Black beaches stretch along the Atlantic, geysers spout from geothermal fields and waterfalls glide across escarpments while brooding volcanoes and glittering ice caps score the inland horizon. The beautiful Southwest has many of Iceland’s legendary natural wonders, so it's a relatively crowded and increasingly developed area. The Golden Circle – a tourist route comprising three famous sights: Þingvellir, Geysir and Gullfoss – draws the largest crowds outside of Reykjavík, but visit during off-hours or venture into the wilderness and you’ll find quiet hiking routes and otherworldly scenes.
The further you go, the better it gets. Tourist faves such as the silica-filled Blue Lagoon and the rift valley and ancient parliament at Þingvellir are just beyond the capital. Churning seas lead to the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago offshore. At the region's far reaches lie the powerful Hekla and Eyjafjallajökull volcanoes, busy Skógar and Vík, and the hidden valleys of Þórsmörk and Landmannalaugar.