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Natures Top 5 Scenic Views In Iceland


church in the foreground of a mountain range

So, you're looking for a few scenic views to visit when you're in Iceland, huh? It's always hard to choose only a few spots when you have limited time, but that's why I'm here to help. Iceland is a land of incredible natural beauty and unique experiences, making it a must-visit destination. From stunning waterfalls and glaciers to geothermal hot springs and volcanic landscapes, there's something for everyone to enjoy.


This is my list of the top 5 scenic views to visit while you're here in Iceland! Each location offers a unique glimpse into the country's breathtaking scenery and rich culture. Whether you're an adventure seeker or someone who loves to relax and take in the sights, these destinations will leave you with unforgettable memories. So, get ready to explore and experience the magic of Iceland!


  1. Gullfoss Waterfall


Rainbow over a waterfall
Feel the power and beauty of Gullfoss, Iceland's majestic Golden Falls
 

Gullfoss, or "Golden Falls," is one of Iceland's most breathtaking natural attractions. Located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland, this two-tiered waterfall plunges dramatically into a rugged canyon, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of roaring water and mist. The name "Golden Falls" comes from the golden hue often seen in the glacial water during sunset. As part of the famous Golden Circle route, which includes Þingvellir National Park and the geysers at Haukadalur, Gullfoss is easily accessible from Reykjavik, about 120 kilometers away.


The best time to visit Gullfoss depends on the kind of experience you're seeking. During the summer months, the area is lush and green, and the surrounding trails are easily accessible, making it ideal for hiking and sightseeing. In winter, Gullfoss transforms into a frozen wonderland, with ice formations and snow adding to its dramatic beauty. However, winter visits require caution due to icy conditions, and it's essential to check the weather and road conditions beforehand.


Standing close to Gullfoss, feeling the mist and hearing the thunderous roar of the water is an unforgettable experience. Whether you're a photographer, a nature lover, or simply someone who appreciates awe-inspiring sights, Gullfoss showcases the raw power and beauty of Icelandic nature. Its stunning beauty, historical significance, and accessibility make it a must-visit destination in Iceland.


2. Mount Helgafell


Mountains in the background of houses
Mount Helgafell, where ancient folklore meets breathtaking Icelandic landscapes
 

Mount Helgafell, a mystical landmark nestled in the serene landscapes of Iceland, offers a captivating journey for visitors seeking both adventure and spiritual solace. Located in the western region of the country, near the town of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this ancient volcanic peak holds a special place in Icelandic folklore and history. Rising 73 meters above sea level, Mount Helgafell is not the tallest mountain in Iceland, but its cultural significance and breathtaking views make it a must-visit destination.


One of the most intriguing aspects of Mount Helgafell is its rich folklore. According to Icelandic sagas, climbing to the summit of Helgafell brings good fortune and grants wishes to those who adhere to a set of customs, including circling the mountain three times counterclockwise before ascending. This tradition has attracted pilgrims and travelers for centuries, adding a sense of mystique to the mountain's allure. The best time to visit Mount Helgafell is during the summer months when the weather is milder, allowing for a more comfortable hike and clearer views of the surrounding landscape.


During my visit to Mount Helgafell, an unexpected twist added to the adventure. Arriving at the base of the mountain, my group found the trail closed for a mysterious reason unknown to us. However, our disappointment quickly turned to intrigue as we were greeted by a group of friendly local dogs who seemed eager to lead us up the mountain. The view from the entrance, captured in the above picture overlooking the landscape, offered a glimpse of the majestic scenery that awaited us at the mountain's summit. Despite the unexpected closure, our experience at Mount Helgafell left an indelible mark, blending adventure, folklore, and the warm companionship of local guides.


3. Súgandiseyjarviti


person sitting on bench looking at ocean
marina during blue hour
person standing on cliff over the sea

Súgandisey Lighthouse: Iconic beacon, rich history, breathtaking views at twilight

 

Súgandiseyjarviti, also known as Súgandisey Lighthouse, is a picturesque beacon perched on Súgandisey Island, just off the coast of Stykkisholmur, Iceland. This iconic landmark holds a significant place in Icelandic history and offers visitors a stunning panorama of the surrounding seascape. Positioned at the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean, the lighthouse stands tall against the dramatic backdrop of rugged cliffs and crashing waves, creating a scene of raw natural beauty.


