Contemporary architecture sits aside snow-capped mountains and icy seas.
Despite being 66° north of the Arctic Circle, the landscape of Iceland is not only greener than its name would suggest but black sand beaches, active volcanoes, vast glaciers, boiling geysers and thundering waterfalls all add to its appeal.
Add a rich mix of Norse cultural history and you have a fascinating destination just three hours away by plane.
It’s all here. Things to see and do, places to explore and moments to discover.
Our experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something to spark ideas for a unique adventure.
With a population of just 300,000 in a country the size of Ireland and most of its energy captured from geothermal activity, Iceland must rate as one of the most pristine environments in the western world. Add to that an abundance of fresh fish, a growing number of internationally acclaimed chefs, some truly beautiful landscapes and chic hotels, and it is not surprising that Iceland has firmly put its school geography class image behind it.
We think the very best way to experience Iceland is with a private guide who can show you the many hidden surprises this magical country conjures up. One of the most exciting excursions on offer in Iceland, being driven in a super-jeep through rivers, up the sides of volcanoes, and deep into the heart of the wild highlands is a must. Self-drive is also a pleasure in Iceland. Although the car ownership per head of population is very high, there are just two main roads which are largely empty.
Iceland is a great destination for a long weekend, which would quickly fill with sights, activities and adventures. During the long summer days, you could try fishing for sea trout or salmon, kayaking, horse riding and 4×4 adventures. For winter visits try snowmobiling on glaciers and exploring active volcanoes – all always with a comfortable hotel as your base offering excellent food.
An understanding of nature and the elements form two important parts of the Icelandic national psyche. This is a country in which they say that if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes and it will change. You have to understand that you do not visit Iceland for the weather. The weather may not be great but this in itself brings opportunities.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
The excitement of travelling the world has always hugely appealed. Largely cemented from my first solo trip to Egypt and the Middle East. The crazy hustle and bustle of Cairo was a huge assault on the senses, scrambling through the claustrophobic tunnels of the Great pyramid took me out of my comfort zone and I was left humbled by the warm hospitality of the Nubian people in Aswan as we shared dinner together.
Due to Iceland’s cold climate preserved foods play a big role. Wind dried fish is a popular snack. Fermented whale shark, puffin and reindeer are some of the more unusual options you may find on menus.
This is dependent on when you travel. During the winter months temperatures can easily drop below zero, so thick thermals, fleece, hat, gloves are all essential. For the rest of the year,
layers are the best option. The weather can be unpredictable, so it’s best advised to pack for all occasions!
Iceland’s range of wildlife is relatively small but expect to see Icelandic horses, reindeer, minke and humpback whales, seals, dolphins and arctic fox (if you’re lucky). Seabirds also cross its skies in large numbers. Guillemots, razorbills and puffins are some of the more common species.
The best time to see this spectacle is during the winter months, typically from October through to March.
No visit to Iceland is complete without a visit to the Blue Lagoon – a geothermal spa located in a lava field close to Reykjavik. It is a fun experience, with a swim-up bar but can get very crowded. If you want something a little more authentic, there are other beautiful spots around the country where you can find natural hot springs and pools where there is no entrance fee!
Yes, it is one of the most popular ways of exploring the country and with just one main highway, it is pretty hard to get lost! It is essential to rent a 4×4 when exploring the interior and highlands.
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