What are the most romantic and beautiful places in Iceland and what makes one place more romantic than the other? See my list of the most romantic places in Iceland.
When Iceland is filled with stunning landscapes it may be hard to choose where to go for a romantic destination. It doesn't come as a surprise that many couples choose to come to Iceland to get married - and Guide to Iceland can help you plan your wedding in Iceland! But which place to choose for a romantic weekend? Following is a list of my top romantic locations in Iceland, mostly within a few hours drive from Reykjavík.
Obviously, if you want to be on your own then you should rent a car and drive yourself to these locations - but it can also be fun to go on a tour (and in some cases necessary!)
Þórsmörk is my top romantic destination. Obviously it's the company that makes every location romantic but it helps to be surrounded by stunning views. Experiencing the midnight sun here is something that will stay with you forever.
This green valley is filled with beautiful rock formations, mountains, rivers and great hiking paths for every level. You can choose to sleep in Skagfjörðsskáli hut, Básar hut, Volcano Huts or you can bring your own tent and nestle in a small clearing. Thorsmork is known for having slightly better weather than its surroundings - but even if it rains, it just makes it cosy and romantic listening to the drops on the roof of your tent.
From Básar you can hike up to Eyjafjallajökull glacier and see the steam rise from the ground where the famous volcanic eruption took place in 2010. The ground there is still warm and it's nice to sit down and feel it warm up your legs as you look over the stunning surroundings.
There are also plenty of gorgeous other hikes inside and around Þórsmörk, such as over the ridge Kattarhryggur (Cat's Spine), up to the top of Valahnúkur mountain or hike into Stakkholtsgjá canyon, pictured above, where you'll find a waterfall at the bottom of the canyon.
Þórsmörk's beauty is mentioned in the story of Burnt Njal (Brennu-Njáls saga). Gunnar, a famous and strong Viking, had been outlawed. As he was riding out of Þórsmörk he looked back and said that the hill was so beautiful that he would not leave. And still today, when you go to Þórsmörk, you'll never want to leave.
Þórsmörk is mainly accessible during summer. I wouldn't advise driving yourself to Þórsmörk, as you'll need to cross some rivers on the way - and you should definitely NOT attempt to go there in wintertime on your own! Find bus transfers here or tours to Þórsmörk here, some available in wintertime too (with experienced drivers that know the area well).
Snæfellsjökull is the glacier that crowns the end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula. Surrounding it is a national park, filled with birdlife, hiking treks and small fishing villages. You'll also find nice rocks, such as the Lóndrangar that are pictured here above. Between Arnarstapi and Hellnar is a beautiful and easy hiking trek (less than an hour) and a nice little café by the seaside in Hellnar.
Djúpalónssandur is another gorgeous location, a black, pebbly beach with some remains of a shipwreck scattered across the pebbles and sand. Nearby is Djúpalón lake, which is also stunning, and best viewed from above, as you can see in the video here above.
In the small village Rif, you can find a café called Gamla Rif that serves one of the best seafood soups I've ever had. You'll surely find it, just ask the locals.
The mountain Kirkjufell has also become a favourite spot for photographers, with its iconic triangular shape and the nearby waterfall.
But my personal favourite is trekking up to the top of Snæfellsjökull glacier in the middle of the summer and standing on top of the glacier, looking towards Reykjavík on one side and over Breiðafjörður on the other in a twilight of different shades of pink, orange, golden and purple. Simply ideal for lovebirds. Even better if you remember to bring a bottle of hot chocolate and a blanket with you and sit down on the glacier in the midnight sun.
Reykjadalur is a valley just outside of Reykjavík. Through it runs a warm river. It's warm all year round so you could possibly go there in the wintertime and sit in hot water whilst watching the Northern Lights. (Basically any hot tub/river/hot spring is the most romantic place on earth if you have the Northern Lights putting on a private dance above you!) Nevertheless, I'd rather recommend going there in the summer. It's quite popular so chances are you won't be there on your own. If you go mid-week and overnight you might be in luck.
My advice: Firstly book a table at Fjöruborðið (At the Seashore) for the best langoustine you will possibly ever have. They are busy for a reason, make sure you reserve a table. The restaurant is situated in Stokkseyri, a short drive from Hveragerði where the hike starts to Reykjadalur.
Then you can hike up to Reykjadalur in the evening (don't worry, it doesn't get dark in summertime!), bring a tent, sleeping bags (that you can zip up together!), a bottle of wine and maybe even some chocolate. Try to find a suitable place to camp on the banks of the river. Then enjoy a glass of wine with your loved one whilst sitting in warm water underneath the midnight sun. The following day you can jog down to the scenic village of Hveragerði for breakfast.
This is easy to do on your own, just rent a car and drive to Hveragerði (or Stokkseyri first for the lobster dinner!). The drive from Reykjavík to Hveragerði is only about 45 minutes. You can also take a bus to get there (but then your timing won't be as flexible). The hike is about 1,5-2 hours going up and 1-1,5 hours going down.
Ice cave inside Vatnajökull glacier
The locations I've mentioned so far I think are best in the summertime, so what about the wintertime?
Well, if you're coming to Iceland during wintertime, then you can't miss out on a natural glacier cave in the south east of the country. The ice caves in Vatnajökull glacier are only accessible during certain weather conditions (it needs to be cold! Otherwise they will melt and become very dangerous...) and you have to go with a guide inside them so you can't really be on your own.
However, this is one of the most popular place in the country for proposals to take place. I mean, it looks like a crystal palace from a fairytale, so it's not really surprising - you'll be hard pressed to find a more magical natural beauty!
And even if it's cold, Iceland's cold weather is fairly dry so you can dress it off with plenty of warm layers. What makes this place even better is that it's far away from Reykjavík, so you'll need at least 2 days (even better to take 3) to go there and back - and there are plenty of gorgeous places on the way. My favourites include the cliffs at Dyrhólaey, Seljalandsfoss waterfall (that you can walk behind) and Gljúfrabúi waterfall (inside a cave), Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon and Skaftafell nature reserve (hike up to Svartifoss waterfall, it's gorgeous!).
And the créme de la créme is of course Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the nearby Diamond Beach! So it's the perfect weekend getaway, far from the stress of city life.
Also, because it's wintertime there's a chance you'll see the Northern Lights dancing above you at night - or that you need to cuddle up tight if there's a snow blizzard raging outside.
Just imagine: Sleep in, enjoy a good breakfast together, explore the gorgeous crystal ice cave in the early afternoon, stroll along the Diamond Beach in the late afternoon, have a nice warm drink and admire the Northern Lights at night dancing over the glacier lagoon - or snuggle up in a hot tub with snowflakes melting on your face on a cloudy day.
You can drive the south coast yourself, this 3 day winter self drive tour (that includes accommodation and a visit to the ice cave) gives you great flexibility to do so.
This video can give you an idea of what you might see on the south coast of Iceland!
These are just a few of my favourite places, but there is plenty more to choose from! For more exciting and romantic locations in Iceland, check out these 20 hidden gems in Iceland to see some locations off the beaten path, the best hot springs in Iceland for a relaxing soak in the nature and these most unique experiences in Iceland for some exciting activities.