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The Ultimate Guide to 28 Must-See Places in Iceland

We’re not kidding around when we say Iceland is so hot right now. Actually, though - the country sits on a geothermal hotspot, which makes for plenty of volcanoes and hot springs for adventure seekers. The European country isn’t known as the ‘land of fire and ice’ for nothing! We're breaking down the complete (and bucket list worthy) guide to 28 of Iceland's best hotels, restaurants, experiences and natural wonders. 

Reporter: Nicole Bradley
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Visit: Skógafoss

South Iceland
One of the biggest waterfalls in Iceland is stationed in the southern part of the country, and it is an Iceland bucket list must. This amazing photo opp has been featured in numerous movies (like Thor) so do like Chris Hemsworth and explore the fascinating Skógafoss.
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Experience: Blue Lagoon

Grindavík, Iceland
One major thing that Iceland is known for is its geothermal spas. Blue Lagoon was one of the first all-natural hot tubs discovered after people bathed in it and discovered that the silica mud in the pools healed and rejuvenated their skin. The Blue Lagoon has since developed into a full-time spa experience for your enjoyment.
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Stay: ION Luxury Adventure Hotel

South Iceland
An hour outside of Reykjavík is Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel, the perfect escape from city life. The hotel’s backdrop is none other than mountainous lava fields and caves to explore in, and the luxury hotel also offers amenities like helicopter and glacier tours, ice fishing and horseback riding.
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Visit: Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

Iceland
The history of the Black Sand Beach on the South Coast of Iceland is almost as remarkable as the beach itself. The black “sand” and “stone” columns you’ll see actually aren’t sand or stone: They’re volcanic lava remains. How's that for fun science? 
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Visit: Hot Springs

Iceland
Iceland’s spot on Mother Earth produces mass amounts of geothermal energy from the Earth’s mantle, which creates natural hot tubs in organic bodies of water. Soak in one of these au-natural pools to calm your body after a long day of travel.
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Stay: Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon

Öræfi, Iceland
Experience harmony in nature at the Fosshotel, close to a few of Iceland’s finest outdoor spots. One highlight is Jökulsárlón (English translation: Glacier Lagoon), which is essentially what it sounds like – a giant lagoon bestrewn in glaciers. Hotel guests can view Europe’s largest glacier from their hotel window!
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Visit: Plane Wreck

South Iceland
Photographers, Instagrammers and adventurers, this is the spot for you. While the wreckage may seem haunting (the wings and the tail of the plane are missing, enough said), we’re happy to say that all passengers survived the crash 40 years ago. Finding the site is an adventure in itself – it requires a desolate 2.5 mile hike to get there – but the destination is so worth it.
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Dine: Dill

Reykjavík, Iceland
Looking to fine dine in the land of fire and ice? Dill’s award-winning (ahem, Michelin starred) menus fluctuate by seasonality, so you can always be sure that the food you’re eating is as fresh as it gets. Dill not only brings in visitors from the entire world but the owners of the restaurant travel all over Iceland to meet with local producers and farmers to work with.
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See: Northern Lights

Iceland
After exploring Reykjavík, take a break from the bustling city life and drive into the country, where you can witness one of nature’s finest wonders — the Northern Lights. Iceland’s skies offer some of the best views in the world of these bright, rippling beams of green and purple.
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Coffee: Reykjavík Roasters

Reykjavík, Iceland
Once a convenient store and a musical instrument outlet, these two coffee shops in the Icelandic capital import their coffee from Central and South America and Africa, so you can be sure that the beans are coming straight from the appropriate climate. Reykjavík Roasters offers Kaffi 101 classes to learn about the origins of coffee, production information, how soil and weather deviate taste and their in-house roasting process.

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11 / 30
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Visit: Snæfellsnes Peninsula

Western Iceland
As you may have noticed by now, Iceland is spotted in black sand beaches thanks to endless volcanic rock but did you know that white and pink beaches exist in Iceland too? Visit the Snæfellsnes Peninsula to experience these light-toned beaches, which are dappled with cliffs along the coastline. While you’re there, pay a visit to the nearby Vatnshellir Cave, a lava tube that reaches 200 meters into the ground.
Photo:Buuble
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Stay: Buuble

Reykholt, Iceland
Live out your childhood dream and sleep in nature, thanks to Buuble. As its name suggests, Buuble is a magical stay in the middle of the forest where guests holiday in a literal bubble. There’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful Northern Lights and Iceland’s summer midnight sun than by skywatching through your temporary bubble home.
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Visit: Hallgrimskirkja Church

Reykjavík, Iceland
It’s nearly impossible to take a trip through Reykjavík and surpass the iconic Hallgrimskirkja Church, whose soaring tower can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. Aside from its tower, another notable component of the church is its giant pipe organ, which weighs 25 tons and has approximately 5272 pipes.
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Dine: Bergsson Mathús

Reykjavík, Iceland
If you’re looking for a traditional Icelandic brunch, hit up Bergsson Mathús. The modesty and coziness of the cafe holds no weight in comparison to what they’re serving up for breakfast. Feast on fresh-baked bread, beans, skyr, boiled eggs and bacon.
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16 / 30
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Visit: Brúarfoss

