Surprising, many movies are filmed in Iceland due to the vast variety of unique landscapes that feel like you’re on another planet. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is my favorite movie of all time and much of the movie is filmed in Iceland, even parts that are supposed to be the middle east and Greenland in the movie). I won’t tell you what happens (you really should watch it!), but it is a movie that inspires adventure and makes you want to pack your bags for your next trip.
How to see the Walter Mitty filming locations
To see many of the locations in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, you need a car to get around. Some of the places you could visit with a tour group (such as Skogafoss), but most of them you will need your own transportation. You won’t be able to see all of the filming locations in one day due to the distance apart they are, but you could incorporate them into a road trip around Iceland.
Renting cars in Iceland is much different than renting cars in the United States or mainland Europe. I am definitely not an expert on this, so definitely check several different resources on how to rent cars in Iceland. I do know that we used the company ICEPOL for our car and had a good experience with them.
Here is my Google maps link with all of the places on the map: Stykkishólmur, Iceland to Seydisfjordur, Iceland – Google Maps
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Filming Locations in Iceland
The Arriving in Greenland and getting Rental Car Scene
Location: Höfn Airport, Iceland
The first scene of the movie that is filmed in Iceland is where Walter Mitty arrives to “Greenland.” The arrival to Greenland is actually filmed at the the airport in Höfn, Iceland. We did not make it to here on our trip, but you can see the same airport that he arrives at here. While in the movie he arrives here in a ginormous plane, large passenger planes don’t actually fly here in real life.
The Singing in the Bar Scene
In the next main scene of the movie, you see Walter Mitty arrive to a small town in Greenland, where he parks the car and arrives what appears as the only place in town which is a bar in the movie. Here he talks to people to try to find the photographer and gets the first clues of where he may be. In real life, the building is not actually a bar, but it is an empty unoccupied building. You can walk around the outside, but you cannot go in.
The Jumping on the Helicopter Scene
Directly following the bar scene, Walter Mitty decides to take the risk of riding the helicopter with the drunk pilot so that he can find the photographer. To me, this is one of the most iconic and inspiring scenes of the movie. He runs out of the bar, through the street with his briefcase, and jumps on the helicopter as it is taking off. In real life, you can see where he runs in slow motion in the movie and where the helicopter was taking off at beside the harbor. It is a real working harbor and there was many boats and some traffic when we visited.
Other things to do nearby
Cross the harbor and hike on Sugandisey Island. If you take the steps up from the parking area, there are views of the surrounding islands, a lighthouse, and informational panels about the town and surrounding area. It is such a cute, picturesque island.
Stykkisholmur is located on Snæfellsnes peninsula. For a full guide on the Snæfellsnes peninsula, check out my blog post on the Snæfellsnes peninsula.
The Running to the Bike when Arriving in Iceland Scene
After he survives gale force waters and getting onto the boat surrounded by sharks, the boat Erkigsnek arrives to a port in Iceland. In real life, this is the port in the town of Grundarfjordur which is close to Stykkisholmur, which I mentioned above. In real life, the port is a real port with fishing boats. It is unclear if you can walk out further to the boats, but it was raining quite a bit when we visited so we didn’t walk all the way out to the end of the pier.
Other things to do nearby
Drive down the road and see Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell Mountain. The view of Kirkjufellsfoss is absolutely incredible and is a very iconic place to visit in Iceland. There is a fee to park and it is a super short walk to view the waterfall with the mountain in the background.
Also, in the town of Grundarfjordur, there is an adorable coffee shop with delicious artisanal coffee roasted onsite. The roaster is named Valeria Kaffi. For more coffee recommendations around Iceland, check out my Iceland Coffee blog post.
The Volcano Scene
Location: Multiple locations
In the movie, Walter Mitty sees the photographer he has been chasing standing on airplane flying directly towards an erupting volcano. As you can imagine, this scene was fabricated, but there are truly erupting volcanoes in Iceland. While you can’t necessarily see the volcano filmed in the movie, you can see a volcano while in Iceland. While the active volcanic eruptions are constantly changing and pretty variable, you can see evidence of old eruptions in multiple places.
One popular location to see some new lava is the location of the 2021 eruption is near Grindavik. Park at parking P2 on this map. There are various signs for parking. There are many volcano viewing options in the area. Check out my blog post on visiting volcanoes in Iceland for more information!
The Skateboard Scene and getting picked up during volcanic eruption
Another major iconic scene from the movie is when Walter Mitty skateboards all the way down a curvy mountain. (Fun fact: Ben Stiller, who played Walter Mitty, actually did the skateboard stunt in the movie himself.) This scene takes place on the road to Seydisfjordur which is in the very far east of Iceland. We did not make it here, but were told it is a gorgeous drive.
At the end of the skateboarding scene, he stops at a hotel at an intersection where he is picked up by the man from the hotel. This hotel is located in the middle of the town of Seydisfjordur and is at the main intersection of town.
The Papa John’s Scene
Location: Geirabakari Kaffihaus, Borgarbyggd
Papa John’s is an important part of the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, however in real life there is not actually a Papa John’s in Iceland. The scene where Walter Mitty is at a Papa John’s is actually filmed at Geirabakari Kaffihaus. The building is the same in real life, just missing the Papa John’s logo. It was closed when we visited, but I heard the pastries are quite delicious here.
Across the body of water beside the parking lot, you can see a mountain. This mountain features in the next scene of Walter Mitty where there is a quote on the side of the mountain and he flies back to the United States.
The Hiking in Middle East Scene
Location: Vatnajokull National Park
The hiking scenes that are supposedly through the Middle East and the Himalayas are also actually filmed in Iceland. Some of the intense scenes where they are walking across giant icefields with wild landscapes are filmed in Vatnajokull National Park.
Vatnajokull National Park is ginormous and holds the Vatnajokull Glacier which is the largest glacier in Europe. Many of the scenes are non-specific locations, but you can experience the Vatnajokull National Park in many ways.
If you actually want to walk on the glacier like Walter Mitty, you will need an official tour, but there are many ways to visit without a special tour. Some popular places in the national park to visit are Svinafellsjokul utsynisstadur glacier viewing, Utsyni yfir jokul glacier viewing, and Diamond Beach.
For more information about visiting glaciers and Diamond Beach, read my blog post about it here.
The Hiking in the Himalayas Scene
Location: Skogafoss Waterfall
In the hiking scenes from the movie, there is one place that they specifically hike in which is very popular and beautiful. In the movie, they hike across the bottom of the Skogafoss Waterfall. Skogafoss in real life is actually very accessible (unlike depicted in the move), and can be seen from the parking lot. You can walk up close to this majestic waterfall and also walk up stairs that carve into the hillside to see it from the top. Skogafoss is one of my favorite waterfalls in Iceland and I recommend definitely visiting here if you can.
For more information about visiting awesome Iceland waterfalls, check out my blog post on our favorite Iceland waterfalls.
These are the main areas in Iceland that are shown in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. There are probably some other smaller or less filmed areas across the island, but these are definitely most of the main aeras filmed in the movie.
Do you have any questions or comments? Did I miss anything? Let me know down below in the comments!
Thanks for reading!