Do you like going off the main road and exploring hidden gems? We absolutely love it! That sense of freedom while traveling and discover new and exciting places on your own is what exploring is all about. Reykjanes peninsula is one of the best area in Iceland when looking for hidden gems.
When you travel to Iceland you probably have a list of things you want to see and places to visit. It is not unlikely that on that list are our most popular tourist attractions. Places such as the Blue Lagoon, The Golden Circle, Glacier lagoon and other popular sites for your trip.
That is understandable. They are all incredible and easily accessible. However, if you want a more exclusive experience this might just be what you´re looking for.
Find a unique experience in Iceland
There is no shortage of amazing places in Iceland. Everywhere you go you can be sure to find amazing places with interesting history and incredible scenery. There are hidden gems all over Iceland. It is just a matter of knowing where to look. It might surprise you, they are often closer than you think.
Reykjanes Peninsula should definitely be on your travel itinerary when you visit Iceland. There are so many beautiful and interesting sites on the peninsula that you can spend a lifetime exploring all of them. Since you probably don't have that much time here is a list of some hidden gems you might want to add to your list.
Selatangar – Old Settlement
If you want to get a bit of history and natural beauty, Selatangar should be on your list. Located on the south coast of Reykjanes Peninsula, about an hour drive from Reykjavik. Selatangar was up until the late 19th century a fishing station where fishermen lived before going to sea and fighting the Atlantic ocean.
Today Selatangar is completely abandoned but you can still see old ruins of the settlements. Some of the houses still stand so you can imagine how life used to be in the fishing village.
You can see how some former residents used the lava caves for housing.You can just feel how hard life must have been for the people who lived there.
To make matters worse the site is also said to be haunted by the ghost Tanga-Tómas.
It truly is an amazing site. Both historically and visually. The raw nature of the volcanic rocky ground meets the mighty Atlantic Ocean often in a violent way. Again, that's where people used to live.
Hafnaberg - Sea cliffs
A breathtaking site on the west point on Reykjanes Peninsula. This is where Iceland ends, and the Atlantic begins. For a long time making it the end of the known world.
The high lava cliffs go straight into the ocean which carves the rock wall. Making it into a natural masterpiece. You can just feel the power of the Atlantic ocean as it hammers against land.
Hafnaberg is also home to many seabirds which nest on the cliffs. So if you fancy seeing some wildlife in extreme scenery, put Hafnaberg on your travel itinerary. It's close to Keflavik airport and easy to find. You won’t regret taking that road trip!
Eldvörp - Volcano craters
Step out of this world and into the fiery wonderland of what is the geothermal hot spot called Eldvörp.
Eldvörp is a perfect example of why Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice. The area is a strain of volcanic craters which stretches out over 10 km with smoke rising from the ground in all directions.
A truly out of this world place which makes you feel like you have traveled to another planet. It is also easy to access, with roads across the lava field. From there you can easily hike around the area and explore this incredible hot spot of Iceland.
Valahnúkur – Mountain and geothermal hot spot
Saving the best for the last. Located in the area known as Reykjanestá, Valahnúkur is about 30 minutes drive from the nearest towns of Reykjanesbær or Grindavík. To be honest, Valahnúkur is more of a hill rather than a mountain. Which fortunately makes it much more comfortable to hike.
Once you are up there you can enjoy a spectacular view from the cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean. Close to the shore is the island called Karlinn and in the distance you can see the island Eldey on the horizon.
Valahnúkur was home to the first lighthouse in Iceland. The lighthouse was replaced by Reykjanesviti which sits on the top of a hill close by.
When visiting Valahnúkur we recommend taking your time exploring the surroundings. The whole area is full of interesting things to see. As we mentioned, Reykjanes Lighthouse is there, one of Iceland's most impressive lighthouses. There you can also see:
- Valbjarnargjá Canyon
- Valahnúkamöl Beach
- Gunnuhver geothermal mud pools
Note there are two Valahnúkur in Iceland. We only mention this, so you do not get confused with the Valahnúkur in Þórsmörk. We are still talking about the one on Reykjanes peninsula.
These are just to name a few hidden gems we recommend to explore while driving in Iceland. There are so many other interesting places to visit in Reykjanes and Iceland. All you need to do is get in the car and start your next adventure!