Brekkuskógur, Iceland
Brúarfoss, which means “bridge waterfall” is a lesser-known spot in Iceland, but a MUST-see during your Iceland excursion. There is nothing more picture-perfect than thousands of small waterfalls barrelling over black lava rock and pooling into an ice blue river. Trust us when we say that this may be the brightest, bluest waterfall you’ve ever seen.
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Dine: Bjargarsteinn Mathús

Grundarfjörður, Iceland
As Iceland is completely surrounded by water, the seafood here is about as fresh as it gets. Douse your West Iceland experience with delicious seafood and breathtaking views at Bjargarsteinn Mathús, a 100 year old home-turned-restaurant.
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Stay: Silfurberg

East Iceland
This country-style boutique resort lays in the depths of the Breiðdalur Valley, so no light pollution hits the landscape that Silfurberg sits on (read: the perfect location to watch the Northern Lights). During the day, hike outside the resort to experience the sprawling mountains and canyons, diverse bird life and wild reindeer.
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Experience: Glaumbær Museum

Sauðárkrókur, Iceland
Ready to spruce up your Iceland history knowledge? Pay a visit to the Glaumbær Museum. This rural farmhouse depicts Icelandic life from the 18th and 19th centuries, and the surrounding farmhouses were the first timber houses built in the region. Snap a pic in front of the turf roofs to capture an important piece of Scandinavian history.
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Dine: Friðheimar Greenhouse

Reykholt, Iceland
There’s nothing fresher than eating inside the greenhouse where your food is coming from. Delicious, homegrown, tomato-filled meals offered at the Friðheimar Greenhouse (a.k.a. the ‘tomato capital’ of Iceland) are as organic as they come. Inside tip: Order one of their many varieties of Bloody Mary’s.
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Stay: Fosshotel Hellnar

Hellnar, Iceland
If you’re looking to get outdoors while doing the environment a good deed, this hotel is the place to be. The remote Fosshotel Hellnar is not only committed to environmental sustainability while offering exquisite views of Faxaflói Bay, but it provides plenty of activities for adventure seekers, such as (but not limited to) horseback riding, glacier tours, and hiking trails.
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Drink & Dine: Stofan Kaffihús

Reykjavík, Iceland
Enjoy Icelandic coffee, beer, wines, cakes, sandwiches and paninis at Stofan Kaffihús. This cozy cafe offers board games to play (a surefire way to meet the locals and make some friends) and books to read, so grab a cushy sofa spot and get relaxin’.
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Drink: Mikkeller & Friends

Reykjavík, Iceland
The 101 area of Reykjavík is an old yet up-and-coming area of Iceland, and this 1910 apartment building-turned-bar in the neighborhood proves it. If the colorful and animated interior design of Mikkeller & Friends isn’t enough to stick around for a few hours, try the 20 beers on tap and the organic wines and spirits.
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Visit: Secret Lagoon

Flúðir, Iceland
It’s no secret that the Secret Lagoon is a must-see in Iceland. The Secret Lagoon is exactly what it sounds like – a hidden hot spring lounge and is, in fact, the oldest natural swimming pool in Iceland. The water remains around a cozy 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) year-round. But keep quiet, because we want to keep this haven a secret!
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Stay: Kvosin Downtown Hotel

Reykjavík, Iceland
At the Kvosin Downtown Hotel, you’re likely to find the biggest hotel rooms in the city of Reykjavík. This vintage hotel was built in 1900 and is in the true center of the city, so guests are in close quarters with all that Reykjavík has to offer. During your stay, take a trip next door to Parliament and the historic Old Downtown Church to get a lesson in Iceland history.
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Stay: 101 Hotel

Reykjavík, Iceland
The elegant, monochromatic 101 Hotel is perfectly located in central Reykjavík. The simplistic, contemporary design and art throughout the hotel makes it stand out from the rest. Its location is also right next to the Icelandic Opera House, so catch a show for a night on the town!
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Dine: Fjöruhúsið Café

West Iceland
Revel in home-cooked delight during your Iceland trip at the Fjöruhúsið Café. After you’ve had a meal of their tasty (and renowned) fish soup on the cliffside porch, walk the nearby hiking trail, which leads to Arnarstapi, a quaint fishing town that’s as charming as it gets.
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Stay: Northern Light Inn

Grindavík, Iceland
The name of the Northern Light Inn speaks for itself; this hospitable hotel is the optimal place to get your fill of Northern Lights action. The Inn also has its own galaxy tower to witness this amazing phenomenon.
Photo:Sumac
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Dine: Sumac

Reykjavík, Iceland
Step outside the culinary European box and try Sumac, a Lebanese and Moroccan style restaurant. Sumac (the plant) is a bush used in recipes for its astringent and citrusy flavors that bring a Mediterranean flair to the restaurant’s dishes. The eatery’s unique menu includes everything from cod cheeks to grilled octopus to monkfish skewers.
30 / 30
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SUBMIT YOUR VENUE

Do you know someone who owns a beautiful barn, gorgeous getaway, or rad rental home? Share this roundup and tell them to request information on membership and media opportunities with The Venue Report.​

REQUEST YOUR INVITATION HERE

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