Dramatic rocky beaches, impressive mountains, black volcanic deserts, endless fields of driven snow, and rugged glaciers. This sort of exceptional natural beauty and largely varied scenery makes Iceland the perfect filming location - and Hollywood seems to be more aware of it than ever. Check out these locations where some of the most known movies and TV shows were filmed and put them on your Iceland Bucket List!
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James Bond series: A View to a Kill (1985) and Die Another Day (2002) - Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
British secret agent 007 James Bond has filmed in Iceland twice. Many scenes in the 14th and the 20th James Bond movies were shot in Iceland, from amazing snowboarding scenes to an epic car chase on the on the frozen glacier lagoon between giant blue icebergs, making it one of the most unforgettable scenes in action film. Filming locations included the town of Höfn and Vatnajökull Glacier.
Directed: Lee Tamahori. Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Halle Berry, Toby Stephens, Rosamund Pike, John Cleese, Judi Dench
The Star Wars saga - Epic locations spanning across Iceland
George Lucas' epic space opera franchise features Iceland in both The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Many of the desolate wintry scenes many of us grew up with were shot in Iceland and the film crew visited the country multiple times for shooting all over the island.
The Icelandic scenery was used as the backdrop for the ice planet Hoth in The Force Awakens and a new planet in the Star Wars universe, Eadu, in Rogue One.
Starring: Harrison FordMark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max von Sydow
Some scenes were shot on Eyjafjallajokull Glacier, the very one that became infamous by way of its huge eruption in 2010, stopping air traffic around the world for a few days.
Svínafellsjökull, Skaftefell Nature Reserve
The icy scenery of Svínafellsjökull, the 'Hollywood glacier' was used for shooting scenes which took place, or so we’re meant to believe, on the icy planet Hoth. However, it is quite difficult to recognize any specific Icelandic landscapes in the movie.
Reynisfjara and Mýrdalssandur
The area around the mountains of Hjörleifshöfði and Hafursey at Mýrdalssandur were used to play Lah'mu and Eadu. Mýrdalssandur is a deserted outwash plain, a black sand beach area on the south coast of Iceland and indeed almost extraterrestrial in appearance. The Ring Road crosses this flat surface across 25 kilometers.
Lake Myvatn and Lake Víti
Both lakes are located in the north of the country, surrounded by extraordinary volcanic landscapes and geothermal fields. No wonder why the directors chose these places to shoot.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2003) - Jökulksarlón glacier lagoon
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is an action-adventure film based on the popular Tomb Raider video game series featuring the character Lara Croft portrayed by Angelina Jolie.
There is a three-minute sequence in the first Tomb Raider film, which was filmed at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in southeastern Iceland. In the film, the location plays a remote village in Siberia. If you feel like pretending to be Angelina for a day and going on a boat ride on the ice lagoon just like Lara Croft does in Tomb Raider, join us on a tour to the south coast!
Directed: Simon West. Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Daniel Craig, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie
Batman Begins (2005) - Svínafelsjökull glacier, Vatnajökull
Batman Begins is a superhero action film based on the DC Comics character. The film reboots the origin story of Bruce Wayne, from the death of his parents on his journey to becoming Batman.
Unexpectedly, the Icelandic landscape in the movie represents Bhutan and just goes to show how diverse the country really is. In the movie, Liam Neeson and Christian Bale have their epic sword fight on the glacier. The actors later told the press that they heard crackling beneath the ice while they were shooting the scene.
The scenes were shot at Svínafellsjökull Glacier on the South Coast of Iceland. It is one of the numerous outlet glaciers of the enormous Vatnajökull, Europe's largest icecap, which covers 8% of Iceland’s total land.
If you want to do a glacier hike on the same glacier where the two Hollywood stars battled it out, check out our glacier hike tour of Svinafellsjokull Glacier.
Directed: Christopher Nolan. Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe, Morgan Freeman
Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008) - Snæfellsjökull National Park
Journey to the Center of the Earth is one of the oldest science fiction novels, a classic written by Jules Verne and first published in 1864. The story is about a professor who believes there are volcanic tubes leading to the center of the Earth. He, his nephew and their guide descend into the Icelandic volcano Snæfellsjökull and surface again in southern Italy, at the Stromboli volcano.
