Iceland has experienced a big boom in tourism with numbers exceeding far beyond any predictions. One of the obvious reasons for this is of course the stunning, Icelandic nature. One can still drive around the Ring Road in utter solitude with only the road, the mountains and glaciers ahead. Another reason can be people wants to experience a country with so much quirkiness, making it a very attractive destination for so many.
Another big reason must be due to all the big Hollywood movies that has been filmed here. Every year we get big film productions coming here to take advantage of what Iceland has to offer, both in the form of fantastic backdrops but also in the form of tax rebates and incentives movie companies can enjoy here.
Movie buffs has a tremendous opportunity in Iceland to visit locations where famous movies have been filmed. Not only is the country small enough to be able to get drive to most of these places in a rental car in a week but also, they would also get a vacation of a lifetime.
GPS: 64° 2’34.94″N 16°10’25.70″W
The big breakthrough for Iceland as a movie location would probably be when James Bond was shot at the famous ice lake Jökulsárlón. Unforgettable scenes with fast Aston Martins and ice castles. The lagoon was used in both “A view to a kill” (1985) and “Die another day” (2002).
In “A view to a kill” James Bond (Roger Moore) is killing a bus load of Siberians which of course requires ice so Jökulsárlón and its surroundings got chosen. The same goes for “Die another day” where Pierce Brosnan has to fight evil Koreans surrounded with more ice than can fit into his Martini! Unfortunately, we don’t have an Aston Martin for you to rent but we do have a nice selection of other rental cars!
Angelina Jolie also used the lagoon for the movie “Lara Croft – Tomb raider”. She also was supposed to be in Siberia in her dogsled trips in the film, they also drive on glaciers and go boating in the lake in amphibian boats with angry Russians.
GPS: 64° 0’29.22″N 16°52’52.86″W
This glacier has been seen and used in more than one movie. The most well known is probably “Batman begins”. There is a scene where a fight takes place on a frozen lake in Tibet. The director chose Svínafellsjökull for that scene.
To get there, it’s an easy drive to a parking lot just off the Ring road, GPS coordinates are above. It’s also close to the lagoon so you could stop by the glacier, take pics and move on! 🙂
Svínafellsjökull has appeared in a few movies (and music videos). The Sci-Fi movie “Interstellar” also took place on the glacier. The movie tells us the story of a team of explorers travel through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival staring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway.
GPS: 65°38’30.20″N 16°54’41.20″W
When this is written, the biggest movies up to date (February 2017) are “Fate of the Furious” (Fast & Furious 8) and “Game of thrones”. The “Fate of the furious” staring Vin Diesel. It’s about a mysterious woman who seduces Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before. The Icelandic location was ON Lake Mývatn. So stating the obvious, they came here during high winter and filmed it on the ice.
Anyone driving the full Ring road will pass the lake (unless you do a detour and drive north before reaching the lake and drive the northern route to Húsavík). The crew also went to Akranes, a town north of Reykjavik, to shoot a car chasing scene among the big cement factory they have there. (GPS: 64°19’3.10″N 22° 4’33.28″W)
“Star wars: Rouge One” was also in parts filmed up here. They also used the geothermal area Krafla in that movie. (GPS: 65°38’43.61″N 16°48’57.48″W)
Garður GPS: 64° 4’5.41″N 22°38’52.67″W
Fjallsárlón GPS: 64° 0’37.45″N 16°22’46.02″W
Höfn GPS: 64°15’17.62″N 15°12’31.18″W
Hveradalur GPS: 64°38’28.18″N 19°17’16.04″W
Grundarfjörður GPS: 64°55’34.87″N 23°15’31.24″W
Stykkishólmur GPS: 65° 4’37.51″N 22°43’31.86″W
Kálfafellsdalur GPS: 64°11’48.05″N 15°56’38.45″W
Seyðisfjörður GPS: 65°15’35.60″N 14° 0’33.53″W
“The life of Walter Mitty” deserves a chapter of its own. Not only did the filming take place in so many places in Iceland but also, one might suspect that movie added to the wave of tourists in Iceland. That movie also showed Iceland and not a fake Siberia, Tibet or some distant planet. The only location of the above you won’t be able to visit by yourself is Hveradalur. That is up in the highlands and can only be reached by air, super jeeps or tour
The movie is about when Ben Stiller as Walter has his job along with that of his co-worker are threatened, Walter takes action in the real world embarking on a global journey that turns into an adventure more extraordinary than anything he could have ever imagined. In this movie Ben is not a comedian, it’s quite a serious movie and they really depict Iceland in a very beautiful manner, inspiring many to travel here we are sure.
