North Iceland

On the west side of Vatnsnes Peninsula is Illugastaðir farm, with wonderful views of peaks along the Strandir coast in the Westfjords. A 10-minute walk through bird-filled fields leads from the car park to a popular site for sunbaking seals; at the trail's end there's a hut with binoculars for visitor use. Note that the farm is closed from 1 May to 20 June due to eider duck nesting.

This storied farm is the site of the crime leading to the last public execution in Iceland (1830). Agnes Magnúsdóttir and Friðrik Sigurðsson were convicted of the murder of two men at Illugastaðir, and they were executed by beheading at Þrístapar, a site south of Blönduós. Their remains lie in a grave at Tjörn churchyard, further north along the peninsula.

The story of the crime and executions was the basis for a 1995 Icelandic film Agnes, acclaimed novel, Burial Rites, by Australian writer Hannah Kent, and a forthcoming film starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby North Iceland attractions

1. Hvítserkur

6.94 MILES

On the Vatnsnes Peninsula's east coast, 30km north of the Ring Road, there's a car park, viewing platform and path leading to the splendidly photogenic…

2. Borgarvirki

12.23 MILES

Take the detour off Rte 711 (or accessed via Rte 716 off the Ring Road) to reach mysterious Borgarvirki, believed to be a defensive fortification from the…

3. Þingeyrar

14.14 MILES

Around 19km west of Blönduós, a 6km detour along Rte 721 leads you to a precious stone church, Þingeyrar, sitting quietly and photogenically beside Hóp…

4. Selasetur Íslands

14.86 MILES

The town's prime attraction is the prominent Icelandic Seal Centre on the harbourfront, where you can learn about conservation of seals, historical seal…

5. Kerling

16.97 MILES

Legend has it that this stumpy rock stack is the remains of a petrified troll and Uxi, her bull, is the formation out at sea near the island of Grímsey…

6. Textile Museum

17.11 MILES

Set in a head-turning modern building on the north bank of the Blanda River, this small, attractive museum displays local handicrafts, painstakingly…

7. Sheep Farming Museum

20.34 MILES

The small Sheep Farming Museum, 12km south of Hólmavík, details the region’s farming history through photos and artefacts.

8. Kolugljúfur

21.04 MILES

Take Rte 715 south off the Ring Road to reach the scenic waterfalls at Kolugljúfur, an enchanting canyon that legend has it was once home to a beautiful…