The story inspired many film directors throughout the 20th century. The latest movie, a cinematographic sequel to the novel, was filmed in Snæfellsjökull National Park Iceland in 2008. The film also featured some local actors and actresses.
Directed: Eric Brevig. Starring Brendan Fraser, Josh Hutcherson, Anita Briem
The Tree of Life (2011) - Krafla volcano and Námafjall, North Iceland
The epic drama The Tree of Life is about the origins and meaning of life - and Iceland served as the perfect location to represent the 'young earth'. The central filming location for these scenes was the stunning and highly picturesque area of the Krafla volcano in northern Iceland. This other worldly place is one of the most geothermally active places in Iceland with hotbeds of steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud.
Directed: Terrence Malick: Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain
Prometheus (2012) - Hekla volcano and Dettifoss waterfall
Ridley Scott's epic science fiction masterpiece Prometheus is set in the late 21st century and the story centers on the crew of the spaceship Prometheus. The exterior shots of the alien world seen in the film were shot in Iceland.
Hekla is an active volcano in southern Iceland, with "rough and Jurassic-like" views as the director described it.
In the opening scene, the Engineer Sacrifice was shot at Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
Directed: Ridley Scott. Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, Charlize Theron
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) - Filming locations all over Iceland
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a beautiful adventure comedy-drama that was mainly filmed in Iceland. The landscape plays a major role in the movie. What’s more, it features Icelandic actors in some of the roles.
The story takes place in the US, Greenland, Iceland and the Himalayas - but really, it was all filmed on location only in the US and Iceland. The scenes allegedly featuring Greenland and the Himalayas were also shot in Iceland.
Directed: Ben Stiller. Starring Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, Sean Penn
This is the largest town on the beautiful Snæfellsnes peninsula with adorable and very colorful old houses. This town represented Greenland in the movie, it was the location of the bar and helicopter take off scene.
The adorable village in eastern Iceland was the location for the famous longboarding scene when Walter Mitty changes his bike to a longboard and skates down the empty road.
Vatnajökull National Park
The scenes supposedly featuring the Himalayas and Afghanistan were shot in the Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, in the shadows of Europe’s biggest glacier – Vatnajökull. Nature here is especially dramatic with varied landscapes: blue glaciers, rocky deserts, stunning mountains and impressive waterfalls.
This is one of the most beautiful villages in West Iceland. Gundarfjörður was the filming location of the scene depicting the fishing boat Erkigsnek docked in the harbor.
The airport where Walter Mitty lands in Greenland was shot at Höfn, sitting on the south-eastern shore of Iceland, in the shadows of the majestic Vatnajökull.
Oblivion (2013) - Hrossaborg crater, Jarlhettur
Tom Cruise saves the world in the post-apocalyptic science fiction film, Oblivion, with the most awe-inspiring Icelandic nature in the background. The unique landscapes play a major role in this movie. The film was shot on location at the Hrossaborg Crater in northeast Iceland and around Jarlhettur mountain in the western part of the Highlands, while some scenes were filmed near the stunning Dettifoss waterfall.
Directed: Joseph Kosinski. Starring: Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo
Thor: The Dark World (2013) - Landmannalaugar, Dettifoss, Skógafoss
The Marvel superhero film Thor: The Dark World is among the most extensive film projects to have ever have taken place in Iceland. In Norse mythology, Thor is the hammer-wielding god of thunder and lightning, associated with storms, oak trees, strength, hallowing, fertility, the protection of mankind and of the fortress of Asgard.
The black sand landscape of 'Svartalfheim', the Dark Elves realm is shot around Landmannalaugar, near the volcano Hekla in southern Iceland. Landmannalaugar Nature Reserve is one of the most photographed places in Iceland and for a very good reason. Landmannalaugar is a colorful oasis in the Highlands, mystically surrounded by mountains and steaming hot springs.
