture wonders of Iceland

Hallgrímskirkja

Höfuðborgarsvæði

The best known monument of architecture in Reykjavík – an impressive, 74.5 m tall church, designed in Art Deco style. Constructed in 1945 – 1986.

Hallgrímskirkja in summer night, Iceland
Þingvellir (Thingvellir)

Suðurland

Unique monument of history – a site where in 930 AD was established parliament of Iceland. It acted here until 1789. The site still contains remains of numerous temporary houses made of turf and rock that were used during the two weeks of assembly.

Lögberg in Þingvellir

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Rough Guide to Iceland


Now is the time to explore Iceland – tourism is booming and your króona will go further than you think. The Rough Guide to Iceland shows you the very best this exceptional country has to offer: from the party capital, Reykjavík, with its white nights and northern lights, to the newest volcanic hotspots at Holuhraun and Eyjafjallajökull. Come eye to eye with the giants of the deep on a whale watching tour, take a dip in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon, or hike to the isolated highland valley of Þórsmörk.

Frommer’s EasyGuide to Iceland


Guidebooks to Iceland are currently on every list of guidebook best-sellers, and will now be joined by a powerful new entrant written by an acknowledged and heavily-published expert on the subject. He is Nicholas Gill, an outstanding journalist, whose writings on Iceland have been prominently featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Food & Wine magazine, and many other notable publications.


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