Iceland is famous for its breathtaking landscape and natural beauty. However, you will find that Icelandic landmarks do not just involve nature. There are various landmarks in Iceland that have historical significance and interesting meanings as well.
From Icelandic nature to inspiring architecture, here are some famous landmarks in Iceland that travelers can visit to enjoy the beauty and culture of the country.
Most Famous Landmark In Iceland
The most awe-inspiring nature landmark in Iceland is actually a couple of natural wonders right by each other. Despite the numerous amazing landscapes that Iceland has, the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and Diamond Beach offers something really special.
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon
Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of the most popular nature destinations in Iceland. It’s in Vatnajökull National Park, and a part of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier.
The lagoon was created around 1930 when the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier started to recede from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lagoon has grown since then due to melting of the glacier.
Jökulsárlón is about 284 meters long (931 feet) and up to 284 meters deep (932 feet). It’s estimated that about 11 billion tons of ice melts from Breiðamerkurjökull each year, and most of it flows into the lagoon.
The lagoon is known for its icebergs, which are often blue or black in color. The icebergs range in size from small to large, and some of them are as big as a house.
Some of the larger ones have been known to drift out to sea. Jökulsárlón was featured in the James Bond movie Die Another Day, and it’s also been used as a setting for other movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Batman Begins.
Jökulsárlón Diamond Beach
This Diamond Beach is just right by the Jökulsárlón glacier. Jökulsárlón is also one of the only places where you can witness the process of nature creating diamonds.
It has been estimated that there are over 100,000 carats of ice on this Icelandic gem, most with no diamond yet formed.
This natural Icelandic landmark offers something for everyone who visits: from those looking to explore iceland’s glaciers and icebergs to those just wanting a nice walk on the beach or even some great fishing opportunities!
These two majestic landmarks in Iceland are definitely must-see destinations for anyone traveling to Iceland!
Reykjavik, Iceland Landmarks
Reykjavik is the capital and largest city of Iceland. It is the world’s northernmost capital city and on the southern shore of Faxafloi Bay.
The city has a population of just over 100,000 and is the center of Iceland’s cultural, economic, and governmental activity.
Reykjavik is a popular tourist destination due to its location, as well as its nightlife, and close proximity to many natural attractions. The capital city also features many landmarks in Iceland.
Eldborgarstadurin – the Pearl of Reykjavik
The Pearl of Reykjavik, Eldborgarstadurin, is a remarkable sculpture in the heart of Reykjavik. It’s easily recognizable as it dominates the skyline of the city.
The sculpture was created by artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir and was officially opened in 2003. The name Eldborgarstadurin means “the city of fire” in Icelandic, and it’s inspired by the legendary eruption of Mount Hekla in 1104.
The sculpture is made from stainless steel and glass and it stands at 43 meters tall. It has an observation deck that offers stunning views of the city and the bay.
Eldborgarstadurin is definitely one of the most impressive Icelandic landmarks in Reykjavik and you are bound to see it when visiting.
Solfarid Sculpture (Sun Voyager)
The Solfarid Sculpture, also known as the Sun Voyager, is another impressive sculpture in Reykjavik, Iceland. The sculpture was built by Jón Gunnar Árnason and it was first exhibited in 1990.
The sculpture is meant to depict a Viking ship and it is made out of stainless steel. You can find this photogenic Iceland landmark on the Promenade at Sæbraut, which is near the harbor of Reykjavik.
The sculpture was designed to represent the journey of the Vikings from Scandinavia to Iceland. According to Norse mythology, the sun was driven by a horse named Surtr.
The ship in the sculpture is meant to represent Surtr’s ship. The sculpture is also meant to symbolize the hope of humanity and the dreams of exploration.
The Solfarid Sculpture is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Reykjavik, as hordes come to photograph this symbolic artwork.
Hallgrímskirkja is the most famous church in Iceland and one of the tallest buildings in Reykjavik.
The church was designed by Guðjón Samúelsson and took over 41 years to build. The church is named after the famous Icelandic poet and priest Hallgrímur Pétursson.
