North Iceland

The unsealed but magnificent old coastal road (Rte 870) around the wildlife-rich and little-visited Melrakkaslétta (Arctic Fox Plain) bumps along for 55km between Kópasker and Raufarhöfn. It passes by driftwood, rolling fields, ponds and marshes of this birder's paradise. There are trails and turn-offs to lonely lighthouses on remote headlands. The road sees little maintenance – 4WDs will face few problems, but it's best to ask locally whether Rte 870 is in a suitable state for 2WDs.

For a long time Hraunhafnartangi was thought to be the northernmost point of the Icelandic mainland, but recent measurements have pinned that prize on its neighbour, Rifstangi, which falls just 2.5km shy of the Arctic Circle.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Iceland attractions

1. Arctic Henge

6.64 MILES

The striking stone arches of Arctic Henge are the darling of many a brochure, and in real life they live up to the exalted mood. The massive stone circle…

2. Byggðasafn Norður-Þingeyinga

11.72 MILES

South of the village, the folk museum at Snartarstaðir farm highlights local textile and handicraft traditions. Look for cute, fully dressed scarecrows in…

3. Earthquake Centre

11.89 MILES

On 13 January 1976 Kópasker suffered a severe earthquake that destroyed several buildings and cracked the harbour wall. Today, there’s a small earthquake…

4. Sauðaneshús

29.12 MILES

Sauðaneshús, the old vicarage on the church estate 7km north of town (en route to Langanes), provides insights into how locals lived a century ago, and…