Game of Thrones filming location in Iceland

Which international films and TV shows have been filmed in Iceland? Why do producers choose to film in Iceland?

Quite a lot of international films have been shot in Iceland, besides the Icelandic film industry that's growing each year. Iceland has incredibly varied nature and can stand in for other countries and the country has in fact become Hollywood’s new favourite playground!

Most films that have been shot in Iceland are not supposed to take place in Iceland, only a handful of movies mention Iceland in the film, such as James Bond’s Die Another Day and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Iceland is very popular with sci-fi and fiction as it has portrayed a post-apocalyptic world, beginning of the world, alien planets etc. Good examples are as North of the Wall in Game of Thrones or as alien planets in Prometheus and Interstellar, just to name a few! As well as one of the planets in the newest Star Wars film Rogue One. Besides being popular for sci-fi and fiction as some ‘other-worldly’ location, Iceland is used as a stand in for other countries, including Japan, Tibet, Norway, Greenland, Russia and even Italy!

And Iceland's landscape also plays a big role in Bollywood romance Dilwale, which we wrote a whole article about.

(Photo credit above: Game of Thrones revisited tour)

Filming locations in Iceland

(Photo credit Film in Iceland)

Producers and filmmakers choose Iceland because the country is so varied in nature – but still the distances are short, so the country can represent a variety of places or countries. Additionally you can get a highly professional Icelandic production crew and the country has good infrastructure. 

Iceland is also easily accessible from both the US, the UK and the rest of Europe, i.e. only a 5 hour flight from New York or 2,5 hour flight from London.

Here are a few examples of films and TV shows that have been filmed in Iceland – and the locations of the filming as well. These are locations that are absolutely stunning – and shouldn’t be missed by any film buff!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Mýrdalssandur beach

Even before Rogue One was released, it was obvious from the trailer that scenes were shot on the south coast of Iceland. We recognise those black sands and mossy green mountains at the beginning of the trailer instantly!

Star Wars Rogue One in Iceland. Image from Slashfilm

Iceland is portraying the planet Lah'mu in the film, where Jyn Erso and her parents are in hiding at the very beginning of the film. Those black, sandy and alien looking beaches can be found in the south of Iceland. This is Mýrdalssandur, and those pretty green mountains are Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey, located just east of Vík.

To see this landscape with your own bare eyes, simply go on one of the multiple south coast tours heading towards Jökulsárlón, or rent a car to drive there yourself. 

Game of Thrones: All seasons: All over Iceland

Incredible amount of footage from Game of Thrones is shot in Iceland. Everything that happens North of the Wall is filmed in Iceland. The scene where the wildlings attack a village is shot in Iceland. A lot of the footage of Arya and the Hound is shot in Iceland, such as when they come to Vale of Arryn and when the Hound and Brienne fight. These scenes are filmed in and around Þingvellir national park, on the south coast of Iceland near Mýrdalsjökull glacier and around the Lake Mývatn and Dimmuborgir area in the northeast. 

The scene where Jon Snow breaks his vow with Ygritte inside a cave is also shot in Iceland, in the cave Grjótagjá near Lake Mývatn.

Note that it's forbidden to bathe inside this warm cave hot spring, and that the waterfall that's pictured is not real but done in CGI.



As if that doesn’t make the series Icelandic enough, then additionally, the Mountain is played by an Icelandic man, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, in season 4 and 5 and the Icelandic band Sigur Rós plays in Joffrey’s wedding in the famous episode The Lion and the Rose (Purple wedding).

If you want to see where some of the footage is shot, you can go on this Game of Thrones tour

Also take note that if you go on the Golden Circle tour, you’ll see some of the locations as a lot was filmed in Þingvellir national park

Interstellar (2014): Máfabót and Svínafellsjökull glacier

Máfabót and Svínafellsjökull glacier represent two different planets in Interstellar. Both locations are in the South-East of Iceland, a stone throw away from each other (or about an hour's drive). Máfabót is not far from Kirkjubæjarklaustur, and is a low land between the open sea and a river. This is where Miller’s water planet scenes were filmed.

Filming of Interstellar in Iceland

(Photo credit: Reddit)

Svínafellsjökull glacier is nearby, also in the South-East of Iceland, and this glacier represents Mann’s ice planet in the movie. You’ll feel like you’re exploring alien territory yourself by hiking on Svínafellsjökull glacier

Svínafellsjökull in Interstellar:

Interstellar in Iceland

(Photo Credit: IMDB)

Glacier Hiking on Svínafellsjökull:

Svínafellsjökull Iceland

(Photo credit: Xiaochen)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013): All over Iceland

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty takes place in the US, Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas. In fact, it’s only shot in the US and Iceland as Iceland represents Greenland and the Himalayas as well. This is one of the few films that credits Iceland as itself (as well as making Iceland stand in for other countries).