Perlan is a beautiful glass dome that sits atop Öskjuhlíð Hill. The building was first opened in 1992 and contains a water tank that holds 6.7 million gallons of water.
The water tank was used to supply the city with heated water, but the heating system was shut down in 2004. These days, Perlan is home to several different exhibitions, restaurants, and shops.
It’s also one of the best landmarks in Reykjavik to catch a view of the cityscape and landscapes beyond.
The Arctic Henge
You can find the Arctic Henge near the Reykjavik airport. It is a modern structure that was completed in 2010 and is meant to be an attractive landmark in Iceland
The Henge is a large metal structure that is in the shape of a circle. It has several metal spikes sticking out of it and is meant to look like an icicle.
The Henge is meant to represent the icicles that are found near the Arctic Circle. The structure is made of steel and weighs over 200 metric tons. The structure cost over $1 million dollars to build.
The Henge is open to the public and is a popular tourist attraction.
Harpa is a concert hall and conference center in Reykjavik. The building was designed by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Hreinn Fridriksson, and it was completed in 2011.
Harpa has become a popular tourist destination, as it is home to many concerts and events. The building is made up of different colored glass panels, and it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Reykjavik.
If you are visiting Reykjavik, be sure to check out Harpa!
Other Famous Landmarks In Iceland
Thingvellir National Park (Þingvellir)
Thingvellir National Park is about 45 kilometers east of Reykjavik and it is Iceland’s most popular tourist attraction for good reason.
It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its historical significance. The park is home to some amazing natural wonders, like the Öxarárfoss waterfall and Lake Þingvallavatn, as well as historical landmarks like Alþingi, the world’s oldest functioning parliament.
Vatnajökull National Park
The Vatnajökull National Park is the largest national park in Iceland, stretching over 14,141 square kilometers. The park is home to Iceland’s tallest mountain, Hvannadalshnúkur, and its largest glacier, Vatnajökull.
The park is also home to the country’s largest lake, Þórisvatn, and its most active volcano, Grímsvötn. This is a great spot to experience the Icelandic nature.
The park was established in 2008 and covers around 14% of Iceland’s landmass. It is the second oldest national park in Iceland after Thingvellir National Park.
Seyðisfjörður is a small town in the east of Iceland. The town is in the Seyðisfjörður fjord and is surrounded by steep mountains. The town was settled in the late 18th century and soon became an important trading post.
Today, Seyðisfjörður is a popular tourist destination and is known for its beautiful Icelandic nature and traditional timber houses. The town is also home to the Icelandic Folk Music Centre, which hosts concerts and festivals throughout the year.
Víkurkirkja Church, Vík í Mýrdalur
The Víkurkirkja Church is a Lutheran parish church in the town of Vík í Mýrdalur, Iceland. It sits at the foot of the Reynisfjall Mountain, and can be seen from many points in the town.
The Víkurkirkja Churc dates back to 1930s and is notable for its modern design, which incorporates both traditional and contemporary elements.
This makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Vík area, and is a landmark for taking travel photos. The Víkurkirkja Church is open to the public for visits from May to September.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is found in the southwestern part of Iceland. It’s known for its unique blue waters and rich silica mud that is said to have therapeutic effects on the skin.
The lagoon is man-made and it gets its water from the power plant. The water temperature is around 37–39 °C (98–102 °F). There are silica mud masks that you can put on your face.
The spa was formed when the Svartsengi power plant was built in 1992. The plant produces 45 megawatts of geothermal power from the earth’s heat. The Blue Lagoon is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland with over 400,000 visitors each year.
Natural Iceland Landmarks
The Geysir geothermal area at Haukadalur Valley is one of the most famous landmarks in Iceland. The area contains over a dozen hot springs and several geysers.
The most famous geyser in the area is called Geysir, after which the whole area is named. The geyser was created after an earthquake in the year 2000 and has become a major tourist attraction.
The geyser erupts every few minutes and can reach up to 70 meters high. There are also a few smaller geysers nearby that are worth checking out.
Hvítárvatn is another famous landmark of Iceland in the highlands. It is one of the largest lakes in Iceland, known for its beautiful surroundings.
