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  • Writer's pictureScandinavian Travel

Discover Iceland’s Hidden Gems: A Complete Guide

Iceland, known for its dramatic landscapes, geysers, and waterfalls, still holds many secrets waiting to be uncovered by the adventurous traveler. If you’re looking to explore Iceland hidden gems and venture off the beaten path, this guide is for you. From secret hot springs to lesser-known hiking trails, here are some of the most beautiful hidden gems in Iceland.


Graenihryggur Ridge


Nestled deep in the Landmannalaugar region, Graenihryggur offers a stunning hike through rainbow-colored mountains. Unlike the popular Bláhnúkur and Brennisteinsalda hikes, Graenihryggur remains relatively unknown, providing a serene escape with breathtaking views.


Graenihryggur Ridge

How to get there


To reach Graenihryggur, travel to Landmannalaugar via the F208 highland road. A 4WD vehicle is necessary due to the challenging terrain. The trailhead is located about 10 km south of the F224 highway.


Tips


Prepare for a challenging hike that includes crossing snowfields and climbing steep hills. This hike is best attempted in summer.


Sturlungalaug Hot Spring


Located in the Snæfellsnes peninsula, Sturlungalaug (also known as Guðmundarlaug) is a secluded hot spring offering tranquility and beautiful views. It’s perfect for those seeking a relaxing experience away from the crowds.


Sturlungalaug Hot Spring

How to get there


Access Sturlungalaug via a gravel track from Heydalsvegur (Road 55). A 4WD vehicle is recommended. The hot spring is only accessible in summer when the road is clear of snow.


Tips


Bring slippers as the surrounding grass can be wet. Note that the water temperature can vary, and it might not always be hot.


Huldujökull Glacier


Huldujökull Glacier in Þakgil offers a unique hiking experience with views of a melting glacier. The sight of glacier chunks falling into a ravine is truly awe-inspiring.


Huldujökull Glacier

How to get there


Reach Þakgil via Road 214, open from mid-June to the end of September. From the Þakgil campsite, follow the yellow or red trail, then continue on the partially marked white trail to Huldujökull.


Tips


Avoid hiking on foggy days and during heavy rain. The yellow trail to Huldujökull followed by the red trail loop offers the best experience.


Strútsfoss Waterfall


Strútsfoss, a two-tiered waterfall with striking red strata, offers a more secluded alternative to the popular Hengifoss. The scenic hike to this hidden gem is suitable for families.


Strútsfoss Waterfall

How to get there


Find the trailhead near the Sturluflöt farm by taking Road 935. The gravel road is passable in summer with any car. From the car park, it’s an easy one-hour hike to the waterfall.


Tips


Stick to the marked trail for safety. The viewpoint at the end of the trail provides a stunning view of the waterfall.


Brúnavík Beach


Brúnavík Beach, located in Borgarfjörður Eystri, offers an otherworldly hiking experience. The beach’s striking beauty is particularly captivating on a sunny day.


Brúnavík Beach

How to get there


The trailhead is near Kolbeinsfjara cliffs in Bakkagerdi, accessible from Road 94. The hike to Brúnavík takes about 2.5 hours and covers 8 kilometers.


Tips


The hike is more rewarding in its second half, so don’t be discouraged by the less eventful start. An out-and-back route is the most efficient.


Snaekollur Hike


Snaekollur, the highest peak in Kerlingarfjöll, offers panoramic views of the orange mountains. This challenging hike provides a rewarding experience for those looking to escape the crowded geothermal areas.


Snaekollur Hike

How to get there


Drive to Kerlingarfjöll via roads F35 and F347. The trailhead is at the Fannborg car park, which requires a 4WD vehicle.


Tips


Bring hiking poles and check the weather forecast. Avoid hiking in heavy rain, fog, or winds as the trail can be difficult to navigate.


The Waterfall Circle


Located in the eastern highlands, the Waterfall Circle features almost ten waterfalls, including the impressive Faxi and Kirkjufoss. This hike is a paradise for waterfall enthusiasts.


How to get there


Start at the Laugarfell Guesthouse, accessible by any car from June to September. The hike is 8 kilometers long and moderately difficult.


The Waterfall Circle

Tips


Consider visiting the nearby Laugarfell hot spring for a post-hike soak. For a wilder experience, explore the Hafrahvammagljufur canyon or the Laugavallalaug hot spring.


Hungurfit Track


The Hungurfit track, connecting F-roads F210 and F261, offers a challenging drive with stunning highland scenery. It’s ideal for 4WD enthusiasts and nature lovers.


Hungurfit Track

How to get there


Only experienced 4WD drivers should attempt this track. A large 4WD vehicle or a rented super jeep is recommended.


Tips


The narrow pass between two stone boulders is a highlight but requires precise driving. Many super jeep tours include this route in their itineraries.


Mt Laki


Mt Laki, located among the Laki Craters, offers a surreal experience with views over hundreds of ancient volcanoes. The short climb to the peak is well worth the effort.


Mt Laki

How to get there


Access Mt Laki via F-roads F206 and F207, suitable only for 4WD vehicles.


Tips


Plan your visit carefully and consider hiring a guide to navigate the challenging terrain.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the number one thing to see in Iceland?


The Blue Lagoon and the Golden Circle are top attractions, but for a hidden gem, visit Landmannalaugar’s Graenihryggur ridge.


What is the coolest thing in Iceland?


Exploring the ice caves in Vatnajökull Glacier is one of the coolest and most unique experiences.


What gemstones can be found in Iceland?


Iceland is known for its geologically unique stones, such as jasper, opal, and Iceland spar (a type of calcite).


Which is the most beautiful Iceland in the world?


The question seems to be asking about regions or aspects within Iceland. One of the most beautiful areas is the Westfjords, known for its dramatic fjords and remote landscapes.


Explore these hidden gems and more on your next adventure to Iceland. Whether you’re seeking solitude, unique landscapes, or challenging hikes, Iceland’s off-the-beaten-path destinations will not disappoint. For a flexible and immersive experience, consider a campervan rental in Iceland to easily access these remote and beautiful spots.

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