GPS: 64°16’43.59″N 21° 5’30.46″W
“Game of thrones” have been in many places in Iceland like Lake Mývatn, Dimmuborgir and Þingvellir national park. The famous scene where the Wildlings attack a village are shot here.Other scenes are when Arya and the hound is shot and when the fight between Brienne and the hound takes place.
All these places are easily accessible by ordinary cars. While “Game of thrones” are being filmed, we are sure they will use more locations here for now they have the experience.
GPS: 65°49’8.19″N 16°22’45.43″W
Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” also takes place in galaxies far away from earth. A team staring Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green and Michael Fassbender trying to find the clues to the origin of mankind. The find a structure on a distant moon containing a monolithic statue of a humanoid head and a few stone cylinders containing alien blood and they discover they are not alone.
In the opening scene we see an alien standing by Dettifoss where he finally falls in and is swept away by the icy glacier water. It is easy enough to drive there from Lake Mývatn but early in the season, the road to the parking lot can be rough, it can even be closed so make sure you check that out if you come here anytime outside high season.
GPS: 64°48’14.39″N 23°44’51.34″W
“A sheet of snow gleamed on the slopes of these distant mountains… the peaks brazenly pierced the grey cloud to reappear above the shifting vapors like reefs, suspended in the sky…” – Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Snæfellsnes peninsula have been seen in many movies, often in the distance but “Journey to the center of earth” takes place IN the glacier, well, sort of. Brendan Frazier is on a quest to try to find out what happened to his missing brother who happens to be a scientist. During the trip over mountains, they discover the entrance to the center of earth where they discover a dangerous and lost world.
In the movie they also enter Vatnshellir cave, another easy access location just south of the glacier (GPS: 64°44’51.79″N 23°49’4.48″W)
GPS: 63°52’52.51″N 22°27’11.60″W
It would be odd if one of Iceland’s iconic landmarks, the Blue Lagoon wouldn’t been seen in any of the big films. One of the films it appears in is the sequel to Eli Roth’s horror movie “Hostel 2” where one of the characters goes to the spa and is followed by a very evil character.
The second movie gained a lot more popularity. It’s the movie “The Fifth estate” staring Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, the head of Wikileaks. In the scene, Assange meets up with the politician Birgitta Jónsdóttir. The two of them has a meeting inside the building at the Blue Lagoon.
GPS: 63°51’20.91″N 22°41’39.89″W
The former mayor of Carmen, CA Clint Eastwood came here and filmed two big movies. The movies “Flags of our fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” where he films the events at Iwo Jima from both sides, the American and the Japanese.
Both movies are filmed in Reykjanes (it’s where you land when you arrive in Iceland). The surroundings are perfect for the movie and it makes a very interesting detour when you visit the Blue lagoon. One really feels the power of the Atlantic ocean while out there. A place not visited by many. Many do go visit the lighthouse but there are no crowds out there like at many other famous places here.
GPS: 63°31’39.67″N 19°30’44.86″W
When driving the south side of the Ring road, you will stop at the beautiful Skógafoss waterfall. As far as we have found it, it hasn’t been used in many movies at all but they did film there for the Marvel movie with the suitable name “Thor: The dark world”.
When Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) gets cursed with a powerful entity known as the Aether, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is announced of the cosmic event known as the Convergence and the genocidal Dark Elves.
A few shots were filmed way up in the highlands, deep into the interior, places you can’t reach without the aid of professionals but you can drive to Skógafoss in the smallest of cars!
Again Iceland is used to produce a world suitable for distant planets, hostile environments and to underline general despair and mayhem and we love it. Will be very interesting to see what the future holds.
Iceland, being a very small country, has so much to offer for so many. Location hunters can get their fill and then some by driving around the island. Take selfies where these movies has been filmed, all while driving around in stunning country and having a vacation that can be found on the Bucket list with many people.
If you want to have a peek on all the movies above, check out our YouTube playlist “Movies filmed in Iceland” and feel free to subscribe to our channel for there is more to come!
It’s under construction and only in Icelandic so far but it is pretty self explanatory.
Safe travels! #GoIceland