Ben Stiller traveled and filmed across Iceland, from Stykkishólmur on Snæfellsnes peninsula (representing Greenland), as well as Reykjavík and Reykjanes peninsula, in the South of the country and southeast around Vatnajökull glacier (representing Nepal) and all the way east in Seyðisfjörður (with the erupting volcano) and Borgarfjörður Eystri (where he skateboards on the road). You can find more details on the filming locations of Secret Life of Walter Mitty here.

This shot is just outside Reykjavík, close to Bláfjöll (Blue Mountains) on the way to Hveragerði (about a 20 minute drive from Reykjavík):

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

(Photo Credit: IMDB)

Greenland in the movie is actually shot in the town Stykkishólmur on Snæfellsnes peninsula:

Movie locations in Iceland

(Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Stykkishólmur:

Stykkishólmur

(Photo credit: Xiaochen)

Nepal in the movie:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in Iceland

(Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

It is shot near Fjallsárlón:

Fjallsárlón

(Photo credit: Xiaochen)

Another scene of Nepal in the movie:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in Iceland

(Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

I'm sure you recognise this place. This is the famous Skógafoss waterfall down the south coast of Iceland.

Skógafoss Iceland

The film also has two known Icelandic actors, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (the helicopter pilot) and Gunnar Helgason (the guy driving away from the volcano). As well as a theme song from the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men.

Here you can find some of our Snæfellsnes tours and Reykjanes tours. You might want to rent a car and drive around the country if you want to visit all the locations! Here you can customise your self drive tour. And this 6 day Northern Light self drive tour in wintertime covers most areas the film was shot in, so you can see what the country looks like during wintertime as well.

Batman Begins (2005): Vatnajökull glacier

Vatnajökull glacier is a popular filming destination to substitute more inaccessible mountains, such as the mountains in Tibet. All of the above footage is from Skaftafell in Iceland (with a computer made temple). The training scenes are also shot in this area. Here you can find all of our tours from Skaftafell.

Die Another Day (2002): Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Another popular filming location, right by Vatnajökull glacier is Jökulsárlón, or the glacier lagoon. The Bond film also credits Iceland in its film, although in the film they go to a non-existent ice hotel. Iceland has never had an ice-hotel, as it simply isn’t cold enough to keep one throughout the winter!

Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, a popular film location in Iceland

For the car chase in this film, the production team had to freeze the lagoon, which doesn’t always freeze since it’s connected to seawater and the weather changes rapidly so the ice often thaws quickly. The production team got lucky though and got thick enough ice to film the car chase on ice, in amongst giant blocks of ice!

Join a glacier hike and Jökulsárlón boat tour for your chance to feel like an undercover spy!

A View to a Kill (1985): Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Another Bond film, made 17 years earlier had the same idea to film a chase at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and Vatnajökull glacier – except this time on skis. Here Iceland represents Russia.

Tomb Raider (2001): Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon

Yet another film that decided to film at Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon was Tomb Raider. Again Iceland represents the frozen tundra in Siberia. If you feel like going on a boat ride of the lagoon in the same type of car/boats as you can see in the film, then you can! They depart various times each day and if you join this tour of the South Coast you go on a boat tour as well.

Hostel part II (2007): The Blue Lagoon

It’s not all ice and glaciers when it comes to filming in Iceland. For his sequel to Hostel, director Eli Roth decided to film his spa sequence that’s supposed to be in Italy in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland. If you feel like pampering yourself in a lovely spa (and replace a massacre for a massage) then check out our Blue Lagoon tours.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

The Fifth Estate (2013): The Blue Lagoon and Reykjavík

Another film that uses the Blue Lagoon as a backdrop is The Fifth Estate. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his colleague also stroll the streets of Reykjavík and Iceland gets to be Iceland, as they bring down an Icelandic bank.

This still is from Austurvöllur square, downtown Reykjavík. You'll hear about Reykjavík's history on this biking sightseeing tour of Reykjavík.

