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The Reykjanes Peninsula is a unique slice of Iceland with dramatic landscapes comprising lava fields, volcanic craters, geothermal waters and hot springs, and lava caves. The 55 sites of the Reykjanes Geopark are at the center of it all. In addition to sightseeing, the region is also a hotbed for outdoor activities, including horse riding, ATV riding, and bathing in the world-famous Blue Lagoon.
Reykjanes Geopark: Steam Rising from the Earth, Reddish-Brown Ground, Person Observing

Known as the home of the Blue Lagoon and a pair of recent erupting volcanoes, the Reykjanes Peninsula was recognized as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2015. UNESCO Global Geoparks are areas where landscapes and specific sites are of international geological significance and are managed with a concept of preservation, education, and sustainable development. The geopark is an excellent representation of Iceland’s unique geology and is a must for geology enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers.

The Reykjanes Peninsula is a young section of Iceland, a highly volcanic counterpart of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, where the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates part at an average rate of a couple of centimeters a year. This is the area to explore a volcanic wonderland.

Geology and landscape of the Reykjanes Geopark

The Reykjanes Peninsula, with an area of 2,000 sq. km, comprises four volcanic systems and fissure swarms from the southwest to the northeast. They contain open fissures, faults, geothermal fields, and dormant volcanic fissures.

Eruptions have occurred in the three systems during the past millennium, all in long episodes, in the 10/11th centuries, in 1151-1180, 1210-1240, and most recently in 2021 and 2022.

Sites in the Reykjanes Geopark

Fifty-five various sites make up the Reykjanes Geopark. Below are some natural sites to visit.

Bridge Between the Continents

Travelers can visit a spot where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge crosses Iceland, the meeting point of the Eurasian and North American plates. There’s a small footbridge, a symbolic site that connects the two land masses, offering visitors an impressive view of the ridge.


Gunnuhver is a geothermal area comprised of bubbling mud pools, hissing steam vents, and colorful mineral deposits. It is named after a legendary ghost named Gunna, and the area offers a fascinating view of Iceland’s geothermal activity.


Kleifarvatn is a vast lake known for its dark, mysterious waters and spectacular volcanic surroundings. It is the largest lake on the Reykjanes Peninsula and offers locals and travelers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and birdwatching.


The highlights of Garður for many are the two lighthouses, each with unique charm. The more traditional and older red-striped lighthouse was built in 1847, while the newer square-shaped lighthouse was built in 1944 in a more modern Nordic style. Fishing boats can often be seen from shore, and there is rich birdlife in the region, ranging from hordes of gulls circling in the summer months to ravens dominating the skies in the winter.


Reykjanesvötn is a cluster of volcanic craters and lakes, displaying the geological diversity of the Reykjanes Peninsula. The area offers scenic hiking trails and an opportunity to observe volcanic formations up close.


Seltún is a geothermal area in Krýsuvík, featuring an otherworldly landscape with gurgling mud pots, boiling vents, and rich mineral deposits. Wooden footpaths allow visitors to explore the geothermal features while ensuring their safety.


This dramatic sea cliff offers breathtaking coastline views and is home to nesting seabirds, including puffins, fulmars, and kittiwakes. It provides an excellent opportunity for birdwatching and enjoying the coastal scenery of the Reykjanes Peninsula.

Wildlife in the Reykjanes Geopark

While the Reykjanes Peninsula may seem desolate with its sweeping lava fields, it’s a region rich with wildlife. There are three mammal species that thrive on the Reykjanes Peninsula: Arctic foxes, minks, and field mice.

However, when it comes to birds, numerous species dominate the skies surrounding the Reykjanes Peninsula. Among the wilderness birds are Ptarmigans, Northern Wheaters, Snow Buntings, Golden Plowers, Whimbrels, and Ravens. There are also various swimmers and wetland birds like Mallards, Greylag Geese, Great Northern Divers, and Eurasian Oystercatchers; the birds of prey include both Merlins and Gyrfalcons. It’s no wonder Reykjanes is so popular among birdwatchers and wildlife photographers.

How to get to the Reykjanes Geopark

Guided Tours

Joining a guided tour is an excellent option if you prefer not to drive or navigate on your own. Some tour operators offer guided excursions to the Reykjanes Geopark from Reykjavik; these tours often include transportation, a knowledgeable local guide, and visits to key attractions in the geopark.

By Car

While guided tours are the way for many travelers, renting a car to explore the Reykjanes Geopark is possible. From Reykjavik, you can drive to the geopark by following Route 41 or Route 43, both of which connect the capital region to the Reykjanes Peninsula.

The best time to visit the Reykjanes Geopark

The Reykjanes Geopark can be a great area to visit any time of year. In summer, there could be milder temperatures, long days of sunlight, and lush green grass and moss covering the landscape. However, the winter is also a lovely time to visit the region with the soft light, possible snowy landscapes, and fewer crowds.


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