Ásbyrgi and the Dettifoss
Iceland also provides the mountains and lakes of Asgard, where an aerial unit captured spectacular shots of the Dettifoss, Europe's most powerful waterfall and the stunning canyon of Ásbyrgi.
Skógafoss and Fjaðrárgljúfur
Another picturesque waterfall, the stunning Skógafoss, was also among the filming locations for the film. Sógafoss is located just next to the road on the South Coast, not far from Fjaðrárgljúfur, one of the most stunning canyons in the world.
Directed: Alan Taylor. Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba, Christopher Eccleston, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Kat, Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi, Tadanobu Asano, Jaimie Alexander, Rene Russo
Interstellar (2014) - Svínafellsjökull glacier and Máfabót
The film Interstellar was also partly shot at Svínafellsjökull glacier. The film's other filming location in Iceland was Máfabót, a low land between the open sea and a river on the South Coast. The two locations represent two different planets in Interstellar. The scenery of the country was also used largely for promotional collateral for the film.
Directed: Christopher Nolan. Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine
Noah (2014) - All over Iceland
Iceland was the main filming location of the epic biblical drama Noah. It represented the land before the world was flooded. The gorgeous black sand beach Reynisfjara was one of the main locations but the crew used several locations all over Iceland, including the Reykjanes peninsula in South-West Iceland, and around the lake Mývatn in the North.
Directed: Darren Aronofsky. Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins
Captain America: Civil War (2016) - Vík, South Iceland
Some scenes in the Captain America movie took place near the town of Vík in southern Iceland, an increasingly popular destination for film crews. The village is surrounded by beautiful valleys, dramatic cliffs, stunning mountains and black sandy beaches.
Directed: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo. Starring: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily, VanCamp, Tom Holland, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones is an epic American fantasy drama television series, one of the globally most popular television shows to date. Set on fictional continents, the Icelandic landscape plays a major role in the story, representing the land far north where legendary creatures live, known to fans as the ‘Land Beyond The Wall’.
Created: David Benioff, D. B. Weiss. Starring: Sean Bean, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen, Aidan Gillen, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden, Alfie Allen, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Jack Gleeson, Rory McCann, Peter Dinklage, Charles Dance, Liam Cunningham, John Bradley, Natalie Dormer, Jerome Flynn.
Vatnajökull National Park
Scenes with the wildlings north of the wall in seasons two and three were filmed the Svínafellsjökull glacier, an outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull icecap, and other locations nearby in the Skaftafell Nature Reserve on the South Coast of Iceland.
Grjótagjá hot spring cave
The famous scene where Jon Snow breaks his vow with Ygritte is shot in the hot spring cave Grjótagjá near Lake Mývatn, North Iceland. The hot spring does exist - however, the waterfall is not real - it is forbidden to bathe inside since it is way too hot.
The scenes where Mance Rayder sets up his camp and Sam Tarly is being attacked by white walkers was filmed in the area of Dimmuborgir and the otherworldly lava fields that surround it.
Thingvellir National Park
Thingvellir National Park was the location of Arya's and Sandor Clegane's journey and the fight between Brienne and the Hound in the fourth season. The pass to the impregnable Eyrie is actually a rift between the tectonic plates where you can walk along yourself if you visit the Golden Circle Route in Iceland!
Oh, and did you know that the Mountain is played by an Icelandic actor? Or that the band playing in Joffrey’s wedding was actually Sigur Rós, a famous Icelandic band?
Kirkjufell is one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland. It appears for a second in episode 5 of the sixth season, when the Children of the Forest created the first White Walker. The mountain can be seen again in season seven, where the Hound describes it as a mountain that looks like an arrowhead.
Fast & Furious 8 (2017)
This newest episode of the Fast and Furious action franchise was partly shot in Iceland. An epic car chase scene takes place on the frozen Mývatn lake in the north of Iceland, where even a Russian submarine joins the chase by blasting through the ice!
The exact location of the setup was at Skútustaðir, a tiny hamlet at the south end of the lake. There are also glimpses of a shootout in Akranes, a small village not far from Reykjavík, West Iceland.