Hidden gems Iceland: Discover the unexplored wonders of the land of fire and ice

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Discover the hidden gems in Iceland

Iceland is a country known for its stunning natural beauty, from towering waterfalls to bubbling hot springs. While many tourists flock to popular destinations like the Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle, there are plenty of hidden gems waiting to be discovered in Iceland.

One of Iceland’s hidden gems is the Westfjords region. Located in the northwest corner of the country, this remote area is home to rugged mountains, fjords, and tiny fishing villages. Visitors can hike to the top of the Latrabjarg cliffs, which are home to thousands of nesting seabirds, or soak in the natural hot springs at Reykjafjarðarlaug. The Westfjords offer a glimpse into a quieter, more traditional Iceland that is often overlooked by tourists.

Another hidden gem in Iceland is the town of Seydisfjordur, located on the east coast of the country. This picturesque town is nestled in a fjord surrounded by towering mountains and is known for its vibrant arts scene. Visitors can explore the town’s colorful buildings, visit the local art museum, or hike to nearby waterfalls. Seydisfjordur is a great place to experience Iceland’s unique culture and natural beauty away from the crowds.

Off-the-beaten-path destinations

Iceland is a country full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered, and some of the most exciting places to visit are those that are off the beaten path. Here are some of the top off-the-beaten-path destinations in Iceland that are worth exploring.

Map with Hidden gems in Iceland


Located in the capital city of Reykjavik, Grótta is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists. It is a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway, and it is home to a lighthouse and a beautiful walking trail that offers stunning views of the ocean and nearby mountains.

The area is also home to a variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching.

On the website Visit Reykjavik, you can find more info about this hidden gem in Iceland.

Grótta is closed to traffic and public access during the breeding season from May 1 to July 15. However, during the summer, visitors can observe approximately 140 species of higher plants, which accounts for about one-third of the total number of plant species in the country.

If you’re staying in Reykjavik, read our article with all the best things to do In Reykjavik.

Seljavallalaug Pool

Tucked away in a remote valley in southern Iceland, Seljavallalaug Pool is a hidden gem that is worth the effort to find. This natural hot spring pool is surrounded by mountains and provides a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere for visitors. This is the exact location, the entrance is free.

Built-in 1923, Seljavallalaug Pool is one of the oldest swimming pools in Iceland. The pool is fed by a nearby hot spring and is surrounded by a concrete wall that protects it from the elements. The water is not heated, so it can be quite chilly, but the experience of swimming in this natural pool is unforgettable.

You can park your car next to the farm, it’s a 30min wonderful hike to the pool.

Fridheimar Tomato Farm

Fridheimar Tomato Farm is a unique and fascinating destination that is well worth a visit. This family-owned farm specializes in growing tomatoes in greenhouses, and visitors can take a tour of the farm, taste the produce, and even enjoy a meal in the on-site restaurant. They even have a horse show.

The farm is located 1h20min from Reykjavik. The restaurant is open from 12:00 – 16:00 every day of the year.

We recommend that you book in advance. You can send them an email: [email protected]

Gljufrabui Waterfall

Located near the popular Seljalandsfoss waterfall, Gljufrabui Waterfall is a hidden gem in Iceland that is often missed by visitors. It is tucked away in a narrow canyon and can only be accessed by wading through a shallow stream, but the effort is well worth it for the stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding landscape.

Tjoruhusid Restaurant

For a unique and unforgettable dining experience, head to Tjoruhusid Restaurant in the small town of Isafjordur (The Westfjords). This hidden gem is known for its delicious seafood dishes and cozy atmosphere, and it is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Check their Facebook page for the menu and opening hours.


Hvitserkur Rock

Located on the north coast of Iceland, Hvitserkur Rock is a unique and striking natural formation that is worth the trip.

The legend behind Hvitserkur Rock is that it was once a troll who was caught by the sunlight and turned to stone. The name Hvitserkur means “white shirt” in Icelandic, which is believed to refer to the white color of the bird droppings that cover the rock.

Visitors can access the rock by taking a short hike from the parking lot to the shore. During low tide, it is possible to walk up to the rock and even climb on top of it, but visitors should be careful as the rocks can be slippery and the waves can be unpredictable.

When we visited the place we were also impressed by the surroundings (and we saw a lot of seals). You do need to follow a small road to get there.

Hofsos Swimming Pool

For a relaxing and peaceful experience, head to Hofsos Swimming Pool in northern Iceland. This hidden gem is a swimming pool that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean.

This is the website of the Hofsos swimming pool with more info.

Vesturdalur Valley

Vesturdalur Valley is a hidden gem that is often missed by visitors, but it is well worth the trip. This stunning valley features towering cliffs, rushing rivers, and lush green vegetation, making it a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.

Plan your visit ahead and look for some good hiking paths on the website of the Vatnajökull National Park.

