We love Iceland and, seemingly, so do film crews. This is due in no small part to the country’s stunning scenery that CGI can only hope to replicate, attracting directors to use the varied landscape as a backdrop for their passion projects. Some of these locations are instantly recognisable, whereas others become more familiar once you remove the stormtroopers, but all of them have us itching to explore.
Game of Thrones
We start with perhaps the most well documented and extensive of Iceland shoots, Game of Thrones. The country has featured heavily across the 7 seasons that have been released and is also due to return for the 8th and final season (no spoilers, please). Follow in the footsteps of Jon and Ygritte as you venture into Grjótagjá Hot Spring Cave, visit Thingvellir National Park to see where Brienne and The Hound clashed swords, or snap a picture of Kirkjuvell Mountain, the backdrop for the birth of the White Walkers. Now we just wait and see what beautiful destinations the final episodes show us.
2 different Bonds, 17 years apart, have visited Iceland and been chased across Jökulsárlón, albeit at different speeds. Roger Moore took to skis to outrun the bad guys in the opening of A View to a Kill, with Pierce Brosnan taking the flashier approach by driving an Aston Martin over the glacier lagoon. Today, you can take a boat tour and explore one of the country’s greatest natural wonders. Take photographs and watch seals swim nearby, safe in the knowledge that there are no longer any machine gun wielding Soviet agents on skis around.
As one of the most successful film franchises of all time, it should come as no surprise that Star Wars has touched down on the shores of Iceland. The black sands of Mýrdalssandur Beach can be seen at the start of Rogue One, the first spin-off film in the series, doubling up as the planet Lah’mu. Travel to the coastline yourself and discover how the beach gets its unique look that makes you feel like you’re standing on an alien world.
Thor: The Dark World
It’s quite fitting that the production of Marvel’s Nordic superhero made the journey to Iceland. It was coined by the local press as one of the most extensive film projects to take place in the country, providing backdrops for the realms of Asgard and Svartalfheim. Explore the home of the Dark Elves as you wander around Landmannalauger Nature Reserve, one of Iceland’s most photographed locations. It was here that Thor and Loki faced off with Malekith for the first time.
If you’ve noticed a running theme of Iceland being used as a stand in for alien planets, that isn’t a coincidence. The country’s sparse beauty and varied landscapes lend themselves perfectly to that extra-terrestrial look, utilised to full effect by Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. Go hiking on the Svínafellsjökull glacier, which served as the ice planet, or drive for an hour to visit Máfabót, the location of the water planet. Both destinations are stunning and immediately recognisable to fans of Nolan’s science fiction film.
Moving away from the inhospitable alien worlds, Netflix’s Black Mirror used Iceland as the setting for season 4 episode, Crocodile. As well as the very bleak story, you’ll witness some breath-taking sights, provided by Reykjavik and the Reykjanes Peninsula. City Hall, Tjörnin, and the Harpa Concert and Conference Hall all feature in the episode, as do Kleifarvatn Lake and Grænavatn Lake, a little way out from the city.
If you feel inspired by the Hollywood locations of Iceland, check out our short breaks to Reykjavik, or go further north with our flight packages to Akureyri.