This investigation was conducted to identify the content of metals in Calluna vulgaris (family Ericaceae), Empetrum nigrum (family Ericaceae), Festuca vivipara (family Poaceae) and Thymus praecox subsp. arcticus (family Lamiaceae), as well as in the soils where they were growing in eight geothermal heathlands in Iceland. Investigation into the vegetation of geothermal areas is crucial and may contribute to their proper protection in the future and bring more understanding under what conditions the plants respond to an ecologically more extreme situation. Plants from geothermally active sites were enriched with metals as compared to the same species from non-geothermal control sites (at an average from about 150 m from geothermal activity). The enriched metals consisted of Cd, Co, Cu, Fe and Ni in C. vulgaris; Cd, Mn and Ti in E. nigrum; Hg and Pb in F. vivipara; and Cd, Fe and Hg in T. praecox. Notably, C. vulgaris, E. nigrum, F. vivipara and T. praecox had remarkably high concentrations of Ti at levels typical of toxicity thresholds. Cd and Pb (except for C. vulgaris and F. vivipara) were not accumulated in the shoots of geothermal plants. C. vulgaris from geothermal and control sites was characterised by the highest bioaccumulation factor (BF) of Ti and Mn; E. nigrum and F. vivipara by the highest BF of Ti and Cr; and T. praecox by the highest BF of Ti and Zn compared to the other elements. In comparison with the other examined species, F. vivipara from geothermal sites had the highest concentration of Ti in above-ground parts at any concentration of plant-available Ti in soil. © 2021. The Author(s).