One of the reasons Súgandiseyjarviti captures the imagination and earns its place among Iceland's must-visit destinations is its magical allure during the blue hour. This enchanting time, occurring in the hour after sunset, bathes the landscape in a surreal blue light, casting a spellbinding atmosphere over the surroundings. It's during this twilight hour that the lighthouse and its surroundings take on an ethereal quality, making it the perfect time to capture stunning photographs and immerse oneself in the tranquility of the Icelandic coastline.


In the above pictures, you can see three distinct views of Súgandiseyjarviti, each showcasing its unique charm and beauty. From the rugged cliffs and calm sea to the serene glow of the marina against the twilight sky, these images offer a glimpse into the captivating allure of this iconic Icelandic landmark. So, whether you're a history enthusiast, a photography aficionado, or simply seeking a moment of serenity amidst nature's wonders, Súgandiseyjarviti promises an unforgettable experience that's sure to leave a lasting impression.


4. Seljalandsfoss


waterfall with rainbow
behind a waterfall

Walk behind cascading water at Seljalandsfoss, Iceland's iconic waterfall

 

Seljalandsfoss in Iceland is an enchanting waterfall that captivates visitors with its majestic beauty and unique features. Located along the southern coast of Iceland, Seljalandsfoss is part of the Seljalands River that originates from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. What sets this waterfall apart is its distinctive horseshoe shape and the fact that visitors can walk behind the cascading water curtain, providing a truly immersive experience with nature. This rare opportunity to venture behind the falls offers a breathtaking perspective and makes Seljalandsfoss one of Iceland's most iconic attractions.


One of the most interesting facts about Seljalandsfoss is its geological origin. The waterfall is a result of melting glaciers carving through the rugged Icelandic terrain, creating dramatic landscapes like no other. The cascading water plummets approximately 60 meters (197 feet) into a serene pool below, creating a mesmerizing sight and a haven for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. Additionally, Seljalandsfoss is surrounded by lush greenery, adding to its picturesque allure and making it a haven for birdwatchers during the summer months.


The best time to visit Seljalandsfoss is during the summer when the weather is milder, and the days are longer, allowing for extended exploration of this natural wonder. However, visiting during the winter months can also be magical, as the waterfall may freeze partially, creating a stunning ice sculpture. Regardless of the season, Seljalandsfoss promises a memorable experience, whether you're admiring it from afar, walking behind the veil of water, or simply soaking in its tranquil ambiance. Its accessibility, awe-inspiring beauty, and unique features undoubtedly contribute to its status as one of Iceland's must-see destinations, offering visitors a glimpse into the country's mesmerizing natural wonders.


5. Skógafoss


waterfall with a rainbow

Thunderous cascade of Icelandic beauty, Skógafoss captivates all who visit

 

Skógafoss, one of Iceland's most iconic waterfalls, captivates visitors with its sheer power and stunning beauty. Located in the south of Iceland, along the country's famed Ring Road, this majestic waterfall is a must-see for anyone exploring the land of fire and ice. Plunging approximately 60 meters (197 feet) over a cliff edge, Skógafoss creates a mesmerizing curtain of mist and spray that can be seen from afar, drawing travelers and photographers alike to its thunderous embrace.


What sets Skógafoss apart is not just its impressive height and width, but also its fascinating folklore. Legend has it that a Viking settler buried a treasure chest behind the waterfall centuries ago. Although the treasure remains elusive, visitors are often enchanted by the notion as they gaze upon the cascading waters. Moreover, Skógafoss is not just a sight to behold from afar; adventurous souls can ascend the more than 400 stairs alongside the waterfall to reach a breathtaking vista from the top. This climb rewards the intrepid with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including lush green fields and dramatic cliffs, making it an unforgettable experience for those willing to take the journey.


Skógafoss's allure extends beyond its natural grandeur and mythical tales. It also serves as a testament to Iceland's rich geological history, shaped by volcanic activity and glacial forces. The waterfall is fed by the Skógá River, which originates from the Eyjafjallajökull glacier. Its roaring waters echo the dynamic forces that have sculpted Iceland's dramatic landscapes over millennia. Whether you're drawn to its raw power, enchanted by its folklore, or simply seeking adventure, Skógafoss promises a captivating experience that epitomizes the enchanting allure of Iceland's natural wonders.


 

PHOTOGRAPHY: Drew Chylek


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