Get ready to be amazed by North Iceland!

It’s a region with striking contrasts and stunning landscapes, with so much to see and do. 

Whether you dream of endless summer days exploring volcanic craters and serene lakes, or magical winter nights under the Northern Lights, it ticks all the boxes.

Visit the vibrant town of Akureyri or the mystical landscapes of Mývatn and savor some of the best waterfalls in Iceland. 

You’ll fall in love with every part of it!

With so much to see, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start, but I’m here to help you navigate the North like a pro. 

From top attractions and the best time to visit popular tours, let me take you through North Iceland’s treasures so you can see why this area belongs on your bucket list!

Let’s get into it. 👇

Table of Contents:

Best Time of Year to Visit North Iceland

Picture of Godafoss River in North Iceland | Iceland with a View

Northern Iceland is accessible year-round.

However, when traveling routes like the Diamond Circle, some roads in the far north may be closed in the winter.

This region is generally colder with extreme weather conditions and receives more snow from November to April. You can run into snowstorms that delay drive times and even close roads.

What’s great about summer, though, is that there’s absolutely no concern about the roads being open, making it an excellent time to visit.

You’ll enjoy lots of daylight hours for sightseeing, warmer weather, and far better road conditions.

I’d say the best months to explore this area are from May to October.

That being said, if you’re drawn to the magical winter landscapes, fewer crowds, and the Northern Lights, then a trip to Iceland in the winter is perfect for you.

The Weather in North Iceland

This region’s rainiest month is October, but if you’re looking to explore in the dryer, sunnier season, then June would be a good bet.

Temperatures in July (the warmest month) average between 43°F(6°C) and 55°F (13°C). 

North Iceland winter temperatures can dip from 32°F(0°C) to 21°F(-6°C) in December, the coldest month.

Driving in the North

Generally speaking, if you’re traveling to Iceland in the summer and sticking to the main routes, you should be fine with a 2WD vehicle.

The Ring Road and Diamond Circle with paved roads should be fine to access.

Just keep in mind that if you plan on venturing down any F-Roads, you will of course need 4WD.

If you’re visiting in the winter, I always suggest being prepared with a 4WD.

Nothing beats the freedom and flexibility of driving yourself on holiday. 

My number one pick for a trusted car rental company in Iceland is Blue Car Rental.

I love that the insurance is included in their price and you don’t have to worry about safety with their equipped vehicles.

💥Get 5% off the rental price when you book with my link.

Banner for Blue Car 5% Discount Code (Click the Banner And Your Discount Will Be Applied Automatically | Iceland with a View

Unsure about what kind of vehicle you’ll need? This will help you.👇

10 Must-See Attractions in North Iceland

This is a vast region, and narrowing down what you must see in Northern Iceland is almost impossible – almost!

But just call me Mrs. Impossible, as I’ve rolled up my sleeves and done just that to show why this area deserves a spot on your itinerary! 😉


Picture of a Big Blue Building Located in Akureyri in the North of Iceland | Iceland with a View

As the capital of the North, Akureyri, North Iceland is known for its vibrant culture, stunning fjord views, and a great hub for exploring the northern region. You’ll find a variety of wonderful cafés and restaurants and plenty of things to do like visiting the Akureyri Art Museum or the beautiful botanical gardens.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Goðafoss Waterfall and Akureyri Botanical Gardens, Shore Excursion

Diamond Circle Route

This route is often referred to as the Golden Circle of the North, so you know it’s got to be good! 

Let’s take a look at some of the best attractions here.


Picture of Jeannie staring at the Myvatn View in North Iceland | Iceland with a View

This is probably the most popular area for visitors in the North of Iceland.

If you’ve seen photographs of the geothermal area nearby, it may as well have been taken from the Mars rover! 

Picture black landscapes, volcanic craters, fumaroles, and mud pools. 

But that’s not all, other worthy sights include the Mývatn Nature Baths, coined “Blue Lagoon of the North” and the Grjótagjá cave. You’ll recognize it as Jon Snow’s cave from Game of Thrones. 

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Lake Myvatn, Dettifoss,Selfoss, Godafoss, Nature Baths & More


Picture of the Breathtaking View of Godafoss (Waterfall) In the North of Iceland | Iceland with a View

The “Waterfall of the Gods” is one of Iceland’s most iconic sites and definitely one of my top 10 must-see waterfalls.

Some waterfalls require you to take a long and arduous hike to get there, but not Goðafoss! 

It’s conveniently located right off the Ring Road and accessible year-round.

Find out more about this amazing site here.👇

➡️ READ: Goðafoss: Your Complete Guide to One of Iceland’s Most Famous Waterfalls


Landscape View of Part of the Húsavik Village in North Iceland | Iceland with a View

You guys! I love this little village! 

It’s a perfect detour off the Ring Road on the Diamond Circle Route. If you know our story, this is where my hubby and I decided (on our honeymoon) that we were moving to Iceland. So it holds a special place in our hearts. 

You can’t mention Húsavík without mentioning whale watching… but more about that later. 


This horseshoe-shaped canyon in Vatnajökull National Park, North Iceland, is truly breathtaking. 

The canyon is surrounded by towering cliffs and a lush forest filled with trees – not what you’re typically used to seeing in Iceland!

There are many serene hiking trails in the area with incredible views, Ásbyrgi is a must-visit for nature lovers and adventure seekers – or if you just like pretty things!

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Dettifoss and Ásbyrgi

Dettifoss & Selfoss

Picture of Jeannie Wearing a Headband and Taking Photos on the Side of Dettifoss in Iceland | Iceland with a View

This powerful waterfall can be found in Vatnajökull National Park – A Unesco World Heritage Site.

