Think you know all Iceland has to offer? Think again. Literally, “you know nothing … (Jon Snow).”
Sure, Iceland is known for the Northern Lights, the Blue Lagoon and the colourful capital of Reykjavik. But there’s also an abundance of off the beaten track Icelandic adventures just waiting to be explored. And we’ve searched out the hottest under the radar spots for all you nature lovers…
This place may not be as remote as it once was, but it’s still considered a gem amongst Iceland’s glistening green mountain ranges. Taking the title as the oldest pool in Iceland, Seljavallalaug pool is situated between the famous Seljalandsfoss waterfalls and Skógafoss, which you can reach by driving 2 hours east of Reykjavik for some incredible panorama poolside views.
Skaftafell National Park
Skaftafell National Park comprises of 400-500 square kilometres of rugged landscape, glaciers, mountains and a whole load of fauna and flora. The magnetic mountains were established in 1967 and are now used as camping grounds and hiking hills. Standing as Europe’s second largest park this may not be a ‘hidden gem’ but you’re sure to find many secluded active volcanoes, mighty glaciers, powerful rivers and endless flat sandy plains. A hiker’s paradise, this is an absolute must and can be seen on Contiki’s Fire and ice trip!
This breathtakingly beautiful canyon is by far one of the country’s most picturesque places. Translated as the ‘Feather River Canyon’, the majestic scenery really doesn’t get the bucket list must attention it deserves, but this most definitely makes it a novelty to explore. The 100m deep, 2km long canyon is just a short trip off the iconic Ring Road in southeast Iceland, making it well worth the short detour.
Hofsós swimming pool
Arguably the most beautiful swimming pool set up in Iceland, Hofsós infinity pool is situated amongst some serious views. Located in the tiny town on the Tröllaskagi, a peninsula in the North of Iceland, the set up enables you to take a relaxing swim whilst admiring the fjord that surrounds it. Designed by the same architect responsible for the famous Blue Lagoon, Hofsós swimming pool is like it’s cooler, understated sibling.
There’s no doubt you’ll come across a waterfall or two on your Icelandic escapades. But if you’re looking for a waterfall away from the tourist traps, Gljúfrabúi is your answer. The hidden treasure may be located right next to the popular waterfall Seljalandsfoss, however to get to Gljúfrabúi you need to take a short walk back into the canyon. And there you will find a photo-bomb free, cave-like space which is said to be extremely peaceful.
This tongue twister of a lake may be a tricky one to pronounce but with a total of 150 types of plants and 50 kinds of invertebrates, the fertile lake is full of life and offers absolutely incredible views. Iceland’s largest lake stands at 84 sq. km and plays as an important refuelling stop for migrating birds. The lake lies partially within Þingvellir National Park in southwest Iceland and is one of the many incredible destinations on Contiki’s Iceland trip.
The historical village full of candy coloured houses was once the booming fishing capital of Iceland. Located on the northern coast, the town still has its fishing roots intact, but its charismatic charm and dramatic backdrop is what really makes it worth the visit. And when you’re out of insta shots you can also visit the abundance of coffee shops and get your geek on at The Herring Era Museum.
Asbyrgi National Park
Located far off Route 1, Asbyrgi National Park is pretty much off the scale in terms of its size and wow factor. The 100m high cliffs fall into a 3.5km long, 1km wide pool. Surrounding itself with a forested national park, Asbyrgi National Park is often described as one of the most magical places in Iceland.