Our good buddy Scott Bakken is a travel photographer, adventurer, and overall badass dude. So when he told us about an upcoming bucket list trip out to Iceland, we were more than happy to hand off a stack of gear for him to put to the test in those coastal North Atlantic wilds. After hearing about his unforgettable experience, we started pining for some globetrotting getaways ourselves. Luckily, Scott put together a killer travel guide, ensuring that the only thing we’ll need for our next excursion to the Nordic Isle is some rugged gear, a plane ticket, and the spirit of adventure.

Iceland: 12 Must See Spots by Scott Bakken

Iceland is a bucket list trip for many and with good reason. Its landscape is unmatched with its overwhelming beauty around every corner. From waterfalls and mountains to canyons and black sand beaches, the views are endless. The accessibility to the unmatched beauty of the landscape is what makes Iceland one of the most desirable places to visit.

Diptych of Scott Bakken in Iceland

AN ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME

After 2 years of being stuck at home, it was time for an adventure. I called my buddy RJ (@rjbruni) and said, “Let’s go”. Without hesitation, he was in and we booked our flights. Everyone needs the kind of friend who is always up for adventure.

After what turned out to be the trip of a lifetime we mapped out some of our favorite spots so that you can be sure to check them out on your next trip. Through the wind and the rain, we had an epic experience and one that won’t soon be forgotten. It was definitely one for the books—so make sure you save these spots for your next adventure.

Waterfalls in Iceland

3 THINGS TO KNOW

THE RING ROAD

Iceland has one main road called The Ring Road which mostly goes along the coast. You can either drive South to North or the opposite. The below follows our journey going South to North, leading us through Hella, Vik, Hofn, Myvatyn, Husavik and then back to Reykjavik.

ENDLESS LIGHT

While Iceland has some beautiful winters and northern lights, there is nothing like experiencing it in the summer. In the peak of summer, the sun sets around 1AM and rises around 3AM. It rarely gets dark, mostly just dusky. This unique experience will allow you to do and see more. In winter, the opposite is true with only a few hours of daylight.

ICELAND IS WINDY

As most of the scenery is along the coast, there can be strong winds even in the summer. Take a proper jacket and a few layers and be prepared for some wind!

Diptych of Scott Bakken amidst wooden houses in a grassy meadow

12 MUST SEE SPOTS

1. REYKJAVIK

Reykjavik is the main city in Iceland. This vibrant and eclectic city is filled with cafes, boutiques and restaurants. The city center is very walkable and feels like something from a Wes Anderson film with its colorful homes and retro design. The city also has great nightlife so if you need a night on the town to kick off your adventure, this is the spot!

2. SKY LAGOON

Before you hit the road, take a dip in one of Iceland’s newest and most beautiful lagoons. Sky Lagoon is located in Reykjavik and has a 7 step ritual spa, swim up bar and a bistro for some wine and light food after your dip.

3. PANORAMA GLASS LODGE

Panorama Glass Lodge is located in Hella, about 90 minutes south of Reykjavik. These luxury lodges are unique as they are made almost entirely of glass. They are most ideal in winter for watching the northern lights but they still are a unique experience in summer. The lodges have black out blinds for you to get your rest. Each lodge has its own private sauna and hot tub.

Panorama Glass Lodge

4. KELDUR

Visit this little turf home just 20 minutes away from Panorama Glass Lodge. There is a parking lot with just a quick walk to the spot.

5. SELJALANDSFOSS

Seljalandsfoss is a waterfall located just off the ring road that can be fully encircled, situated on the South Coast of Iceland with a drop of 60 meters (200 feet). It is one of the most photographed features in all of Iceland.

6. REYNISFJARA BLACK SAND BEACH

Famously featured in Games of Thrones, this beach is considered to be the most beautiful example of Iceland’s black sand beaches. Located in Vik, Iceland, this beach is home to the Hexagonal Basalt Columns which create a very unique and incredible sight. While the beach is beautiful, it is also known for its dangers with its sneaker waves along the shoreline.

Scott Bakken walking on a sandy dune in Iceland Reynisfjara black sand beach

7. KATLA TRACK TOURS

If you are looking for a great adventure, you need to do the Ice Cave tour with Katla Track in Vik. This 4–5 hour long experience will take you to another planet. The endless black sand and stunning scenery makes you feel like you landed on Mars. A guide can take you on a short hike up to the ice caves and you will see views that will leave you breathless.

8. STOKKSNES

A very popular spot outside of Hofn is Mount Vestrahorn, located on the Stokksnes peninsula in Iceland. This is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. The black sand beach is filled with black sand dunes and makes for great photography. It was extremely windy and rainy the day of our visit, but it was still beautiful nonetheless.

9. GODAFOSS

Located in North Iceland in what is called The Diamond Circle, Godafoss is one of the many waterfalls that Iceland has to offer. It is very accessible with parking nearby. It is one of the major spots to visit while in North Iceland.

Scott Bakken at Godafoss

10. MYVATN

This region is located in North Iceland and is known for its high amount of geothermal activity. Its landscape is like something straight out of Star Wars.

Make sure to stop in Hverir. This large geothermal field is a unique wasteland where boiling mud, hot springs and hissing chimneys give life to a desolate Mars-like scenery. It is a high-temperature geothermal area with fumaroles and mud pots that bubble to a temperature of over 200 degrees Celsius.

11. WHALE WATCHING WITH NORTH SAILING

Located in Husavik, the whale watching capital of Iceland, North Sailing brings an elevated aesthetic to your whale watching experience. Sail the seas on Opal, a stunning boat, and let the whale watching begin. This was an experience to remember.

12. FOREST LAGOON

Visit Iceland’s Newest Lagoon in Akureyri, Iceland’s second biggest city. Enjoy food and drink in the bistro, a swim up bar and soak in the healing geothermal waters. Its new and modern design makes for a perfect spot, bringing peace and tranquility upon your visit.

About Scott Bakken

When he’s not on impromptu trans-Atlantic adventures, Scott leads a creative community called Socality, hosting events for creators across North America. Scott lives with his wife and 2 children in Calgary Canada. Check out more of his killer content here:

Scott Bakken and RJ Bruni shown wearing—

Scott Bakken walking on a black sand beach
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