There are two options for viewing Dettifoss. You can access it from the East or West side. The easier road to navigate is the West and there is a viewing platform here as well. 

If you choose the East, be prepared for a rough ride! The road is terrible, but you can get really close to the falls and the views are spectacular.

Be sure to take the time to see Selfoss waterfall, just south of Dettifoss – it’s totally worth it. 

This waterfall features multiple smaller streams tumbling over a horseshoe-shaped cliff.

There’ll be fewer crowds here than at Dettifoss because people tend to skip over it. You can get close to the cliff but the rocks are very slippery, so please be careful.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Private Diamond Circle Tour


Picture of Hvítserkur, also known as the "white shirt" rock standing at a height of 49ft (15m) in the ocean in North Iceland | Iceland with a View

Hvítserkur is also known as the “white shirt” rock standing at a height of 49ft (15m) in the ocean.

It’s about a 40-minute drive from the town of Hvammstangi in Northwest Iceland. Just be warned, the roads to get there can be rough, especially in winter.

What’s pretty cool is that the rock is a bit of a Rorschach test – everyone sees something different in its shape!

Tröllaskagi Peninsula. 

The Tröllaskagi Peninsula lies between Skagafjörður and Eyjafjörður glaciers and has some of the highest mountains in Iceland! 

It can be seen in a day or if you want to visit the charming little fishing village of Siglufjörður, it’s also a good option to stay overnight on your North Iceland itinerary.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Arctic Coastline and Tröllaskagi (Troll) Peninsula

Arctic Henge

This structure can be found in the remote village of Raufarhöfn, about a 2-hour drive from Húsavík.

It features impressive stone arches arranged like a sundial, making it a unique spot to capture great photos.

A word to the wise: make sure you go on a good weather day. Check out this video to understand why!👇


This hot spring spa is one of my favorite hot springs located in Húsavík overlooking a beautiful fjörd. 

Pool culture is huge in Iceland, and once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you’ll be hooked! 

If you want to find out my top picks for hot springs in Iceland, check out the post below.👇

➡️ READ: Top 10 Blue Lagoon Alternatives: Hot Springs, Pools, and Spas That Are Just as Breathtaking

North Iceland Dining & Accommodation

Popular routes run through the region and you will find a number of guesthouses, backpacker hostels, and hotels in Northern Iceland.

Some of the best towns to stay in include Akureyri, Siglufjörður and Dalvík

Many of the hotels in the area also have restaurants but some notable places to grab a bite are Vogafjós in Mývatn, Restaurant Salka in Húsavík and Kaffi Ilmur in Akureyri.

More Things to Do in North Iceland

I told you there were a lot of things to do! 

If you have time and are looking for tours and extra activities to add to your itinerary, here are a few options.

Whale Watching

Picture of Tourists Inside of a Boat for Whale Watching in Iceland | Iceland with a View

Húsavík is known as the whale-watching capital of Iceland, and renowned for being one of the best places to spot them in Europe. I love Gentle Giants, I’ve always had wonderful experiences with them. Be sure to use my code ‘WHALESWITHAVIEW when you book with them for 10% off your tour!

If you want to find out more about Whale watching in Iceland this is the post for you.👇

➡️ READ: Epic Whale Watching in Iceland: Your Top 10 Tips, Tours, and More!

Northern Lights

Picture of the Northern Lights in Iceland | Iceland with a View

If you’re visiting Iceland in the fall or winter, the North is a great place to witness the beauty of the aurora.

If you haven’t seen the Northern Lights in person, nothing can quite prepare you for it.

Akureyri and Mývatn are wonderful locations to spot to see these green, pink, and purple lights dancing across the sky.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Northern Lights Classic Tour from Akureyri


With so many natural wonders in North Iceland, you will find plenty of hiking trails, especially in Vatnajökull National Park, Mývatn and Ásbyrgi.

➡️ TAKE A TOUR: Hike & Bath Mývatn Activity

Bjórböðin Beer Bath Spa

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to bathe in a tub of beer while also drinking one? 

Well, you don’t have to wonder anymore! 

Enjoy a unique spa experience at Bjórböðin Beer Bath Spa and the amazing view over Eyjafjörður Fjord.

Check out my experience here.👇

Iceland Guidebooks and Maps

Now that you have your must-visit list for North Iceland, let the planning begin! 

Making the most of your time in Iceland isn’t just about ticking off the tourist spots. It’s also about being prepared with practical details, like knowing where the nearest grocery stores, clinics, fuel stations, and restaurants are.

If you’re fed up with cookie-cutter guides that don’t add value, check out this little number…  

👉 My Iceland Guidebooks + Maps are filled with insider tips, and a digital map with 500+ pinned locations like waterfalls, hiking trails, and plenty more for an unforgettable trip.

The Ring Road Guidebook + Map, specifically, has everything you need to know about visiting Northern Iceland. If you’d like all these epic places listed on one convenient digital map, along with a handy PDF guide, packing lists, planning worksheets, and more…

Grab the Ring Road Guidebook + Map below. 👇

Mockup of a Tablet with the Ring Road Travel Guide Cover for the PDF, and a Phone with the Iceland Digital Map | Iceland with a View

Iceland Ring Road Map + Guide

With the Ultimate Ring Road Travel Guide in hand, you’re ready to head out on Iceland’s most iconic road trip. This easy-to-follow route circles the entire country, giving you a chance to explore Iceland’s most stunning attractions – from glaciers to thunderous waterfalls, rejuvenating hot springs, and more.. This Travel Guide will help you plan an unforgettable Highlands trip from start to finish. 

Happy planning,

Picture of Jeannie's Signature

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