Iceland is open for travel: Volcanic eruption in Iceland 2024

Music Videos Shot in Iceland

|February 27, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

Iceland is known to be a shooting spot for famous movies, but this beautiful country has also been featured in popular music videos. Some of them, like Justin Bieber's video, became so popular that places in Iceland are nicknamed after them even today (yes, I'm talking about Fjaðrárgljúfur, also known as 'Bieber's Canyon'). So, what famous music videos were shot in Iceland? Some of these might really surprise you!

Mr. Bieber came to Iceland in 2016 with his big camera crew to shoot two music videos – one was for his single "I'll Show You," and the other video was by Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber called "Cold Water." The latter one turned out to be a bit controversial as the girls were dancing on the fragile moss (a big no-no in Iceland because it takes hundreds of years to grow).

Justin Bieber - I'll Show You (2015)

In this music video, the famous singer is shown swimming in the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, walking around the Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon, skateboarding on the plane wreck on Sólheimasandi and visiting other places along the South Coast, such as Seljalandfoss waterfall and Reynisfjara black sand beach. The director of the video, Rory Kramer, said that Iceland was chosen as a shooting place for a music video because Bieber had never been there but always wanted to go there.

Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber - Cold Water (2016)

This rather controversial video was shot in several locations in Iceland: Sólheimajökull glacier, Sólheimasandur black sand beach, Skógafoss waterfall, Skaftárhraun lava field, and Dyrhólaey. Shooting the music video, directed by Matt Baron, took around four days, and twenty people worked on this project. Was it a success? You can judge it yourself!

Woodkid - I Love You (2013)

In 2012, Yoann Lemoine (Woodkid) came to Iceland to shoot the video for the song "I Love You." It's known that he's been working on this project as a director and graphic designer. Despite the video being black and white, it still conveys the beauty of Iceland and its nature. In the video, you can see the South Coast and recognize some of the well-known places such as Krýsuvík geothermal area, Reynisfjara black-sand beach, and the stunning Sólheimajökull glacier.

KALEO - Save Yourself (2016)

For the video called "Save Yourself", the band from Iceland had an idea to film it on a moving iceberg in Fjallsárlón Glacier Lake. While the finished product looks spectacular, it was quite intense and dangerous to film. It took 22 hours to film the band playing on the moving (yes, that's right!) iceberg. It was revealed that generators powered the gear the band was using in nearby boats with power cables running underwater. According to the lead singer JJ Julius Son, it was one of the most challenging videos they ever had to film yet, and this isn't even their first complex set, as their song "Way Down We Go" was filmed in an inactive volcano.

Dierks Bentley - Black (2017)

American country music singer Dierks Bentley was convinced by the video director Wes Edwards to shoot the song "Black" in Iceland. After hearing the song, Edwards, who knew about Iceland and its black beaches, realized that this was where they should film the video. In the clip, the singer and his wife, Cassidy, are in Sólheimasandur, where the remains of the DC-3 plane from the 1973 crash are. Everything about the song and the place the video was filmed is connected. The song was named after Bentley's wife (her maiden name is Black), and the surroundings of the black sand beach only help to set the mood of the clip.

Bon Iver - Holocene (2011)

The video, directed by Nabil Elderkin, an American-Australian music video director, and photographer, was shot in Iceland entirely. Its plot revolves around an Icelandic boy who explores some breathtaking places in Iceland. Filmed near a remote village Vik, located in the south of Iceland, the clip shows the famous black-sand beaches, glacier lagoons, volcanic landscapes, and basalt columns. Because of these authentic views, the music video even made its way to the National Geographic website.

David Guetta ft. Sia - She Wolf (2013)

The video, directed by Hiro Murai, a Japanese-American director, was shot in a few locations in Iceland: Langjökull glacier, Reykjanes peninsula, Krýsuvík area, and near Reykjanesviti. The director shared that their production group consisted of five or six people from Los Angeles, and the rest of the team was from Iceland. This included the production workers, make-up artists, dog trainers, and other necessary professionals. The cast was also from Iceland, starring an Icelandic model Eva Katrín Baldursdóttir.

Hurts - Stay (2010)

Another music video shot in Iceland is The Hurts' "Stay", directed by Dave Ma. Knowing how tricky the weather conditions are in Iceland, the musician and the whole cast had the chance to experience it themselves. An Icelandic model and actress, Anna Thora Alfreds, seen in the video next to Hurts lead singer Theo Hutchcraft got hurt when the wave hit her and Hutchcraft. This serves as a reminder that no matter how stunning-looking Iceland is, it's also quite unpredictable.