Thjorsardalur Valley and its waterfalls

Thjorsardalur Valley is another hidden gem that is well worth a visit for its stunning waterfalls and breathtaking scenery. This valley is located in the Highlands and is home to several waterfalls, including Hjalparfoss and Haifoss, which are both worth a visit.

The most impressive waterfall in Thjorsardalur Valley is Hjalparfoss. This waterfall is located at the confluence of two rivers and is surrounded by stunning basalt formations. Visitors can hike to the top of the waterfall for a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Another waterfall worth visiting in Thjorsardalur Valley is Gjain. This hidden gem is located in a secluded canyon and is surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors can hike through the canyon and explore the various waterfalls and pools that are scattered throughout the area.

If you’re planning to visit Iceland in winter, we have a lot of tips in our winter articles about Iceland.

Fjadrargljufur Canyon

Fjadrargljufur Canyon is a hidden gem that is often overlooked by tourists, but it is well worth a visit. This stunning canyon features towering cliffs, a rushing river, and lush green vegetation, making it a photographer’s paradise.

It is a magnificent canyon that is approximately 2 kilometers long and up to 100 meters deep. The canyon was formed by the erosion of glaciers, and it is now one of the most stunning natural attractions in Iceland.

You can follow a trail that leads you to some observation decks. But please, don’t leave the path.

Glymur Waterfall

Glymur Waterfall is a hidden gem that is well worth the effort to find. This stunning waterfall is tucked away in a remote valley and can only be accessed by hiking, but the views of the waterfall and surrounding landscape are well worth the effort.

The hike to Glymur Waterfall is a moderate one, with a distance of about 7 kilometers round trip. The trail takes you through a beautiful canyon, across a river, and up a steep hillside. The hike can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on your pace and how much time you spend at the waterfall.

Raudasandur Beach

Raudasandur Beach is a hidden gem that is often missed by visitors, but it is well worth a visit for its stunning black sand beaches and breathtaking views of the ocean. It is located in the Westfjords.

Siglufjordur Village

Siglufjordur Village is a hidden gem that is well worth a visit for its charming atmosphere and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. This small fishing village is home to several museums and galleries, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops.

You can visit the Herring era museum in the village and learn everything about fishing.

Kjolur Road

Kjolur Road is a hidden gem that is well worth the trip for its stunning views of the Icelandic landscape. This remote road runs through the heart of Iceland and offers breathtaking views of glaciers, mountains, and geothermal areas. It is a 200-kilometer-long route that runs between the glaciers Hofsjökull and Langjökull.

This road is only accessible in summertime. Check the weather before you leave, always…

One of the highlights of Kjolur Road is the Hveravellir Nature Reserve. This geothermal area is located halfway along the road and offers a unique opportunity to experience Iceland’s geothermal activity up close. The area is home to several hot springs, including one that is large enough to swim in.

Flatey Island

Flatey Island is a hidden gem that is often missed by visitors, but it is well worth a visit for its charming atmosphere and stunning views of the surrounding ocean and mountains. This small island is home to several historic buildings and a variety of bird species.

Getting to Flatey Island is easy, as there are daily ferry services from Stykkishólmur and Brjánslækur during the summer months. Visitors can also take a helicopter tour of the island for a unique and unforgettable experience.

More info and how to get there can be found in this article about Flatey Island.

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve

Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is a remote and rugged peninsula located in the northernmost part of the Westfjords region of Iceland. The area is a hidden gem of Iceland, known for its untouched wilderness, stunning landscapes, and unique wildlife.

The nature reserve covers an area of approximately 580 square kilometers and is home to a variety of wildlife, including arctic foxes, seals, and many species of birds. The area is also known for its dramatic and rugged coastline, with towering cliffs and deep fjords.

Visitors to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve can explore the area on foot, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and sea. There are several hiking trails in the area, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks that require a good level of fitness. Have a look on the Westfjords website for more info about this hidden gem in Iceland.

If you still need clothes, shoes, and other protection for the cold weather in Iceland, check our article “What to wear in Iceland”.

Holuhraun Lava

Holuhraun Lava is another hidden gem in Iceland. It is located in the east-central part of Iceland. It is a relatively new lava field, formed in 2014-2015 as a result of a volcanic eruption. The eruption lasted for six months and produced over one cubic kilometer of lava, making it the largest eruption in Iceland in over 200 years.

The lava field is located in a remote area and is only accessible by a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Visitors who make the journey are rewarded with a stunning landscape that is unlike anything else in Iceland. The lava field is vast, covering an area of over 85 square kilometers, and is characterized by its stark black and gray colors.

One of the unique features of Holuhraun Lava is the presence of lava tubes. These are natural tunnels formed by flowing lava, and some of them are large enough to walk through. Visitors can explore these tunnels and marvel at the intricate patterns and textures of the lava walls.

In conclusion, Iceland is a country that is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From the breathtaking waterfalls to the stunning glaciers, Iceland offers a unique experience that is unmatched by any other destination in the world.

When you’re planning your road trip in Iceland, have a look at our 7-day itinerary in Iceland or our 10-day itinerary for Iceland.


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