5 places to visit in Iceland that aren’t the classics

Despite the lack of palm trees and heat waves, Iceland is becoming one of the hottest destinations for a road trip. And, with a limited number of roads, the main attractions can become crowded especially during summer.

To help you plan your road trip around Iceland, here are 5 places to visit in Iceland that are off-the-beaten-path and alternatives to the “classics” of Iceland.

1. Jokulsarlon vs Fjallsarlon

Fjallsarlon - one of the best places to visit in Iceland off the beaten path.
Fjallsarlon is an alternative to Jokulsarlon

When looking for icebergs, everyone stops at Jokulsarlon. It is the place that “puts the ice in Iceland”.

Located right next to the main road, the lagoon is always filled with icebergs detaching from the glacier and making their way towards the ocean. Big buses and people touring the Ring Road all stop at this must-see attraction.

An alternative is its little brother, Fjallsarlon. Just a 5 min drive from the Ring Road, its lagoon is smaller but rewards the visitor with great views of the glacier and surrounding mountains.

Because there is no exit to the ocean, some of the icebergs get really close to the shore allowing you to fave fun around them. No facilities at Fjallsarlon but plenty of space to take a break and listen to the cracking of the ice.

Note: as of 2016, facilities are being added at Fjallsarlon. Due to the increasing number of tourists, more locations are sadly being put on the map.

2. Haukadalur vs Leirhnjukur

Leirhnjukur - one of the best places to visit in Iceland off the beaten path.
Leirhnjukur is an alternative to Haukadalur

When it comes to geothermal areas, Iceland is paradise. One of the most popular places to visit in Iceland is Haukadalur on the Golden Circle Iceland. It is home to the famous but dormant Geysir.

But the main attraction is the Strokkur geyser, which erupts every 5 to 8 minutes. If you go early you can avoid the crowds shouting ‘ohhh’ and ‘ahhhh’ every time. But during the day it is one of the most crowded places as everyone looks at the same spot waiting for the big splash.

But if you go to North Iceland, take a detour to walk through Leirhnjukur. It will give you another perspective of the volcanic activity in Iceland.

This lava field is still steaming 30 years after the last volcanic event! Stay on the track if you don’t want your soles to melt and reconnect to the power of the Earth.

3. Dimmuborgir vs Berserkjahraun

Berserkjahraun - one of the best places to visit in Iceland off the beaten path.
Berserkjahraun is an alternative to Dimmuborgir

Much of the Icelandic landscape is shaped by lava. One of the most famous areas to walk through is Dimmuborgir near Myvatn.

Created by the mix of water and lava, the formations are said to be the home of elves. During the day, visitors take over the delimited paths scaring the elves away.

To avoid the crowds, drive on a small gravel road (558) on the Snaefellesnes peninsula to the lava field of Berserkjahraun. The geology and shapes are different, but the views as impressive. And most visitors stay on the main road and miss it.

4. Svartifoss vs Aldeyjarfoss

Aldeyjarfoss - one of the best places to visit in Iceland off the beaten path
Aldeyjarfoss is an alternative to Svartifoss

Even though hiking is required to reach Svartifoss, it is one of the most famous waterfalls in Iceland.

Photographers love the amphitheater of basalt columns said to have inspired the architecture of the Reykjavik Cathedral. The little path around it fills up pretty quickly.

Another option is to go off road in North Iceland (4WD required for the last 5 kilometers) to discover Aldeyjarfoss, a 20-meter drop waterfall surrounded by intricate basalt shapes. The surrounding area is bare making the location even more intriguing.

5. Blue Lagoon vs Myvatn Baths

Myvatn Baths - one of the best places to visit in Iceland off the beaten path
Blue Lagoon alternative – Myvatn Baths

Swimming in a hot bath is a must-do in Iceland. And most people experience it at the famous Blue Lagoon. A man-made swimming area, filled with the water taken underground to generate electricity.

Although not really off the beaten track, the alternative of the Myvatn Baths in North Iceland will give you a more intimate experience.

It does not have a bar in the middle of the pool but you will enjoy more peace and quiet while soaking up in the “magical” waters. (note: Don’t forget to attach your hair and remove your jewelry as silver will turn black…)

For more ideas about things to do on that road trip, planning information, beautiful photos, and practical maps to help you plan your travels, check out ZigZag On Earth’s eBook:

Plan Your Trip to Iceland

We’ve been traveling 20  years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights, and car rental. Below are our preferred partners. If you book through these links, we do receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps us continue to provide inspiring and helpful travel content for free on this site.


  • Booking.com has over 1,100 properties in Iceland including hotels, apartments and hostels. You get free cancelation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.


  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
  • Scotts Cheap Flights offers awesome deals on plane tickets.

Car Rental

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

Tours in Iceland

More tips for Iceland

Do you try off the beaten path alternatives during your trips? Can you suggest places to visit in Iceland besides the obvious?

You may also like

You may also like

About The Author

4 Powerful Ways to Travel More & Create Better Memories
Want to know how we've made a lifetime of travel for 24 years? Insider tips and updates! 
This is what gives us incredible memories to share around the campfire. Join our community for insider tips and updates!
Scroll to Top