Justin Foulkes

North Iceland

Iceland’s mammoth and magnificent north is a geologist’s heaven. A wonderland of moonlike lava fields, belching mudpots, epic waterfalls, snowcapped peaks and whale-filled bays – this is Iceland at its best. The region’s top sights are variations on a couple of themes: the grumbling, volcanically active earth, and water and ice coursing towards the broad coast.

There are endless treats to discover: little Akureyri, with its surprising moments of big-city living; windy fjordside pastures full of stout Viking horses; and fishing villages clinging tenaciously to life at the end of unsealed roads.

Prepare to be enticed by offshore islands populated by colonies of seabirds and a few hardy locals; lonely peninsulas stretching out towards the Arctic Circle; white-water rapids ready to deliver an adrenaline kick; national-park walking trails to reach unparalleled views; unhyped and underpopulated ski fields; and underwater marvels that woo divers into frigid depths.

Explore North Iceland

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North Iceland.


Learn more about North Iceland

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.