The Reykjanes peninsula is an active volcanic system under its surface, situated at the southwestern end of Iceland. The peninsula is rather sparsely populated except for Reykjanesbaer, which is the largest town on the peninsula. Other towns include Grindavik, Sandgerdi, Vogar, Hafnir and Gardur, all of which rely heavily on fishing.
Reykjanes is marked by its large lava fields, active volcanism, numerous hot springs, geothermal energy and rugged landscape. Allowing for little vegetation besides the incredibly soft Icelandic moss. The gray-green moss on the strange, otherworldly lava is usually the first glimpse of Iceland visitors catch as they land. However, for those lucky enough to spot it from the air, the world-renowned Blue Lagoon is also located on the Reykjanes peninsula and pops out with its turquoise waters in the black lava field!
The peninsula is mysterious yet beautiful. With rugged black lava formations and steamy pillars and clouds rising from its hot springs and geysers. Tourists used to simply pass through the peninsula going from Keflavik (the main airport) to the capital. However, this has changed now giving visitors the chance to get to know this magical place.
Things to do in Reykjanes
- Bathe in the Blue Lagoon
- Join a ATV/Quad tour around the lava field
- Leira Golf Course
- Hike Mt. Keilir or Mt. Thorbjorn
- Join a Lava Caving tour to Leidarendi
- Visit the Brimketill Lava Rock Pool
- Walk over the bridge between the two continents
There are plenty of recreational opportunities to be had in the Reykjanes area. The first obvious mention is the Blue Lagoon hot springs. The crown jewel of Icelandic bathing facilities. Whether you are on your way to or from Keflavik international airport or simply want to treat yourself mid-trip this place is always a hit. The water which is pumped up from the ground has natural silica, which is healing for the skin and also gives that heavenly color. The infrastructure has been built with great care, thought and attention to detail leaving no opportunity for luxury un-utilized. Surely a must-visit!
Other options include ATV/quad biking, as well as mountain biking. For those looking for a hiking adventure, the peninsula also offers and abundance of trails and mountain ridges the most prominent being Mount Keilir, a small cone-shaped volcano. Hikers enjoy climbing the mountain as it’s not too high, but still poses enough of a challenge. Once you climb to the top. Which takes around 2-3 hours. You are rewarded with a beautiful 360-degree view that simply takes your breath away.
The Cave Leidarendi (e. ‘The End of the Road’) is a 900m long circular lava tube discovered two decades ago, and available for visitors to explore. There you can see unique rock formations and fascinating colors from the natural forces that shaped the tube around 2000 years ago. Moreover, in the wintertime, you are likely to see amazing icicles and natural ice sculptures in the cave.
Besides its rich fishing industry, Reykjanes is also known for its many lighthouses. Some even say that the lighthouses outnumber the villages. The most famous of them all, as well as being the oldest one in Iceland, is Reykjanes lighthouse, standing 29 meters (95ft) tall 69 meters (226 ft) above sea level.
Places to visit in Reykjanes peninsula
- Krysuvík/Seltun Geothermal Area
- Lake Kleifarvatn
- Gunnuhver geyser
- Icelandic Museum of Rock and Roll
- Viking World Museum
- Blue Lagoon
- Brimketill Lava Pool
- Grindavik Fishing Village
Among others, Reykjanes boasts of tourist attractions such as the geothermal areas like Seltun, Blue lagoon, Lake Kleifarvatn and of course Gunnuhver geyser. Seltun is fantastic for those interested in the geological side of Iceland but be mindful of your step and follow the paths. Lake Kleifarvatn has bubbling pools at its bottoms. Furthermore, making it a beloved diving spot for those with dry suit certificates. Moreover, close to Gunnuhver you can find the bridge between the two continents and take a memorable walk over. Truly putting it into context just how moving and interconnected the island is to the rest of the world! Yet another honorable mention is Brimketill lava pool. However, only the bravest (and warmest) of souls dare to take a dip in!
For more indoor activities, you can visit the Viking World museum in Keflavik or the Museum of Rock and Roll. Both are excellent options for a wide age range and fantastic for families!
Recently, the charming fishing town of Grindavik has really been booming. Making it the number one spot to open up restaurants on the peninsula. Hja Hollu, Salthusid, Papas pizzas, Northern Lights hotel restaurant and many others are well worth the visit. And, if you do, the fish is always a good choice. More often than not fresh from the harbor from that very morning!
For more detailed information about attractions, villages and activities in the Reykjanes Peninsula be sure to go through our destination guide.