Regions

Iceland’s regions are described in more detail on the Nature and Regions pages of the website. These divisions are primarily geographical, rather than administrative, intended to assist with planning a holiday in Iceland. Statistically, Iceland is usually divided into 8 regions: Capital Region, Southern Peninsula, West, Westfjords, Northwest, Northeast, East and South.

Iceland’s capital Reykjavík is described at some length on a separate page; the term Capital Region refers to Reykjavik and the 6 municipalities around it: Kópavogur (Kopavogur), Hafnarfjörður (Hafnarfjordur), Garðabær (Gardabaer), Mosfellsbær (Mosfellsbaer), Seltjarnarnes and Kjósarhreppur (Kjosarhreppur). Each municipality has its own distinctive charm and is well worth a visit.

Kopavogur is historically significant and has a wonderful art museum, among other attractions. Hafnarfjordur is a must for Viking culture enthusiasts, and anyone interested in elves. A Viking festival is held there each year on summer solstice. Gardabaer is surrounded by nature reserves and has fantastic views – Snæfellsjökull (Snaefells Glacier) can be seen to the west, as well as Mt Esja. Mosfellsbaer, the valley of Mosfellsdalur and its surroundings are a must for Halldór Laxness enthusiasts.

West Iceland is characterized by spectacular landscapes and sites of great historical and cultural significance. This area is the historical setting for many of the Icelandic sagas, and home to Reykholt where Snorri Sturluson lived. West Iceland is also home to Snæfellsjökull (Snaefell’s Glacier) and Langjökull (Langjokull) Glacier, as well as having geographical features of special interest.

Westfjords are mountainous, sparsely populated, have an extremely long beautiful coastline and are enormously rich in birdlife. The famous Látrabjarg (Latrabjarg) Cliffs, nesting habitat for millions of seabirds, including the Atlantic Puffin, are located in this part of Iceland. Westfjords are also home to Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, the magnificent Dynjandi waterfall and the beautiful port town of Ísafjörður (Isafjordur).

South Iceland is characterized by dramatic landscapes and unique features, from hot springs, to lava fields, to black beaches and glaciers. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park, a UNESCO Heritage Site, set in a tectonically and volcanically fascinating environment, is one of the most famous, as well as historically important, sites in Iceland. Vatnajökull (Vatnajokull) National Park is also in South Iceland, as well as Jökulsárlón (Jokulsarlon) Glacial Lagoon, a natural wonder located at the edge of Vatnajökull Glacier. The magnificent Gullfoss waterfall and many others; geysers and hot springs, and the best known hiking trail Laugavegur are just some of the attractions in this part of the country.

Westman Islands archipelago, just off the south coast of Iceland is ideal for either a day-trip or a longer stay. The Westman Islands are a particular favourite with bird watchers, since it's there that the largest puffin colony in the North Atlantic can be seen. For all puffin enthusiasts, visiting the Westman Islands from April through August is a must. The exceptionally dramatic landscapes created by volcanic activity are astounding, and the locals are famed for their hospitality.

North Iceland
has stunning fjords, wonderful fishing ports, charming towns and villages, as well as the amazing Highlands. It is home to Goðafoss (Godafoss) waterfall, one of the most spectacular in Iceland, Dettifoss waterfall, considered Europe's most powerful, as well as the beautiful lake Mývatn (Myvatn), with its unique flora and fauna. Landscape features include impressive mountain ranges, glacial rivers, geothermal swimming pools and volcanic craters. North Iceland also has many interesting historical sites, including Hólar (Holar), which was an episcopal see for many centuries. Some of the many activities on offer are hiking, fishing, horse-riding, whale watching, river rafting and skiing.

East Iceland has magical scenery, world-class attractions and it’s the only part of Iceland where you can see wild-roaming deer. The deeply carved East Fjords are majestic, most with a beautiful little town or village nestled along the shores. The contrasting landscape includes the vast Highlands, verdant valleys, crystal-clear mountain brooks and stunning waterfalls. Iceland’s biggest forest, its longest lake, and even Iceland’s “answer to the Loch Ness Monster” are all to be found in East Iceland. Whether you want to fish for salmon, swim, watch birds, climb mountains, eat delicious food, walk, ride, ski, play golf, or just marvel at the beauty surrounding you and enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals, East Iceland is the place to be.

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