When travelling around Iceland you have to question what took the big Hollywood directors so long to land on this beautiful Island.
From volcanoes, to bubbling hot springs, snow-capped mountains and black-sanded beaches, Iceland has become a country famous for its stunning movie locations and thanks to TV shows like the Game of Thrones, it has become one of the top reasons for tourists to visit the ”Country of Fire and Ice”.
In fact, tourists now visit solely to see the Game of Thrones ‘Seven Kingdoms’ film locations with specialised packages being offered for those die-hard fans wishing to tour as many locations as they can in the quickest time possible, taking in much of Northern Iceland in search of dragon destroying goats whilst learning about the Free Folk with optional extras to areas around Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss and the Geysir being seen as an after-thought.
However, even if you are not a Game of Thrones Fan, and I can assure you all that there are some out there, Iceland is still a country full of film locations to explore.
Take for example, well known films like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty starring Ben Stiller, Oblivion with Tom Cruise or Prometheus with Michael Fassbender and Charlie Theron, they all have scenes filmed in wonderful locations like Fjallsárlón, Dettifoss Waterfall and Hrossaborg Crater, so even if you are not Thronie but love your films there is still plenty of reasons to visit Iceland.
Our Top Film Location Recommendations in Iceland
#1 Stardust (2007)
Ok, so I am not going to lie, I have a bit of a soft spot for this particular film. Perhaps it’s the magical idea that stars really are people, or that you can flit from one world to another simply by crossing over a brick wall that has got to me but for some reason this is a movie that I have watched over and over again.
It also gains points for including a song written by Gary Barlow and for the fact that it is a book adaption that I have not completely hated.
If you are visiting the area around Höfn, known for its wonderful seafood, then why not take a trip over to Stokksnes where you can revisit the spot where one wicked brother learnt how to decipher the runes for himself.
#2 Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Anything that stars Chris Hemsworth, in my opinion, is worth watching and Thor is definitely a film that holds my attention, both for the eye-candy and the storyline. Both myself and Paul have been known to enjoy a good Marvels film, and this hammer-welding character provides some of the best story-lines of Stan Lee’s career in recent years.
With Þóristindur, Dómadalur, Skogafoss, one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls, all located in the south of the country this could be a worthwhile day out for all comic fans.
If you like the Marvel Films, and have time to spare, you may also find it valuable to know that VIk with its iconic black beaches, is just half an hour from Skogafoss, and was used during the filming of Captain America: Civil War.
#3 Noah (2014)
When I first heard about this film I was skeptical. Would it be overtly religious? Would it be a massively hyped film that would flop? Would I enjoy it as much as some of the classic religiously themed movies like the one starring Charlton Heston?
It is however, one of those films that surprised me – ‘I didn’t think I would like it but I did’ type film – and whilst I can’t really put my finger on why I think a lot of credit has to go to the film locations and how they helped to make the film appear more realistic in terms of the barren wilderness Noah would have been faced with, had this story been true.
So what better place to film than in Iceland, known for its vast untouched landscapes due largely to the fact that much of the Island is completely unpopulated.
Whilst the majority of Noah was filmed on Reynisfjara black sand beach near Vik, Russell Crowe and the crew also found themselves exploring the Raufarholshellir Lava Caves, Kleifarvatn, located on the fissure zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Sandvik, where you will find a bridge that connects the Eurasian and American continental plates.
#4 Batman Begins (2005)
Remember that scene where Liam Neeson and Christian Bale have a sword fight on the top of a snow-capped mountain? Well that scene was filmed at Svinafellsjökull Glacier in Iceland.
Yes, it seems that every year or so yet another Batman movie is destined to be a blockbuster but I cannot recollect any other scene in any of those films like I recall this one. Perhaps it is because I admire the actors after finding out that both men actually climbed on top of the Glacier to film this particular scene. Or perhaps it is because these actors continued with the scene even after feeling that their lives were in danger? (It is reported that during their scene both actors felt the ice start to give way underneath them).
Whatever the reason, Svinafellsjökull Glacier will remain with me as an iconic film location because of Batman Begins.
#5 James Bond (A View To Kill – 1985) & (Die Another Day – 2002)
Jökulsárlón has appeared in not one, but two James Bond films and to be honest, after visiting this site I understand why.
Watching the light reflect on the blue-tinted icebergs as they float around the lagoon, I begin to comprehend why people want to visit places like Antarctica – the beauty is something that, if it had not been so cold, I could have spent hours starring at. Add to this the seals, swimming freely in open waters and relaxing in a herd on top of the ice, just far enough to been seen but left undisturbed, is something that will always remain with me.
This location for me is the ultimate place to visit if you are a film buff simply because it provides you with the opportunity to not only visit a popular movie set, it also allows you to experience somewhere that does not exist anywhere else in many countries across the world – the feeling of solitude and peace with a glacier for a backdrop.
For all true film buffs out there – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) also has scenes filmed at Jökulsárlón; so that gives you at least three reasons to visit.
And this is not all…
Filming in Iceland is something that many movie and TV creators are now looking in to and with new releases each year featuring this fantastic landscape, it is just a matter of keeping your eyes open next time you visit the cinema.
If you are thinking of heading to Iceland and have contemplated visiting not just for the Northern Lights but also to see where your favourite actors have read their lines then why not hire a car, stay in a couple of different locations and explore more than just the capital of this now very popular location.
With so much to choose from though, picking the right accommodation in Iceland for you can be quite a daunting decision to make but to make that choice slightly easier we do have a couple of recommendations of our own – one in the city and one further afield just in case you are someone that has their heart set on seeing the Northern Lights at the same time.
Have you visited a film location in Iceland that you feel others should know about? We would love to hear about your suggestions and ideas. Who knows, there may even be a couple we have yet to find out about ourselves.