The lake is fed by the Hvítá River, which means “White River” in Icelandic. The river got its name from the white water rapids near its origin.
The lake has a surface area of about nine square kilometers and is the sixth-largest lake in Iceland. It is also a popular spot for fishing and swimming.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is a volcanic peninsula west of Reykjavík and one of three major peninsulas in Iceland.
It is home to the Keflavík International Airport, as well as the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. The Reykjanes Peninsula was formed by the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a divergent tectonic plate boundary where the North American and Eurasian plates are pulling apart.
The Reykjanes Peninsula is also home to numerous hot springs, geysers, and lava fields.
Lake Myvatn is a volcanic crater lake in the north of Iceland. It is one of the most popular tourist landmarks in Iceland, due to its unique landscape and diverse birdlife.
The lake is located in an area of intense geothermal activity, with mud pits, hot springs, and geysers all around.
The Myvatn Nature Baths are one of the most popular attractions in the area, as they offer visitors a chance to relax in the naturally heated waters.
The Myvatn region is also home to Dimmuborgir, a series of lava formations that have been eroded by wind and rain into unique shapes.
Dettifoss is the most powerful waterfall in Europe, with a 44-meter drop. You can find it in Vatnajökull National Park, which is the largest national park in Iceland.
The width of the waterfall is 100 m with an average water flow of 193 m³/s. The waterfall was created by a massive eruption of the Vatnajökull glacier about 8,000 years ago.
Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in South East Iceland is a famous Icelandic landmark with its striking natural beauty. The canyon is about 100 meters deep and 2 kilometers long.
The canyon was formed by erosion from glacial rivers, specifically the Fjaðrá River, which flows from the Vatnajökull glacier. Fjaðrárgljúfur is a popular hiking destination and has been used as a filming location for movies and tv shows.
Gerðuberg Cliffs, Grindavik
The Gerðuberg Cliffs are a series of basalt cliffs in Grindavík, Iceland. The cliffs are about 12 meters high and extend for about 1 kilometer. They formed about 10,000 years ago from a volcanic eruption.
The cliffs are popular for their strange and beautiful rock formations, which have been created by the erosion of the lava. There are many different hiking trails in the area, so you can explore the cliffs at your own pace.
The Gerðuberg Cliffs are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland and definitely worth a visit!
Skogafoss is a waterfall located in Skogar. It is one of the largest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 meters (82 feet) and a drop of 60 meters (197 feet).
The waterfall is part of the Skógá River, which flows from the glacier Eyjafjallajökull. Due to the amount of spray, a rainbow can often be seen arching over the falls.
The area around the waterfall was settled in the 9th century by þorsteinn Síðu-Hallsson. In 1798, Skogafoss was documented for the first time by Danish scientists who also happened to be Icelanders.
The waterfall has been a popular tourist destination since the early 20th century. A walking trail leads from the parking lot to the waterfall, and there is an observation deck at the top of the falls.
Raufarholshellir is an intriguing and beautiful cave near the town of Husavik, North Iceland. The cave got its name from the lava field, Raufarhólshraun, which is nearby.
The cave is around 8700 years old and was formed from a volcanic eruption. It’s one of the longest lava tubes in Iceland, measuring at around 2 kilometers in length! Raufarholshellir is a great place to visit for those interested in geology or history.
Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall in South Iceland. It is part of the Seljalands River, which has its source in the glacier Eyjafjallajökull.
Seljalandsfoss is 65 meters (213 feet) high and drops over a cliff of 12 meters (39 feet). The waterfall can be seen from the Ring Road and visitors can walk behind it.
The area around Seljalandsfoss has been inhabited since the Age of Settlement. A farm called Seljaland was established there in the 12th century.
The first road to Seljalandsfoss was built in 1947 and the waterfall became a popular tourist destination soon after.
Hvitserkur is a 15-meter-high basalt rock stack in Vatnsnes Peninsula in North Iceland. It is a popular tourist destination, as it is said to resemble a dragon or dinosaur.
