Sites of Merit are destinations in Iceland that are considered unique at a national or global level
Their main attraction is their natural phenomena and/or cultural heritage monuments that form a unique landscape.

Exemplary tourist sites

Varða or Sites of Merit are popular destinations that are visited by tourists all year round. Sites aiming to become a Site of Merit must fulfil or work systematically on the set criteria of the project and demonstrate a long-term commitment to implement it. Their administration aims to ensure sustainability in all areas and conservation of nature, cultural heritage and the landscape of the area. A high quality reception of guests is ensured and the residents, spirit of the site and development of the area is highly respected.

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Project goals

Sites of Merit are meant to create a framework for the ideology of an integral approach to destination management, which is a step towards laying solid foundations for the successful and sustainable development of tourism in Iceland in the future. Sites of Merit are meant to lead tourists on their journey around the country to destinations where all management, organisation and reception of guests is excellent.

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Project benefits

The Sites of Merit brand represents a recognition and confirmation of excellence in destination management and the destinations will be able to brand and market themselves as Sites of Merit. In addition, destination managers can share their experiences and learn from each other. The development of Sites of Merit around the country will strengthen Iceland's image as a tourist destination where sustainability and a positive visitor experience are paramount.

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The design of the logo is based on the same structure as a cairn. The logo depicts the shape of a cairn and symbolises the balance between nature and man-made structures, with reference to Icelandic heritage and patterns. Emphasis was placed on the logo reflecting the history and uniqueness of the various sites in Iceland which may eventually become Sites of Merit. This led to the creation of a unique logo that is timeless, symbolic and Icelandic. Brandenburg designed the logo of Varða / Sites of Merit.


What we do

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Sites of Merit guide travellers to the wonders of Iceland
Sites of Merit will be marketed to Icelandic and foreign tourists and the intention is to create a well-known label that tourists will look for when planning their travels. The Sites of Merit label is intended to guide tourists on their travels around the country.