Elliphant - Down On Life (2013)

Directed by Swedish director Tim Erem, the music video for the singer Ellliphant's song "Down on Life" was shot in Iceland. In the video, you can see the singer riding a horse on the beach in Snæfellsnes peninsula. The filming didn't go without incident as one of the riders seen next to Elliphant fell off the horse and had to stay home for a month.

Astrid S - Hyde (2015)

The music video for the song "Hyde", performed by Norwegian singer Astrid S, was filmed in a house in Reykjavik, a lava field, and other picturesque places. In the clip, together with Astrid S, we can see an Icelandic dancer and actor, Viktor Leifsson. The music video was directed by Hörður Sveinsson and Helgi Jóhannsson.

Zara Larsson ft. MNEK - Never Forget You (2016)

The song by Swedish singer Zara Larsson and British singer and songwriter MNEK is one of many clips that make it to the list of music videos shot in Iceland. Directed by Richard Paris Wilson, the plot of the video takes place in Reykjavik. The clip shows a young Icelandic girl and a creature (or imaginary friend) wandering in Reykjanes peninsula.

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water (2018)

The "Head Above Water" song, which sheds light on Lyme disease, was directed by British film and television director Elliott Lester. The major part of the video was shot in Iceland, Reynisfjörður, on a stunning black sand beach, and in Vík í Mýrdal. The video's release date was on the same day as Lavigne's 34th birthday—September 27.

Take That - Patience (2006)

The song, released in 2006 and now has more than 38 million views, was directed by David Mould. In the video, the British band is seen on the black beach, dragging their microphones with them and trying to make their way to this cliff. Once there, they sing all together at night while a storm takes place.

Westlife - What About Now (2009)

Irish band Westlife, known for their romantic songs, shot the video for the song "What About Now" in Iceland. Directed by music video director Philip Andelman, the clip shows the group singing in pretty harsh weather conditions in Jökulsárlón, a glacial lagoon in Vatnajökull National Park. The video also ends with one of the must-see attractions in Iceland—the Northern Lights.

Jonas Blue ft. RAYE - By Your Side (2016)

Directors from Iceland, Arni, and Kinski benefited from their hometown nature to create beautiful scenery for the video. The song is performed by English DJ and songwriter Jonas Blue and London-based singer and songwriter RAYE. The music clip shows the woman roaming in Icelandic nature and dancing on the cliffs. As the day goes by, the nature images change to a party scene with bright lights and a dance floor.

Alice Deejay - Back In My Life (2000)

Alice Deejay is a Dutch DJ project started in 1999 by a group of DJs and producers with a front singer Judith Anna Pronk. The music video for the song "Back in My Life" was filmed in Reynisfjara beach. The clip shows the Icelandic landscape of a black-sand beach and strong waves coming to the shore—a perfect background for the video.

The Saturdays - My Heart Takes Over (2011)

The British-Irish group released the song "My Heart Takes Over" in 2011. Directed by Elisha Smith-Leverock, The Saturdays music video in Iceland shows the five women singing next to the largest lake Kleifarvatn on the Reykjanes Peninsula. In the video, you can see the harsh winds and snow that do not scare the group of singers wearing warm coats, hats, and gloves, looking beautiful.

Ada Szulc and DJ Adamus - Ocean (2013)

Ada Szulc and DJ Adamus are a music duo from Poland. They shot the music video for the song "Ocean" in December of 2013, despite it being the time when the weather was harsh and the winter days were the shortest. The surroundings seen in the video were taken in Sólheimasandur, the area where an abandoned DC-3 plane remains from the 1973 crash still is. You can see it at the end of the video, taken by the flames.

New Politics - Tonight You're Perfect (2014)

New Politics, a rock band from Denmark, was formed in 2009. In 2014, they released a video for a song, "Tonight You're Perfect", filmed around the south of Iceland. In the video, the band moves from one place to another, showing the highlights of Iceland, its never ending roads, black-sand beaches, and fields. The music clip was directed by Mel Soria, the music video director, and filmmaker.

Björk - Jóga (1997)

It seems that well-known Icelandic singer Björk isn't afraid to take inspiration from the country, and an example of this could be the song "Jóga" and its music video. The clip, directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry and shot in Iceland, shows its different landscapes and surfaces. Björk herself is seen only at the beginning and at the end of the clip. This Iceland music video is also interesting to watch because of how computer animation was used.

Iceland is not only known for being an excellent place for adventure enthusiasts, but it also serves as a stunning location for music video sets. This fact was proven with numerous popular videos taken here by famous singers such as Björk, Avril Lavigne, and Justin Bieber, as well as acclaimed bands such as The Hurts and KALEO. All of these videos, no matter how different they might seem, reveal the beauty and distinctiveness of Iceland.

Enjoyed this blog post? Read more about Icelandic music!

Recommended tours

Related blog posts