10 Incredible Things to Do in West Iceland

Nature is at its finest in West Iceland. This treasure trove of glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, and volcanoes delivers unforgettable adventures across stunning landscapes. So, grab your camera and strap on your backpack as you discover some of the most amazing things to do in West Iceland. 

1. Explore Snæfellsnes: Iceland in Miniature

The Snæfellsnes Peninsula has been famously dubbed ‘miniature Iceland’, and for good reason. With glaciers, mountains, lava fields, golden beaches, historical relics, lighthouses, and the infamous volcano, Snæfellsjökull, there’s nothing you can’t see here. If you’d like to experience the best of Iceland in a short period, there’s no Icelandic experience you’ll miss out on at the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

2. Stop at Berserkjahraun: The Land Before Time

Who can forget Littlefoot and the dinosaur orphans from The Land Before Time (1988)? With red mountains in the background and moss-covered craters, the Berserkjahraun Lava Field literally looks as though the movie was filmed here! The resemblance shouldn’t come as a surprise: Berserkjahraun was formed 4,000 years ago when four scoria craters burst in short intervals. The lava ran all the way down Bjarnarhafnarfjall slopes to the sea surrounding Hraunsfjörður and Hraunsvík. 

Drone shot of the Berserkjahraun Lava Field in West Iceland.

3. Experience Europe’s Most Powerful Hot Spring: Deildartunguhver

If you’re seeking complete isolation from the chaos of modern life, then the Deildartunguhver Hot Spring has to be on your West Iceland things-to-do list. The water here is a sizzling 207° Fahrenheit and runs at a rapid rate of 180 liters per second. Venturing dangerously close may be fatal at Europe’s most powerful hot spring. But, you can take a shower or a bath within a 64-mile radius in spots such as the Krauma Baths, as well as use the surrounding wooden walkways and observation points to safely experience Deildartunguhver.

The bubbling hot springs of Deildartunguhver in West Iceland.

4. Snapshot the ‘Arrowhead Mountain’: Kirkjufell

The most photographed mountain in Iceland, Kirkjufell, did not go unnoticed by the Game of Thrones production team. This pyramid-shaped mountain by the sea is first spotted by two characters – Bran Stark and the Hound. Interestingly, no actor was filmed directly in front of the mountain having been superimposed into the backdrop. You, however, can go where no GoT actor has gone before and take a wide-angle shot before Kirkjufell!

Sunset at Kirkjufell, Iceland.

5. Walk along Skarðsvík: Iceland’s White Sand Beach

Black sand beaches may take the limelight in volcanic Iceland, but the white sands of Skarðsvík have a charm of their own. The golden beach is flanked by turquoise waters resembling a Mediterranean shoreline on one side, and volcanic rocks on the other for that Nordic twist. Skarðsvík’s waves are renowned for being aggressive so it’s best to visit at low tide. 

Sandy shores against black cliffs at Skarðsvík, Iceland.

6. Explore Lava Formations Inside Víðgelmir Cave

Of all the things to do in West Iceland, exploring a lava cave is a unique experience in its own right. The fascinating formations inside Víðgelmir are on par with the stunning landscapes surrounding the region. On your walk down this 1585-meter-long tunnel, don’t forget to explore the stories of Icelandic sagas etched on its walls!

The rocky exterior of the Víðgelmir Lava Cave.

7. Discover Glanni: The Dwelling Place of Elves

If you’re on the hunt for Iceland’s rarer sights, visiting the mystical waterfall, Glanni, is a must. Widely believed to be the dwelling place of elves and trolls in Viking folklore, the multi-layered tiers in which the waterfall falls definitely allude to an element of fantasy. If salmon fishing in the water doesn’t float your boat, you can play some golf at the nearby golf course, or discover fascinating landscapes at the surrounding Grábrókarhraun Lava Field.

Wide-angle-shot of Glanni Waterfall in West Iceland.

8. Delve into Icelandic History and Culture at Reykholt

You don’t have to be a historian to fall in love with Reykholt – the hub of Icelandic history and culture. This tiny village was once home to the world’s best medieval writers, including the 13th-century Snorri Sturluson. If you’re not wowed by the architectural brilliance of the town, the villagers’ hospitality alone will leave you spellbound.

The old church of Reykholt in Borgarfjordur, West Iceland.

9. Embrace Iceland’s Volcanic Side at the Grabrok Crater

The volcanic capital of the world calls for a trip to volcanoes and craters, so add that to your West Iceland bucket list. The 170-meter-tall crater, Grabrok, is among the three tallest craters in Iceland. A hiking trail here offers panoramic views of the surrounding scenery. But you can also drive yourself in a rental car instead of taking the 40-minute hike.

The Grabrok Crater in West Iceland.

10. Ring Wedding Bells at the Black Búðir Church

Budir Church is the ideal location for an Icelandic elopement. You don’t have to exchange vows at this 1700s church, but you may be interested to know that this quaint black church is among the most photographed in Iceland. A stay at the Hótel Búðir is well-suited for exploring the hamlet of Búðir.

The Black Budir Church in West Iceland.

The magic of West Iceland can only be experienced in person. Whether you choose to focus on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula or explore the mystical side of the region with waterfalls such as Glanni, you can’t go wrong. So what are you waiting for? Just book your rental car and start ticking off some of these incredible West Iceland attractions!