Iceland has been tempting curious travelers to its door. A land of ice and fire, black sand beaches, flowing lava fields, bubbling hot springs, and midnight skies that turn into a riot of lights when the aurora passes through. While many will head straight for the lagoons of Reykjavik or the allure of the Golden Circle, we have some further flung, lesser known spots to head for. Check out the most unique experiences you can find in Iceland…
Iceland is full of wonder and for those willing to get off the beaten track and do some exploring, you will find wild sights that seem to belong to another world.
Hiking in Hornstrandir
At the top tip of the Westernfjord, you can walk for days along the Hornstrandir and never see another soul. No roads and no residents, just miles and miles of bird cliffs, sea views, and the occasional arctic fox and crowd of puffins. Since the 1950’s these parts have been uninhabited, remote and wild. The green cloaked cliffs reach a staggering height of 500 meters. Small day trips can be taken from the Ísafjörður or for intrepid hikers wanting to brave the elements alone, you can take the boat from Norðurfjörður. Wild camping along the way is permitted so be sure to send ahead a good tent and sleeping bag with Luggage Forward. Those who don’t want to hunker down between canvas walls can stay at the nearby Hotel Isafjordur Horn.
Escape to the Ranga Down South
While Northern Light hunters will head to the far-flung edges of the fjords, the south side of Iceland offers plenty of rare and scenic moments. The Hotel Ranga is a dreamy ice-clad escape for those seeking the luxury touch deep in the heart of the wild. The kooky little lodge boasts rooms from around the world; from African inspired suites to traditional Japanese Ryoko rooms. Far from the crush of the Blue Lagoon you can see a different side of Iceland; from riding horses across black sand beaches to glacier pools, dog sledding and aurora chasing – the Hotel Ranga gives you access to untouched places.
Stay on a Private Island
Caught in the flow of the country’s largest glacial river, the private island of Traustholtshólmi is waiting to welcome you. With 23 hectares, a total of three Mongolian yurts, and a man named Hakon and his dog leading the expedition. Hakon owns the island and has just opened it up to a select few guests looking to spend some time wild salmon fishing, singing folk songs beneath the stars, and being the only audience for the dancing glimmers of gold and green that make the northern lights so spectacular. Hakon will share stories of the island dating back to the first settlers, offering a rare and personal peek into local life and local lore on these shores.
The Black Sands of Vik
Iceland’s south shore is an otherworldly vision – here majestic lava formations stand against the white-water breakers of the Atlantic, and the sand beneath your feet boasts the texture and color of scattered ash. The tiny town of Vik sits at the southernmost point, boasting a population of less than 300. The black sand and crystalline blue waters have earned Vik a highly coveted spot as one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world outside of the tropics. The Icelandair Hotel Vik boasts the best beds nearby, with modern rooms, unique views, and a cozy bar for Icelandic vodkas at the end of the day.
Dip in the Myvatn Nature Baths
For those who are still dreaming of sinking down in steaming waters but don’t want to be shoulder to shoulder in the Blue Lagoon, there is an alternative. Way up in the north of Iceland you will find Myvatn Nature Baths. Rough roads and unpredictable weather make it a mission to seek out this spot – 450 miles from the capital, but once there you will find sweet serenity and mineral rich waters surrounded by expansive lava fields, craters and lakes. The closest city is Akureyri only 2 hours away. For a fascinating stay book in at the Vogafjos Farm Resort for cozy pineclad guest rooms, homemade cheese, and husky experiences.