Hidden Gems in Iceland: Best Secret Places

Hidden Gems in Iceland: Best Secret Places

Angie Diamantopoulou Author

Text by: Angie Diamantopoulou

Are you looking for the best hidden gems and secret places in Iceland? This guide will tell you all the best places where tourists don't usually go!

Icelandic nature is unrivaled. There is nothing like Iceland's stunning waterfalls or its icy rivers, its towering glaciers and the sprawling lupine fields in the summer. 

Every part of Iceland, ever single corner, has something to admire. All tourists know about the most famous attractions in Iceland, like the Golden Circle or the Blue Lagoon. Not many know about all the other places that are a little off the beaten track.

If you want to explore those places, keep reading this guide on the best hidden gems in Iceland!


First, let's take a look at what you will find in this blog:

  • What are the best hidden gems and secret spots in Iceland?
  • Where can you find all the hidden gems and secret spots in Iceland?
  • How can I get to all the hidden gems and secret spots in Iceland?
  • Some tips from a local!

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BEST HIDDEN GEMS AND SECRET PLACES IN ICELAND

So, what are the best hidden gems and secret places in Iceland? A lot of them are off the beaten track, but still easily reachable! Some of them are even hidden among Iceland's biggest attractions, so it's easy to find them -if you know where to look!

In order to visit these places, you will need a car. Tours don't go there. If they did, they wouldn't be hidden places!

So, why not rent a car with us? Our cars will take you anywhere you need to go!​

1. GJÁIN

Gjain hidden gems in Iceland

So easy to find, yet so often overlooked. Gjáin is a valley formed ​thousands of years ago. The idyllic valley is full of crystal-clear pools and gorgeous waterfalls that look as if they came straight out of a fairytale. 

That's why many people believe it's the home of elves! It truly is an unspoiled paradise, ​only two hours from Reykjavik. There is a small hike to get to the valley, but it's definitely worth the visit for nature lovers!

​Gjáin is very close to the Secret Lagoon and Mount Hekla, so it's an easy detour if you visit the lagoon or the Golden Circle


Secret Lagoon? What is that, you ask? Find out more about it and about many other hot springs in Iceland here!

Or book our Golden Circle and Secret Lagoon tour that will take you there!​


2. GLJÚFRABÚI 

Gljufrabui hidden gems in Iceland

Gljúfrabúi is one of those hidden gems in Iceland that are right next to a famous attraction. If you've been to Iceland before and you haven't seen Gljúfrabúi, you might be surprised by its location.

Gljúfrabúi is a beautiful waterfall a five-minute walk away from Seljalandsfoss. ​Every tourist knows about Seljalandsfoss, but few stray a little further to find this waterfall, which is hidden in a canyon

If you decide to visit Gljúfrabúi, make sure to wear boots and a raincoat, as you will get wet! You will walk into the canyon, stepping either on some stones or straight in the water, and immediately see this awe-inspiring waterfall!​


Do you want to visit Seljalandsfoss? Join our amazing South Shore tour!


3. HORNSTRANDIR NATURE RESERVE

Hornstandir Nature Reserve hidden gems Iceland

This next hidden gem is a little further away than the rest. Situated in the Westfjords, Hornstandir Nature Reserve is one of the most magical places you can visit in Iceland. 

The massive 580 sq.km (224 sq.miles) area ​is virtually uninhabited. Due to its location, it's only open on summer months, when you can find sprawling green fields and cliffs that look like a movie set. If you're lucky, you might also see some arctic foxes!​

Hornstandir is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts, as well as for those who enjoy hiking in some of the most beautiful and unique nature in the world. ​


Are you curious about what else you can do in the Westfjords and North Iceland? Check out this guide!


4. BRÚARFOSS

Bruarfoss waterfall hidden gems in Iceland

Brúarfoss is one of Iceland's smaller waterfalls. However, many consider it one of Iceland's best hidden gems

Brúarfoss has some of the most beautiful, icy blue waters in the country! The water, combined with the breathtaking surroundings, make this waterfall a perfect subject for pictures, as well as a favorite among locals and visitors.

It's an easy stop, especially if you are doing the Golden Circle. However, it can be tricky to find, so you need to know the right directions!

First, you need to get to Laugarvatn, which is easy with a GPS. Then, take road number 335 and continue straight. Once you get to the junction, follow the sign that reads "Bi ALDAN". Soon, you will find a red gate. Park your car there.

​Keep going on foot. Find the bridge and cross it, and keep walking until you get to a gate. Go through the gate and over the bridge. Eventually, you will see a blank arrow sign. Turn right and you're almost there! You won't miss it!

5. DYRFJOLL​

dyrfjoll-hidden-gems-iceland

Yet another hidden gem a little further away than most. While you can easily reach it by car, most people miss this mountain.

Dyrfoll is a symbol for the East. The mountain and its distinctive gap in the middle are one of the most recognizable places in the area. If you are traveling around the east of Iceland, make sure you don't miss this gorgeous spot.

​There is a lovely trail at the mountain, surrounded by rivers, sparkling pools and glaciers. It's the perfect place for some hiking, and it's also another place rumored to have elves! Some say the queen of elves herself lives there! 


tips from a local

bruarfoss-hidden-gems-iceland

So, these are all the best hidden gems in Iceland for you to enjoy! I can guarantee you that you won't see many tourists in most of them, if any! In fact, you might see more locals than tourists!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, the only way to get to these hidden gems and secret places is with a car. A 4x4 is always a good option in Iceland, as it can take you pretty much anywhere! You can rent one with us here. ​

The best time to see these places is, of course, summer. Everything glistens under the midnight sun, and you can explore many places in the same day, as there is a lot of daylight.

However, if you visit Iceland in the winter, don't hesitate to look for these places! Icy rivers with snowy cliffs are just as beautiful!​

No matter when you visit, though, please make sure to respect the nature. These hidden gems around Iceland don't get many tourists or visitors, so there is no one around to pick up litter. Besides, it's just the right thing to do. Therefore, make sure that you keep the areas clean so that other visitors can enjoy them too! And, of course, so that we can preserve the beautiful Icelandic nature!​


final words

Did you enjoy this list about the best hidden gems and secret places in Iceland? Or did you maybe think there is a place I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Make sure to share, as well, with other travelers who might find this useful!​

Are you looking for the best hidden gems and secret places in Iceland? This guide will tell you all the best places where tourists don’t usually go!

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