The rock formation is located on the beach, and according to legend, Hvitserkur was once a man who was turned into a rock by the gods. There is also a tale that says Hvitserkur was used as a landmark for fishermen.
The best time to visit Hvitserkur is during the summertime, as it is easier to get to the beach.
Kirkjufell on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in Iceland, is a mountain that is popular for its picturesque landscape.
The mountain has a steep slope and is known for its 4 waterfalls. It is also one of the most photographed landmarks in Iceland. The history of Kirkjufell dates back to the 9th century when it was mentioned in historical records.
The mountain was used as a landmark for ships sailing to Iceland. The name Kirkjufell means “Church Mountain”.
Kirkjufell mountain has a height of 1,519 feet (463 meters) and is about 22 miles (35 kilometers) from Reykjavik.
Grjotagja is a beautiful natural hot spring in the Thingvellir National Park. It is famous for its clear blue water and the fact that it is possible to swim in it.
Grjotagja was created when a large earthquake struck Iceland in 1789. The earthquake caused a fissure to open up in the earth, and Grjotagja was born.
The water in Grjotagja comes from the Langjokull glacier, and it is heated by the Earth’s mantle. Because of this, the water in Grjotagja is always around 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit).
Swimming in Grjotagja is a memorable experience at this beautiful natural landmark in Iceland.
Gullfoss is a spectacular waterfall that cascades down a deep ravine. It is the result of the Hvítá River, which originates from Langjökull glacier, tumbles over a three-step staircase, and then drops 32 meters (105 feet) in a thunderous plunge.
Gullfoss was discovered in 1835 by Icelandic farmer and businessman, Tómas Tómasson. He was awestruck by the majesty of the falls and knew they would be a popular tourist destination.
He subsequently negotiated with local landowners to purchase the land surrounding Gullfoss and hydroelectric powerplant was built on site.
In 1923, Gullfoss was leased to the Geysir hot spring area, which operated it until 1989. In 1979, a group of Icelandic environmentalists formed the Friends of Gullfoss to prevent the construction of a power plant on the Hvítá River.
The group was successful in halting the project and Gullfoss was added to the list of National Parks in Iceland.
Gullfoss is about 105 kilometers (65 miles) from Reykjavik.
You can find the Snæfellsjökull Glacier is in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. It is a 700,000-year-old glacier and it’s one of the few glaciers in Iceland that is still advancing.
This impressive natural landmark in Iceland covers an area of 14 square kilometers and it’s about 1,400 meters high. It’s said that the glacier was one of the inspirations for Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.
The glacier has been used as a location for films such as Batman Begins, Oblivion, and A James Bond Film.
The nearest town to the glacier is Grundarfjörður, which is about a 30-minute drive away. There are a few hikes that travelers can do around the glacier, such as the Lóndrangar hike and the Kirkjufellfoss hike.
There are also a few tours that travelers can do, such as glacier hikes and snowmobiling.
Formed by a cone-shaped eruption, Kerið is a volcanic crater located in south-central Iceland at the Thingvellir National Park. The crater is about 55 meters wide and 15 meters deep.
The water that fills it is a bright red or green, depending on the minerals present. The name Kerið comes from the Old Norse word keri, meaning “boil” or “cauldron”.
According to the Sagas of Icelanders, Vikings sacrificed people by throwing them into the boiling waters of the crater.
The Kerið crater is about 45 minutes away from Reykjavik and makes for a great stop on your way to or from the Golden Circle. Admission is 700 ISK ($US ~= $AU) for adults. There’s also a small cafe on-site, as well as a few walking trails around the crater if you want to stretch your legs.
Discovering Icelandic Nature And Landmarks In Iceland
If you’re looking for a great place to visit on your next trip, Iceland is sure to provide an incredible experience. Despite being an expensive destination, there are some impressive Icelandic nature that is unique to this Northern country.
These are just some of the famous landmarks in Iceland that you can marvel at, and you are bound to discover more.
From breathtaking landscapes such as the Snæfellsjökull Glacier and Gullfoss Waterfall to historic landmarks like Kirkjufell Mountain or Kerið Crater, Iceland has a lot to offer travelers.