Iceland is called the Land of Fire and Ice because it’s teeming with beautiful landscapes, jarring contrasts, and rugged terrain. The Reykjanes Peninsula is no different and is characterized by geothermal mud pools, steaming lava fields, and unique rock formations. This peninsula is also home to the famous and luxurious Blue Lagoon and the Keflavik International Airport.
Visitors to Iceland who stay are in for a real treat if they explore Reykjanes beyond the famous Blue Lagoon. For example, from anywhere on the peninsula you can see a perfect view of the Northern Lights. There is also a rich cultural history to enjoy, from old fishing villages to interesting museums and remarkable lighthouses. This guide will tell you about some of the amazing attractions waiting for you in Reykjanes Peninsula.
The Blue Lagoon
The most famous tourist attraction in this region is the otherworldly Blue Lagoon. It’s an Iceland landmark akin to the Eiffel Tower in France and the Colosseum in Italy. Many tourists plan a stop here when they visit Iceland. A group of construction workers at a geothermal power plant discovered these natural mineral-rich baths by chance in the 1970s. The healing waters are infused with silica and sulfur creating the perfect combination to help soothe skin diseases like psoriasis.
Once the popularity of the Blue Lagoon spread, a company created a man-made pool to hold the rich water. It is now the beautiful spa and relaxing bath we know today. The cost of booking the exclusive Retreat Spa experience is 563 EUR. However, the comfort and premium entrance fees are vastly more affordable. They are at 50 and 71 EUR respectively.
Prepare to be pampered if you book the premium entrance to the Blue Lagoon. The package includes a silica mud mask and another one of your choice. It also includes a towel, drink of your choice, sparkling wine if dining, slippers, bathrobe, and reservations at LAVA. After you bathe in the soothing waters, enjoying the facemasks and drinks you will leave feeling like royalty. Then you can enjoy dinner and your glass of sparkling wine at one of most revered restaurants in Iceland. The LAVA restaurant is literally located in a lava field and the gourmet food includes dishes with cod and haddock.
Bridge Between Continents
The Eurasian and North American tectonic plates have a boundary called the mid Atlantic Ridge that is right under the Reykjanes Peninsula. The tip of the peninsula is the only location on Earth that allows you to see where the Atlantic Ridge rises above sea level. The presence of these plates have caused the creation of active volcanoes, vast lava fields, earthquakes, and shaped the terrain. When the plates periodically move fissures formed at the surface.
You’ll see this in the famous Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park.
At the fissures closest to Sandvík village there is a footbridge called the Bridge Between Continents. This bridge goes across the fissures so you can stand over the two tectonic plates. Then you can stand on the actual borders of the tectonic plates. You should do both and say you stood on two continents simultaneously. Then take once in a lifetime photos of this fascinating geological feature.
Near the Bridge between Continents are two main areas with geothermal activity, Gunnuhver and Krýsuvik. Gunnuhver has hot mud springs that makes bubbling sounds from the naturally boiling water in the mud. And Krýsuvik has steamy hot springs in addition to mud pools. The stunning scenery is worth a visit after the famous bridge.
The largest lake found on the peninsula is Lake Kleifarvatn. It is located in the South West of Iceland near the two main geothermal areas. Lake Kleifarvatn is the deepest lake on the peninsula and has a deep depth of 97m (318ft) deep.
Reykjanes Peninsula Attractions
After the Blue Lagoon and the Bridge Between Continents, enjoy more of the Reykjanes Peninsula attractions. There are a plethora of things to appreciate such as the Icelandic Museum of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This museum is a perfect stop for the music enthusiast because it catalogs the history of Icelandic pop and rock music. It’s also located 5 minutes away from Keflavík International Airport and is the home of Iceland’s most famous bands. Keflavík is often called “The Beatles Town” as a result. Popular Icelandic artists include Emilíana Torrini and Bjork. The entrance is 13 USD and definitely worth a visit.
If have an interest in history you should visit Viking World museum. The main attraction is the 1996 Viking ship constructed by Gunnar Marel Eggertsson. Other features in this facility include a farm zoo in the summer, a fun playground, and a place for lectures. Iceland’s culture comes directly from the Vikings, so it’s interesting the see how our ancestors lived.
Another interesting attraction in Reykjanes is the longstanding history with lighthouses. The oldest and most popular lighthouse is Reykjanes lighthouse. The first version was built in 1878 but was destroyed and the current version was built in 1907 on Bæjarfell hill. It is 29m (95ft) tall and 69m (226ft) above sea level. The structure is impressive and the steam rising from geothermal fields to surround the base adds to the regal aesthetic.
The next site you should visit is a fishing town called Sandgerði. This town developed because of the abundant fishing grounds off the Atlantic Coast. In fact, it still contributes to Iceland’s fishing industry today. There’s an assortment of small and large fishing boats. But the overall growth in tourism in Iceland has led to the development of the Sudurnes Science and Learning Center. There is now a museum and research center focused on aquatic life.
Reykjanes Peninsula Day Trip
If you only have one day to spare you can definitely plan an enjoyable Reykjanes Peninsula Day Trip. The most important sites to see include the world-famous Blue Lagoon, the geographically unique Bridge between Continents, and the Reykjanes Lighthouse. You should also visit the largest lake called Lake Kleifarvatn. Bonus, they are all located near each other. Come visit Reykjanes Peninsula to see wonderful sites and luxuriate in a thermal bath.