The Fifth Estate's scene in Reykjavík

(Photo credit IMDB)

Prometheus (2012): Dettifoss waterfall

The Prometheus engineer at Dettifoss in Iceland

(Photo credit Joblo.com)

The engineer sequence from Prometheus shows some of Iceland’s stunning nature in the North-East of the country. The waterfall is Dettifoss, the country’s most thundering waterfall. Here you can find various Dettifoss tours.

Dettifoss in Iceland

Flags of our Fathers (2005): Reykjanes peninsula

Clint Eastwood figured he could replicate Iwo Jima in Japan by filming in Reykjanes peninsula. This is the area you will see from your airplane as you land in Iceland, the black sandy beaches – but no army.

You can find daytours to Reykjanes here.

Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008): Snæfellsjökull glacier/volcano

Climbing up Snæfellsjökull glacier
(Photo credit: Tor.com)

In the classic novel by Jules Verne, the entry point to the center of the Earth is through Snæfellsjökull glacier/volcano, so it was fitting to film there for the movie - and use an Icelandic actress, Aníta Briem. Unfortunately the movie wasn’t quite as classic as the book – but the scenery is breathtaking!

If you want to hike up to the entry point to the centre of the Earth, then join this hiking tour up Snæfellsjökull glacier/volcano.

Or if you'd rather want to see what the insides of a volcano REALLY look like, then you can go on a tour inside a volcano!

Stardust (2007): Stokksnes

The above scene from the star-studded Stardust is shot in the South-East of Iceland, in Stokksnes. It's very near to one of Iceland's most beautiful mountains, Brunnhorn.

Brunnhorn mountain in Iceland, movie set for Stardust

Fortitude (2014): Reyðarfjörður fjord

The TV series Fortitude are entirely filmed in Reyðarfjörður in the East fjords of Iceland. If you want to witness the Northern Lights yourself, take a look at our Northern Lights tours.

Noah (2014): All over Iceland, mainly Reynisfjara coastline

As Iceland is the newest country in the world, the producers of Noah found it fitting to film something that was supposed to happen at the beginning of the world. The black sandy beaches you can see in the film are at Reynisfjara in the south of the country. They also filmed at Reykjanes peninsula at Lake Kleifarvatn and in Raufarhólshellir cave – as well as around Mývatn in the North. Here is a tour to Raufarhólshellir cave. And this south coast tour takes in Reynisfjara, glacier hiking and a couple of waterfalls.

Oblivion (2013): Hrossaborg crater

Again, Iceland provides the perfect canvas for a post apocalyptic universe in this sci-fi movie with Tom Cruise. The movie was filmed at Hrossaborg crater in North-East Iceland, as well as at Jarlhettur (Earl's Peak) and Drekavatn in the interior of the country. You can see Hrossaborg crater on this tour to Askja from Akureyri.

Here is Hrossaborg crater as it appeared in the film:

Hrossaborg crater as it appeared in Oblivion

(Photo credit: The Register)

And shooting at Jarlhettur:

Filming Oblivion at Earl's Peak in Iceland

(Photo credit: The location guide)

The Girl in the Café: Reykjavík

Bill Nighy and Kelly Macdonald in Reykjavík

(Photo credit: Bill Nighy)

Not many films are filmed within Reykjavík – but this romantic comedy takes place at a G8 summit in Reykjavík. Here you can find a Reykjavík sightseeing tour.

A night time view of Reykjavík

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013): Reynisfjara coastline

A scene filmed in Reynisfjara for Star Trek: Into Darkness

Reynisfjara in the South of Iceland serves as a black beach with some stunning rock formations in a scene in Star Trek: Into Darkness. Here you can find tours that go to the South coast of Iceland.

Reynisfjara Iceland

Thor: The Dark World (2013): Interior and Skógafoss

It is fitting that Thor is partially filmed in Iceland, as Thor comes from the Nordic religion. Thor was filmed both in the interior of Iceland as well as at Skógafoss in the south of Iceland. Skógafoss is featured on any south coast tour of Iceland.

Skógafoss Iceland

Tree of Life (2011): Krafla and Námafjall

It’s not all sci-fi that’s filmed in Iceland, as this philosophical drama from 2011 shows us. The epic scene showing the beginning of Earth is shot around Krafla and Námafjall, with a number of bubbling hot springs in the area.

This Mývatn hot spring tour takes you around the area where some scenes from Tree of Life were filmed.

Námafjall hot spring area from Tree of Life

So as you can see, pretty much anywhere you go in Iceland, you might recognise the landscape from one film or another - especially since this is not an exhaustive list! Which film locations have you spotted in Iceland - and which ones are your favourite?